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Sep 23, 2013

More From This Past Weekend's Various Motorcycle Road Races (Updated)

FIM Endurance World Championship: Gregory Leblanc (11) on the Team SRC Kawasaki ZX-10R at Le Mans.
Pirelli wins the Le Mans 24 Hours Moto for the fourth year in row earning the Master of Endurance title for the second time

Riders Grégory Leblanc, Fabien Foret and Nicolas Salchaud on the number 11 Kawasaki ZX10R, equipped with Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres, completed 820 laps in the 24 hours to finish 7 laps ahead of second place and with the best lap of the race a 1’37.722

Le Mans (France), 23 September 2012 – Yesterday, in front of 72,000 spectators, Pirelli and the SRC Kawasaki team of Grégory Leblanc, Fabien Foret and Nicolas Salchaud, triumphed in the Le Mans 24 Hours Moto winning it for the fourth year in row. Following the success at the end of April in the Bol d'Or, Pirelli consequently wins the Master of Endurance title for the second consecutive time, the award which consists precisely of the two races mentioned above. These two were the only rounds of the FIM World Endurance Championship 2013 -which this year included a total of 4 races- in which Pirelli and the team Kawasaki SRC participated in.

The perfect harmony created between riders, motorcycle and Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres proved to be of fundamental importance for the success in this competition. The team finished ahead of the Suzuki GSX-R 1000 of the R2CL team equipped with Dunlop tyres in second place and the Yamaha YZF-R1 of the Yamaha France GMT 94 Yamalube equipped with the tyres from the French manufacturer Michelin in third place.

During the weekend Pirelli, in addition to the success achieved with Kawasaki in the Le Mans 24 Hours, became Champions of Italy with Ducati and Eddi La Marra in the Superbike class of the Campionato Italiano Velocità –the Italian National Championship, and Champions of Germany with BMW and Markus Reiterberger in the Superbike class of IDM, the German National Championship.

"To win a competition like the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours raced in France and do it for four consecutive years certainly makes us very happy and fills us with pride," said Pirelli Moto Racing Director, Giorgio Barbier,"This weekend has given us many emotions and satisfaction, after the title of Champions of Italy in the Superbike and Supersport classes of CIV, this success also came as a further confirmation, if still needed, of Pirelli's leadership even in open tyre competitions like the demanding World Endurance Championship. In addition, having won with the same product, the Diablo Superbike, with three different manufacturers means that we have a very versatile tyre that is well suited to all models of motorcycles. I want to congratulate the whole team Kawasaki SRC and its riders, no doubt a winning combination the one between Pirelli and this team, and in particular with Grégory Leblanc that with us and Kawasaki SRC dominates the competition for 4 years, a record unmatched since 1990 and belonging to Jean Michel Mattioli."

The 36th edition of this 24-hour marathon, an event scheduled regularly since 1978 on the Sarthè “Bugatti” track, saw Team Kawasaki SRC with number 11 Kawasaki ZX10R equipped with Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres obtain the highest step of the podium winning for the fourth consecutive year. In total, Pirelli brought to Le Mans 2872 tyres to support 17 of the 56 participating teams and the whole relay was carried out with Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres: for the front, they has options of the SC1 and SC2 compounds while at the rear the race was run with a single development solution, a soft tyre in SC0 compound which is ideal on an asphalt as that of Le Mans that offers little grip and which has performed well both during the day and with the drop in temperature at night. Thanks to the grip and the mileage offered, Kawasaki SRC riders have made a total of 820 laps setting the fastest lap of the race in 1'37.722 and winning with a gap of 7 laps on their pursuers .

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Racing:

Yamaha Secure Second in 2013 World Endurance Championship

The finale of the 2013 World Endurance Championship last weekend at Le Mans saw the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamahalube team move up to second in the final season standings. The Yamaha team took the runner up spot after a hard won third place podium finish in the legendary 24hr race.

The result is the French team’s first appearance on the Le Mans podium since 2005, although the journey there was not easy last weekend, the 24hr race being as usual full of unexpected challenges. Having qualified second on the grid for the race start, the team were unfortunate to crash twice within the first hour. Some quick work saw them back on track and climbing from 52nd position 11th by the 12 hour point. Riders David Checa, Matthieu Lagrive and Kenny Foray kept the pressure on and were able to close in on a hard won podium finish, claiming third at the end of the gruelling 24hr race.

The Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team were not able to claim a second world title that looked a reality at one point during the race. Having qualified strongly, riders Josh Hayes, Broc Parkes and Igor Jerman were a constant presence in the top four and had held second place for several hours. Disaster struck in the 13th hour when a technical problem forced early retirement, leaving the Yamaha France team to place the YZF-R1 on the Le Mans podium.

Christophe Guyot
Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube Team Manager
“Since 2005 we have not stood on the podium at Le Mans. We know this result is the hard work of all the team, the riders and the mechanics. We are happy, very happy!”

Mandy Kainz
Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team
“We have nothing to be sorry for with ourselves, this time we were defeated unfortunately by technology. My boys could have won today; they were on the right path to do this. Unfortunately this is World Endurance.”

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

BMW S 1000 RR: Markus Reiterberger is crowned 2013 IDM champion.

With the Manufacturers’ title already secured, BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport can now also celebrate the Riders’ title in the IDM – Difficult EWC finale for BMW teams at Le Mans – Double victory for the BMW HP4 in Italy.

Hockenheim/Le Mans/Munich, 23rd September 2013. After securing the Manufacturers’ title two weeks ago, BMW had even more reason to celebrate at last weekend’s penultimate round of the 2013 International German Motorcycle Championship (IDM) at Hockenheim (GER), as the fight for the Riders’ title was decided, with one round to spare.

In his first full season in the closely-fought IDM Superbike category, young German Markus Reiterberger was crowned 2013 champion. At Hockenheim, he extended his lead in the Riders’ classification by winning both races on his BMW S 1000 RR and can no longer be overtaken at next month’s season finale at Lausitzring (GER). Reiterberger’s VanZon Remeha BMW Team is one of the partners who count on the direct on-site backing of BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport. With one more round still to go, BMW has already achieved its two main goals for the 2013 IDM season, which were to successfully defend both the Manufacturers’ and the Riders’ titles.

Nineteen-year old Reiterberger headed to the penultimate round with a comfortable lead and took his chance to secure his first IDM title in style. He qualified for pole position with his RR and then won both of Sunday’s races. Thus, he extended his advantage in the Riders’ championship to 82 points, with only 50 more points up for grabs at the final round.

Hockenheim was a successful round – not only for Reiterberger – but with RR riders claiming five of the six available podium positions. Race one saw a pure BMW podium, with Arie Vos (NED / VanZon alpha Technik BMW by Herpigny) and Damian Cudlin (AUS / RAC Racing) finishing second and third respectively. In race two, Cudlin finished second behind winner Reiterberger.

In the Riders’ classification of the IDM Superbike category, Reiterberger now leads with a total of 264 points, while Cudlin is second with 182 points. In the Manufacturers’ rankings, BMW leads with 563 points and an impressive 255 points advantage over its closest rival. In the IDM Superstock category, Bastien Mackels (BEL) of the VanZon alpha Technik BMW by Herpigny Team defended his lead by winning one of the Hockenheim races with his RR. He now leads his class with 304 points and an advantage of six points.

“It was another great weekend in the IDM for us,” said Berthold Hauser, General Manager BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport. “We started the season with two clear goals. With our partners, we wanted to defend the titles in the Manufacturers’ and the Riders’ classification and we are happy and proud that we have achieved both of these targets even before the final round of the season. Two weeks ago at Sachsenring, BMW secured the Manufacturers’ crown and now Markus Reiterberger can celebrate his first Riders’ title in the series. Congratulations to ‘Reiti’ who showed a really strong performance this year and a big ‘Thank you’ to all BMW teams and riders who in cooperation with our specialists made this another great IDM season for BMW. But the season is not over yet. Now we are all looking forward to the final round in three weeks’ time at the Lausitzring where for sure we will see more exciting races.”

