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Oct 4, 2010

Updated: British Superbike Championship Concludes This Coming Weekend At Oulton Park

MCE INSURANCE BRITISH SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP Final round Oulton Park 8/9/10 October


KIYONARI AND BROOKES ALL SET FOR TRIPLE RACE CROWN DECIDER

Josh Brookes and his HM Plant Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari are ready for what promises to be a fierce shoot-out for the MCE Insurance British Superbike crown to be decided over the picturesque Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire.

They are currently placed second and third in the standings, but only a handful of points down on series leader Tommy Hill who lost ground to them last time out at rain-lashed Silverstone when he could only finish eighth and fifth while Brookes took a second and a third as Kiyonari finished fifth and second.

Those performances cut Hill's advantage over Brookes to just eleven points, and with 75 points at stake in this triple race "Showdown" for the title, Brookes is confident that he can move ahead of his Suzuki riding rival. Kiyonari in turn is determined to make up the four points by which he trails Brookes and then get-ahead of Hill. There is all to play for.

Kiyonari has a strong pedigree at the circuit, holding the lap record, winning there as he retained his British crown in 2007, having also taken a winning double there two years earlier, and with that in mind, he is feeling confident that he can rack up those all important points at this final hurdle.

The points scoring system introduced for this year's championship was geared to ensure that the title deciding action went down to the last race, with a concentration of the rider's scores, also taking account of top three finishes, made after the ninth round at Cadwell Park, with the leading six riders after that event given title fighter status.

Four of those six are locked in close contention, with Suzuki's Michael Laverty only four points down on Kiyonari while of the other two, Michael Rutter, riding Ducati, after tumbles in each of the previous rounds, faces an uphill struggle, while Alastair Seeley is very much the outsider, starting the races 60 points down on Hill.

The essential tactics for them all as they go into the races, the first of which is on Saturday afternoon, the other two on Sunday afternoon, is to battle for victories, maintaining high levels of concentration as any error could prove very costly in the final analysis, especially given the one-bike rule in the championship should they suffer any accident damage.

The three races, each over 16 laps, however, are about more than the elite six title fighters. The busy starting grid includes a number of riders with points to prove, none more so than the Swan Honda duo of James Ellison and Stuart Easton who were both among the pre-season favourites for the crown.

Ellison, the runner-up in the title stakes last year, took a brilliant victory in the second race at Silverstone despite the difficult conditions and the Cumbrian rider is looking for a winning finale to a campaign that was wrecked by the broken leg he sustained in free practice for the second round at Thruxton, to show what might have been.

Easton too has had a difficult season, one that began with a serious knee injury sustained in testing and which has also been punctuated by tumbles and problems - one of the highspots for the Flying Scot being the victory in the early season visit to Oulton Park. Easton would delight in an action replay of that.

Honda BSB rider quotes ahead of the Oulton Park final round:

Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda): "We are in a stronger position going into the final round than we were going into Silverstone so we are feeling confident. The pressure is on everyone, but I have been in a similar position before so for me I will just do what I have done at every other round; turn up with the intention of winning. All of us will be riding at the top of our game, but simply in my own mind I have to win; it just has to happen."

Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda): "I like Oulton Park but I know there will be three tough races as we all want to win. The championship is really close and we are all going to be fighting hard as nobody wants to lose the title. I know that we can win, but it is going to take more concentration than before and I will be pushing as hard as I can. I want to be champion again and the team have worked hard so I don't want to disappoint them."

James Ellison (Swan Honda): "It has been a rollercoaster year for me and I want to end the season on a high, especially after the win at Silverstone. There is no benefit for me to ride defensively as I have no title to lose, but at the same time I will be trying my hardest as always and trying to get the best result I can. I obviously didn't ride at Oulton Park earlier in the season, but that shouldn't be an issue for me, I know we have a strong setting from Silverstone and we will be pushing hard from free practice to be up there fighting at the front. We have three chances this weekend and I don't intend on wasting them."

Stuart Easton (Swan Honda): "This has always been one of my favourite tracks. The last two rounds there I have won a race so the aim is to obviously do that again and end the season on a high for the team. We have three races which is three chances of getting back on that top step of the podium and there is less pressure on me than the six Title Fighters so that could work in my favour, but we won't know until the weekend. It hard to know what will happen at Oulton Park as everyone is so close, but I hope we can be spraying the champagne again."




