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Sep 17, 2013

MCE British Superbike "Showdown" Begins This Coming Weekend At Assen

MCE British Superbike Championship: The start of a race at Assen in 2012.

The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship reaches the crucial Showdown stage of the season this weekend (20/21/22 September) as the gloves come off for the six Title Fighters at the legendary Assen circuit.

As the Showdown kicks off defending champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team head the standings by just six points from Samsung Honda’s Alex Lowes who arrives at the Dutch circuit off the back of four consecutive race wins.

Byrne claimed the first ever MCE BSB win at Assen last season, he said: “This is it; we have worked hard all season to be in the best possible shape to try and win that fourth title so you can be sure I certainly won’t be giving up now! I am ready to get started; I had a lead and now that’s been reduced to just six points so I just need to concentrate on winning, starting with the two races this weekend. The ideal scenario for me and Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki is to come away from Assen with two wins.”

Lowes closed Byrne’s advantage with his recent winning streak but he also needs to hold off the Tyco Suzuki challenge as Josh Brookes is fired up to repeat his victory from last season. The Australian has twice finished as a runner-up and is ready to come out fighting to close the deficit this weekend.

Lowes said: “I can’t wait for Assen, there was a really great atmosphere there last year and I am really excited about going back there and the start of the Showdown. We will be giving it everything; I don’t think it is going to be easy but we just need to stay focused on our performance and try to do the best job we can. I know for sure who I need to beat and that is the other five of us in the Showdown!

Brookes added: “I am confident we can come out fighting at Assen. I am riding the best I can and the team are working hard to put us in the best position. I am approaching these final rounds with a level head and treating it like any other race; I want to do the best I can and that is all I can do and then whatever will happen will be the end result. We go to Assen knowing that we need to beat them all.”

Milwaukee Yamaha’s James Ellison secured his Showdown position for the first time at Donington Park as the team bid to reclaim the crown they last won in a thrilling finale to 2011 and he holds fourth in the standings ahead of Assen. Triple champion Ryuichi Kiyonari and James Westmoreland complete the top six in the title fight as five different teams representing five different manufacturers bid to become the 2013 MCE BSB champion.

The Assen round also marks the return of multiple World Superbike Championship race winner Noriyuki Haga to MCE BSB as the Japanese ace joins the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team alongside Byrne.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings ahead of the Showdown:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 539
2. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 533
3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 522
4. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 513
5. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 504
6. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) 500

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More, from a press release issued by Honda:




Alex Lowes and his Samsung Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari, the former three times MCE Insurance British Superbike Champion, are both qualified as "title fighters" going in to the Showdown sequence of seven races, beginning at Assen, in The Netherlands, which will decide the outcome of the country's premier crown.

Lowes enjoyed a double confidence booster in the previous round at Donington Park where he won both races on the back of a similar performance in his home round at Cadwell Park just two weeks before. They took his victory tally to six so far this season, and importantly in the rules of the Showdown system they boosted him to within six points of the defending three times title winner Shane Byrne.

Kiyonari in contrast had a much tougher time in those races but still secured sufficient points to make the cut in the elite six riders who are qualified to fight for the crown, but, he starts with a 29 points deficit on his team-mate Lowes.

To make the cut for the Showdown, the riders had to be in the top six in the overall standings after the Donington Park round. Byrne, riding Kawasaki, Lowes, Kiyonari made the cut together with Aussie Josh Brookes on a Suzuki, former MotoGP rider James Ellison on a Yamaha and James Westmoreland for BMW.

Once qualified, the points scores for each rider were discarded and each was given a starting platform of 500 to which have been added their podium credit scores, reflecting performance in the opening 19 races of the series with Byrne and Lowes, who between them have won
15 races, topping the standings, Byrne on 539 and Lowes on 533.
Brookes has 522, Ellison 513, Kiyonari 504 and Westmoreland 500. Now they score points on the standard scale in the final deciding races.

Those riders not making the cut will now ride for both pride, with contracts for the following season in mind, and also for the BSB Riders Cup. Among them will be the Lloyds British GBmoto Honda duo of Dan Linfoot and Peter Hickman plus Jenny Tinmouth aboard the Two Wheels Racing Honda. Jakub Smrz, who knows Assen well from his World Superbike days, will race the Padgetts Honda while Robin Harms is aboard the Doodson Honda.

But the rider everyone will need to keep an eye on is 23 year old Dutch Superbike champion Danny de Boer from Staphorst who has a wildcard ticket to ride for the Bathams Honda team.

Honda rider quotes:

AlexLowes (Samung Honda)
"I can't wait for Assen, there was a really great atmosphere there last year and I am really excited about going back there and the start of the Showdown now. I think we go there in a good position as the Samsung Honda is working well and I feel good on the bike but we know we still have some improvements we can make for Assen as this is a track that should suit the Honda. We will be giving it everything at Assen; I don't think it is going to be easy but we just need to stay focused on us and our performance and try to do the best job we can. I know for sure who I need to beat and that is the other five of us in the Showdown!"

Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda)
"I am happy to be in the Showdown but we need to be faster. We have had some small problems at the last rounds and we have been trying to improve but it is a balance. We need to change that at Assen because it is the Showdown now. The final three rounds will be different as everyone will be pushing to win the championship. I think it will be very hard but I will try my best. I will try and be faster so we can get some more podiums and more wins. It's simple we need to be faster if we are going to win the title.

More, from a press release issued by Doodson Motorsport Team:

Harms and Doodson Motorsport Return at Assen

Robbin Harms and the Doodson Motorsport Team are looking forward to returning to British Superbike action this weekend at Assen in Holland, with Harms raring to go following his wrist injury sustained at Snetterton.

Following the high of scoring his best BSB finish with a seventh place, Danish racer Robbin Harms came down to earth with a bang after being taken out by another riders crash and smashing his hand and wrist in the process. Within days Harms underwent surgery to his right wrist which included having substitute bone and metal plates added before returning to Denmark to begin rehabilitation.

Considering the damage sustained, and the importance of controlling a 200BHP superbike throttle and braking with the right hand, his recovery has been rapid. A test at Zolder in Belgium yesterday [Monday] confirmed he is ready to once again climb aboard the Doodson Motorsport Honda.

“I am looking forward to getting back on the bike again after my injury. The wrist is not as good as before and I probably going to swallow some pain during the weekend. But I am confident that it is going to work as I have been training hard to make it strong again”

Team owner Tom Tunstall added:

“It was a tough break for Robbin and the team in more ways than one as he had proved the speed that we all knew he had. We’ve got to be patient and get an understanding of the condition of his wrist. However he scored two strong top ten results last year at Assen and we are confident that he and the Doodson team will be able to improve on his results in the final races this season”.

The tenth round of the British Superbike Championship takes place this weekend [20th-22nd September] at Assen near Groningen in Holland.
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