Sep 20, 2010
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Swan Honda's James Ellison (2) and Stuart Easton (3).
ADVANTAGE HILL BUT LAVERTY READY FOR TITLE FIGHTER SHOWDOWN
Penultimate round Silverstone 24/25/26 September"
MCE INSURANCE BRITISH SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP
Tommy Hill has the lead in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship title stakes going into the penultimate round at Silverstone but the Worx Crescent Suzuki has no time for complacency as Michael Laverty is proving to be a real "title-fighter" as the action continues in the "Showdown" phase of the series.
Laverty, riding Relentless Suzuki by TAS, underlined his credentials for the country's premier crown last time out at Croft when he took his second victory of the campaign, overhauling Hill, the winner of the first race at the North Yorkshire circuit, in the final stages to close within 16 points of him.
"It's very close but it is nice to have a bit of a lead. Obviously thoughts of the title are always there, and we want to be holding the trophy up at the end of the season, but, you can't think too much about that, rather you have to get out there and get on with the racing," explained Hill as he prepared for two races on the new Grand Prix circuit that could be crucial to the outcome of the title.
"It is a new circuit for most of us, so I have to learn it fast, but it is good, big, with lots more track to use. Josh Brookes has won there in Superstock and he and Ryuichi Kiyonari have raced in the World Superbike there, so they should have that more set-up than us. I've just got to get up to speed and enjoy it.
"I keep telling myself that we've won races and the last few have been good so now it is a push for more podiums. We nearly had the double at Croft and if all is going good at Silverstone we will be pushing for the race wins - we have to keep doing what we've done, and this is being consistent, though now we do need podium finishes," added Hill.
He knows that has a fight on his hands with the determined Laverty hitting a rich vein of form just at the right time. "That victory at Croft gave me a great start to the Showdown I knew that I had to up my game after Cadwell Park and came out with all guns blazing," reflected Laverty. He is good and ready now for the challenges of the new Grand Prix circuit, and has some experience of it having ridden a road bike there in a track day recently.
The two Suzuki riders have piled the pressure onto the HM Plant Honda duo of Brookes and former two times British title winner Kiyonari. They had a tough time in the previous round, but with 125 points still to play for, both have realistic chances of taking the crown, but, they have to finish ahead of Hill and Laverty.
"I feel there is less pressure on me now compared to before Croft as we have nothing to lose but I want to win these races," said Kiyonari. "We raced the new track at the World Superbikes and I know the circuit and we have made some big improvements with the bike since then, so we should be fast."
Brookes is eager to put Croft to the back of his mind and concentrate on the challenges that lie ahead: "That has gone but if you look back at Brands Hatch we had a bad weekend and then bounced back with a win and second place at Cadwell Park so Silverstone will be the round to recover what we lost in the last one."
The Honda riders mean business, and they need to be at their best to deal with the considerable threat posed by RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati rider Michael Rutter who is keen to make amends for his tumble in the first race at Croft, while the sixth of the title-fighters Alastair Seeley, riding Relentless Suzuki needs a big points haul to stay in contention.
Keen to put one over the elite six will be the Swan Honda duo of Stuart Easton and James Ellison, while Loris Baz, the young French rider who made a big impression on his debut with the Motorpoint Yamaha team at Croft, continues as team-mate to Dan Linfoot. Stuart Andrews is riding strongly on the MSS Colchester Kawasaki, with John Laverty on the Buildbase Kawasaki always competitive.
Steve Brogan will be aiming for a return to winning ways aboard the Jentin BMW to tighten his grip on the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO title ahead of Splitlath Aprilia rider Hudson Kennaugh.
More, from a press release issued by Swan Honda:
SWAN HONDA AIMING FOR ARENA GLORY AT SILVERSTONE
The Swan Honda team are determined to build on their podium finishes from the previous round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship as Stuart Easton and James Ellison return this weekend for the penultimate round of the series at Silverstone on the Arena GP circuit.
Easton currently leads the MCE Insurance BSB Riders Cup following his strong performances last time out, but team-mate James Ellison is keen to make amends after a puncture forced him out of podium contention at Croft. This weekend will be the first time BSB has raced on the new layout and both riders are keen to take the fight for victory to the six Title Fighters.
Easton said: "Silverstone is going to be exciting for everyone as it is a new circuit for most of us. I know Josh Brookes, Simon Andrews and Michael Rutter did the Superstock races and HM Plant Honda did the World Superbike round but I think come Sunday we will all be pretty equal. I just can't wait to ride the new track and really give the Swan Honda a good run; after Croft and the double podium I am buzzing again and I want to stay that way. I went from having a tough few rounds to really being up there and fighting for the podiums and that's how it should be this weekend. It is game on this weekend and I am just going to crack on and try my best to win for the Swan Honda team."
Ellison said: "I am really looking forward to Silverstone. It's one of those circuits that should really suit my style as it is fast and flowing and although it is not the same layout, I won and took a second place there last year so I am looking for a repeat performance. This weekend I want to be fast from practice, as sometimes I don't take chances to pass in practice as I would in a race, but if I can really push the Swan Honda it would give me a good feel for the race. We want to start the weekend as we mean to go on and as always I will be giving it everything. I was disappointed not to have finished on the podium at the last round, but I intend to try and put that right this weekend."
More, from a press release issued by Honda:
KIYONARI AND BROOKES NEED WINNING RIDES AT SILVERSTONE
Ryuichi Kiyonari and Josh Brookes power into the penultimate round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit knowing that victories, or as a minimum, podium finishes, are essential if they are to get ahead of the leader in the title stakes Tommy Hill, Suzuki.