More, from a press release issued by Swan Honda:

SWAN HONDA SET SIGHTS ON VICTORY AT BSB SEASON FINALE

The Swan Honda team are aiming to carry their winning momentum into the triple-header season finale at OultonPark this weekend as James Ellison and Stuart Easton set their sights on a hat trick of victories to end the season on a high.

Ellison returned to the top step of the podium at the penultimate round at Silverstone and is determined for a repeat performance, whilst Easton is looking to make amends for a double non-point score last time out and a repeat of his win at the Cheshire circuit earlier in the season.

Ellison said: "It has been a rollercoaster year for me and I want to end the season on a high, especially after the win at Silverstone. There is no benefit for me to ride defensively as I have no title to lose, but at the same time I will be trying my hardest as always and trying to get the best result I can for the Swan Honda team. I obviously didn't ride at OultonPark earlier in the season, but that shouldn't be an issue for me, I know we have a strong setting from Silverstone and we will be pushing hard from free practice to be up there fighting at the front. We have three chances this weekend and I don't intend on wasting them."

Easton said: "I can't believe it is the final round of the season already and I am really looking forward to OultonPark. It has always been one of my favourite tracks; there and Croft are where I have won most of my races. The last two rounds there I have won a race so the aim is to obviously do that again and end the season with a win for the Swan Honda team. We have three races, which is three opportunities of getting back on that top step of the podium and there is less pressure on me than the six Title Fighters so that could work in my favour, but we won't know until the weekend. It hard to know what will happen at Oulton Park as everyone is so close, but I hope we can be spraying the champagne again for Swan Honda."




More, from a press release issued by British Superbike Championship organizers:

MCE INSURANCE BRITISH SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP
Final round Oulton Park 8/9/10 October

HILL HEADS TITLE FIGHTERS INTO TRIPLE RACE SHOWDOWN FOR THE CROWN

Championship standings going into this round:

1.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 589
2.Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) 578
3.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 574
4.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 570
5.Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) 546
6.Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 529

Preview

Tommy Hill has a slender advantage over his five Title Fighter rivals going into the triple race final round Showdown for the MCE Insurance British Superbike crown but, facing what is effectively a winner takes all scenario, the Worx Crescent Suzuki rider, has been working hard to ensure that he is fully prepared for challenges to his supremacy.

Going into the action at the Cheshire circuit, Hill has an eleven points advantage over Josh Brookes who powered back into real contention to take the title for the first time with determined riding aboard his HM Plant Honda despite the difficult weather conditions at Silverstone where he took second and third placings.

Brookes however also faces an in-team threat to his hopes in the shape of the former two times British title winner Ryuichi Kiyonari, who with a second place last time out, moved within four points of the Australian. The Japanese rider is four points clear of Michael Laverty riding Relentless Suzuki whose team-mate Alastair Seeley starts sixth in the rankings, with an uphill struggle if he is to take the silverware.

Michael Rutter, aboard the RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati, is sandwiched between the two Relentless riders in the standings and is convinced he can make the ground lost by tumbles when well placed in each of the Croft and Silverstone rounds.

There are 75 points at stake in these races, and that should ensure that the title fight goes all of the way to the last race of a hectic campaign, and Hill, who took no chances in the damp of the previous round at Silverstone, finishing eighth and fifth, believes now that attack is the best policy. "I am going out there to win all three races and get the job done," he explained. "I am not going into these races to defend."

They are bold tactics but Hill is not one to concern himself with mind games. "People tell me it is my title to lose, the other Title Fighters will say that it has become a mental game. I have been training harder than ever since Silverstone and I am determined to leave Oulton Park as the champion."

Brookes is approaching the races in the same way as Hill. "I will just do what I have done at every round, turn up with the intention of winning all of us will be riding at the top of our game but simply in my own my mind I have to win."

The leading duo in the title stakes are set for a terrific duel for supremacy, but Kiyonari, who has a good record at the circuit is keen to re-inforce his bid for the title. "They will be tough races, we all want to win and I will be pushing as hard as I can."

Then there is Laverty, returning to the scene of his maiden BSB race victory scored in the third round back in May, but who is on the back-foot after a tumble last time out. "I'm still angry about that mistake because but for that I could have been leading the championship.

