The Be Wiser Ducati Racing team had a challenging seventh round of the Bennetts British SuperbikeChampionship at Thruxton today with Glenn Irwin’s fifth place finish on the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R in the opening race proving to be the team’s best result of the day.
28-year-old Glenn started the opening 20-lap race on pole position with younger brother Andrew joining him in third to post an historic front row for Paul Bird’s Penrith-based team. The opening lap saw the Carrickfergus brothers slot into third and fourth place but sadly for Andrew, his race only lasted until lap four when he crashed out at the Complex, fortunately sustaining no injury.
That just left Glenn to fly the flag for the defending champions and he consistently ran with the front group which ultimately became a six-rider battle for the win. Going into the final stages, Irwin found himself pushed back to sixth but a last lap collision at the chicane between Josh Brookes and Jason O’Halloran allowed him to move back up to fifth place for 11 hard-earned points.
The second race saw Glenn start from sixth place and on the second row of the grid although he immediately slipped back to ninth at the completion of the first lap. Indeed, it proved to be a tough race and although he climbed as high as seventh at one stage, he didn’t have the means to push any further and ended the race in ninth place. However, he still sits in fourth place overall, comfortably occupying one of the top six Showdown positions.
Andrew, meanwhile, found himself way back in 18th place and on the sixth row as a result of his first race crash and it gave him plenty of work to do. A good opening lap saw him gain four places to move up to 14th and although progress was a bit slower for the remainder of the race, he worked his way up to 11th at the chequered flag to add five more points to his season’s haul.
Glenn Irwin: “We tried everything we could all weekend but whilst it was clear from qualifying that we had pace for one lap, doing it for a full race distance was extremely difficult and we struggled. It wasn’t through a lack of trying on anyone’s part and we constantly tried settings to improve the balance of the bike. We’ve suffered the same fate for two years in a row now so it’s hugely frustrating. On the plus side, we haven’t lost much ground in terms of the championship position and we’ve gone well at Cadwell Park recently, so I’ll be aiming to get back on the podium there.”
Andrew Irwin: “The results don’t reflect the progress we’ve made this weekend and overall, it’s beenvery positive, qualifying being the obvious highlight. Crashing in race one was far from ideal and it gave me a bad grid position for race two but finishing in 11th from 18th on the grid isn’t too bad. My one lap pace is good, but I need to work harder on my race pace, but I’ve worked hard so far this season and will do the same again ahead of the next round in order to get back into the top ten.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team co-ordinator: “It’s fair to say race day hasn’t panned out how we expected, and the results have been disappointing. Glenn was in the mix with the leaders in race one but ran out of tyre at the end of the race to challenge for the podium whilst Andrew was unfortunate to crash out early on which gave the team plenty of work to do. They managed it with about one minute to go and we changed the balance of the bike again in order to try to find that missing ingredient but ninth and 11th was far from what we’d hoped for. There are both positives and negatives to take away from the weekend, but we enjoyed a good test at Cadwell recently and have gone well there in the past so will be hoping for a better end product there.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (20 laps)
1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)
2 Jake Dixon (Kawasaki)
3 Peter Hickman (BMW)
4 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
5 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
6 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)
DNF Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race two (20 laps)
1 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
2 Peter Hickman (BMW)
3 Jake Dixon (Kawasaki)
4 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)
5 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
6 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)
9 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
11 Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
Championship Standings (after seven rounds)
1 Haslam 280pts
2 Dixon 198
3 Brookes 168
4 Glenn Irwin 163
5 Ray 119
6 Buchan 111
18 Andrew Irwin 35
Images courtesy of Double Red: Glenn Irwin (2) and Andrew Irwin (18)