Josh Brookes put the disappointment of a double DNF at Silverstone behind him to take a dominant double in round two of the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park this Bank Holiday weekend.
The Australian was in dominant form on his new PBM Ducati Panigale V4 R, bouncing back from two technical failures in the opening round to top every dry session and lead home fellow Ducati runner Tommy Bridewell in both races.
“When you ride for the PBM team, people expect you to win and it’s hard to maintain that level, so I’m delighted to get my first wins for them at round two, especially as Oulton Park is their local circuit,” said Brookes. “Neither race was easy, but we made good progress at the test last month and it meant we could come here this weekend and just make small refinements to the bike rather than big changes which enabled me to be quick from the off. My pace was stronger in the second race and although Tommy came with me again, I was able to break him in the final third and it’s always nice going into the last lap with a bit of a buffer. What happened at Silverstone was just one of those things and I think a few people were a bit more down than perhaps they should have been, but this is the perfect way to bounce back.”
Bridewell’s two second places mean that he moves into the joint championship lead with McAMS Yamaha rider Tarran Mackenzie. Mackenzie was unable to recreate his dominance from Silverstone but posted eighth and fifth place finishes on a tough weekend.
“It’s been a tricky weekend,” he said. “Race one was difficult as I out braked myself into Lodge on the first lap, making it hard work for myself as I re-joined 17th! I managed to finish eighth which wasn’t too bad and then had a better starting position in race two. I got stuck behind a rider for a bit too long, two or three laps, but once I got past I managed to chase after Jason, Christian and Scott and finally caught Scott, but I was a little bit too late to take fourth! Fifth place doesn’t sound great, but after the weekend I’ve had I’m happy with that. We’ve got a good feeling on the bike and I’m looking forward to my home round in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Mackenzie’s team-mate, Jason O’Halloran, was one of the heroes of the weekend. The Australian who, like Brookes, failed to finish either race in Silverstone only revealed that he’d broken his arm in a testing accident after scoring a fourth and a seventh place in the races.
“It’s good to score some points,” he said. “I was really happy with fourth in race one, but in race two I struggled a bit and ended up seventh. We had to salvage as many points as we could after not scoring at Silverstone, but it wasn’t easy as unfortunately last week at the test I had a small slip off at Hizzy’s and fractured my right humerus just near my shoulder… I haven’t said a lot about it as I wanted to keep my head down and everyone focused on what we were doing, but riding Oulton Park with a slightly broken bone is not ideal. We’ve got a few weeks now before Donington, so I’ll keep on with the therapy, get fit and healthy and hopefully be back to full fitness.”
Kawasaki rider Danny Buchan scored third in both races to move into that position in the championship, ahead of round one race winner Josh Elliott and the PBM Ducati riders Brookes and former MotoGP star Scott Redding, who took a pair of top five finishes on his first visit to the challenging Cheshire circuit.
“It wasn’t the perfect weekend as I felt a podium was within reach,” said Redding. “I came into the weekend wanting two top six finishes, so I have to be pleased with fourth and fifth today. I learned a lot and I felt good particularly in the second race where I lapped as quick as I did in qualifying so that’s why I’m perhaps a bit frustrated as I had one hand on a podium position. At the same time, I understand the bike more, I understand the circuit more and both of those things can only benefit me as the season progresses and today has been good for my confidence. I’m taking it round by round but we’re building all the time.”
The championship now takes a three week break before reconvening at Donington Park on 25-26 May.