"I am the underdog and I am gunning for victories," Laverty warned his rivals, and those sentiments are echoed by Rutter. "My crash at Silverstone was annoying, but now I am focussing on trying to win and score are many points as possible with three races it is going to be a bit of a lottery." Seeley is the outsider in the title stakes but he is full of fight: "It's going to be hectic with pushing and shoving but we should be up there at the sharp end and you never know what might happen."

There is more to these races than the focus on the six title fighters, with other riders keen to prove a point or two, among them James Ellison whose season was wrecked by injury but who bounced back to score a brilliant victory in the Silverstone round while his Swan Honda team-mate Stuart Easton is keen to repeat his winning ride of the earlier visit to Oulton Park. Add in the exciting style of teenage French rider Loris Baz together with that of Simon Andrews aboard the MSS Colchester Kawasaki and frantic action is assured.

That is also the case in the chase for the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO title in which Steve Brogan needs a return to winning ways aboard the Jentin BMW to stay ahead of his Splitlath Aprilia rival Hudson Kennaugh who starts the final round only eight points down.




More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki New Service:

Tommy Hill heads to Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire this weekend for the most important races of his career. With an 11 point advantage in the 2010 British Superbikes Championship, the final three races over the two days will determine whether the Worx Crescent Suzuki star will be crowned champion.

The event programme is slightly altered this weekend to accommodate the triple-header BSB races, with free practice on Friday then qualifying on Saturday, mid-day with the first race at 4.30pm. The last two races are in the Sunday programme which gets underway at midday.

Tommy Hill:

"I am not going into these races looking to defend my position. I've got an 11-point advantage - and I bet the other riders wish they had that - but I've seen it in Championships before: Attack really is the best form of defence, so I am going out there to win all three races and get the job done.

"I've said it already, I really like Oulton Park and I'm delighted this is the stage for the final Showdown. And I'm not just saying that, I've proven it with my two podiums here earlier this year - and back in 2009 I came away from this same meeting with a second, third and fourth. This is my playground.

"I've every confidence in the bike, in the team and my own capabilities. I've been training hard and I'll be racing hard. I can really only have the one objective: to be the 2010 British Superbike champion."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

"We're really looking forward to this weekend. Since Silverstone we've been going through the bikes, double and triple-checking everything. There's nothing to be done to Tommy's bike now in terms of set-up - it's ready, we've got good dry settings, we've got good wet settings. The bike is prepared for battle; it's now for Tommy to win the war.

"There's no question that there's pressure of course as this is the big one. But we will stay calm and stay focused and be assured we're hungry for this championship - Tommy's hungry for it for himself, we're hungry for it as a team and Suzuki is hungry for it in this, the GSX-R's 25th anniversary year.

"Tommy doesn't have to feel pressured though, he is the man for the job, he's shown us weekend after weekend throughout this Championship that he can take it and he can dish it out and I'm so glad he's the rider we're supporting this weekend."


MCE Insurance 2010 British Superbike Championship
Title Fighter points standings with three races to run:

1. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 589
2. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) 578
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 574
4. Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 570
5. Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) 546
6. Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 529




More, from a press release issued by MIST Suzuki:

Australian Chris Seaton to ride at Oulton Park for MIST Suzuki Racing

With early season championship leader Dave Anthony having other commitments for the final British SuperBike round MIST Suzuki have agreed a deal for Australian Chris Seaton to ride at Oulton Park.

The team got to know Chris when he competed in the FIM SuperStock Cup class back in 2008 alongside Matt Bond and Gareth Jones who both rode for the team.

Team Manager Mike Edwards said "We are really looking forward to working with Chris as we were impressed by both his speed and his attitude when we got to know him in the World SuperBike paddock. We've been trying to find a way to work with Chris over the past couple of seasons as we think he has great potential and are confident he can do the business for us at Oulton Park.".

He added "With no budget for testing and never having seen the circuit it will be a steep learning curve for him at Oulton Park and we looking forward to helping showcase another talented rider in the BSB paddock".

MIST Suzuki would welcome the opportunity to speak to any prospective sponsors about support for this final round with a few to working together for the 2011 season and beyond.

# Attached photos show Chris (no. 23) on track with MIST Suzuki's Gareth Jones (no. 87) in 2008 FIM SuperStock Cup.