Fastest ever Bennetts BSB lap of Silverstone puts Glenn Irwin on top at opening test
Glenn Irwin and Honda Racing kicked off their 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship campaign in style by smashing the lap record on the final day of the opening official test at Silverstone, setting the fastest ever Bennetts BSB lap of the National circuit by 0.090s.
The top 17 riders were covered by just 0.988s on combined times after the two days on circuit, with four different manufacturers represented in the top four positions ahead of next week’s second test at Snetterton.
Glenn Irwin’s lap record-breaking time came in the penultimate session of the test, with the Honda Racing rider putting himself firmly at the head of the times, although McAMS Yamaha rider Tarran Mackenzie was also under the existing record and just 0.016s adrift of his rival.
Silverstone again proved to be a strong circuit for the Buildbase Suzuki team and after setting the pace at lunchtime, Danny Kent’s time in that session put him third overall on the combined times as he proved to put his track knowledge to use as he prepares for his new campaign.
Kyle Ryde showed impressive pace with the new BMW M 1000 RR to post the fourth fastest time for the Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW team, he had topped the timesheets in the final session of the test, despite conditions meaning the pace couldn’t match what was set earlier in the day.
Jason O’Halloran had set the pace on the opening day of testing action and the McAMS Yamaha rider ended the test fifth fastest overall, holding off the second Buildbase Suzuki of Gino Rea and the SYNETIQ BMW pairing of Danny Buchan and Andrew Irwin.
Christian Iddon held ninth place on combined times for VisionTrack Ducati, his teammate and reigning champion Josh Brookes suffered a high-speed crash in the final session, which ended his day prematurely. The Australian was able to walk away from the crash but sustained a finger injury.
Ryan Vickers completed the top ten for the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team, edging out FHO Racing BMW’s Xavi Forés by just 0.038s.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship Official Test, Silverstone combined times:
- Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) 53.139 seconds
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +0.061s
- Danny Kent (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.174s
- Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +0.184s
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +0.211s
- Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) +0.296s
- Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW) +0.339s
- Andrew Irwin (SYNETIQ BMW) +0.343s
- Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +0.346s
- Ryan Vickers (RAF Regular and Reserve Kawasaki) +0.414s
For more information on the Bennetts British Superbike Championship visit www.britishsuperbike.com
Glenn Irwin, Honda Racing
“It has been a really productive test and one of two halves; yesterday the pace was slower than last year and you put it down to conditions, but it was also similar conditions today. I think we all know how to ride, but I think you forget all the niche things that make you compete at this level and I feel we did that better today.
“I improved today and we had a lot that we needed to get through here. We tried some new things that we thought might not even work, but the lap time in the third session was really good and I was happy.
“In the final session I was on another faster lap so I was buzzing, but I came across another rider in the last sector so didn’t get to complete it, but it has been a good day and the team have worked amazing. We can’t be complacent as we don’t know what everyone else is working on, but I feel strong and we can now look forward to the next test at Snetterton.”
More, from a press release issued by VisionTrack Ducati:
Brookes And Iddon On The Pace At Silverstone Test
The VisionTrack Ducati pairing of Josh Brookes and Christian Iddon got their 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship up and running in style when the first official test of the season took place at the Silverstone National circuit over these past two days.
Defending champion Brookes and third-placed championship contender from 2020 Iddon have remained with Paul Bird’s Lake District-based squad for a second successive season aboard the factory-supported VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4Rs and after a private test at Knockhill last week, the pair were in action against the full field of competitors who will contest this year’s 11-round series.
Cool and occasionally damp conditions were the order of the day for Wednesday’s four sessions whereby 37-year-old Bedfordshire-based Australian Brookes ended up second fastest behind his compatriot Jason O’Halloran whilst 36-year-old Mancunian Iddon, now based on Tyneside, finished third fastest, less than a tenth of a second behind his teammate.
Today (Thursday) was once again very cold although the rain held off as the times from the opening day plummeted. Iddon consistently lowered his times in the opening three sessions whilst Brookes improved in the day’s second session to record his fastest lap of the test.
Brookes, running the number one plate in Bennetts BSB for the first time since Tommy Hill tried to defend his crown in 2012, unfortunately crashed out of the final session and sustained a finger injury which meant a trip to hospital for further investigation.
Josh Brookes: “I’ve taken a lot of skin off the little finger and there is a risk of infection as it’s down to the bone but apart from that I’m OK and my finger is fine. There are no other injuries so it’s just a case of getting it cleaned up. I’m still working out what happened in the crash, but the track was cooling down and I perhaps carried a bit too much brake so maybe that’s what happened. The test was good to a point, but we did a lot of experimenting and didn’t really find a lot that improved our existing package. It’s now a case of working on what we know best and finding the consistency we need.”
Christian Iddon: “I’m really happy with the way the test has gone, everything is good. Silverstone is unique as everyone ends up with very similar lap times, it’s just one of those tracks. My aim over the two days was to experiment with a few ideas and to try some stuff we didn’t get round to trying last year, mainly to do with tyre life and some other settings. We achieved what we needed and in the last session, I just did a race run rather than chasing a lap time. It was unfortunate for Josh to crash and hope his finger injury is not too serious.”
