Glenn Irwin is heading to Donington Park this weekend (24th to 26th May) for Round 3 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship in a jubilant mood following his outstanding performance at the International North West 200.
The 29-year-old from Carrickfergus will be joined at the Bank Holiday triple-header by Héctor Barberá who will make his BSB debut for Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki in place of Ben Currie who is out through injury.
Irwin got off to a good start at the North West 200, clinching pole position for Saturday’s two superbike races with a new, unofficial lap record on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR in Thursday’s final qualifying session.
He then went on to claim a brilliant second in the Superstock race and beat teammate James Hillier in a thrilling opening North West 200 Superbike race on Saturday (18th May) for his fourth straight class win.
Irwin will line up at Donington Park alongside former Moto GP rider Héctor Barberá who is deputising for Ben Currie. The Australian had surgery on both feet last week following his crash at Oulton Park and is hoping to return to action at Brands Hatch (14th to 16th June).
Barberá has a wealth of experience, having won both the 125cc and 250cc World Championship Grand Prix classes and finishing second in the 2009 250cc GP title battle. He later moved to the premier MotoGP championship where he was the 2015 Open class champion.
The Spanish rider also has good memories of the Donington Park circuit from his time in Grand Prix racing, beating Andrea Dovizioso to the race win there in the 2003 125cc GP race. More recently he made his World Superbike debut at Assen for Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki team, standing in for the injured Leandro Mercado.
Glenn Irwin said: “It’s good to be going into Donington Park off the back of our success at the North West 200 last weekend. It feels like this is a real turning point in the season and there has been a positive change in confidence.
“It’s cool to have Héctor as part of the team. I used to watch him race on TV and I get on well with him. It’ll be good to share a garage with him and learn from him where I can.”
Héctor Barberá said: “I want to thank Pete and the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit team for the opportunity to race in the BSB championship. I am looking forward to going back to Donington Park where I have had a lot of success previously.
“I have seen a lot of BSB on TV and look forward to meeting the BSB fans this weekend.”
Team owner Pete Extance added: “On the back of a fantastic NW 200 the whole team and Glenn are really looking forward to getting back to BSB at Donington Park to try to put our BSB season back on track,
“Ben remains injured and as a replacement we have brought in ex-Moto GP Spanish rider Hector Barbera. It will be great to welcome him to his first BSB round at a track he has done well at in the past.
“We have not set any goals for Hector but for sure he will be keen to show how well he can adapt to a BSB-spec bike, which is very different to his usual machines and he wants to put on a good show for the fans.”