The sun may have been shining at Brands Hatch, but the MSS Bathams Kawasaki squad found the going tough with a set of results that don’t accurately reflect all the hard work the team has been putting in behind the scenes.
Having spent the weeks since the last British Superbike round at Oulton Park testing and developing the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, the MSS Bathams Kawasaki squad were in a positive mood for Brands Hatch. Sadly, bad luck blighted the team’s weekend with the results not reflecting all their hard work.
Michael Rutter was joined in the Superbike squad for the first time at Brands Hatch by former Superstock rider Danny Buchan. In his first outing on a full power Ninja ZX-10R superbike, Danny showed a lot of promise, finishing both races within the top twenty. Rutter also looked to have made a breakthrough with development of the bike, finishing the first race in the top ten before being pushed wide off the circuit to drop him to seventeenth in the second race.
Michael Rutter (10th in race one, 17th in race two) said: “Top ten in the first race was really positive. We have done a lot of work since Oulton Park on the dyno as well as testing and it is starting to pay off. Unfortunately in the second race I got a bad start and was stuck behind another rider and when I tried to outbrake him I ran wide and onto the grass, losing positions. That kind of ruined my race. It’s been a tough weekend but we know where to concentrate our development work.”
Danny Buchan said: (18th in race one, 18th in race two) said: “That was a hard day. Compared to the Superstock bike the Superbike is a complete animal, so much more physical and after each race I was shattered, totally drained. I didn’t feel that awake for the first race, I’m not sure what it was but I had a sleep between races and I was bang up for the second race! I set my fastest time on my last lap, improved every session and returned the bike in one piece, so all in all that was a good weekend’s work and I’m pretty happy.”
Team boss Nick Morgan said: “It’s been a tough weekend but there are certainly positives to take home with us. Both Sandra and Leon showed they are progressing well with their riding and they were both unlucky to crash. Michael’s top ten was fine in the first race and Danny rode a very mature couple of races to finish in the top twenty and bring the bike home in one piece. Giving a young lad a superbike could end in disaster but he did exactly what I wanted him to do and I’m sure learnt a lot from the weekend. We have put a lot of work in over the last few weeks both testing and on the dyno and we honestly don’t deserve the disappointing results we are getting – I’m sure soon all our hard work will pay off, I just hope it is at Cadwell Park.”
Superstock 1000 riders Sandra Stammova and Leon Hunt had a frustrating Brands Hatch but both can take positives from the weekend. Having made the cut to compete in the Superstock race, Sandra improved on her grid position of 38th during the race and was running in 35th spot when she unfortunately crashed at the fast Sheene Curve on lap six. Leon held his 13th qualifying position for the first three laps of the race but just when he was looking to start working his way up through the field he too crashed, succumbing to the tricky Westfield Bend on lap three.
Leon Hunt (DNF in race) said: “Obviously I’m bitterly disappointed to have crashed. Qualifying went well and in morning practice I was seventh fastest, so I was looking forward to the race. I got a good start and was up to tenth before I was pushed wide, but in all honesty that wasn’t an issue as I was comfortable and faster than the guys ahead. I was on the back of a battle for eighth place but then the rear lost grip and I crashed. It was an odd one and I’m not 100% why I fell. Despite this disappointment I’m leaving Brands Hatch happy, the team are working well and we are making good progress with the bike so I honestly feel I’m looking at regular top ten finishes now.”
Sandra Stammova (DNF in race) said: “I’m so happy to have made it through the cut and into the Superstock race. I love the full Brands Hatch circuit, it is really fast and flowing and seems to suit my riding style. We tested here a few weeks ago and that certainly helped as I’ve been hampered by a lack of track time at the previous rounds. In the race I was feeling confident and was improving on my times but I got stuck behind another rider. I was faster than him and could see a group ahead getting away so I pushed harder and tried to get past, which is when the front folded and I unfortunately crashed. I’m pretty annoyed as I was feeling really good on the bike. Luckily I’m ok and I’m now concentrating on making the grid again at Cadwell Park.”
2012 MCE British Superbike Championship calendar:
25.26.27 August – Cadwell Park
7.8.9 September – Donington Park GP
21.22.23 September – TT Circuit Assen (NL)
28.29.30 September – Silverstone GP
12.13.14 October – Brands Hatch GP