Kiko Giles

active 11 hours, 57 minutes ago
active 11 hours, 57 minutes ago

“Sykes’ Spark” reignites Huddersfield ace’s title race

Tom Sykes took his first win since Misano in 2017 during race two at Assen, leading every lap without a single challenge to take a lights-to-flag victory. The 2013 champion looked good at the end of the race on Saturday, where he was fourth but is now a race winner in 2018, the fourth different winner from four rounds.

The Huddersfield ace used his front row start to his advantage, going around the outside of Fores at turn one to maintain first place. From then on in, it was never in doubt, even by the time Jonny Rea had burst through to second place.

“The Ninja ZX-10RR today was great on a clear track. I was disappointed with yesterday’s race, for a number a reasons. But what can I say about the win today? Big thanks to my family, friends and ultimately the crew. I have not had an easy time in the last 18 months or so, but the good thing is that Marcel is not just my crew chief, but also such an amazing friend. He has helped me and gently reminded me of where we have come from in the past, and how we got to where we are now.

“I knew that the results have not justified the efforts we have put in until now. I also knew last night that a little bit of magic and the Sykes’ spark was there. I think there is no doubt in my speed and today we converted that into all 21 laps. I am very, very happy for this and it was quite emotional to win today.”

The next round of the championship comes from Italy and Imola, just south of Bologna, making it Ducati’s home round. Sykes took a double win at Imola in 2013 on his way to the title, whilst taking his first of three poles at the circuit back in 2010. From 18 races he has taken part in at the circuit, he has had only one DNF.

Rossi ‘expected to be more competitive’ after Texas fourth

Nine-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi has said that he expected to be fighting for the podium during Sunday’s Americas GP, as front tyre problems gave ‘The Doctor’ issues for a fourth occasion at COTA.

The Italian showed good pace throughout the practice sessions, regularly in the top three, before qualifying in 5th place. COTA is one of four circuits that Valentino is yet to win at on the current MotoGP calendar, but the Italian was hopeful of turning up to Jerez and going for a repeat performance of 2016.

"It was a good weekend because I was already in the top-5, but in the race I expected to be a bit more competitive, to try and fight for the podium. I knew that Marquez and Maverick were a bit stronger. I hoped I was fast enough for a fight for the podium with Iannone, but Andrea was faster than I was,” said the 89-time premier class winner.

“I wasn't able to arrive, to attack. I suffered a little bit in the hot conditions, because the front gave me more problems than in the practice. We have to work. Now we have ten days. The next round will be in Europe, where the situation will be different.”

Valentino has won at Jerez a total of nine times across all classes and incredible 21 times in Spain, with his latest success coming in 2016, when he won from pole position. Valentino’s last pole came at Motegi in 2016, whereas his last fastest lap was achieved at Le Mans, the same year.

Marquez dominates Americas GP, Crutchlow crashes, Dovi heads championship

Marc Marquez cruised to his sixth straight win at the Circuit of the Americas during Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas, as he goes 2nd in the championship. It is Marquez’s first win of the season, with his last win coming in Australia last year at Phillip Island. The Repsol Honda ace, now being dubbed ‘The King of COTA’ only had one challenge the whole race, from Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone - who took his first podium since Valencia in 2016.

After a tricky start, Marquez swooped into 2nd, chasing Iannone as the pack headed through ‘The Snake’ section. At turn 12, he made his move to pass Iannone. Pole-sitter Vinales got swallowed up in the pack and was 3rd, with Crutchlow, Zarco and Rossi in behind.

The field quickly spread out and Marquez went about setting fastest lap after fastest lap, stretching the lead to well over seven seconds by the end, to take yet another commanding GP victory in the USA.

Maverick Vinales was able to get past Andrea Iannone but front tyre degradation meant that Valentino Rossi could only secure fourth, behind his teammate and fellow countryman. Andrea Dovizioso moved into 5th ahead of Zarco, whereas Argentine GP winner Cal Crutchlow crashed unceremoniously at turn 20 on lap 7. He finished the race 19th after remounting.

One of the stand-out performances came from Esteve Rabat, who put in another marvellous ride to take 8th place, ahead of Jack Miller. It was the first time ever that the 2014 Moto2 champion had scored back-to-back top tens in MotoGP. Aleix Espargaro completed the top ten, whereas a despondent Jorge Lorenzo could only roll home in 11th. This was his seventh finish outside the top ten in 21 races.

