Crash denies Hill the BSB title
Worx Crescent Suzuki's Tommy Hill finished in third place in the MCE Insurance British Superbikes Championship today at Oulton Park. Hill had led the championship into the two final races but a crash in the first race destroyed his championship chances.
Riding in second position in the early stages of race one, Hill was challenging James Ellison for the lead into Lodge corner when his bike kicked off a bump, causing Hill to come into the corner faster than planned, leading to a collision with Ellison. Both riders crashed. Hill remounted in 19th position and was attempting to regain positions when the damaged master cylinder to his front brake failed completely (again at Lodge) and Hill was forced to the lay the bike down. Travelling at high speed the damage to the bike was extensive. With oil on the track the race was red flagged.
With the one bike rule in force this season, the team were not able to repair the crash and fire damage to the GSX-R1000 in time for the restart and Hill was forced to sit out the rerun race - a race won by his key championship rival Ryuichi Kiyonari.
The Worx Crescent Suzuki team did however regroup to rebuild what was a written off machine in time for the second race. In the circumstances the bike lacked the precision set-up and feel of the original and after starting from the third row Hill overcame set-up issues to finish a fighting fifth. With rivals Kiyonari and Josh Brookes finishing 1-2, Hill was placed third in the championship.
Hill's team-mate Yukio Kagayama today placed 13-11 to secure 15th place in the championship.
Tommy Hill: "I'm devastated. The team has put so much effort into this championship, and we wanted this championship so bad - and it's not happened.
"Its been an incredible year, though. We started fantastic, we were fastest in testing and we started the season so well. The pressure then came on but we responded and stayed at the front - so for it to go away in one race, well, we're all disappointed. I just have to thank everyone in the Worx Crescent Suzuki team, they've been incredible, they've given me the championship of my life."
Yukio Kagayama: "Today was not the best. I started the season well with fastest in Spain in testing and at Thruxton I was on the podium. But after I hurt my back in the crash here earlier this year it's been a season of many crashes and many injuries.
"The team has been fantastic throughout. I thank them for this year, I wish I could have repaid them with better results."
Jack Valentine, team manager: "Tommy knew he had to finish in front of Kiyo today. He was looking to do that in the first race when he had his coming together with Ellison. We then fell foul of the one bike rule and after a season of staying on top, answering to every test, this one crash has cost us the championship.
"As a team we couldn't do any more. On the podium this evening it was clear that Tommy was the people's champion, but we wanted to give them today a British champion. It was one small mistake, severely punished."
Crescent Director, Martyn James: "I'd like to express my gratitude to the team for a job well done this season. They've had a brilliant season and deserved the ultimate reward for all the effort they put in. They did all they could do to capture the title and for one misfortune to rob them of the championship barely seems just. I am though proud of all that they have achieved."
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship
Final championship standings: