SAMSUNG HONDA TOUGH IT OUT AT OULTON PARK TO MAINTAIN SHOWDOWN POSITION
Samsung Honda’s Michael Laverty maintained his position inside the top six in the overall standings after the sixth round of the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park this weekend with a fourth and fifth place finish.
In the opening Saturday race of the weekend Laverty had his aspiration of a podium finish ended on the fourth lap as he crashed out of contention whilst Kirkham was forced to retire with a technical problem. Sunday’s second race saw Laverty claim a fourth place finish as he continued to try and consolidate his position inside the top six, as Kirkham’s bad luck continued with a heavy crash at Shell.
Sunday’s races again saw Laverty score a fourth and fifth place to maintain fourth place in the overall standings whilst Kirkham suffered a high-speed crash but fortunately was uninjured before finishing fourteenth in the final race of the weekend.
In the National Superstock 1000 Championship Jason O'Halloran was denied the chance to challenge for a podium finish when the race was red flagged on the tenth lap, leaving him fourth and Gary Johnson in twelfth.
Michael Laverty: “To be honest I am glad the weekend is over now and I am looking forward to Brands Hatch. Oulton Park has never been a good circuit for me and it is always a fight but fourth and fifths today helped consolidate our position in the Showdown. The pace was close to the leaders but we just didn’t have that last bit, despite making improvements throughout the weekend. It is the way it goes sometimes but overall it has been a disappointing weekend although it could have been worse.”
Jon Kirkham: “I started seventh in free practice and then qualifying went ok and I got through to Q3, but a technical problem at the end of Q2 meant I couldn’t push for a higher grid position. It was another weekend of bad luck for me as we had another technical problem in the first race, then a crash but fourteenth was the best we could do in the last one. It was a difficult weekend but we can regroup and come out fighting again at Brands Hatch.”
Jason O’Halloran: “It was a frustrating race today; it seems like I don’t have any luck at Oulton Park! I was caught up behind a few riders and then I was up to fourth when the race was red flagged. I was gutted that I couldn’t have the chance to fight for the win so we will have to move onto Brands Hatch now and see what we can do there.”
Gary Johnson: “I had a mega start in the race but it didn’t completely go according to plan. I was losing a bit of time on the straights and unfortunately a couple of times I got pushed a bit wide and that put me down the order. The Samsung Honda is working well but we just need to find something extra for Brands Hatch.”
Havier Beltran, Team Manager: “It has been an extremely hard weekend for the Samsung Honda team and the results we leave Oulton Park with are certainly not the ones we know we can achieve. However Michael has been able to maintain his top six position in the standings, but this shows how crucial those final rounds will be if the riders are inside the top six and fighting for the title. We still need to work with Jon as he has had a difficult weekend but we know what he is capable of from his performances earlier in the season. In the Superstock race I think it was disappointing for Jason as the red flag prevented him from scoring a podium but I understand that these things happen in racing. Gary was unhappy with his result too as he was duffed up but now we are looking forward to the next round at Brands Hatch.”