The Buildbase Suzuki team is looking ahead positively to the super-fast Thruxton circuit this weekend, with the aim of kick-starting the second half of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship season.
The 2.4m Thruxton circuit in Hampshire presents a challenge to teams and riders, with a high-speed layout aligned with an abrasive surface, meaning the ability to preserve tyres can play a key role in the results of the races.
Richard Cooper heads into the weekend with a 42.5-point advantage at the top of the National Superstock 1000 Championship standings, and with another 25 points up for grabs this weekend, he will be looking to further extend that lead.
Bradley Ray – who returns to BSB action after finishing a credible eighth at the Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance World Championship finale in Japan last weekend – and Luke Stapleford, are looking to the second half of the season with a view to turning their fortunes around. A challenging start to 2019 has seen them make steady progress with their GSX-R1000R Superbikes, with their potential demonstrated in flashes. Now the aim is to make consistent strides towards the front of the field in the remaining races.
Richard Cooper: “Thruxton will provide a bit of a different challenge this weekend. We have to run a different tyre – the same we ran at Silverstone – from Pirelli, which is a different profile and I actually like it, but it might mean we have to adjust the bike a bit to suit, we’ll see. If there’s one area where we lose a little bit of time to our rivals it’s in the big corners that you see riders drifting through. We tend to suffer a little more wheel-spin and in turn miss-out on forward drive, so we could find ourselves altering the bike throughout practice to combat that issue, if it arises. But we’ll get stuck into FP1 and take it from there.”
Bradley Ray: “We’ve got six rounds now to try and turn the season around and get some good results on the board. We’ve been working this year to solve a couple of issues; trying to tame the power delivery on corner exit and improve front-end feel on the way into faster corners, but everyone’s kept working hard and the changes we’ve been making have steadily brought about improvements. We’ll keep working in the same way, starting with FP1 this weekend, and try and have an enjoyable second half of the year.”
Luke Stapleford: “I’m really looking forward to Thruxton. It’s a circuit I’ve always enjoyed riding and with tyre wear being a critical part of a race strategy I believe we can be closer to the front. The past few rounds have been a struggle but I’m keen to make amends with two solid finishes, and hopefully that’s the start of a better second part of the season.”