Ducati 848 Challenge Begins at Brands Hatch

Ducati_848_ChallengeThe Rapid Solicitors Ducati 848 Challenge will kick off this weekend during the first round of the British Superbike series at Brands Hatch. The Ducati 848 Challenge only has a year under its belt, but excitement is already building for the season’s sophomore year.

The Ducati 848 Challenge is a one-make series, pitting riders against each other on Ducati 848 Evos. There will be 8 rounds in this year’s series which will begin this weekend at Brands Hatch. The Ducati 848 Challenge will travel all across Europe and the UK to visit tracks like Thruxton, Silverston, Cadwell Park, Assen, and Monza.

Last year’s champion Darren Fry will return to the 848 Challenge this year in an attempt to defend his title, but last year’s runner-up Leon Morris will be sure to make him work for it. The 848 will also see former BSB rider Kenny Gilbertson, former National Superstock rider Mark Andrew, Aaron Brown, Robbie Brown, and Ricky Holden, and Manx GP riders Andy Kirkwood and Barry Poll.

The 848 Challenge will also feature former Supersport riders and Endurance champions.

The opening round of the Ducati 848 Challenge will be presided over by ex-world champion Carl Fogarty. Fogarty will be handing out trophies, giving advice to riders, and talking with fans at Brands Hatch this weekend.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Swan Yamaha Set for BSB Season Opener at Brands Hatch

michael_laverty_topped_the_snetterton_testThis weekend the 2011 British Superbike season will begin at Brands Hatch, and the Swan Yamaha team is ready to fight for the championship. Tommy Hill and Michael Laverty will both be making their debuts with the Swan Yamaha team this weekend, and both riders should be toward the top of the time sheets.

Hill and Laverty both made it into the final 6 showdown last year. Hill managed to take third place behind Ryuichi Kiyonari and Josh Brookes, while Laverty took fourth in the series.

Both riders have also been extremely fast during the practice sessions. Hill set a lap record during the Cartagena test, and Laverty earned top three finishes during the final testing session at Snetterton.

Hill will have a slight disadvantage, however, as he missed the majority of the final testing session due to a crash.

“I just want to get to Brands Hatch now after what has really been six weeks off,” said Hill. “We set a new lap record at Cartagena and we felt confident after those tests. It was disappointing for me that I missed out at Snetterton with a crash, but it doesn’t take long to get back into it on the Indy circuit.

“Once we have the first day on Good Friday to blow the cobwebs away we just need to be consistent and score some good points. That was the approach I had last season and I came away with a first and second place plus the championship lead so who knows what can happen. I just need to push on at my home circuit, get the best results I can for the Swan Yamaha team and then prepare for Oulton Park the following weekend.”

Laverty was also happy with his pre-season performance, and feels that he’s ready to deliver for the Swan Yamaha team.

“The first races at Brands Hatch are going to be strange as the Indy circuit can throw a curveball you don’t expect. I think though that after the pre-season testing we are in the position to challenge for the wins and get the job done,” Laverty said. “It has been a longer build up to this season and the anticipation really has been building for these first races and everyone just wants to get out and race now.

“We have been fast in testing so I hope that people are looking at us and thinking we are going to be up there at Brands Hatch. The pressure doesn’t matter to me; myself and Tommy have proved we have the pace – we just need to make sure we don’t get complacent and translate our testing performance into strong results.”

[Photo Courtesy of Swan Yamaha]

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Guy Martin to Make Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing Debut at Brands Hatch

guy_martin_bsbGuy Martin and the Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing team will make their debut at the opening round of the British Superbike series on Easter weekend at Brands Hatch.

Martin, whose main focus this year will be to win the North West 200 in May and the Isle of Man TT Races in June, will be competing at Brands Hatch as a wild card entry. Martin will be a competitor at the Brands Hatch race, but he’ll be using the opening round of the BSB season as an opportunity to do further testing on his GSX-R1000.