John Mowatt, Team Co-Ordinator: “We were happy enough with our progress yesterday and after a good start, today didn’t go so well. It meant that Josh ended the combined times in 12th place with Christian in ninth but despite the track not suiting our bike, valuable data was gained for when the series visits later in the year. Christian made good progress throughout the test but sadly Josh crashed and sustained an injury to his little finger in the final session which necessitated a trip to the hospital to get it checked out but hopefully it’s nothing too serious.”
The opening round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place over the weekend of 25/27 June at Oulton Park.
More, from a press release issued by Buildbase Suzuki:
Kent and Rea inside top six as Neave tops superstock times at first preseason test
Kent finishes debut test P3 with focus on getting comfortable aboard his new machine.
Rea focusses on development with new engine spec and throttle maps from Suzuki Motor Corporation.
Neave tops times for perfect start to 2021 season.
Buildbase Suzuki’s Danny Kent and Gino Rea both finished the first preseason test for the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship inside the top six – with Kent an impressive P3 – while their teammate in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, Tim Neave, topped the time sheets aboard his GSX-R1000R.
For former Moto3 world champion Kent the two-day test was about getting comfortable with his new GSX-R1000R superbike, as he makes the switch from superstock machinery. Despite ad hoc appearances on a superbike in recent years, 2021 marks the start of a full-time campaign, and while there is still learning to be done, by his own admission, ending the test P3 on the time sheets has served as a welcome confidence boost.
As the comparable superbike veteran, Rea had a dedicated testing schedule to follow over the course of the two days, evaluating a new engine spec from Suzuki Motor Corporation in Japan as well as electronics settings, with a focus on power delivery and engine braking. Despite a clear focus on development, he still set the sixth fastest time of the two days.
Danny Kent, “I’ve got to be happy with that at the end of the day. This, really, was my first proper go on a superbike with a good team around me that know the bike and have the experience, so to come away in the top three; it feels good. I was a bit worried, you have thoughts about if you’ll be fast enough when it comes to it and people have asked that question of me, and understandably maybe, but I think today’s answered those questions, and confidence is pretty high at the moment.
“The objective at this test was to just get comfortable, and I wanted to come away feeling like the bike was mine, and we definitely achieved that. The bike felt great and the team have done a really good job. They’ve got so much experience at this level I just rode the bike, and let them make any changes they wanted to make. The result was it made doing the lap times so easy and I think with a more experienced rider than me onboard it could easily have topped the times. I just kept making the odd mistake when pushing hard and I’d over ride and do the wrong things to go fast on a superbike. So I’ve got a bit of learning to do still but I think I could have gone faster. Plus we lost nearly two sessions with a crash on Wednesday morning.
“Being at Silverstone made it easier as I know that track, and I know it’ll be harder at Snetterton. But I also know the bike can go fast there. It’s just going to be a case of putting the laps in, learning the circuit, the bike, and keep building that connection. For the first day back it feels pretty good.”
Gino Rea, “This test has been really good, and it was just nice to be back with the team and back on the superbike after a long winter off. We had a lot to test and a lot to get through, and day one was pretty much dedicated to working on the electronics and we didn’t do much to the chassis. Today [Thursday] we focussed on that a bit more, and the biggest change there for me is the new Suter swingarm, so we spent time getting that dialled in.
“With a lot to get through it’s really hard not to look at the times and see what people are doing, but we kept our focus on the job, and it’s actually been really nice for me to have a test – I missed this test last year – to put the laps in and work on the bike and not worry about the times so much. But today we did push on a bit, nothing crazy, but to see what the package was capable of. We didn’t chuck the super soft tyre in that some people used, but considering we were doing a lot of testing I think we were competitive and consistent, and the two days couldn’t really have gone much better.
“The test at Snetterton, I think will be similar; we still have some areas to work on with the electronics, so that’s still my focus, but then we’ll go from there.”
In the hotly-contested Pirelli National Superstock Championship Neave ended the test P1, just half a second off his own lap record despite the colder and windier conditions. Minor changes to the electronics setup were the only changes, as he spent the test putting in the laps to get himself back up to speed.
Tim Neave, “I’m really chuffed, and I wasn’t expecting it to be honest, I was just taking my time, letting it come to me, and after a few laps I saw P1 and got a big buzz. So it’s a good start to the year and can’t really ask for more. The bike setup is the same last year, which is good for me. We didn’t make one change all day apart from a new tyre at the end. We knew we had a good setting from last year so we just left it. And I think we could have got nearer the lap record were it not for the wind; it was so strong it was hard to pull fifth down the start finish straight.
“Hopefully we’ll pick up where we left off at Snetterton, and if we can be in the top five consistently all year, then I think we can fight for wins week in, week out. This test has lifted a bit of a weight off my shoulders to be honest and I feel more relaxed; I’m in a perfect environment with the team, the bike’s working well, and I know we can be at the front.”
A number of other Hawk Racing supported riders were also present on a fleet of GSX-R superstock machines, including Tom Ward, Tom Oliver, and Leon Jeacock, while former Buildbase Suzuki superbike rider and British Supersport champion Luke Stapleford was also in action.