POINTS FOR LAVILLA, PODIUM FOR BIRD It was a busy weekend for the Paul Bird Motorsport Team on both two wheels and four with action taking place on both sides of the globe. In the HANNspree World Superbike Championship, Paul Bird ...
POINTS FOR LAVILLA, PODIUM FOR BIRD
It was a busy weekend for the Paul Bird Motorsport Team on both two wheels and four with action taking place on both sides of the globe.
In the HANNspree World Superbike Championship, Paul Bird Motorsport rider Gregorio Lavilla secured an overall top ten championship ranking at Phillip Island, Australia after taking eleventh in race one and eighth place in race two.
Not yet on his 2008 specification Vent Axia VK Honda Fireblade, the Spanish rider improved upon his Qatar performance in round one last week, running to within twelve seconds of victory in the second race.
Glorious sunshine and temperatures of over 28C made Sunday race day the hottest of the weekend, but complicated the task of set up and tyre choice. Once again Lavilla took time to acclimatise himself to his feel of his tyres, but after fitting a new front tyre specification for race two, he made great progress from his Superpole qualifying position of 14th.
Also in race one, Lavilla finished in a gaggle of fellow Honda riders, and close to his old BSB sparring partner, Ryuichi Kiyonari as he just missed out on the top ten.
Meanwhile, in his native Lake District, team owner Paul Bird was in action in the Malcolm Wilson Rally where he was going for a record-equalling fourth win on his local event.
With a new engine fitted to his VK and Vent Axia backed Subaru WRC, the Penrith driver and co driver Andy Richardson led early on but a couple of high speed spins saw him have to settle for second place behind Scottish teenager David Bogie at the Cockermouth finish, and in doing so, ended his winning run which saw him take victory twice in the last two years and three times since 2005.
"I was behind some riders in race one and I felt that I could go quicker but I was losing the front tyre every lap on the important corner before the main straight. I thought the tyre was finished. It was the first time I'd used this one, but that is the one everyone uses. I struggled until I realised I could take the corner a different way and I ended up chasing Kiyo and Haga, but it took a while to realise what to do so I learned how to use the front better. We were not far away from the podium positions and only 12 seconds from the winner. If we can work this way on the new bike, then we can be optimistic. For Valencia, we hope lots of people will come, because I think the Spanish riders here are doing well!"
"Regarding the Superbikes, that's a bit more like it. Greg adapted his riding style to compensate for the grip and as a result, he ended up in a good battle in race two that could easily have ended up with a top five placing. This is a step in the right direction and now I hope we can push on and start finishing in the top six regularly from now on. As for the rally, I'm disappointed but a couple of mistakes cost me victory and the better driver on the day won. But I'll be back again next year and hope to add my name to the winner's trophy again."
The next World Superbike Championship race will take place at Valencia, in Lavilla's native Spain, on Sunday 6th April.