Tommy Hill had to apply a careful mix of consistency and aggression to bring home a fifth place finish in the first BSB race of the weekend at Brands Hatch today. Racing on the GP circuit, in what is the eighth round of the British Superbike Championship, that fifth place followed on from another fighting fifth for the Worx Crescent Suzuki rider in the Roll for Pole qualifier earlier in the day.
Like many in the paddock, Hill is searching for grip this weekend as the (seasonably!) hot weather and fast, technical circuit tests the Pirelli tyres to the limit. However, in the race it wasnt grip that slowed the Sussex lads progress so much as other riders. After making a good start, Hill got boxed-in in the first corner and so found himself battling with James Ellison and Chris Walker (both Yamaha) for fifth place when on paper he had the pace to reach for a podium. After dispatching Ellison, Hill found himself battling a fired-up Walker for longer than he wished and so reluctantly found himself deploying an aggressive elbow-bashing move to finally get ahead. Hill then made a valiant attempt to capture fourth from Karl Muggeridge (Honda), but despite lapping around 0.2-seconds faster he ran out of laps, being just 0.379-seconds adrift at the finish.
I really enjoyed todays race. Obviously fifth was not where I wanted to finish but I had a fantastic race and I know that I rode my heart out to get that fifth.
Tonight Im going to be sitting down with the team and well be looking at our settings to see if theres anything more we can do to improve on the grip. Weve already worked on it a lot and so far focussed on getting a consistent set-up that will work for race distance, rather than to pull the odd fast lap on a soft tyre. But well see if we can find another tenth or two ready for tomorrow.
Jack Valentine, team manager
Im quite happy in the circumstances, Tommy did a good job in Q3 today and was only denied another front row start by a last-minute fast lap from Sheridan Morais. In the race, once hed cleared Ellison and Walker he showed he had a faster pace than Muggeridge.
Its important to maintain perspective, as well. This is only Tommys second meeting with us and his first at a technical, fast track and hes had to learn fast about how the bike works. And you can see from his riding hes learning with every lap. So theres every reason to believe theres more to come. Our focus hasnt shifted, we still see a podium being very possible for tomorrow.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli
Round Eight, Brands Hatch GP
Swan Combi 50 Roll for Pole:
1. Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha) 1:26.860s
2. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki World Superbike) +0.233s
3. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki World Superbike) +0.403s
4. Karl Harris (Hydrex Honda) +0.512s
5. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +0.629s
6. James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) +0.725s
7. Chris Walker (Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha) +0.798s
8. Karl Muggeridge (HM Plant Honda) +0.976s
9. Michael Rutter (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +1.000s
10. Stuart Easton (Hydrex Honda) +1.506s
Race one result:
1. Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha)
2. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki World Superbike) 1.901s
3. Stuart Easton (Hydrex Honda) +11.495s
4. Karl Muggeridge (HM Plant Honda) +15.461s
5. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +15.840s
6. James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) +17.959s
7. John Laverty (Buildbase Kawasaki) +19.646s
8. Karl Harris (Hydrex Honda) +21.033s
9. Chris Walker (Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha) +23.195s
10. Julien Da Costa (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +23.236s