Hill leads BSB championship into showdown phase
|With a win and a second at Cadwell Park today Worx Crescent Suzuki's Tommy Hill has finished the first nine-round stage of the British Superbikes Championship with the lead on points. Hill's team-mate Yukio Kagayama meanwhile took two seventh places finishes today to lift his standing in the championship to 12th.
In an exciting day's racing Hill, riding his Suzuki GSX-R1000, was on top form and after dominating the first race was challenging for the lead again in the second race when it was red flagged (on the 14th lap). In the first race rival Josh Brookes had taken the early lead but succumbed to an attack from Hill on the eighth lap. Hill then maintained a constant 1:27-minute lap pace while his rivals withered, so as to take the win by a comfortable 5.116-seconds. In the second race Hill had led for 11 laps and was trailing Brookes by just 0.230-seconds after 13 laps when the race was stopped.
Hill's point tally from the nine rounds amounts to 287 points, three more than Brookes and six more than Ryuichi Kiyonari. However, with the Showdown phase now beginning, the championship points tally taken so far is cast aside. The championship will now be decided over the final three rounds (seven races) between the six highest points scorers so far, known as the Title Fighters. All the title fighters have their championship point tally put on an initial parity of 500, to which is added only the podium points they've scored thus far (podium points have been awarded as three for a win, two for second and one for third). On this basis Hill steps forward into the Showdown as joint leader with Kiyonari on 525 points apiece.
Tommy Hill: "What a fantastic weekend! To see Yuki coming good as well it's been all good.
"In that first race I just felt really-really good, I could have made the jump earlier but I was interested to sit behind Josh to see what he was doing. In the second race the pace was so fast, something like two-seconds faster than it was last year, and maybe it was that or maybe there was small issue with the rear tyre but I had a little bit of chatter to deal with. I still felt comfortable and while Josh had passed me when I made a small mistake on the Mountain I felt comfortable and was setting up to repass him when the red flags came out.
"In all I feel overjoyed. We get to leave here having effectively won the first part of the season and having beaten the HM Plant team in their own back yard that's kind of a bonus. But now its crunch time and to be going into this vital part of the season with a joint points lead is a great position to be in."
Yukio Kagayama: "Today was very good for me although for sure 7-7 doesn't sound like a score I'd want to be happy with. But this was my first racing visit to Cadwell Park since 2004 as I missed the first round earlier this year, so I had no base settings to work from and I set-up my bike quite different to Tommy. So no top-three for me, but I am happy that my lap times get better all weekend, and my second race today was much faster although the result was the same. And I enjoy riding the bike, my feeling for racing, for set-up, is getting better so I hope in the races to come I can challenge again for the podium."
Jack Valentine, team manager: "The team are buzzin'! There's been so much work gone into this weekend and everyone can see we've made a major breakthrough with our set-up and this has really boosted Tommy's confidence. He could have had two wins today but we'll never know. The important thing is we're in the strongest possible position as we head into the Showdown. The GSX-R is the strongest its been all season and Tommy's got all the confidence in the world.
"For Yuki, it's been a good weekend for him as well. Having that big crash in practice couldn't have helped him, but in the races he simply got quicker and quicker. He had to fight his way past Alastair Seeley in both races and he was mindful he needed to make a clean pass as it's so tight here, but once past his lap time was on a par with those ahead, so he's shown he's getting his pace back. There's every probability he'll be able to fulfill the support role that's needed as Tommy fights for the championship.
"So it's the best feeling for us. We've made the breakthrough we've been looking for and we even know that wet or dry we've a set-up that works. We won't be resting though, we're going to be pushing for more as we're sure all the other teams will be doing!"
MCE Insurance 2010 British Superbike Championship
Round Nine, Cadwell Park
Race one result:
1. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki)
2. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +5.116s
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +7.092s
4. Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +12.522s
5. Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) +14.623s
6. James Ellison (Swan Honda) +20.822s
7. Yukio Kagayama (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +28.158s
8. Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +28.533s
9. Dan Linfoot (Motorpoint Yamaha) +34.523s
10. Stuart Easton (Swan Honda) +34.945s
Race two result:
1. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda)
2. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +0.230s
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.888s
4. Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +5.071s
5. Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) +11.719s
6. James Ellison (Swan Honda) +13.178s
7. Yukio Kagayama (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +15.712s
8. Tommy Bridewell (Quay Garage Honda) +21.347s
9. Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +24.287s
10. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +27.446s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Cadwell Park:
Showdown Title Fighters:
=1. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 525
=1. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 525
3. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) 524
4. Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) 510
5. Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 509
6. Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 505
12. Yukio Kagayama (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 74