The Honda Racing team leaves the fourth round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Knockhill with valuable points after strong performances from both Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran aboard the all-new Fireblade, at the Scottish circuit.
As the first race of the day got underway, both Linfoot and O’Halloran secured a cracking start off the line and by the end of the first lap the pair were sitting fourth and fifth respectively, with Linfoot having made up five places.
Unfortunately on lap six Linfoot’s race was cut short, when after making a move on his Aussie team-mate he crashed out of the running at the Hairpin, unhurt. With The O’Show now the only Honda rider on track in fourth place, he set his sights on the final podium spot.
However, a battle with Shane Byrne unfolded for third place and Shakey eventually made his move. Not wanting to give in O’Halloran kept on his heels until the chequered flag to take fourth place, just 0.5 seconds off the podium.
Race two saw Yorkshire-man Linfoot on the second row on the grid after securing the fourth fastest lap time in race one. Mixing with the lead group throughout the 30 laps it was the fifth place spot that welcomed the 28-year old for most of the race.
Closing the gap to fourth place at one stage, he then dropped back after catching back-markers. Unable to close back the gap to the front runners, Linfoot eventually crossed the line in sixth position, claiming ten points towards the championship, where he is currently sitting 11th.
Team-mate O’Halloran finished in seventh place after struggling to find extra pace with his CBR. With his results from the weekend, the 29-year old secured 22 vital championship points and is sitting fifth overall in the British Superbike standings.
The Honda Racing team will now prepare its two Fireblades for the fifth round, which takes place at Snetterton on 30 June – 2 July, and holds fond memories for the team as last year they scored a 1-2 with O’Halloran claiming his maiden BSB win.
Well looking back on both races today, of course I am disappointed with race one, I started strong in the lead group and just as I was taking an opportunity on Jason into the Hairpin, I must have been going a bit quick and just folded the front.
For race two I had a good grid slot after my lap time in the first race, so I was immediately in the hunt with the pack, and my plan was to start strong and go as fast as I could with the leaders. I think at one point I was catching with about ten laps to go and just had a few back-markers that took my concentration and were touring a little on the racing line, which gave me some bad laps.
I feel like I need to be in close proximity to the other riders to break the gap at the moment with the CBR, it sounds daft but when I am on my own I feel like I upset the bike and tie it in knots, but when I am close to other riders I don’t get as much air on me and I can be quicker with the times coming easily.
It was a shame to lose out to Josh (Brookes) in the final stages, but after race one and to be equal to Jason after a race under his belt – I’ll take that. All weekend we have been in the top-ten and I felt that I gave 100%; I tried to have a different mentality and to give my best, so we now need to take these results and move on to the next round.
Dan Linfoot / #4
We’re coming away from Knockhill with a fourth and a seventh, it’s not the best but it’s certainly not the worst, we’re coming away with a bunch of points and now sit fifth in the championship. So from that side it is good and definitely positive, but I always struggle here and it’s a tough circuit for me for some reason, I can never quite find that last tenth I need.
It was like it in the second race and I just couldn’t do anymore, we need to rethink things for here next year, as the way I ride the Fireblade doesn’t seem to suit the track. But at the end of the day we have done the best job we can; we’re coming away with a bunch of points and can now go to Snetterton feeling positive with what we’re taking away from this weekend. At the test a few weeks ago we were fastest at Snetterton and I claimed my first win there last year, so hopefully we can repeat this and get back to the top.
Jason O’Halloran / #22
It has been a difficult weekend for everyone really with the weather conditions and situations encountered, but today we were blessed with the weather and were able to get both races completed. Dan and Jason have shown they have the pace and are able to run at the front, we just need to have a better package for them to do that.
Dan crashing in race one was such a shame but he went into the Hairpin quicker than he had done all weekend, so that’s an experience and a learning curve for him. Jason was strong in the opening race and showed great signs and made progress, he was so close to a podium place.
So we have that to build on and I know that with the team and both Dan and Jason we can progress and be exactly where we want to be. But all-in-all for Honda Racing we need to take the positives from this weekend as there have been plenty, take these to Snetterton and keep building with our development.