The other big event for the partners of BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport was this weekend’s “24 Heures Moto” at Le Mans (FRA). The famous 24-hour race marked the final round of the 2013 FIM Endurance World Championship. At Le Mans, Lady Luck was not on the side of the BMW teams. BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent and riders Sébastien Gimbert, Sylvain Barrier (both FRA), Josh Waters (AUS) and Jake Zemke (USA) aimed for a top result in the Superbike class. In fact, they led the race for nine hours with their #99 BMW S 1000 RR. But after 14 hours of racing they had to retire due to a mechanical problem.

The Franks Autowelt Racing Team, which started as the title defender in the FIM World Endurance Superstock Cup, had to retire after six hours of racing. Having collided with another opponent earlier in the race, it left the team with a technical problem, which could not be repaired. Even with the support of the BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport experts the team could not fix the #13 RR and had to recognize that their race was over. It was the first DNF for the German squad in the EWC since the beginning of 2010. Despite this, in the overall classification, the team around former racer Rico Penzkofer (GER) still finished the season in third.

“24-hour racing has its own rules and this is, unfortunately, what our partners had to experience at Le Mans,” commented Berthold Hauser. “Together with the teams we had worked hard to prepare for this famous 24-hour classic and the efforts initially seemed to pay off. The first part of the race was really exciting and it was great to see the #99 RR in the lead for such a long time. This made it all the more disappointing when the strong performance was not rewarded. It was also a pity for the team. The squad and our specialists tried everything to bring the #13 RR back on track but it was not meant to be.”

In addition to the Endurance World Championship and IDM races, there were also BMW bikes in action at last weekend at Mugello (ITA) for the final round of the 2013 Italian Championship (CIV). There, Team Thevent successfully entered a BMW HP4. The bike was raced by Mika Kallio (FIN) who stood in for the team’s regular CIV rider, Sébastien Gimbert, who was on duty at the French 24-hour race. Kallio turned out to be the man to beat at Mugello, winning both races on the BMW HP4.

More, from a press release issued by Mar-Train Racing:


Stuart Easton’s ‘Double Dutch’ British Supersport victories at Assen on Saturday and Sunday with Mar-Train Racing has stretched his lead at the top of the championship table to 34 points with just four races remaining.

Yesterday’s victory over the longer race distance of 15 laps was as strong a performance as you will see from the Yamaha rider in the ultra-competitive middle class. The Scottish ace led from start to finish to take his ninth top step of the season ahead of Jason O’Halloran and Ben Wilson.

Easton said afterwards: “It was a strong weekend and great to take a double win, but it wasn’t easy by any stretch. For Alastair to be off the podium in both races has helped my championship no doubt. We can take one night off then start getting ready for Silverstone, as we need to be strong there to try and make the last round at Brands a little easier. These GP circuits seem to suit me and the Mar-Train Yamaha and the set-up shouldn’t be a million miles away at Silverstone to what we’ve used here. I just want to focus on that and be strong. There are only four races left, but you never know what can happen in bike racing.”

Team Principal Tim Martin added: “That’s as impressive a weekend as we’ve had at Mar-Train Racing with Stuart Easton and shows the strength of the package. This time last year we were in a different position so it’s certainly nice to come away from Assen with a healthy lead in the championship, but we will be taking nothing for granted. It’s never over until mathematically impossible and we know Seeley will fight all the way to the end.”

British Supersport Championship, Assen, Feature race result:
Stuart Easton (Martrain Yamaha)
Jason O'Halloran (Samsung Honda) +1.146s
Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +1.551s
Alastair Seeley (Gearlink Kawasaki) +1.926s
Richard Cooper (Oxford TAG Triumph) +4.696s

British Supersport Championship standings after Assen:
Stuart Easton (Martrain Yamaha) 376
Alastair Seeley (Gearlink Kawasaki) 342
Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) 279
Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing Triumph) 274
Graeme Gowland (Appleyard Macadam Racing Yamaha) 217

More, from a press release issued by Honda:


Race Report
Weather: Warm, bright.
Temperature: Air 21 degrees C / Track 28 degrees C


Alex Lowes won the opening race of this first Showdown round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Assen in The Netherlands and was first across the line in the second race but hours after the end of that race the Samsung Honda rider was stripped of the Race 2 victory.

