Saturday, 18 February 2017

WSBK: Season preview

With the start of the 2017 World Superbike Championship only one week away, now is a good time to make some predictions about the new season. There are few in doubt that this season will be one of the most exciting seasons in recent years and hopefully put a dent in the dominance of the championship by Kawasaki and Ducati.

Yamaha are in their second season with their new R1 and should be able to make the experience of last year count, allied to their young rider line-up of Alex Lowes and Michael Van der Mark, who switches from Honda. Honda themselves will be hoping for better things from their all new Fireblade and with the might of the Honda factory behind them it is unlikely that the experienced pairing of Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl will have a slow bike underneath them!

Aprilia also step up their efforts in 2017 with a fully factory supported line-up of Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori.

Expect Chaz Davies to continue his strong end to 2016 aboard the factory Ducati joined this year by veteran rider, Marco Melandri who has the pedigree to mix it at the front of the grid, although he has had time away from the sport.

Despite the increase in competition, it is difficult to look past the ultra consistent and strongest rider line-up on the grid, Tom Sykes and reigning champion Jonathan Rea who again ride for the factory Kawasaki team in 2017.

Leon Camier is again the sole rider in the factory MV Agusta effort and could well surprise a few people as he aims for the podium in 2017.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

BSB: New season taking shape

With the season of testing fast approaching for the start of the 2017 British Superbike Championship, most of the rider line up for an arguably even more exciting new season has been confirmed.

Reigning champion and 2017 favourite Shane Byrne stays with the Be Wiser Ducati team as they attempt to secure back to back championships aboard the Ducati Panigale 1299. Haslam stays with Kawasaki but switches to the Bournemouth Kawasaki squad as 2016 runners up, GB Moto, leave the paddock.

The biggest news concerns the return of consistent BSB podium finisher and 2015 champion, Josh Brookes. He joins the Anvil Hire Yamaha team in a late deal which should throw even more action and competition into the title race.

The consistent pairing of Dan Linfoot and Jason O'Halloran return for Honda racing aboard the brand new Honda Fireblade, knowing that they should now have the machinery to match the top teams in the paddock. Also racing a brand new bike for this year are the Bennetts Suzuki squad who welcome back Sylvain Guintoli to the championship alongside Superstock 1000 champion, Taylor Mackenzie aboard the 2017 GSXR 1000.

There will be two more Yamaha R1's on the grid next year as Team Traction Control, backed by Monster Energy and McAms, move up to the BSB stage after performing well in the Supersport class in recent seasons. They have possibly the strongest two-rider line-up in the paddock in former race winners James Ellison and Michael Laverty.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

BSB: Byrne is the champion

After an action packed and weather-effected final race of the season at Brands Hatch, Shane Byrne came away with his fifth British Superbike championship as Haslam had a bad weekend from start to finish, picking up a minor injury and missing out on vital grid positions, giving himself too much to do in the races.

Going into the final race of the season it was clear that both Byrne and Haslam deserved to win the championship after proving to be easily the strongest two riders over the course of the regular season as well as the early showdown rounds. We can expect more battles between the two riders next year as both are staying put in the British Superbike championship for 2017 when Byrne will attempt to secure his sixth title!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

BSB: It's Byrne Vs Haslam

This weekend, Brand's Hatch GP circuit hosts the final round of the 2016 British Superbike championship. There have been many different race winners across the season and numerous other podium finishers but the two riders who have been ever present at the top, Byrne and Haslam are the only two riders with a realistic chance of winning the championship with three races left in the season.

Over the course of the year we have seen that the warmer conditions have favoured Byrne and the Ducati as he is able to get more mileage out of the more grippy zero compound. This isn't to say Byrne has dropped off the pace, more that Haslam is on a more even footing despite the fact that Brand's Hatch is Shane Byrne's local track.

It is Byrne who holds the current advantage but that could very easily slip away. For Haslam the equation is simple, he must beat Byrne in all three races and hope that another rider or two can get in between them to make up the 17 point deficete. It is very difficult to call the winner, both riders have been at the very top of their game, particularly in recent rounds but with the added pressure of winning the championship and the milder and more mixed conditions anything could happen!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

BSB: Byrne with the advantage

The British Superbike season for 2016 is nearing its climax. Round one of the showdown at the fantastic Donington Park circuit is complete with Byrne taking a double win to leave the circuit with the 27 point advantage heading to Assen this weekend.

Haslam will be looking to close the ground on Byrne at the famous Dutch circuit and will need a very strong weekend to keep his championship hopes alive after he fell in the second race at his home circuit at Donington Park.

O'Halloran also left Donington with less points than he would have been hoping for after being taken out in the second race. Other title fighters, Linfoot, Ellison and Mossey will all be looking for podiums which should make the racing at Assen as good as it has ever been!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

BSB: Byrne edging away

Shane Byrne may have started the season comparitivly slowly but his PBM team have developed the Ducati Panigale from twitchy factory superbike to something that he can ride consistently and win races on. The fact that he managed two wins at Brands Hatch GP will concern his rivals as the season ending showdown finishes with three races at the Kent circuit.

As expected before the season began, Leon Haslam is his closest rival, just 14 points behind the Ducati rider in the podium points standings. He will be hoping to end the season strongly to close that gap but more importantly give him some momentum heading into the first round of the showdown at his home round of Donington Park.

There is a huge battle behind Haslam and Byrne for the last four showdown positions but it is likely at this stage that the championship will go to one of these two main contenders.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

BSB: Showdown taking shape

To be in with a chance of winning the championship, riders must be in the top six positions in the championship after the races at Oulton Park in september. As in recent seasons, those top six riders then get 500 points plus the points they have scored by gaining podium finishes throughout the early part of the championship.

PBM Ducati's Shane Byrne currently leads the championship with Leon Haslam in second spot. Both of these riders have all but secured their place in the top six come the final three showdown rounds of the season. Honda currently have two of their riders in the top six in form of Jason O'Halloran and Dan Linfoot. Completing the top six are Tyco BMW's Michael Laverty and JG Speedfit Kawsaki's James Ellison. All of these riders are under threat from four of five riders currently below them in the championship standings. All of this means a very exciting end to the regular season with confirmation of the top six unlucky to be finalised before the end of the last race of the triple header at Oulton Park!