The Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup season opener took place at Donington Park over the weekend, at the World Superbikes Prosecco DOC UK Round. The Friday saw Josh Day get his consecutive title defence off to the best possible start by claiming the first pole of the year.
The British weather was as unpredictable as ever on Saturday, with a mixture of multiple sunny spells and downpours. But the season opener was a dry race which saw Day go on to convert his pole to an untroubled race win onboard the Host-it.co.uk Racing Team Panigale V2.
A great start saw Day lead the field and the Host-it.co.uk Racing Team rider was able to manage his gap at the front to take the chequered flag with a 4.5s advantage.
Symcirrus Motorsport teammates Elliot Pinson and Edmund Best looked strong throughout the race in second and third respectively, going on to finish on the podium in those same positions.
Just behind them David Shoubridge (Rich Energy Ducati) was chasing down Chris Walker (4T2 Racing) over the closing laps and just got the better of the former BSB star, crossing the finish line with a 0.009s advantage to snatch fourth.
David Jones (Dragon Racing) crossed the line in sixth, with TT legend John McGuinness completing his race in seventh.
Day put on another stellar performance on Sunday to claim his second win of the weekend at Donington Park, with CymCirrus Motorsport teammates Pinson and Best once again finishing on the podium in second and third respectively, to match their own Race 1 performances.
Pinson lined up in pole this time, with Day and Walker completing the front row. Pinson made the most of his starting position to maintain the lead for the opening lap, with Walker up into second place and Day third.
But it wasn’t long before Day was out at front, building an impressive gap along with Pinson, and posting the fastest lap on the race on Lap 4 with a 1’34.381 lap. Best was running in third with Walker just behind chasing a podium finish. The riders went on to finish the ten-lap race in these positions, the top three all replicating their previous race results, with Walker going one better in fourth.
Shoubridge crossed the line in fifth, his position made more impressive considering he had dropped down to tenth on his opening lap. Craig Neve (CN Racing) crossed the line in sixth, with McGuinness claiming a consecutive strong seventh place onboard his Panigale V2.
1. Josh Day (Host-it.co.uk Racing Team #1) – 50
2. Elliot Pinson (SymCirrus Motorsport #75) – 40
3. Edmund Best (SymCirrus Motorsport #44) – 32
4. Chris Walker (4T2 Racing #9) – 24
5. David Shoubridge (Rich Energy Ducati #86) – 24
6. John McGuinness (Blue Earth Construction #4) – 18
Josh Day (Host-it.co.uk Racing Team #1) – Race 1&2, 1st
“It’s been brilliant to be honest. The fastest in every session and two wins. That last race was pretty close to be fair. I knew I could set some faster times and I did. The start of the race was a bit sketchy. Elliot on the warm up lap, you could see he was keen for it. I knew he was going to try and set the pace. I wanted to be behind him for a few laps but I was on his back wheel so I thought I’d make a move and see if we can go and just get away from some of the other guys behind and try and deal with Elliot later. Managed to pull a gap on him as well, about a second and a bit, and the last few laps just maintained the board again and brought it home for another win.
I had one moment into Redgate, I tucked the front, pretty much upright so lucky to get away with that one. Again, massive thanks to Host-it, and Moto Rapido for prepping the bike. And well done to all the other guys because it’s been a real strong grid this weekend. Brilliant, roll on Brands.”
Elliot Pinson (CymCirrus Motorsport #75) – Race 1&2, 2nd
“It was a really good race because I was feeling really strong at the start. Josh managed to get past me a couple of laps in and I tried to stick on his back wheel, but the bike was moving around quite a lot. I was getting there, and then dropping back a bit, and sort of going back and forth. But I couldn’t ever really get close enough to stick a move.
I’m still really happy with the progress I’ve made over the weekend. We’ve gotten a lot closer to where I was last year. And apart from qualifying it was a pretty good weekend overall. I’d just like to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors, my team, my dad, Ducati Coventry, Factory Agencies, everyone who has helped me get my bike back together. Massive thank you because I wouldn’t be standing on this podium without you.”
Edmund Best (CymCirrus Motorsport #44) – Race 1 & 2, 3rd
“Overall, it was a bit of a tough weekend starting Friday, struggled a bit in practice. Sort of started to make headway in qualifying a two third places is sort of where I’ve been all weekend. Not quite had the pace of the other two but we’ll get there. Solid start to the season and I’m really happy. Two solid results, two podiums, can’t really complain. It was good to have a little fight with Chris Walker at the end, I like to get the elbows out so that always makes things a bit interesting.
Good weekend. I’d like to thank my team CymCirrus and all my sponsors, Willowbrook Plant, Pumpkin Print, Frank Thomas, JLS Accessories, and everyone that helped.”
Steve Plater – Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup Ambassador
“Great weekend here at World Superbikes Donington. 43 entries for this weekend and the pace seems to have moved on a little bit.
Chatting with one of our star riders Chris Walker, two fourth place finishes, was fighting for a podium in the second race, but he was saying when he first rode his Ducati here at European Superbike round against the likes of Aaron Slight and some other massive names like Simon Crafar, he put it on the podium and was doing the same lap times on an ex-factory Superbike as he is now on the Panigale V2. It’s quite impressive how things move on.
Great racing here this weekend, a great grid, some good fighting at the front, some good overtaking. It’s going to be a great season.”
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