Saturday, 11 July 2015

BSB: Top six starting to take shape

The championship format in British Superbikes means a rider must be in the top six in the championship standings before the final three rounds of the season to have a chance of winning the title.

The top three of Byrne, Brookes and Easton look to have already secured their places with consistent podium finishing and are already looking for podium credits as the showndown part of the championship gets ever closer.

James Ellison is nearly there, currently in fourth place in the standings and would likely be higher if bad luck had not hampered his season. Jason O'Halloran, currently in fifth place is the surprise package of the season and is performing well on the aging Honda Fireblade. He will need to continue his early season form if he wants to hold onto his place in the top six.

Currently holding the final top six spot is Tommy Bridewell who has seen his lead over the chasing pack cut dramatically over recent races, not least from his team mate Michael Laverty who has finally got to grips with the BMW and the BSB specification bikes. It is very difficult to predict who will get the final two showdown spots. A lot will depend on if Kiyonari, currently languishing in ninth position in the championship, can get his season going. If he can then he will likely take one of the remaining showdown places as on his day he is a match for anyone on the grid. In our view the experience of Michael Laverty will also see him overtaking his team mate and Jason O'Halloran before the final three rounds and grabbing a place in the top six.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

BSB: The top level

The 2015 British Superbike grid has the greatest depth of talent seen for many years and has possibly it's strongest line-up ever. There are over eight well-funded teams running at least two strong riders each along with numerous other high quality smaller teams with riders which are proven at national level.

However, looking at the early part of the season we can see that the very top level riders are still the same as they have been in recent years. None of the new riders have yet been able to raise their level that little bit extra to get to the very top. The familiar names of James Ellison, Shane Byrne, Josh Brookes and Stuart Easton head the championship and already all four look likely to take their place in the season ending top six showdown. Josh Brookes further underlined this at the recent Snetterton test by topping the timesheets and smashing his old lap record.

It is in the final two showdown spots where the real battle lies; with more riders having a genuine chance of getting into the showdown than in any year since the showdown system was introduced. They are currently filled by Tommy Bridewell and Jason O'Halloran with three times former champion, Ryuichi Kiyonari not yet featuring in the top six, something he will surely be looking to put right in the next few rounds of the championship.

Congratulations to Kyle Ryde who wildcarded at the Donington Park World Supersport race and finished in third place on the podium after lining up in second place on the grid! The seventeen year old from the midlands is clearly a fantastic talent and has a bright future ahead of him. He currently lies second in the British Supersport Championship after winning the National Superstock 600 championship last year.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

WSBK: Rea continues domination

The World Superbike Championship has started incredibly well for British riders with Rea, Haslam, Sykes and Davis occupying the first four spots in the standings with five rounds completed.

Nobody has thus far this year been able to keep pace with Jonathan Rea. In the early part of the season he has already amassed 240 points from a possible 250 and leads the championship by 87 points and 8 wins. Most people in the know knew that Rea had the ability to win world championships but few would have predicted that he would have clicked with the Kawasaki ZX10R so quickly.

Monday, 20 April 2015

WSBK: Green flag for the season

The 2015 World Superbike Championship is only four rounds old and already looks like its going to be a classic... The new technical regulations for this season have brought the chasing pack much closer to the performance of the dominant Aprilia RSV4 and the Kawasaki ZX10R. Already we have seen much closer racing than we ever saw last year, with more teams able to compete and more bikes able to contest the podium places.

The Brits have made an incredible start to the season, filing up the first four positions in the championship table and dominating the podium celebrations. Heading them all though is Jonathan Rea. The Irishman has made an incredible start to his 2015 campaign with six wins and two second places from the first eight races. This in stark contrast to his teammate, Tom Sykes, who is struggling to adapt to the huge differences in the technical regulations which have totally changed the engine characteristics of his ZX10R, a bike which he spent three seasons developing, winning one championship and coming close on two other occasions.

The revitalized Leon Haslam has also made a strong start aboard the Aprilia, winning one race and appearing on the podium a further four times to find himself in second place in the standings, a full 50 points behind pace-setter Jonathan Rea.

Friday, 17 April 2015

BSB: New season under way

The long winter break is over... The British Superbike Championship has begun and looks to be one of the most closely contested championships in the series' history.