Danilo Petrucci took a subdued 12th, with Pol Espargaro, Takaaki Nakagami and Alvaro Bautista completing the points. A surprise was that Franco Morbidelli finished in last place, the first that has happened in his career since Losail in 2014, during the Moto2 race.

Alex Rins crashed out along with Hafizh Syahrin and Karel Abraham. All crashes were separate incidents and all riders are OK.

MotoGP: Americas Preview: Weird in Austin

Let’s be honest, MotoGP has been weird this year. It has been weird in the sense of unpredictability, weather, results and even in terms of we are arriving at round three, with no clear indication of who is going to be the champion in any class - something that, for the past two seasons, has not been doubted. And, MotoGP is set to get weirder this weekend as Austin approaches - the weirdest city in Texas, whether that be politically, culturally or entrepreneurially. So, for all my weekend, I’ll be watching MotoGP America…

Cal Crutchlow is the championship leader. Nope. Don’t panic. Your screen hasn’t gone wonky, Britain’s Cal Crutchlow heads to America in the lead of the MotoGP championship. Being British, I am going to relish and cherish this moment. However, we must be realistic and not expect this every weekend. ‘Our Cal’ has been in fine form and could be on for his fourth consecutive top-10 finish - something that he hasn’t achieved since 2016, at Misano, Aragon, Motegi and Phillip Island. Already writing his names in record books, he is the first Brit to lead the premier class championship since Barry Sheene in 1979 and could be the first Brit to win back-to-back races in the premier class since Barry Sheene at the Swedish and Belgian GPs in 1977 - both races of which are no longer staged. 41 years is a long time to wait, but don’t write Cal off just yet!

Andrea Dovizioso slipped to 2nd place in the championship standings following what was a damage limitation event in Argentina. The Italian is right in the hunt for the championship, with just three points separating him from his ex-teammate at the top of the standings. Looking for his 10th premier class win and his 19th win overall, it would be fair to say that Dovi has a chance at COTA, albeit not a massive one, nor a slim one. When he has finished at the circuit, he has been no lower than 7th. A total of two podiums but no wins mean that the 32-year-old could well be out to prove a point. Can he give Ducati their first win in the USA since 2007, when Casey Stoner blitzed the field at Laguna Seca.

Flying the French flag in third place is Johann Zarco, who has been nothing short of admirable in the way he has carried on his form from 2017. The double Moto2 champion is 10 points behind Crutchlow but is in sublime form. He has 19 consecutive point-scoring finishes, of which the last seven have been in the top ten. Of those last seven, he has been on the front row in the last six races and converted three of them to podiums. Still chasing that elusive first premier class GP win, Zarco may well pull something out of the bag in America. He has been no lower than fifth at the COTA circuit since 2015 and will hope to make it four podiums in the last five starts. Could he become the first French rider EVER to win a GP in America?

Maverick Vinales was on top of the world coming into COTA last year, with a perfect 50 points and the championship lead. However, his season soon unravelled and it all started at turn 18 of the COTA circuit. Now Vinales’ mentality is different, he knows that he needs to win in order to stay in the title hunt for Yamaha. 17 points adrift of Crutchlow and 29 points down from the same point last season, Vinales is struggling. If he fails to get on the podium at the Americas GP, it will be his fifth consecutive race without one - the first time since 2016 that he would’ve gone this long without Sunday silverware. Vinales is a winner at the track though, with a masterful Moto2 victory in 2014. His best premier class GP result is 4th on a Suzuki in 2016 and COTA is one of eight circuits he is yet to get on the premier class rostrum. Will he correct that?

Captain America, Marc Marquez has been nothing short of headline-grabbing since Argentina but in the USA, he has been nothing short of record-breaking. He has won the last 11 races he has taken part in the USA, with the last time he wasn’t a winner being in 2010 at Indianapolis, when he was 10th in the 125cc class. He has been on pole in every single COTA race and has looked uncatchable in each race. Whilst Marquez may be able to take his 12th GP win in America, Valentino Rossi’s record of 21 in Spain seems like it may live a bit longer. However, with his form at the circuit, we may as well rename the USA ‘Ameriquez’.

