The VisionTrack Ducati pairing of Josh Brookes and Christian Iddon got their 2021 Bennetts British SuperbikeChampionship up and running in style when the first official test of the season took place at the Silverstone National circuit over these past two days.
Defending champion Brookes and third-placed championship contender from 2020 Iddon have remained with Paul Bird’s Lake District-based squad for a second successive season aboard the factory-supported VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4Rs and after a private test at Knockhill last week, the pair were in action against the full field of competitors who will contest this year’s 11-round series.
Cool and occasionally damp conditions were the order of the day for Wednesday’s four sessions whereby 37-year-old Bedfordshire-based Australian Brookes ended up second fastest behind his compatriot Jason O’Halloran whilst 36-year-old Mancunian Iddon, now based on Tyneside, finished third fastest, less than a tenth of a second behind his teammate.
Today (Thursday) was once again very cold although the rain held off as the times from the opening day plummeted. Iddon consistently lowered his times in the opening three sessions whilst Brookes improved in the day’s second session to record his fastest lap of the test.
Brookes, running the number one plate in Bennetts BSB for the first time since Tommy Hill tried to defend his crown in 2012, unfortunately crashed out of the final session and sustained a finger injury which meant a trip to hospital for further investigation.
Josh Brookes: “I’ve taken a lot of skin off the little finger and there is a risk of infection as it’s down to the bone but apart from that I’m OK and my finger is fine. There are no other injuries so it’s just a case of getting it cleaned up. I’m still working out what happened in the crash, but the track was cooling down and I perhaps carried a bit too much brake so maybe that’s what happened. The test was good to a point, but we did a lot of experimenting and didn’t really find a lot that improved our existing package. It’s now a case of working on what we know best and finding the consistency we need.”
Christian Iddon: “I’m really happy with the way the test has gone, everything is good. Silverstone is unique as everyone ends up with very similar lap times, it’s just one of those tracks. My aim over the two days was to experiment with a few ideas and to try some stuff we didn’t get round to trying last year, mainly to do with tyre life and some other settings. We achieved what we needed and in the last session, I just did a race run rather than chasing a lap time. It was unfortunate for Josh to crash and hope his finger injury is not too serious.”
John Mowatt, Team Co-Ordinator: “We were happy enough with our progress yesterday and after a good start, today didn’t go so well. It meant that Josh ended the combined times in 12th place with Christian in ninth but despite the track not suiting our bike, valuable data was gained for when the series visits later in the year. Christian made good progress throughout the test but sadly Josh crashed and sustained an injury to his little finger in the final session which necessitated a trip to the hospital to get it checked out but hopefully it’s nothing too serious.”
The opening round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place over the weekend of 25/27 June at Oulton Park.
Pictures courtesy of Double Red Photographic: Josh Brookes (1) and Christian Iddon (21).