Podium Delight For Irwin As He Secures Showdown SlotSat, 08/09/2018
Glenn Irwin and the Be Wiser Ducati team got the ninth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship underway in fine style today at Silverstone with the Northern Ireland rider claiming an excellent second place in the opening race of the weekend which secured his spot in the title-deciding Showdown.
The Friday and Saturday free practice sessions saw mixed conditions and whilst the 28 year old was quickest this morning on the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R, he went into the Datatag Extreme Qualifying session fifth overall on the leaderboard.
Qualifying saw a continuation of the damp, cool weather with positions changing all the time in Q1 and although younger sibling and team-mate Andrew Irwin recorded the sixth fastest time to comfortably progress to Q2, Glenn only just scraped through in 18th. The track was drying out all the time and Glenn made no mistakes in Q3 where he impressed with the third quickest time putting him on the front row of the grid ahead of this afternoon’s race as Andrew took tenth to start from the fourth row.
Conditions were dry for the 30-lap race and after completing the opening lap in fourth place, Glenn moved up to third on lap four when early leader Bradley Ray crashed out. From that moment on, there were up to five riders disputing the lead and positions continued to change with the Carrickfergus rider hitting the front for the first time on lap 24.
Championship leader Leon Haslam was right on his tail, however, and positions again changed hands on the final lap, but it was Haslam that ultimately prevailed by just 0.171s but second place saw Glenn add three valuable podium credits to his season’s total for Paul Bird’s Lake District-based team.
Andrew, meanwhile, ran inside the top ten for the first two thirds of the race and was up to eighth at one stage before he started to run into tyre problems in the final third of the race. The lack of edge grip saw his lap times drop slightly and he slipped back to 11th at the chequered flag which saw him pick up five points to add to his tally.
Glenn Irwin: “It’s been a bit of a scrappy weekend with the weather, but I felt pretty comfortable in the race and although second’s a good result, I obviously want to win. We’d all used most of our tyres by the end of the race and although I didn’t miss a gear going onto the straight on the last lap, it wasn’t the cleanest of shifts and that gave Leon his chance. I didn’t brake maybe as late as I could have done but I didn’t want to lose the podium either, so we’ll take second place today. I was only a fraction off the win again so hopefully we’ll get one soon and the main thing today was qualifying for the Showdown.”
Andrew Irwin: “The weekend’s been pretty good so far but I’m a bit disappointed that I dropped back to 11th in the closing stages of the race. I had problems for the last ten laps, particularly through one corner on the track, and I couldn’t keep the pace I originally had. The gap to the leaders wasn’t very big at the end, which was pleasing, so I just need to work a bit more on managing the tyres and making them last the whole race. On the plus side, we get three races this weekend, so we’ll try a few changes in morning warm-up and aim for two top ten finishes tomorrow.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “It’s a good start to the weekend and it’s good to secure our spot in the Showdown which was our number one objective at the beginning of the year. We can concentrate now on securing as many podium credits as possible and Glenn rode a good race although we perhaps could do with shutting the door a bit more on the final lap, so we finish on the top step. It’s all about experience and race craft and tomorrow’s another day with two more bites of the cherry. Andrew had a good ride too and, having just missed out on making it through to Q3, he got another solid result under his belt. It’s important to finish the races as that’s the best way to learn so we have some good data which will hopefully give us the opportunity to make a few changes and the important thing is that he keeps finishing in and around the top ten.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (30 laps)
1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)
2 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
3 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
4 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
5 Jake Dixon (Kawasaki)
6 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)
11 Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
1 Haslam 355pts
2 Dixon 241
3 Glenn Irwin 207
4 Brookes 187
5 Ray 159
6 Hickman 134
18 Andrew Irwin 40