News 5 Oct 2023

'Disappointing' Donington outing for Brookes despite podium

Eigthh top-three of the 2023 BSB season in wet third encounter.

Image: Supplied.

Despite a podium in race three, FHO Racing BMW’s Josh Brookes felt like he ‘should have had a better weekend’ at Donington Park relative to the performance he was able to deliver at the venue earlier in the British Superbike Championship (BSB) season.

The series competed at Donington this year in May for round three, where Brookes qualified 10th fastest with a 1m28.177s. In contrast, he was 17th on the grid last weekend at round 10 with a 1m28.732s.

Showing strong race pace at the circuit earlier in the year, Brookes was able to finish a strong third place in race two in the third round, in dry conditions. Mixed weather threw a spanner in the works during the most recent outing at the venue, and to Brookes’ credit, he was able to storm through the field to finish seventh in the tricky sprint race.

In the dry race two he finished P8, before he secured third in the wet final outing where the race was brought to a premature end. The result marked the Australian’s eighth podium of the season, and first rostrum finish since Snetterton in July.

“We haven’t been positive all the way through, in fact it’s been quite disappointing,” recalled Brookes. “We came here with high hopes and were definitely optimistic after having a strong round earlier in the year, I was on the podium and you expect you’re going to improve the bike and come back to the same track and your results will be better than you were before.

“Obviously that’s the same for everybody, so everybody improves and it makes that more difficult, but we felt like we should have had a better weekend. From the first practice I was really struggling with corner entry, we tried to improve it but what we didn’t seem to work and I qualified back in 17th. In the wet conditions our pace was strong and in the first race I came through to seventh, which gave me a good grid position for the next race.

“The small improvements we’d made from qualifying to the second race had improved the bike, and even though it was mostly wet conditions in the races, I managed to hold my place and not drop back too much, so I was in a good position for the final race.

“It was wet for most of the race and I was battling with other riders, making passes and it was positive you know, I felt like I had the ability to pass others and stretch away, which is as a racer you kind of want that feeling of being able to improve and progress, so to be in that position again this weekend was a great pleasure.

“We did kind of get gifted a podium position, as much as I was trying to close the gap to Christian [Iddon] it was coming down, but I probably wouldn’t have got to him before the end unless he made a significant mistake, but then Leon [Haslam] ended up going out with a failure and the race got red flagged, which gave me the third position.

“So, yeah obviously I’d rather get third on my own merit, but you know when it’s been this long without a podium myself, the FHO Racing team, all the sponsors and supporters, they need this as much as I do, so I’m really pleased for everybody involved that we’ve been able to get back to the podium and share champagne!”

One round remains in the 2023 British Superbike Championship, with the series finals taking place at Brands Hatch between 13-15 October.