Hill regains BSB Championship lead at Snetterton
Worx Crescent Suzuki's Tommy Hill rode two hard fought races at the seventh round of the British Superbikes Championship at Snetterton today to grab two second place finishes and take back the lead of the championship.
In both races Hill was in lower leaderboard positions at mid-race but would find the extra pace in the second half to pull himself up to the runner-up spot, recording his fastest lap in the last laps of each encounter. Rival Josh Brookes had secured wins in the first two races of the weekend but his machine expired at mid-distance in the last race, which passed the championship lead to Hill as he overcame Michael Laverty in the final laps of that race. Hill now leads the BSB championship by two points over Brookes and also leads the BSB podium points table by one point.
Yukio Kagayama suffered more ill luck in the first race today (his first of the weekend) when his clutch developed a technical issue during the sighting lap, forcing him to start from the pit lane. He finished 21st. In the second race, starting from P24 Kagayama rode an impressively strong race gaining 14 positions to finish top-10.
Tommy Hill: "We've had a very consistent run this weekend and I can't deny its very satisfying to get back on the podium in all the races and to take back the championship lead.
"We were running less electronic aids on the bike this weekend and maybe this harmed my early race pace, but it seemed to work very much to my advantage in the second half of each race and I found I had a consistent feel to the bike that allowed me to confidently push hard at the end. A little bit of luck fell into our hands with Brookes going out in the third race, but it helps to be in the right place for when these things happen. No question I'm really looking forward to the Brands Hatch GP round now!"
Yukio Kagayama: "For me, only wins can make for good times, but I am still very happy with progress this weekend. My first race was lost when the clutch felt to be slipping on my out lap, the team fixed this but starting from pit lane I was not able to make the progress I wanted.
"For the second race the team made some adjustments to the bike and I liked these very much and was able to pass many riders to finish tenth. I must thank the team for this, they really welcomed me back to racing this weekend and they worked hard to give me the best bike."
Jack Valentine, team manager: "A very good weekend for us. I think this weekend's results have really boosted Tommy's confidence and this will help him as we head to the Brands Hatch GP round. The team has worked hard on the set-up, the GSX-R's always been good but it's the very last little details that are making all the difference and certainly we've now got a very good basis on which to build for the coming races.
"Yuki has struggled manfully with his injured hand and it was typical of his luck that he suffered the setback with the clutch issue just before that first race. However his performance in the second race was inspiring, he put in a sterling ride.
"He's off to the Suzuka 8-hour now and the whole team wish him well with that. But we're looking forward to getting him to Brands Hatch fully fit. Not having two riders at full strength has cost us with bike development as the season has progressed, and we've seen the other teams make up ground, but hopefully come round eight we'll be at full strength again for the first time almost all year!"
Race two result:
1. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda)
Race three result:
1. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda)
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Snetterton:
1. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 218