Lowes’ team-mate, the former three times British champion Ryuichi Kiyonari, had mixed fortunes also in the races, just scraping into the points in the opening race, running fourteenth, but then next time out finishing fourth on the road, but elevated to third following the exclusion of his team-mate.

Lowes had worked hard across the whole weekend, all but matching the lap record as he claimed pole position and in the opening race underlined his maturing style in an epic struggle for supremacy with the series leading Shane Byrne
(Kawasaki) with the two riders swapping places at least a dozen times. In the end it was the Honda rider who came out on top, taking his seventh victory of the season by a tenth of a second.

Jakub Smrz, riding the Padgetts Honda, enjoyed his best result of the season in sixth while local rider Danny de Boer, making a “wild-card”
appearance on the Bathams Honda was eleventh just ahead of GB Moto Honda’s Peter Hickman. Ryuichi Kiyonari, having another difficult race finished fourteenth, three places up on Doodson Honda rider Robbin Harms.

Next time out Lowes, again starting from pole, was immediately duelling with Byrne, trading places until on the fourth lap, with Byrne leading, Lowes was lining up a move to try to take the lead at the next corner when he touched the back of the Kawasaki of Byrne at around 130mph. Byrne crashed out of contention, fortunately without serious injury.

Lowes dropped back to fourth, but re-grouped and was soon back up to pace and attacking Yamaha’s James Ellison for the race lead, making the decisive move four laps from the end of the race. He was, however, to be denied his third consecutive double victory as race officials announced their decision to exclude him after the race finish having studied video evidence and interviewed both Lowes and Byrne.

Kiyonari, riding with more confidence and pace, showing flashes of the style that in earlier seasons had take him to the crown, ran fourth on the road, but then was credited with third place. Hickman was seventh ahead of de Boer and Linfoot.

Honda rider quotes

Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) Championship position 2ND Race results 1st/DSQ On his first race victory:
“We were not giving up and I managed to pass him on the corner before the last one and was lucky to come out ahead. Races like that are what you live for. I tipped in, got the lead, but then Shakey was back ahead and that was how it went.
I’m going to give it everything – if I don’t win the title it will not be for the lack of trying.”

On the second race incident:
“I thought the move was OK and it was alright but when you touch someone at 130mph they go down. Shane is someone that I respect totally, he is my friend and I am not a dirty rider and I did not mean to do it. I was in a good position, he changed his line at the last minute and I hit him. It looks different, worse, when you watch it on television, but there is not much space out there. The pressure is on all the riders in these three rounds of the Showdown and everyone wants close racing.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) Championship position 5TH Race results 14th/ 3RD “The second race was much better for me and we are making some good progress and maybe next time out we will get a podium and then a win. It has not been all good for me, but we made some changes and we are getting there. I do not know why the first race was not so good. Now in the Showdown it is very important that I get good results in remaining races.”

More, from a press release issued by Smiths Racing Triumph:

Tough Weekend At Assen For Smiths Racing Triumph

The Gloucester-based Smiths Racing Triumph team have vowed to draw a line under their weekend and look toward the rest of the season after a tough visit to Assen as the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship made its annual visit to The Netherlands.

Reigning champion Glen Richards and fellow Australian team-mate Billy McConnell had a difficult weekend as the series returned to the Dutch circuit, a track which didn't bring the team the best of luck in 2012.

Saturday's 12-lap Sprint race had initially looked like it would be a good one for the pair, with Richards qualifying in second place and McConnell lining up seventh. Richards crossed the line in third place at the end of the first lap with his team-mate close behind in fifth. But seconds later Richards crashed out and then McConnell retired at the end of the lap with a problem with a gear selector.

For Sunday's 15-lap Feature race, Richards started from 10th with McConnell behind in 15th, both getting great starts and launching themselves to seventh and eighth spots respectively. Glen soon found himself in a race-long battle where he moved up and down between sixth and third over the course of the 15 laps, the 2012 champion eventually crossing the line sixth. Billy, meanwhile, was involved in a similar battle further back, emerging 11th after several laps embroiled in a five-bike scrap.

