BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Donington Park, 08/04/2015, British Superbike Championship
RAF Reserves BMW rider Peter Hickman put on two strong showings at the British Superbike Championship season opener at the Donington Park last weekend, taking home a fifth and a fourth place and only just missing out on the podium. Fellow BMW S 1000 RR rider of the Buildbase BMW Motorrad team, Ryuichi Kiyonari, took pole position on Sunday. The Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship was won by Trik-Moto BMW rider Hudson Kennaugh, Roger Lovelock and co-rider Aki Alto earned a second place in the Sidecar race.
The curtain raiser for the British Superbike Championship at Donington Park was a bit of a different weekend, with Monday race day instead of the usual Sunday. Due to the public holidays, the stars of BSB experienced everything a day later: practice sessions on Saturday, Qualifying on Sunday and the races on Monday.
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) took pole position on Sunday, and the Japanese rider was more than satisfied with his 1min 29.455sec lap and the new class record at Donington Park. “I am really happy,” he said. “I crashed at Brands Hatch and broke my collarbone”, he remarked as he looked back on last years finals and the loss of the BSB title. Kiyonari also high-sided during the Donington Park tests this year and crashed in practice for last week’s races. “Therefore I am more than happy now for having secured pole position in qualifying,” he added. “I am just happy.”
Peter Hickman (RAF Reserves BMW) took a fifth place finish in race one, missing the podium by a fraction over two seconds. He crossed the finish line in front of Tyco BMW Motorrad Racing’s Tommy Bridewell. Michael Laverty got into the top ten, in ninth position. The second race saw Hickman taking the flag in fourth, only 3.3 seconds behind race winner Shane Byrne. “Race 1 P5, Race 2 P4! Top BMW in both and fifth in the British Superbike Championship overall. That is all”, Hickman stated simply.
Tyco BMW Motorrad Racing’s Michael Laverty and Tommy Bridewell came home seventh and eighth respectively, and Smith Racing BMW’s Billy McConnell secured ninth, making it four BMW S 1000 RR machines inside the top nine.
Laverty and the engineers of BMW Motorrad Motorsport took a huge step forward with his BMW S 1000 RR from Sunday to Monday. “The whole Tyco BMW team pulled together following a tough practice and qualifying, and after a late night they delivered me a revised electronic and throttle strategy for morning warm up,” said Laverty. “I rode my first lap out of the pits with a smile on my face as I knew the team, with the help of the BMW Motorrad guys, had cracked it; a superb effort all round.”
Kiyonari started from the third row of the grid - the BSB grid for the second encounter is decided by the fastest laps in race 1 - and moved up to third in the first sector. He fought in the leading group until he high-sided on the sixth lap. “Up until this morning, this weekend had been almost perfect,” the Japanese rider reflected. “We haven't been fastest in every session, but we were there most of the time. This morning the temperature was quite high, but it was much warmer than yesterday. The feeling of the machine completely changed. It wasn't a problem with the bike, I just had no feeling. I think the rider was the problem, too much thinking, maybe, I don't know. In the second race the feeling was better. Maybe because race one was s***, I was a little too tense and hurried things a bit. It’s like being a kid. If the feeling is good I'm like 'go, go, go now!' It was 100% my mistake. I have confidence ahead of Brands Hatch and I will try to win.”
South African Hudson Kennaugh (Trik-Moto BMW) won the first race of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship at Donington Park. He took the chequered flag 1.025 seconds in front of Joshua Elliott and 1.314 seconds in front of fellow BMW S 1000 RR rider Alastair Seeley (Tyco BMW Motorrad Racing). Positions were only decided on the last lap. “It all felt like being back in Supersport again, we had such a big battle with Hudson [Kennaugh] and Josh [Elliott]. I led onto the last lap and my plan was to ride defensive but Hudson came past at McLeans, which was a bit of a surprise, but we didn’t panic. We’ve made massive progress since the first test and there’s plenty to come from both myself and the bike, so I can’t be disappointed with a podium in my first race.”
Roger Lovelock and his co-rider Aki Alto took a strong second place in the first race of the British Sidecars Championship. The BB Bikeshop / Phoenicx ECIGS duo crossed the line behind the 2009 World Champions Ben and Tom Birchall in second. The LCR BMW S 1000 RR engine powered sidecar of Lovelock / Alto took fourth in the second encounter and holds on to second in the overall standings behind the Birchall brothers.