News 7 Sep 2011

Title Showdown for British Superbikes starts this weekend at Donington Park

Brookes has made the BSB Showdown and is in great form as of late.

Brookes has made the BSB Showdown and is in great form as of late.

It is Showdown time in the chase for the MCE Insurance British Superbike crown. As the six title fighters power into Donington Park for the first of three critical rounds of the championship, Tommy Hill has a slender seven point advantage over former double champion Shane Byrne.

The Leicestershire circuit hosts the first two of seven races that are crucial to the elite six riders as they try to outgun each other for the title.  After the previous round at Cadwell Park the top six riders’ points scores were set at 500 to which have been added bonus points in the form of podium credits which reflect their performances at the sharp end of the main season races.

Swan Yamaha’s Hill has the slight edge as he bids to take the title for the first time.  He has won seven of the opening 19 races and that consistency and front running style has put him just ahead of the rest although the Lingfield rider is taking nothing for granted as he returns to a circuit he has not raced at in four years.

“It feels good to be leading going into the Showdown but this is racing and anything can happen, we know how fast things can change,” said Hill.

“I am a racer and want to win races. We have to remain consistent as every point now is crucial.”

HM Plant Honda’s Byrne still has his sights set on equalling team mate Ryuichi Kiyonari with a third BSB title this season. He had already qualified as a Title Fighter ahead of the Cadwell Park round and used those races to test various parts to further refine it ahead of the final push towards the final title deciding races.

“We tested a lot of new parts at Cadwell and we found something then that should make out life easier,” said Byrne.

“There is no reason why we cannot have a showdown doing what we did in the first part of the season which was winning races and taking podium places.”

Pushing them hard will be John Hopkins who experienced racing the circuit during his MotoGP career.  He is four points down on Byrne and aboard the Samsung Crescent Suzuki is intent on becoming the first American to lift the British title.  He returns to action after surgery on fingers broken during a wild card ride in MotoGP last month in Brno but is confident that he will be fully fit for these races.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back on the Samsung Crescent Suzuki and most importantly finally getting the Showdown underway!” said Hopkins.

“Unfortunately it will be my first race back from having surgery on my hand but the treatment and recovery processes has all been going to plan and both the doctor and myself are confident that I should be close to full fitness and ready to go,” Hopkins continued.

“I was very disappointed about having to miss the last round but it’s only added to my motivation and drive toward winning this year’s BSB championship and I’ll be giving it everything I have in order to do so.”

The fourth Title Fighter is Michael Laverty on the second Swan Yamaha and after a win and a further two podiums at Cadwell Park he will be pushing his rivals all the way.  Laverty heads into the Showdown 19 points down on Hill but knows a strong pair of races could see him overhaul the riders ahead of him currently.

Aussie Josh Brookes is a point down on Laverty and the Relentless Suzuki by TAS rider who made the Showdown with a late run of form, racking up the points over three all important rounds, has to maintain that standard to stay in the chase. Brookes will be looking to continue his late season form into these all important final races.

Three time title winner Kiyonari sits in sixth place, 21 points adrift of Hill but ready to end an inconsistent season aboard the second HM Plant Honda with a repeat of last year’s stunning climax to the title chase to snatch the crown for a record fourth time.