Laverty returns to winning ways as Irwin celebrates first MCE BSB podium at Thruxton
Michael Laverty returned to winning ways in the second MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race at Thruxton this afternoon, sharing the spoils with four-time champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne. The biggest celebration though came from MCE BSB rookie Glenn Irwin who scored his first podium finish for the Be Wiser Ducati team in race two.
Championship leader Byrne emerged victorious in race one after a dynamic battle between the leading contenders for the positions in the closing stages of the restarted race. In the opening part of the race Byrne got a flier off the line to lead Dan Linfoot and Tommy Bridewell at the start, but Billy McConnell was carving his way through the order and was soon up to third onboard the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki.
Laverty was surging forward too and the Tyco BMW rider passed both Linfoot and McConnell to move into second place, but it was a fierce battle for the chance to be on the podium. The freight train of riders took advantage of the nature of the high-speed Hampshire circuit and the positions changed constantly as Laverty, McConnell and Linfoot pushed for the leading positions until the race was red flagged when Stuart Easton crashed the ePayMe Yamaha.
On the restart Laverty had moved up to the front row and got a lightening start to lead Byrne, McConnell and Jackson. However a determined O’Halloran was on a charge and with a double move at the chicane he was into third place for Honda Racing.
Laverty was pushing to defend the lead, but two laps into the 12-lap restart Be Wiser Ducati’s Byrne made his move, diving down the inside into the chicane to take the lead. The battle for third was intense as O’Halloran was falling back into the clutches of Mossey, Bridewell and James Ellison who pulled off a comeback after a challenging weekend. Ellison was hunting Bennetts Suzuki’s Bridewell, and took advantage when he made a small mistake to move into fifth place.
Mossey had close in O’Halloran and he made a move on the Australian to push himself into a podium finishing position. The Honda Racing rider was struggling with grip on the final lap and that gave Bridewell and Ellison the chance they needed to take the position with the pair moving into fourth and fifth respectively.
Laverty returned to the top step of the podium in the second MCE BSB race, holding off a hard-charging O’Halloran ahead of rookie Irwin who claimed his first MCE BSB podium finish.
Pole-sitter Byrne had led off the line after some early jostling for positions with Laverty and O’Halloran after the opening corners but on the second lap Byrne dropped behind Laverty and then O’Halloran and had dramatically encountered a broken gear linkage and was forced to retire.
At the front of the field it became an incredible four-way scrap between Laverty, O’Halloran, Haslam and McConnell. Haslam appeared to have found something with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki as he carved his way into third position behind O’Halloran and then moved ahead with a decisive move.
The second Honda Racing Fireblade of Dan Linfoot had been swarming through the field after his tenth row start and he was soon closing down the leading group, moving into sixth place by the ninth lap. However his early pace cost him in the closing stages and he later dropped back to ninth after running as high as fourth.
O’Halloran wasn’t prepared to settle for third though and the Australian lunged ahead of Haslam at the complex, but the JG Speedfit Kawasaki was equally determined and made a move back on the run down to the chicane on the same lap. The pair continued their intense dice for second place with O’Halloran able to regain the position and his JG Speedfit Kawasaki rival had little grip left to make a full final counter attack, dropping back to fifth at the finish.
Rookie Irwin though was setting a strong pace on the lone Be Wiser Ducati and he moved into third and was then closing in on O’Halloran on the final lap, but the Australian had the marginal edge with Irwin celebrating his career first MCE BSB podium.
Peter Hickman and James Ellison ended their weekend with a sixth and seventh place finish respectively, with Ellison now moving back inside the top six in the overall standings ahead of Brands Hatch.
Tommy Bridewell scored another top ten finish for Bennetts Suzuki in eighth place ahead of Dan Linfoot and Lee Jackson on the Buildbase BMW, just edging out Ryuichi Kiyonari.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, race one result:
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Thruxton, race two result:
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Thruxton:
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Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)
Race one winner:
“The stoppage in the first race didn’t really do me any favours as I’d got out front and was managing the tyres so the red flag came at the wrong time although safety’s obviously paramount.
“When Michael took the lead in the re-start I wasn’t too concerned but I knew I couldn’t stay behind him for too long otherwise it would be a freight train. I got by him but possibly punished my tyres trying to break away from him and the last few laps were a bit sketchy but we got the job done.
“The second race started well but the gear linkage breaking is just one of those things. I know how meticulous my team are, they’re almost obsessive and prepare in the same way that I do, always giving 100%. That’s why we work so well together. It was no-one’s fault although it was difficult to sit in the pit box knowing I could have been faster than what the leaders were lapping at!
“I really wanted to reward the whole team with a double this weekend but the positives, and there are a lot of them, far outweigh the negatives.”
Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW)
Race two winner:
“We were lucky today in race two and Shakey’s misfortune was our gain but I have had my fair share of that too this year so when Lady Luck shines on you, you have to take it!
“I still had to work really hard for that win and we had focused on the long game this weekend and it paid off as I saved the tyre and that was what we needed.
“To leave Thruxton with a first and second place finish was just what we needed for our Showdown campaign and it is a phenomenal result so I need to thank the Tyco BMW team. We can now look forward to Brands Hatch and carrying the momentum into the next round.”