Plucky, unlucky and gutsy Jack Miller is sixth in the MotoGP standings, following his heroic efforts in Argentina. The popular and charismatic Australian dazzled everyone with his rodeo-style riding at Termas de Rio Hondo but it’ll be interesting to see how much MotoGP’s latest Cowboy adapts in Texas. Miller hasn’t got the most sparkling track record at Austin venue, with his best result in the premier class coming last year on the Marc VDS Honda, in 10th. If he manages another top ten, it will be the first time since 2014 that he has managed to get six consecutive top ten finishes and the first time since 2012 between Jerez and Assen that an Australian has done the same - it was Casey Stoner back then. Stoner was also the last Australian to win a MotoGP race in America, can Jack do it?

Danilo Petrucci is just behind his Australian teammate in the standings, placing a healthy 7th position. If he was to score more points at COTA, it would be the first time Petrucci has got five consecutive point-scoring finishes since 2015, between the Sachsenring and Misano. In 2017, he finished the GP of the Americas in 8th place which is his best result at the circuit so far. There is much speculation about Petrucci for 2019 already, with some saying he will be in the Factory Ducati team. If he performs again this weekend, he may well be heading to that set-up, especially if Jorge Lorenzo has another slump.

Valentino Rossi is 8th in the world championship standings, his lowest position since coming back to Yamaha in 2013. The Italian was caught up with Marquez in Argentina, leaving him 19th - his worst finishing position ever in GP racing. Having never won at COTA, his last victory in the USA was in 2008, at Indianapolis in torrential wind and rain. Rossi will want to be on the podium at COTA for a second season running, looking to go one better and take the victory should the opportunity present itself.

Dani Pedrosa is languishing in the championship, down in 12th after his accident at Termas de Rio Hondo. The Spaniard will race this weekend, despite a wrist injury, so expect him to be tentative and not to feature in the leading group. If he fails to finish the race on Sunday, it will be the first time since Phillip Island and Sepang in 2014 that he would’ve suffered back-to-back DNFs. Pedrosa’s last win in the USA was in 2012 at Indianapolis and he was 3rd in the race last year. A dark horse on paper but realistically, it is all about damage limitation for Dani.

Languishing even further in the championship is a seemingly bewildered Jorge Lorenzo, who, besides Xavier Simeon, is the worst performing Ducati in the championship. The Factory Ducati rider is rumoured to have an offer on the table at Suzuki and may well be inclined to take it if he can’t pick his results up this weekend. With only two podiums at COTA, he hardly looks likely to improve this weekend. 9th last year on the Ducati, Lorenzo was 2nd the year before - remaining his best result at the circuit. His last win in the USA came in 2010 at Laguna Seca - happy memories seeming a long time ago.

The Suzuki pairing of Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone are 9th and 10th respectively. Speculation is rife regarding who will be riding at the team next season and all indications point towards it not being Iannone. The Italian has one podium at COTA, in 2016 and also set the fastest lap in 2015 - which whilst not being a lap record, has not been bettered since the switch to Michelin tyres. Alex Rins on the other hand has always gone well at COTA. He missed the MotoGP race last year due to injury but is the only rider to have won a Moto3 and a Moto2 race at the circuit. Can he become the first ever rider to win a race in all three categories in the USA?

The KTM outfit got their first points in Argentina from Pol Espargaro, who heads the Austrian manufacturer’s charge towards the top ten. Espargaro’s best finish in the MotoGP class at the track is 6th, in his first year in the premier class. He didn’t finish the race last year but was 7th in 2016, so his form is good. Bradley Smith has yet to score points in the championship and if he fails to do so at COTA, it will be his worst start to a championship since his first ever season racing in GP, back in 2006. In his first three years in MotoGP, Smith finished 12th, 5th and 6th at COTA, although he hasn’t scored any points for the last two seasons at the venue. Can he join his teammate and break into the top 15?

Aprilia have not always gone well at COTA, however this year, with the likes of Scott Redding and Aleix Espargaro, they may be in the hunt for top ten positions. Redding was a pole-sitter in the Moto2 class in 2013, whilst he has finished the last two MotoGP races at the track in 6th and 12th. With 12th being his best finish to-date on the Aprilia, that will be his target. Aleix Espargaro’s target will be to finish a race in the points this weekend, as he is yet to do so in 2018. If he doesn’t score points at COTA, it will be his worst start to a season since 2006 in the 125cc class. Aleix’s best result at the track is 5th, on the Suzuki in 2016.