The rider lineup for this season of BSB must be considered the strongest ever. Shane Byrne returns aboard the PBM Kawasaki and will face strong competition from familar foes. Ryuichi Kiyonari stays with Buildbase BMW, after coming so close to winning the championship last year. Australian Josh Brookes also stays in the BSB paddock aboard the brand new Yamaha R1 and will look to go the step further and take home his first championship. Experienced Cumbrian James Ellison has looked strong in the early part of the season after recovering from a bad injury sustained at the end of last season and will provide strong competition for podiums and race wins throughout the year.

Expect the 2015 champion to come from one of those four riders but the chasing pack are as strong as ever, making finishing in the top ten or the season ending showdown more difficult than it has ever been. Tyco Racing switch to BMW this season and are running experienced former race winners Michael Laverty and Tommy Bridewell. Tommy Hill also returns to the BSB paddock but this time as a manager to a strong rider lineup of the experienced Chris Walker and rising star, Danny Buchan. Honda return to the championship after taking a year out in 2014 and run a three-strong rider lineup of Dan Linfoot, Jason O'Halloran and Jenny Tinmouth. Stuart Easton, Lee Jackson, Peter Hickman, and James Westmoreland add to an already packed grid with ten riders capable of being on the podium at every round of the championship!

The BSB championship rolls into Brands Hatch this weekend and we can't wait for the racing to begin! As far as a prediction goes, it's difficult to look past Shane Byrne for two wins on his home patch.. Expect Kiyo to manage a couple of podium finishes along with Josh Brookes who is still developing the all-new Yamaha R1.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

BSB: New season speculation

The 2014 British Superbike season may have only just finished, with Shane Byrne being crowned the champion for a record fourth time, but that shouldn't stop us already looking forward to next season!

Let's start off with the riders who are already confirmed for next year: Kiyonari was the first to sign for the 2015 season, confirming he will spend another season with Buildbase BMW before the 2014 season had even ended. After speculation that Josh Brookes was heading to World Superbikes with Yamaha next season, he has decided to stay put in 2015 as he searches for that elusive first championship aboard the Milwaukee-backed and all new Yamaha R1. No news on whether Tommy Bridewell keeps his place alongside Brookes but we expect him to move on after not quite reaching the heights he was hoping for last season. James Ellison also returns to the championship, staying with GB Moto Kawasaki, while Chris Walker will move away from the team in 2015.

Recent news has also seen Honda announce their return to British Superbikes after taking a year out in 2014. Dan Linfoot steps up to a factory bike and will be joined by long term Honda employee, Jason O'Halloran.

The 2015 will see the return of 2011 champion Tommy Hill, but he won't be taking his place on the grid, instead he switches his attention to managing a two rider strong Kawasaki team backed by Be Wiser. No news on riders yet, but expect the lineup to be a mix of a more experienced rider and a younger racer coming through from Superstock 600. Could Danny Buchan be partnered with rising star and highly rated Joe Collier who competed well in last year's Superstock 600 championship?

There is much speculation that Paul Bird will be running two teams next year. Expect Shane Byrne to return to defend his championship. If Paul Bird does run two teams also expect long term PBM rider, Stuart Easton to be given one of the three other rides. With one team likely running the tried and testing Kawasaki's could this be an opportunity for Ducati or BMW to have a much bigger presence on the grid in 2015?

So what about the Tyco Suzuki team? They had a generally disappointing 2014 season with neither of Tyco Suzuki's riders making it into the top six. Has Josh Waters done enough to retain his ride in 2015 and is there a future at the team for John Hopkins after a poor showing on his return to the championship? Expect the Tyco backed TAS team to step up their efforts in 2015, most likely with an all new rider line-up.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Lowes edges ahead...

With race one of a triple header at Brands Hatch complete, it is Samsung Honda's Alex Lowes who leads Shane Byrne by three points, going into the final two races of the season tomorrow. Josh Brookes returned to the top step of the podium with Alex just behind in second place and Shane Byrne coming home in third in tricky conditions. James Ellison saw his slim championship hopes completely disappear as he pulled into the pits with a technical problem.