The HM Plant Honda duo are on the back-foot after a tough time in the previous round at Croft when hard as they rode, they were unable to secure a podium finish between them, Brookes struggling to dial his bike into the demands of the North Yorkshire circuit, while Kiyonari, having tumbled in the final element of qualifying had to work through the pack from a lowly grid slot, but he showed his spirit and determination with a fourth place in the second race.
In contrast, Hill, and his immediate rival in the title stakes Michael Laverty, also riding Suzuki, took a victory and a second place each to move clear of their Honda rivals Kiyonari starts these races at Silverstone 27 points down on Hill, with Brookes a further point adrift. However, including these two races, there are five remaining, with 125 points to be won.
Kiyonari, bidding to take the British title for a third time, and Brookes know with so many points to be scored they can both charge back into contention, starting at the Northamptonshire circuit where they should have an advantage over the rest, having both gained valuable track time and data by riding as "one-off" entries into the British round of the World Superbike Championship.
Also, Brookes already has a winning pedigree at the circuit, riding the HM Plant team's Superstock Fireblade to a winning double in the National Championship races that supported the British round of MotoGP.
The experiences gained from these events give the team confidence and optimism that they can be running at the front of the pack, and taking on the leading pair among the six "title-fighters" in this crucial "Showdown" phase of the series, particularly as neither of them has tested at the circuit, while of the other two in contention, Michael Rutter (Ducati) ran in the Superstock races but Alastair Seeley, Suzuki, already moving out of the chase, some 64 points down on Hill, did not.
The title chase under the championship regulations introduced this season, to prevent replays of the runaway successes of the champions of the previous two years, Shane Byrne and Leon Camier, is now the province only of those six "title fighters" leaving the rest to compete for the Riders Cup which goes to the seventh place in the points standings after the final round next month at Oulton Park.
The two Swan Honda riders, Stuart Easton and James Ellison, are fighting for that trophy, and also pride and points amid what has been a problematic season for them both. Easton suffered knee injuries just before the start of the season and has subsequently had ill-fortune with tumbles and machine concerns while Ellison has fought back to fitness after breaking his right femur in a horror crash during free practice for the second round at Thruxton.
Both however showed their real potential last time out at Croft, with Easton enjoying his best overall day at the races of the season with a pair of third place finishes. Ellison who had been running third in the opening race at the North Yorkshire circuit until the final quarter was sidelined by a front tyre puncture but he came back strongly next time out to finish in sixth place.
Others to watch include Simon Andrews and John Laverty (the older brother of Michael) riding Kawasaki; Yukio Kagayama aboard a Suzuki and Yamaha's Dan Linfoot.
Honda BSB riders quotes:
Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda): "I feel that there is less pressure on me now compared to before Croft as we have nothing to lose, but I want to win the races at Silverstone. We raced the new track at the World Superbike Championship round and now I know the circuit and we have made some big improvements with the bike since then, so we should be fast. I am just going to try my hardest and push as hard as I can to win. I am not happy unless I am first and after Croft we need to fight for victories as I want to win the championship."
Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda): "I have put the Croft weekend behind me now and all I am thinking about is Silverstone. If you look back to Brands Hatch we had a bad weekend there and then we bounced back with a good weekend at Cadwell Park with a win and a second place so Silverstone will be the round to recover what we lost at the last one. We have the information and the knowledge from when we raced at the World Superbike Championship round there so we will have to wait and see how we can use that to our advantage. I know in my mind that I want to win and put the team back at the front."
Stuart Easton (Swan Honda): "Silverstone is going to be exciting for everyone as it is a new circuit for most of us. I know Josh Brookes, Simon Andrews and Michael Rutter did the Superstock races and HM Plant Honda did the World Superbike round but I think come Sunday we will all be pretty equal. I just can't wait to ride the new track and really give the Swan Honda a good run; after Croft and the double podium I am buzzing again and I want to stay that way. I went from having a tough few rounds to really being up there and fighting for the podiums and that's how it should be this weekend. It is game on this weekend and I am just going to crack on and try my best to win."
James Ellison (Swan Honda): "I am really looking forward to Silverstone. It's one of those circuits that should really suit my style as it is fast and flowing and although it is not the same layout, I won and took a second place there last year so I am looking for a repeat performance. This weekend I want to be fast from practice, as sometimes I don't take chances to pass in practice as I would in a race, but if I can really push the bike on it would give me a good feel for the race. We want to start the weekend as we mean to go on and as always I will be giving it everything. I was disappointed not to have finished on the podium at the last round, but I intend to try and put that right this weekend."
More, from a press release issued by Steve Plater's publicist:
HM Plant Honda ace Steve Plater heads to Silverstone for the penultimate round of the National Superstock 1000 and with his fitness improving with each outing the Woodhall Spa rider is aiming his sights on a strong result.
Plater was seventh at Croft last time out and will be looking to improve further at Silverstone.
But he will have an uphill battle on his hands as the circuit has been revamped this year and he has not ridden on the new track layout. The Superstock riders have the advantage of a previous visit as they contested two races as a support to the MotoGP earlier in the year.
"I realise the other riders have a slight advantage as they have had track time here but I am sure it won't take me long to see where the track goes and I will soon be on the pace. The HM Plant Honda team was racing here in the World Superbike championship and prior to that Josh Brookes won the two Superstock races on my bike at the MotoGP round so we have a good set up and know the bike is competitive.
"I am feeling better each day and my fitness is coming on fine. I was a bit tired towards the end of the Croft race but I still managed to post some fast lap times and was within a second of the lap record so I was pleased with that.
"I will be looking for further improvement at Silverstone and to take a step nearer to the podium."
Free practice and qualifying take place on Friday and Saturday ahead of the 12 lap Superstock race which is scheduled to be on circuit at 5.25pm on Sunday.