Avintia Ducati are enjoying a great start to the season with Esteve Rabat, who finished a career best 7th during the Argentine GP and is therefore 11th in the standings. The 2014 Moto2 champion comes to Texas with just a point between him and the top ten, and just six points between him and the top five. If Rabat collects more points this weekend then it’ll be the first time in almost a year since he has had four point-scoring rides on the bounce. Xavier Simeon is still learning at the foot of the championship but he has brought the bike home safely on each occasion. The Belgian has has been in the points in the last two Moto2 races at the COTA track and was on pole in 2015; had it not been for a collision with Zarco at turn two, he probably would’ve made it on to the podium.

In 13th place in the standings is Hafizh Syahrin, the Malaysian sensation making unbelievable progress on the Tech 3 Yamaha. If Syahrin scores more points this weekend, it’ll be his fifth consecutive race with points. Across all classes, he has finished the last 19 races, with his worst result being a 17th at Silverstone. His best result at COTA is 6th from 2015, whilst he was 11th last season - on both occasions, in the Moto2 class.

The Marc VDS squad are finding things a bit more difficult in 2018. Franco Morbidelli is, so far, the team’s only point scorer in MotoGP, having been 12th and 14th. Morbidelli dominated the Moto2 race at COTA in 2017, taking the win, pole and the fastest lap - which was also a new lap record. Tom Luthi, with the exception of 2013 when he did not start, has always scored points at COTA, with a best result of 2nd in the Moto2 race last year. Can he get his first MotoGP points this weekend, as well as Switzerland’s first points in the premier class since 1995?

The Angel Nieto team have had a bit of a tricky start to 2018 but in the races, Alvaro Bautista is seemingly able to just ‘get on with it’ and force the Ducati into or near the points. Apart from 2014, Bautista has always scored points at COTA, his best result being in 2013 on the Gresini Honda, in 8th. His teammate, Czech rider Karel Abraham, has not scored points at COTA since 2014, when he was 14th. A 20th in Argentina last time out was his worst finish in MotoGP since Misano 2015. He will not want a repeat performance.

Takaaki Nakagami is the last Independent rider we have not yet covered. The Japanese rider got his first points in MotoGP and heads to a track at which he was on the podium at last season. Besides the first season in 2013, Nakagami has been in the points every year at COTA and he will be hoping to carry that run on in MotoGP this weekend.

National Superstock 1000: McConnell and Reid share spoils, Clarke and Rouse impress

Buildbase Suzuki’s Billy McConnell kept held of his National Superstock 1000 championship lead after taking a solid 3rd place in the first race, whilst a masterful win in race two was good enough for the Australian to lead the pack out of Brands Hatch. Andy Reid elevated himself into 2nd in the standings, following a race win on Saturday and a 3rd on Sunday. He is 16 points behind the popular Australian, as the championship heads to Oulton Park.

Other notable performances included Chrissy Rouse, who was back on the podium for the first time this year on Sunday, placing a joint best 2nd place. His IMR Racing teammate Jordan Gilbert continued to impress, as he finished 13th and 9th. They are 5th and 9th in the standings respectively.

Reigning champions Morello Kawasaki endured another difficult weekend, with Josh Elliott down in 8th place on Sunday, having been disqualified from Saturday’s race - something that Morello Racing were not responsible for. However, Sam Clarke had a fantastic weekend with a double top ten, achieving two seventh place finishes. They are 6th and joint-10th in the championship respectively.

Tyco BMW had a mixed weekend, following Keith Farmer’s 2nd place finishing in race one. The reigning British Supersport champion was in the lead group before a retirement from race two. Teammate Dan Kneen failed to score points in either race, having finished less than a tenth behind the points in race one and a DNF in race two.

Mission Racing had a frantic weekend, with Fraser Rogers and Ben Godfrey both crashing during the meeting. The team pulled together though, with Rogers taking 12th in race two, whilst Long Eaton’s Godfrey was 15th; neither scored points in the first race. The team are down to two riders too, after the sudden decision by Brayden Elliott to pull out of the championship.

Joe Collier and Alastair Seeley also had a great weekend, with both riders finishing both races in the to six. The EHA Racing Aprilia of Collier had a great battle with Seeley on track, with the former coming out of the weekend with a 5th and 4th, whilst Seeley took a 6th and 5th. Seeley will head to the next round of the championship looking to repeat Mason Law’s 2017 Oulton Park achievement on the Stauff Connect Academy Kawasaki and take victory, as well as give Brent Gladwin’s team their first podium in the class since Snetterton last year.

