Challenging weekend for Honda Racing at Donington Park
The penultimate round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship has been a challenging outing for the Honda Racing team with intermittent weather plaguing sessions across the weekend. However, Xavi Forés and Andrew Irwin made progress during both races aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 and leave Donington Park with a haul of top ten finishes.
Showing confidence in wet conditions Irwin led the way in Friday’s second free practice and during today’s warm up, but the Honda duo narrowly missed out on the final stage of Saturday’s Qualifying by just 0.024 seconds, which saw them on the fifth row of the grid for today’s opening Superbike race (Irwin 14th, Forés 15th).
With a good launch off the line the Honda duo blasted past their championship rivals making up several places on the opening lap and breaking into the top ten. Lap by lap the Honda-men showed good pace aboard the Fireblade to eventually cross the line with Irwin fifth and Forés seventh.
Although starting further up the grid for the second race they suffered poor starts, which gave them work to do in the opening laps. Despite this, the duo managed to push back through, until the safety car bunched the group back up. With the chasing pack hot on their heels after the safety car, it was a six-way scrap to the finish line, which saw Irwin finish seventh, just 0.176 seconds ahead of teammate Forés. The results from the weekend see Forés defend seventh place in the overall standings with Irwin behind in eighth.
Meanwhile it was disaster for Tom Neave in the National Superstock 1000 Championship race, who crashed out on the opening lap fracturing his left foot. Neave also experienced mixed conditions through his sessions but was looking strong in the morning’s warm-up where he finished second fastest. The Lincolnshire lad has been transferred to hospital for further assessment to his foot.
The team will now turn their attention to the final round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, as the series heads back to Brands Hatch in Kent, in two weeks time (18/19/20 October).
Donington Park GP Circuit Statistics
Pole Position: Left
Fastest Lap: Shane Byrne (2016 - 1:28.896)