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British Superbikes Round 1 Brands Hatch Indy 18th-21st April 2014

Brands Hatch Indy

Byrne fires in Brands Hatch double win as Brookes fights to second

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne fired in a second MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race win in the second race of the day at Brands Hatch despite coming under pressure from Milwaukee Yamaha's Josh Brookes in the closing laps of the race.

Byrne had led the pack on the opening lap from his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team-mate Stuart Easton and the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki pairing of James Ellison and Chris Walker, but Brookes was fighting his way through the pack from his fourth row start.

Ellison was pushing to get in front of his team-mate and he made a move on Walker into Paddock Hill Bend for the ninth time to move ahead and then close in on Easton. He moved to second to split the Rapid Solicitors Kawasakis at Graham Hill Bend a few laps later, then the pair jostled for the position but Ellison had his sights set on closing in on race leader Byrne.

Brookes meanwhile had been carving his way up the order and held onto fourth place by lap 18 and after a battle with Ryuichi Kiyonari on the Buildbase BMW, the Australian was then hard charging as he bid to secure his first podium finish for Milwaukee Yamaha.

Brookes moved to third with a determined move on Easton at Clearways and then the leading trio of Byrne, Ellison and Brookes were left to battle over the closing laps for the podium finishes. Brookes was shadowing Ellison and then dived up the inside at Druids and despite the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki rider pushing to reclaim the position, he had to settle for third.

Byrne was holding the lead but Brookes had him in his sights and over the final three laps he was pushing to close the minimal gap in a bid to mug the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki of the victory, but it wasn't enough and the Australian held second place.

Byrne said: "In terms of the races everything has been perfect this weekend. The second race was pretty tough and the lap times weren't as fast, but I had a strategy where I wanted to get away as I knew Josh would come through like I had done in the first race as we have been similar on lap times all weekend. I figured I needed to get out the front and see what we could do, but the lap timer on my bike packed up, not making excuses, but it showed me the same lap time for six or seven laps and I thought there is no way I am that consistent! I hadn't realised they were reeling me back in and I was thinking 'this isn't in the script, this isn't my plan' but Josh held second and I tried to not make any mistakes. Fortunately it panned out and fingers crossed we can take it to them again at Oulton Park." 

Kiyonari finished the race in fourth position after being a part of the early scrap for the podium as he pushed ahead of Walker who in turn held off Easton for fifth position. James Westmoreland was the second Buildbase BMW rider in the top ten in seventh ahead of Dan Linfoot on the sole Quattro Plant Kawasaki. Tommy Bridewell and Ben Wilson completed the top ten ahead of the next races of the season at Oulton Park over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race two result:

  1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
  2. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.138s
  3. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.785s
  4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +3.694s
  5. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +5.376s
  6. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +5.724s
  7. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +10.826s
  8. Dan Linfoot (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +11.488s
  9. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +11.678s
  10. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +11.908s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch:

  1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 50
  2. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 32
  3. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 31
  4. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 20
  5. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 20
  6. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) 19
  7. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) 16
  8. John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) 16
  9. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) 15
  10. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 13

Three crashes and pole position for Brookes at season opener

Josh Brookes claimed an incredible pole position on his debut with Milwaukee Yamaha after bouncing back from three crashes from three sessions to edge out Ryuichi Kiyonari for the top spot in the opening Datatag Extreme Qualifying battle of the 2014 MCE BSB season at Brands Hatch.

British Super Bikes Round 1 Brand Hatch Indy
British Super Bikes Round 1 Brand Hatch Indy
British Super Bikes Round 1 Brand Hatch Indy
British Super Bikes Round 1 Brand Hatch Indy
British Super Bikes Round 1 Brand Hatch Indy
British Super Bikes Round 1 Brand Hatch Indy

The session in wet conditions caught out several of the leading contenders and a dramatic Q1 saw Brookes slide off before he even completed a flying lap; however the Milwaukee Yamaha team salvaged the session despite a second crash to make it thorough to Q2. Brookes then dug deep in the final Q3 session to close in lap by lap on the previous pace-setter Ryuichi Kiyonari to displace the Japanese rider who was desperate to secure his first pole position for the first time since 2010.

Brookes said: "I had felt in control in the final free practice and everything was going smoothly even though it was the first day we rode in the wet and it was going to plan. In qualifying it was completely different conditions and I went out and fell off. I managed to get the bike back to the garage as there was time to get it back to the team and we started again and then I crashed for the second time. Again I made it back and the Milwaukee Yamaha guys did a great job to fix it all and I got back out to be in Q2. I am thrilled to be on the pole position and the team now have to work to get the bike back to how it was but I feel this might go some way towards repaying them for their hard work during that session. I am really pleased with how things are going and I am looking forward to hopefully a dry race tomorrow." 

In the first session Jakub Smrz had his hopes of a front row dashed when he slid off the Millsport Ducati, closely followed by Simon Andrews on the RAF Reserves Honda as Kiyonari held the top spot from Michael Dunlop.

There was drama for the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team as Stuart Easton was one of the contenders not to make it through to Q2 in 23rd position ahead of Dan Linfoot on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki. Shane 'Shakey' Byrne got his hopes of a strong qualifying session dashed when he crashed in the closing stages of Q1 and despite getting back on circuit in Q2, the triple champion missed out on the top ten and will start thirteenth on the grid for the opening race tomorrow.

In Q3 John Hopkins proved that he could still master the conditions as the Tyco Suzuki rider claimed the final position on the front row in third making it a truly international affair, despite the front row riders all having a crash in the final stages of Q3.

Chris Walker was the leading Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki in fourth place, despite a crash for the 'Stalker' who held off James Westmoreland in the closing stages of Q3. Anvil Hire TAG Kawasaki complete row two on their debut in the series with Richard Cooper locking out sixth place.

Gearlink Kawasaki qualified for Q3 with another impressive performance on their first appearance in the Superbike class in seventh ahead of Michael Rutter on the Bathams BMW and Keith Farmer who only managed a fast lap before sliding out of the session. Patric Muff completed the top ten after not setting a time in the final session after a crash in Q2 following his fastest lap of the afternoon.     

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Datatag Extreme qualifying:

  1. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 55.093s
  2. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +0.703s
  3. John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +1.055s
  4. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.160s
  5. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +1.204s
  6. Richard Cooper (Anvil Hire TAG Kawasaki) +1.322s
  7. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +1.843s
  8. Michael Rutter (Bathams BMW) +1.897s
  9. Keith Farmer (PR Racing Kawasaki) +2.841s
  10. Patric Muff (Bathams BMW) 

Datatag Extreme Qualifying from Brands Hatch

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