Alex Olsen was right in the mix on Sunday, having scored his first top ten of the year on Saturday. He went on to achieve his first top six of the year on Sunday, looking like he has found something that will put him up the sharp end at every round.

Jones Dorling Racing’s Ash Beech scored his first points of the year too, with a 15th and 14th in race one and two respectively. The Cotswolds-based outfit have shown much promise in testing and now look to build on the result as Oulton Park beckons.

Also, an honorable mention to Tom Ward, who looks like he found something during the weekend. Whilst still out of the points in 20th place, the Halsall Racing team rider moved from 26th on the grid during race two. Watch for the Canterbury rider to break into the points in the next meetings.

OMG Racing positive following learning weekend

OMG Racing UK enjoyed a steep learning curve at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Fawkham, Kent. It proved to be a testing weekend, but delivered some positives and as the weekend wore on, both BSB star Gino Rea and National Superstock 1000 rookie Ben Luxton made great improvements in the setting of their bikes, giving the OMG team much promise as the Oulton Park test day looms large.

A frenetic Brands Hatch Indy circuit saw Gino Rea take to the venue for the first time in race weekend conditions. Originally from Tooting, this is as close to home as he will get all year. Rea, whilst down the leaderboard in terms of time, was just fractionally off the pace of the top guys - highlighting just how hard and competitive the British Superbike championship is this year. The Londoner placed 19th and 17th, but a breakthrough on Sunday gives Gino and the team the confidence that they will soon be placed in the top spots.

"It was a tricky weekend! The first session on Friday was wet and my limited experience at Brands Hatch Indy put us on the backfoot a little," started the ex-GP star.

"During the weekend the whole OMG team worked hard to find the right direction and after the first race struggles we made a bold decision to revert to something we had at Cartagena, when I was feeling great with the bike. In the second race, I immediately lapped 0.4 seconds quicker and was behind Ellison before the red flag came out due to rain. It's important that we made this step forward, especially for my confidence; we cut the gap in laptime to the leaders pretty much by half from race one to race two so we are taking the positives!

"In the wet restart of race two, I got a great start and was OK at the start of the race, battling in the pack, but as it rained more, I just had zero grip, mainly on corner entry. The rear of the bike was coming around on me every time I leaned the bike in, so I had to just bring it home. I'm confident we'll regroup and find the right way forward for round three at Oulton Park. Thank you to everyone in OMG Racing for their hard work and continued efforts!'

Ben Luxton made his debut at Brands Hatch Indy on a National Superstock 1000 machine and whilst not being in the points, he learnt valuable lessons in riding style and will use this to his advantage going forward to Oulton Park - his local circuit. Two 26th place finishes and bringing the bike home safely were the positives to take from the weekend.

"It has been a hard weekend. I have come here having not ridden a 1000cc bike at the track before and this showed during qualifying. Once you have a bad qualifying at Brands Indy, it is hard to make those places back up," began Luxton, still adapting to the 1000cc bike.

"We tried an SC1 tyre in the last race and it felt loads better. We have a test on the 26th of April at Oulton Park and we will try the same compound tyre there, with it hopefully working for us. The aim is still the top 10 and with Oulton being a local track for me, hopefully we will be a lot nearer to that target at round three. I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to all of my sponsors who continue to support me."

OMG Racing are remaining philosophical after the weekend, even though there were no points scored. The team look ahead to apply the positives that they have gathered from their 2nd ever BSB round.

"We have another weekend under our belts, more data digesting over the coming weeks and another chapter of knowledge written into the OMG library! Incredible positivity and tenacity shown from the whole team has yet again shone through the darkening clouds and we have managed to get some breakthroughs in set up ahead of Oulton Park. We are loving being part of the OMG family and to support a team of people whose foundations are based on looking after each other, success is on the cards," said the new outfit, adapting to their new life in the British Superbike circus.

Ex-racer and crew chief Ray Stringer believes that only luck is keeping both riders away from the top 10, as everything else is already falling into place - a remarkable achievement for such a new team.

"All I would like to add is that we really are on the verge of the top ten and higher results. Gino is so consistent in his riding and attitude. We just need a bit of luck as all of the other ingredients are present!"

Team manager Paul Curran was also upbeat after the race, as he felt that he and the rest of his team found something that will elevate their riders into the points. Considering the track was new to the team and the riders, Curran praised how everyone has pulled together and are working well with each other.

