After becoming the fifth different race winner in 2018 last time out at Brands Hatch, Josh Brookes will be pushing to maintain his momentum in Sunday’s two races. 2015 champion Brookes lies fourth in the overall standings and is hungry to add to his podium tally and close the deficit on his rivals in the title chase following his recent double victory.
Leading the standings is JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam and after celebrating a third place finish in the Suzuka 8 Hour event last weekend, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ will be pushing to put the Bournemouth-based team back on the top step of the podium at their home event.
Jake Dixon just missed out on the podium at the previous round, but the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki rider is also a race winner this season and knows that Podium Points are key to being in the title fight come the Showdown.
Glenn Irwin, who edged closer in the standings last time out after a pair of second place finishes, returns to the circuit where he celebrated his first podium finish in the Superbike class. The Be Wiser Ducati team has a positive record around the 2.35-mile circuit so will be fighting to maintain that this weekend.
Bradley Ray has missed out on the podium in recent rounds after his spectacular double earlier in the season at Donington Park but as the Buildbase Suzuki rider heads back from the Suzuka 8 Hour event, he is determined to return to podium-finishing form in Hampshire this weekend.
Danny Buchan holds the final place in the current top six ahead of Thruxton; the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki rider became the sixth different podium finisher at Knockhill and knows he needs a solid points haul to stay ahead of the riders pushing for a place in the Showdown Six.
Reigning champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne holds seventh position, but as he continues his recovery from injury the next riders in line ready to push ahead in their quest for a top six position are Tyco BMW team-mates Christian Iddon and Michael Laverty. Iddon lies 23 points adrift of Buchan and just ten points ahead of his podium-finishing team-mate as the pair target BMW’s first win of the 2018 season as they also return from Suzuka.
Peter Hickman from Smiths Racing BMW and Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran are next in line to try to close on a Showdown position, but ‘O’Show’ O’Halloran has had a tough recent run of races following his ankle injury sustained on his World Championship appearance.
One rider also keen to deliver a strong performance is Devizes contender Tommy Bridewell for the Winchester-based Moto Rapido Ducati team. Together they head into their home round following their best result of the season at Brands Hatch with a seventh place finish on Bridewell’s debut with the dealer-based squad, and an impressive fourth place finish for the Thruxton local contender at Suzuka.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings:
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 242
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 162
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 145
- Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 130
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 115
- Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) 111
The seventh round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship take place at Thruxton on August 3./4/5. For more information visit www.britishsuperbike.com
“Thruxton has always been a track that I’ve liked because of its unique layout. It’s not comparable with anywhere else I’ve ridden in the world – and it’s the track where I had my first podium and win.
“The season has thrown some hurdles but it’s very clear to see we are gaining momentum, and the timing couldn’t be better.
“The circuit has a few secrets too and this is particularly noticeable when I manage the tyre wear. The abrasive surface and the long radius turns make it hard to manage the tyre so bike set up is critical. I enjoy the art of bike set up, it’s such a big part of racing and often drives you mad when it’s not going well but also extremely rewarding when you get it right.”