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Frustrating weekend for Kirkham at Donington

It was a frustrating weekend at Donington Park for the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki team with Jon Kirkham missing out on a top ten finish for the first time since joining the team at Knockhill.

Despite putting in front-running times in the first two sectors of the 2.48 mile Leicestershire circuit, Kirkham struggled in the final sector across the weekend.

Things started to look up for the team in Saturday’s qualifying with Kirkham running solid times in Q3. In the second session, the Derby rider set a time good enough for tenth position with three minutes to go but was unfortunately knocked back to 13th in the closing moments unable to better his team having used the best of his Pirelli tyre.

Kirkham continued to show pace through the first two sectors in Sunday’s first race but losing up to 0.7 seconds in the final split meant he was unable to progress through the back. Suffering brake issues in the closing stages, he crossed the line 12th.

Having qualified higher up the grid for the second outing, Kirkham made good progress off the line to join the battle for sixth place. However, with the race one braking issues resurfacing the 29-year-old slipped back through the pack to eventually finish 13th.

Jon Kirkham: “I’m disappointed with today’s results, I really wanted to impress with it being my home round and bring some good results home for the team. We struggled with the final sector all weekend and that was really highlighted in race one. We changed the bike quite dramatically for the second race but it didn’t seem to be the right direction and the brake issues in both races didn’t help either. The top sixteen riders were so close this weekend you couldn’t afford to give a couple of tenths away like we did. We’ve made such great progress every round this season, this is the first time we haven’t gone better which is a shame as Donington is usually a good track for me. Hopefully it’s just a one off bad weekend and that we’ll be back towards the top six at Assen.”

Jack Valentine, Team Manager: “It’s been a frustrating weekend, we’ve really struggled through the final sector. Jon’s been as quick as anyone else through the first two sectors all weekend but the last sector we’ve been losing up to 0.7 seconds. We made quite a few changes to try and make it better and still couldn’t improve it. Things weren’t helped with a brake issue in the first race. We made a major change for the second race and it was a bit better. I thought he’d be able to hang on to the back of the battle for sixth but then the brake issue surfaced again, so that’s something we’re going to have to investigate as it really hampered his progress. It’s not been a great weekend but you get weekends like this, we’ve made a lot of progress recently and hopefully we can get back on that path at Assen.”

Kirkham and the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki team are back in action for Round 10 of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at TT Circuit Assen between 19-21 September.