The Honda team and Xavi Forés are again celebrating this evening as they leave the third round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship with not one, but three podiums after another fantastic days’ racing at Donington Park.
Taking his first-ever BSB podium yesterday, Forés started today’s first race from the front row of the grid in second place. Getting an absolute charge off the line, Forés and the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 went straight into the lead at the first corner. Leading the pack for most of the race, the weather deteriorated and drops of rain started to fall at Donington’s National Circuit. Swapping places with Tommy Bridewell the rain fell heavier and passing Bridewell he was again in the lead, but not for long as a charging Scott Redding took over. On the 19th lap, the race was declared at two-thirds race distance, which saw Forés take second place.
The final Superbike race of the day was dry and lining up on the grid in sixth Forés was on a mission from as soon as the lights went out. Charging to the front once again, he was leading the pack by the second lap. Mid-race an epic battle for the podium commenced and the Spaniard was swapping places with Bridewell and Tarran Mackenzie, all who had their eye on the podium. The closing stages of the 26 laps saw Forés forge a gap between himself and Mackenzie and he crossed the line second, scoring his third podium of the weekend. After the results Forés is now fifth in the championship standings with 70 points.
Teammate Andrew Irwin took further steps forward this weekend; in Race 2 he finished 12th, but for the final race of the day he got a good start off the line and started to make his way through the pack in the early stages. Keeping his head down, he carved his way up the order and eventually crossed the line seventh.
In the National Superstock 1000 Championship, conditions for the race were tricky and subsequently Tom Neave struggled to find pace on the rain-soaked track. As conditions improved and the surface started to dry, Neave found his rhythm, but with the race drawing to an end he couldn’t improve on his position and crossed the line 14th.
The Championship now has a break for a few weeks and will return on 14/15/16 June for the fourth round at Brands Hatch.
Xavi Forés: Honestly I didn’t expect this weekend to finish the way it has, yesterday I was happy to get my first BSB podium, but today we got two more! We’ve worked really hard with the Fireblade to be fast and consistent with the lap times. The second race today I felt a lot worse, I had a lot of spin and I was trying to manage the situation throughout the race. I lost some time battling with Tarran, which I did enjoy but losing the time wasn’t so good, as once I had passed him for the final time the gap to Scott was too much. But leaving here with a third and two second places is great and more than a win for me, especially after the first two rounds. Brands is next and the last time I was there was in 2006, it’s a lovely track and I hope to keep my level across the weekend and hope to see the podium again soon!
Andrew Irwin: The weekend has been difficult to be honest and 12th in Race 1 really isn’t good enough! We did start to find some rhythm and then it was red flagged, I think we could have moved forwards, perhaps not much but I think we could have chased down 10th at least. Race 2 was better; I got a really good start but made a few silly mistakes throughout. I do feel that we did make some steps forward and turned a bit of a corner in some areas, so it’s a positive and we have to continue in this manner. Now we’re heading to Brands where I have been fast in the past, so I know I can be fast there. Well done to Xavi and the team for the podiums this weekend, it’s great to see the Fireblade being competitive and show what it can do!
Tom Neave: I am disappointed with today really, I felt after yesterday’s performance, if it had of been dry I could have fought for a podium. But it’s all ifs, buts and maybes. Today was wet and we went the wrong way with the settings, which made it very difficult when it was really wet. Once it started to dry out it started to come to me a little, but by then it was unfortunately too late. But we live and we learn, now we move to Brands and it’s a circuit I really enjoy and love riding at.
Havier Beltran, Team Manager: I am over the moon for Xavi this weekend! I’ve got so much belief in the lad and I know he can do a good job and work with us to develop the Fireblade in a direction to be at the front – and he’s doing just that. I couldn’t ask anymore from him and just so happy for the team for all their hard work! Andrew has some great ambition and I know in time he’ll also be up at the front. We’ve got some work to do in getting the right setting for the Fireblade for race distance and not just having a machine that’s fast for one lap or anything like that. I am confident we’ll see a lot more from him and with the changes it will come to him. I feel for Tom, he had a tough one today. The race was in horrible conditions and it was extremely difficult. Talking with him afterwards, he’s disappointed, but it is a learning process and he’s got a lot of ability and talent, but we are going to run into difficult areas from time to time. He stayed on during the race and was able to understand the changing conditions, and when it started to dry out things were coming to him.