Billy McConnell: "All in all it was OK. Qualifying wasn't bad but in yesterday's race we suffered with a technical problem and had to retire. I thought I was going to be starting at the back but it was 15th in the end which wasn't too bad. Today I got a really good start and got straight up to eighth but then I found myself stuck mid pack. There were about five of us battling and we just didn't have the pace to get any further forward. You need to be starting from the front two rows and for us we didn't have that this weekend. It wasn't the best but we're all in one piece and we can just move on now and look to do better at Silverstone."

Glen Richards: "Finishing sixth, especially after yesterday's crash is never good. It just hasn't been a great weekend for me. After yesterday I wanted to make up for it today but it was tough out there. There were a couple of areas on the track where I was struggling a bit and on the whole I feel like I should've gone better. It just hasn't been a great weekend and I'm pleased it's done."

Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: "We were apprehensive about this round after last year but it's a new Triumph Daytona 675R, a new year and we were hoping we could put last year's problems behind us. After being on the pace in FP2, qualifying was good and we felt we were in a good position. In the first race Glen crashed out early and Billy was just very unfortunate with the pin in the gear selector. It's one of those things that can happen at any time, and unluckily it chose that moment. We had high hopes for the second race because we knew we had good pace. Starting 10th and 15th didn't worry us and both Glen and Billy had good races. Glen's lap times were good and Billy worked hard but it just wasn't to be for them. From here we just draw a line under this one and move on to Silverstone where we've already had a lot of track time this year. We just want to move on and try to end the season with two strong rounds."

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Race 1 - 12 laps
1. Stuart Easton (Yamaha)
2. Richard Cooper (Triumph)
3. Jason O'Halloran (Honda)
4. Luke Mossey (Triumph)
5. Alastair Seeley (Kawasaki)
6. Kervin Bos (Honda)
DNF. Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing Triumph)
DNF. Glen Richards (Smiths Racing Triumph)

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Race 2 - 15 laps
1. Stuart Easton (Yamaha)
2. Jason O'Halloran (Honda)
3. Ben Wilson (Kawasaki)
4. Alastair Seeley (Kawasaki)
5. Richard Cooper (Triumph)
6. Glen Richards (Smiths Racing Triumph)
11. Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing Triumph)

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Positions after Assen (Round 10)
1. Stuart Easton 376
2. Alastair Seeley 342
3. Ben Wilson 279
4. Billy McConnell 274
5. Graeme Gowland 217
6. Jason O'Halloran 200
7. Glen Richards 150

For further information please visit or the official championship website

More, from a press release issued by Halsall Racing Team:

Best Result For Halsall Racing Kawasaki's Costello At Assen
The Halsall Racing Kawasaki team leave The Netherlands feeling strong ahead of the remainder of the season after two solid MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship races at Assen.

Rider Lee Costello brought the Bolton-based team's Halsall Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R machine home 15th in today's first race, following it up with a solid 11th in the second.

This weekend marked the first visit for both the team and Costello, which meant the first and second practice sessions were devoted entirely to getting to grips with the track. The Bolton rider qualified 20th ahead of the opening race and got a great start, holding position for a few laps before beginning to move up the order, finally crossing the line 15th and picking up a point.

For race two he again started from 20th, and once again got a good start. As chaos ensued further up ahead with many of the Title Fighters crashing out, Costello kept his head down and was soon making his way through the field. As the tough Dutch track continued to claim more victims ahead, Costello was never in any trouble as he fought on and took 11th to record his best result of the season so far and giving him another five points.

Lee Costello: "I'm pleased with our progress today, it hasn't been an easy weekend but I'm happy to get that 11th and to achieve my best result of the year. Of course a lot of it was down to others crashing but at the end of the day you've got to be in it to win it, and finishing the race is part of that. I was racing in the same group as people like Chris Walker, a rider who has lots of experience here so I'm very happy with that. I feel good and happy with the bike now. I think it should be easier for us to set up now for the next round, it finally feels like we've moved in the right direction. I know it's quite late now, but hopefully we can end the season with some more good results. Considering this is a track I've never seen before, I have to be happy with what we've all achieved here today."

