STOBART HONDA BACK IN THE POINTS -- AND BIRDY'S PLEASED! Stobart Honda riders Michael Laverty and Gary Mason got back to basics with a pair of points scoring rides each at an incident packed Mallory Park in round three of the Bennetts British...
STOBART HONDA BACK IN THE POINTS -- AND BIRDY'S PLEASED!
Stobart Honda riders Michael Laverty and Gary Mason got back to basics with a pair of points scoring rides each at an incident packed Mallory Park in round three of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship today.
Both Mason from Lichfield and Ulsterman Laverty took a seventh place finish in each of the two races which they followed up with eighth and ninth respectively in the subsequent races which were both interrupted due to a number of accidents.
It follows on from a disappointing performance at Thruxton in the last round where the team struggled with the VK Vodka Kick and The Mob backed Stobart Honda Fireblade but it marked a turning point for the team to get their championship challenge back on course.
"We've definitely moved on" said a buoyant Mason afterwards. "The bike is now competitive and I think I've done more passing than I've ever done in my career today. The guys have been working their wotsits off and we're definitely moving forward and I can honestly say it's the first time I've ever had a bike that I can race people with. We made some major changes this morning and we just gambled and it's paid off for us and we've made a step forward."
Meanwhile Laverty was also positive after the meeting. "At least I'm racing again and making progress. Hopefully we can make an even bigger step forward at Oulton and the rest of the circuits. I'm definitely happy with those two races and it's nice to be racing up towards the front again."
Sadly the Mallory Park meeting saw Jeremy McWilliams retire from both races to continue his disappointing start to the season. "It's a bit of a disaster really. We struggled to move forward and in the race we had a stability problem and whatever line I took on the circuit to try and reduce it, it seemed to make it even worse. It got to the point where I was going to crash, so I just pulled in. Unfortunately what seemed nearly OK in practice, in the race when you're going that bit faster it was just impossible to get a consistent lap with stability so we need to change our settings back to what the other two guys were running."
Team boss Paul Bird, who had threatened wide scale changes unless there had been a dramatic improvement following the Thruxton disaster commented as follows:
"Like the riders have said, we've made some big steps forward this weekend. Jeremy is the number one rider and should be up there but in fairness he's been struggling with a shoulder injury all weekend. He'll get that sorted this week and I think he'll be challenging for a top five placing at Oulton next weekend. As for Michael and Gary, that's where I fully expect them to be finishing and if only they'd stop handicapping themselves by qualifying badly, they'd be further up too. If the riders show this sort of commitment every race then that's all I can ask and I'll be very happy" said the Penrith businessman.
The series moves on to Oulton Park next weekend for round four which takes place on Bank Holiday Monday May 2nd.
Superbike Race One Result
1, Michael Rutter (Honda) 21m48.024s, 2, Glen Richards (Kawasaki) +6.706s, 3, Leon Haslam (Ducati) +10.354s, 4, Sean Emmett (Yamaha) +11.299s, 5, Scott Smart (Suzuki) +13.465s, 6, Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +17.638s, 7, Michael Laverty (Stobart Honda) +18.015s, 8, Gary Mason (Stobart Honda) +21.170s, 9, Danny Beaumont (Honda) +23.640s, 10, Steve Brogan (Honda) +30.548s.
Superbike Race Two Result
1, Michael Rutter (Honda) 10m27.220s, 2, Glen Richards (Kawasaki) +0.946s, 3, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +0.997s, 4, Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +2.021s, 5, Leon Haslam (Ducati) +2.513s, 6, Karl Harris (Honda) +8.390s, 7, Gary Mason (Stobart Honda) +8.603s, 8, Scott Smart (Suzuki) +8.826s, 9, Michael Laverty (Stobart Honda) +9.086s, 10, Sean Emmett (Yamaha) +9.601s.
<pre> Superbike Championship Standings (after Round 6) 1, Michael Rutter Honda 119 2, Ryuichi Kiyonari Honda 100 3, Gregorio Lavilla Ducati 88 4, Glen Richards Kawasaki 83 5, Sean Emmett Yamaha 65 6, Leon Haslam Ducati 62 7, Dean Thomas Kawasaki 54 8, Karl Harris Honda 48 9, Scott Smart Suzuki 36 10, Gary Mason Stobart Honda 30 11, Michael Laverty Stobart Honda 19 14, Jeremy McWilliams Stobart Honda 16