News 30 Mar 2023

BMW-mounted Brookes leads Silverstone BSB test

Australian outlines focus across the recent pre-season outing.

Image: Supplied.

FHO Racing BMW rider Josh Brookes concluded the final official pre-season British Superbike Championship (BSB) test at the top of the timesheets, holding a commanding margin as damp conditions featured at Silverstone.

Brookes switches to the BMW platform for 2023 from his previous MCE Ducati surrounds, and his fastest time of 56.155s across the latest two-day outing saw him lead second-placed Kyle Ryde (Lami OMG Racing Yamaha) by 0.816s.

“It’s pretty obvious to say that finishing Silverstone on top of the times is pleasing for me, the team and everyone involved,” Brookes explained. “We’ve been focusing mainly on the new engine as it reacts in a different way to the old one. Not that I have much understanding of the old one, but for the mechanics the BMW reacts differently with the new spec engine, so they have to go through a variety of changes to understand better how to set the engine breaking, as well as the throttle with the way it feels as I accelerate out of a turn.

“There are some levels we have worked through to basically make the bike run efficiently and that’s more or less where we’ve spent most effort and time, and it’s those fundamentals of what we have to be able to progress later. So once we get this work done, and to a point where I’m happy we can then focus on suspension, chassis positions and fine-tune the other bits.

“I guess luckily for us and the work we’ve had to do, you can do regardless of the weather and fortunately we’ve been able to make progress on this. We’ve improved the engine braking and the feeling of the throttle in my hand, which must be good, as we’ve gone fastest in what’s been very tricky conditions. As soon as we get some dry track, we can focus on more common changes such as suspension, but during the test we couldn’t really focus on anything else due to the conditions.”

Brookes returned to Australia in the BSB off-season and won the St George Summer Night Series at Sydney Motorsport Park while gaining some track time on the M 1000 RR with Livson Racing.

Other Australians present at the Silverstone BSB test included Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) who was fourth quickest, with Tom Toparis (Macadam Racing Yamaha) and Ben Currie (Oxford Ducati) featuring in Supersport while Brayden Elliot (DAO Racing) and Billy McConnell (C&L Fairburn Properties Honda) prepared for the upcoming campaign in the National Superstock category.

Round one of the 2023 British Superbike Championship (BSB) takes place between 7-9 April at Silverstone on the National Circuit.