“I’ve been to the moon and back testing which is fantastic as I have never enjoyed so much pre-season track time before,” said Martin. “However, practice is all right but you can’t beat a bit of racing, so I’m really looking forward to the chance of getting back out on track at Brands Hatch – and to do this in the BSB class is just perfect.

“I’m already quite familiar with the GSX-R1000 Superbike however, but this gives us the opportunity to work on some finer detail set-up stuff, which will no doubt come in handy throughout the season.”

Josh Brookes, who finished second in the BSB in 2010, will also be making his debut with the Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing team.

“The later-than-normal start to the season has already provided Guy with some great opportunities to spend time on track familiarizing himself with our full range of GSX-R machinery that he will be using during our International Road Racing campaign,” said team manager Phillip Neill. “However, pairing Guy with Josh for the opening Superbike race at Brands Hatch is a perfect way for us to understand how Guy reacts to some set-up changes in a race situation.

“The considerable amount of track time available throughout the four days at Brands and competing against the best riders in British Championship will enable Guy to really bring himself up to speed on the Superbike; and although our goals are not necessarily results-based, I’m sure Guy will be setting himself some personal targets over the four days.

“I’d like to thank MSVR for accepting our application for a wild card entry to this event, as the opportunity really does allow Guy to remind everyone that he is a motorcycle racer, who can ride on circuits as well as he can on the roads. This opportunity should help him prepare for his debut season with us in the best possible way.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Swan Yamaha Makes Debut at Spanish Test

swan_yamahaThe Swan Yamaha team made its debut today at the opening testing session for the 2011 British Superbike season at the Calafat circuit in Spain. The Swan Yamaha team, which consists of Tommy Hill and Michael Laverty, will have a little over a month to prepare for the opening round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike season which starts on Easter weekend at Brands Hatch.

“I have a great feeling from the team and bike already even after the first day,” Hill said. “Obviously the bike is going to feel very different to what I have previously ridden, but my initial reaction is that the Swan Yamaha is impressive.

“We started on the basics today to keep things simple and then we will gradually introduce electronics very slowly so that we know what we are improving. Tonight we hope to iron out a few little teething problems we had with the quick shifter, but so far we are happy with the progress.”

Laverty and Hill spent most of the day getting used to the track and the new bike. They will continue testing tomorrow where they plan to start pushing their Yamahas around the track.

“It has been a good day and as an initial shakedown we have done some good work,” Laverty said. “We mainly worked on the fundamentals and positioning this morning before really making any major changes and towards the end of the day our last few runs were showing improvement, which shows the potential for when we really start pushing on.

“Tomorrow we are going to start looking at working with the electronics and the suspension now that we have done the basics. The Swan Yamaha is really an advanced bit of kit and I am finishing the first day happy, so we are looking forward to getting back out tomorrow.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Sykes Does the Double at Brands Hatch

Written by Dan Evon Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Tom Sykes got his first victory of the 2010 British Superbike season today at Brands Hatch, and then he got his second. But Sykes wasn’t the only one to earn the same results during the last race of the weekend. Ryuichi Kiyonari and Michael Rutter finished second and third, making an identical podium to race two.

Kiyonari’s second place finish earned him the top spot on the overall leader board. Kiyonari is now 7 points ahead of Tommy Hill, and 10 points ahead of Josh Brookes.

Alastair Seeley still holds onto the final spot of the top six, even though he crashed out during the third race. Stuart Easton and James Ellison were able to gain a little ground, but the two Swan Honda Riders still have a lot of work to do if they want to find their way into the top 6.

British Superbike – Brands Hatch – Race 3 Results

  1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki WSB)
  2. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.563s
  3. Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) +4.788s
  4. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +6.531s
  5. James Ellison (Swan Honda) +11.804s
  6. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +11.910s
  7. Yukio Kagayama (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +13.927s
  8. Stuart Easton (Swan Honda) +20.929s
  9. John Laverty (Buildbase Kawasaki) +21.181s
  10. Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +25.089s

British Superbike – Brands Hatch – Overall Standings

  1. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 249
  2. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 242
  3. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) 239
  4. Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) 217
  5. Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 206
  6. Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 153