Tony Costello, acting team manager at Assen: "It's been a good weekend, especially when you think that this is a track we've never been to before. We had no idea what to expect when we arrived, but everyone involved with the team has worked really hard and we've pulled in two points finishes. It's been a case of turn up and learn the track, and while it hasn't been an easy weekend, Lee has come away with two good results and we all feel like we've made a big step in the right direction. Lee seems to be a lot happier now and I think it points to a good end of season for all of the team."

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship Race 1 - 18 Laps
1. Alex Lowes (Honda)
2. Shane Byrne (Kawasaki)
3. Tommy Bridewell (Yamaha)
4. Josh Brookes (Suzuki)
5. Noriyuki Haga (Kawasaki)
6. Jakub Smrz (Honda)
15. Lee Costello (Halsall Racing Kawasaki)

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship Race 2 - 18 Laps
1. James Ellison (Yamaha)
2. PJ Jacobsen (Suzuki)
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda)
4. Jon Kirkham (BMW)
5. James Westmoreland (BMW)
6. Chris Walker (Kawasaki)
11. Lee Costello (Halsall Racing Kawasaki)

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship - Championship Positions after Assen (Round 10)
1. Alex Lowes 559
2. Shane Byrne 558
3. James Ellison 538
4. Josh Brookes 535
5. Ryuichi Kiyonari 522
6. James Westmoreland 519
22. Lee Costello 16

More, from a press release issued by Tyco Suzuki:

British Superbike Championship, Assen, The Netherlands

British Superbike rookie PJ Jacobsen enjoyed his first BSB podium in Sunday’s second race at Assen in the Netherlands aboard his Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 - posting a fine second place. In race one the young American took a battling seventh place after having to start from row six in eighteenth position.

Him team-mate Josh Brookes had a mixed day at the Dutch round of the British series, crashing out of third place in race two after finishing fourth in race one. Race two was full of drama with Brookes being joined on the DNF list by Haga, Bridewell and Shane Byrne. Race two winner Alex Lowes was later excluded from the results after an on track incident with Shane Byrne which saw Byrne crash out.

Taylor Mackenzie came back from an early retirement in the opening British Supersport race on Saturday with an impressive display in Sunday’s 15-lap encounter. The young Scottish rider fought through from thirteenth place on the grid to take ninth place with his fastest lap just two-tenths slower than the fastest lap of the race. He had taken fifth place in qualifying but wasn’t able to capitalise as a clutch problem forced the aforementioned retirement from race one.

PJ Jacobsen:
“After a tough start to the weekend it’s great to get my first British Superbike podium with the Tyco Suzuki guys. That’s two years in a row that I’ve been on the podium here at Assen with Tyco Suzuki, so a big thanks to the whole team for the effort, as the weekend was not without its difficulties. We go to Silverstone, next which I also enjoying riding so I’m leaving the Netherlands in a good frame of mind. Thank to all the team for making dreams come true.”

Josh Brookes:
“It certainly wasn’t an ideal weekend for me, but with Alex getting excluded from the race two results we’re still in the championship hunt. The crash in race two was just down to me trying as hard as I could to gain maximum points and I just over-rode slightly. That’s the nature of the Showdown, we all want to win and I’m sure it was great viewing for the fans but the focus is now on Silverstone where we need to be winning races if we’re to go to Brands with a chance of winning this championship.”

Taylor Mackenzie:
“Yeah I put the disappointment of Saturday behind me and enjoyed fighting through the pack in Sunday’s race. I was pleased to be able to get past some more experienced riders and gap them fairly comfortably and my lap times were pretty consistent. We just need to be getting away that little bit better, but Saturday’s race didn’t help as starting from thirteenth on the grid is never easy. I’ll be looking to qualifying in that top six again at Silverstone, which will hopefully give me an opportunity to race with the front guys at the final four races this season.”

Philip Neill – Team Manager:
“I have to congratulate PJ on his superb podium finish. He has worked hard all year to get comfortable on the Superbike having switched classes and there has been a lot to take in. He was impressive all weekend at Assen and showed great strength of character to overcome the disappointment he suffered in qualifying to take his first ever BSB podium. It also shows the strength of the GSX-R1000 package at a GP circuit like Assen.

“At just 20 years of age I’m sure he must be one of the youngest ever to stand on a BSB race podium – maybe the youngest. The second race was full of drama and Josh had a great chance to close the gap down at the top of the table, but what ensued with the exclusion of Alex Lowes has thrown us a lifeline and Josh is still in with a fighting chance. For whatever reason Josh seems to have lost a little bit of momentum in the last couple of rounds, so that’s something we need to address before Silverstone.”

British Superbike Championship, Assen, race two result:
James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +1.542s
PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +10.825s
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +14.231s
Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +15.613s
James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +20.707s
Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) +25.898s
Peter Hickman (Lloyds British GBmoto Honda) +25.985s
Danny de Boer (Bathams Honda) +27.544s
Dan Linfoot (Lloyds British GBmoto Honda) +27.565s
Barry Burrell (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +27.565s

British Superbike Championship standings after Assen:
Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 559
Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 558
James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 538
Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 535
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 522
James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) 519

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More, from a press release issued by Paul Bird Motorsport:

Podium And Pain At Assen For Byrne As Haga Impresses

Reigning MCE Insurance British Superbike Champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne got his campaign off to a great start in the Showdown phase of the 2013 season with a superb second place in race one at Assen only to suffer a high speed crash in the second of the races at the legendary Dutch track.

Aboard the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ZX-10R, the triple British champion held a narrow six point lead over rival Alex Lowes going into the first of the seven races which will decide the British Championship and slotted in behind Lowes on the grid for race one.

From there, a classic battle ensued between the major Showdown contenders and in a frantic last lap with multiple lead changes, Byrne had to settle for second place just behind Lowes meaning his lead was reduced to a single point.

Race two looked like shaping up into another classic with Shakey, from Sittingbourne, again dicing for the lead. However, on lap four, a misjudged manoeuvre from Lowes saw Byrne crash out at over 130mph, luckily without serious injury.

Lowes went on to win the race but race officials investigated the incident afterwards and subsequently excluded Alex for his part meaning the one point gap between Shakey and him remains going into Silverstone in two weeks time.

Meanwhile, Japanese ace Noriyuki Haga was making his debut for the for the Penrith-based PBM team at a track he has had much success at. Following a positive test at Snetterton last week, 'Nitro Nori' continued to work with his team on the Minxflix supported Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki ZX-10R and qualified in 13th place on the grid.

Race one soon saw him battling with the leaders and ended up in a creditable fifth place but like his team-mate, was the victim of an unwitting crash in race two when Tommy Bridewell lost the front end and took Nori down with him on lap four also.

Shane Byrne: "I'm OK, or OK as you can expect to be after crashing at 270kmh. Alex made a mistake but it's all cool, we let the officials decide what the outcome was as that's their job and we and our teams both respect that. It happened, the outcome is sorted and I'm just concentrating on getting myself fixed up in time for Silverstone."

Noriyuki Haga: "It was good to be back racing again and thanks to the PBM team for the opportunity. We are still working with the bike and we made some good progress in race one. In race two, I was feeling strong and then Bridewell crashed and took me out. This is racing and I'm looking forward to the next meeting now."

Paul Bird: "Everyone makes mistakes in racing and we accept that, just right now it's hard to take that my team is left with two crashed motorbikes to repair through the fault of others. The good part is Shakey and Nori are OK and we just left it to the officials to sort out as that is their job and we are satisfied with the outcome. We now look to the last two rounds and hope we have some better luck."

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship Race 1 - 18 Laps
1. Alex Lowes (Honda)
2. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
3. Tommy Bridewell (Yamaha)
4. Josh Brookes (Suzuki)
5. Noriyuki Haga (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
6. Jakub Smrz (Honda)

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship Race 2 - 18 Laps
1. James Ellison (Yamaha)
2. PJ Jacobsen (Suzuki)
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda)
4. Jon Kirkham (BMW)
5. James Westmoreland (BMW)
6. Chris Walker (Kawasaki)
DNF. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
DNF. Noriyuki Haga (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship - Championship Positions after Assen (Round 10)
1. Shane Byrne 559
2. Alex Lowes 558
3. James Ellison 538
4. Josh Brookes 535
5. Ryuichi Kiyonari 522
6. James Westmoreland 519