"It has been an educational weekend for us all. We made a step forward with Ben, with a few changes helping him get away from the 600cc style of riding. Oulton is his local track and hopefully, we can have a better weekend there.

"With Gino, it was always going to be hard work. We know how close the lap times are around Brands Hatch Indy and Gino has not been a million miles away. However, you don’t have to be a million miles away to make it look like you are off the pace around there.

"In our debut season, the team are forming incredibly well and we have learnt a lot more about the bike this weekend, which will stand us in good stead for the Oulton Park test coming up."


Sykes suffers bike turn problems

2013 World Superbike champion Tom Sykes has claimed that bike turning problems hindered his progress for a victory challenge at Aragon. The Huddersfielder finished sixth in both races and is mired down in 7th in the championship - an incredible and seemingly insurmountable 51 points down after just six races.

“I am really suffering with turning the bike and it is a shame. We are good in some areas but overall, in the long corners, I really suffered in turning and finishing off the corner. It is disappointing but I suppose it has been one of those weekends.

"We never got the answer and the race set-up. I am surprised at this because on Friday we had something but obviously everybody else has improved and we didn’t. I had some limit on the front tyre but overall we just missed a little bit of turning and I was not able to utilise the full grip from the rear tyre because of this. I could not get much more from myself and I am disappointed for this.”

The next round of the championship takes place this coming weekend at Assen, The Netherlands. Sykes has had three second-places at the track in the last four races, with his last win at the track coming in 2013.

Duff tyre keeps Ellison from victory attack

Having qualified 3rd, James Ellison was one of a few riders who looked like they could ride at the pace of Brad Ray and Shane Byrne. However, the Anvil Hire Tag Racing Yamaha rider failed to blossom after a duff set of tyres pushed him down the running order in race one. He fought hard in race two, picking up 5 crucial points for his championship assault.

“It’s frustrating because we’ve been really strong all weekend, I’m gutted for everybody in the team and myself,” began Ellison, who, for a 2nd consecutive season, had an unlucky weekend at Brands Hatch Indy.

“I had a great grid position for race one, but I had a duff tyres, front and rear, and a couple of guys behind me had the same issue. Both tyres just had no grip, and we hadn’t had that issue all weekend long, which was really frustrating.

“Because of the issues we had I didn’t get a good lap time in, which set me back for race two on the grid. The heavens then opened, I missed the exit for pit lane because we were setting the bike up for the wet. But I fought my way through to get some solid points from the back of the grid, so I’m fairly happy with that.

“These last two races aren’t a showing of what we’re really capable of, so we’ll take away the positives and work towards Oulton Park.”

Ellison slips outside of the ‘Showdown’ places and subsequently out of the top 10 too. The Cumbrian is 12th, 2 points behind McAMS Yamaha rider, Josh Brookes.


Ellison slips

Lowes ‘too far from lead’ in Aragon

Alex Lowes finished the Aragon WSBK round with two top-10 results, with a 7th and 4th leaving the 2013 BSB champion in fifth overall in the championship.

Both Yamaha riders failed to build on their Thailand success, despite usually being strong and competitive at the circuit. It was the fourth time that Lowes has beaten his teammate, as the next call for WSBK is van der Mark’s ho,e circuit of Assen, in The Netherlands.

"The race was really tough for me! I struggled from the start and I was simply not fast enough. I said it yesterday, but today was the same, in as much as it was a case of just doing the best I can. I understood after 2 or 3 laps that I did not have the pace to fight for the victory so my target was to finish the rest of the race in the best position possible, make no mistakes, and ride as fast as I could till the end,” said a disappointed Lowes.

“That is, obviously, what you should do in every race but normally you have a little bit in reserve for when you want to pass people. To be honest, I didn't really worry about anyone else and just tried to do the best I could.

“I realised Michael was struggling with the front near the end of the race and I managed to get past him after a nice little battle but, like I said, it was too far from the lead. It is not too important to me to finish in front of him when we are ten seconds from the front. Hopefully, next week in Assen, Michael's home race, we want to be battling like that for the win!"

BSB: Ellison ‘excited’, aims to win races

Cumbrian James Ellison heads to one of his favourite circuits on the British Superbike calendar this weekend, at the 1.2-mile Kent circuit. Ellison was dominant until the races last season, until he crashed in race one and didn't make the start for race two.

“I’m really excited for this weekend, I was pleasantly surprised at Donington Park because we still had some work to do to make it into a race winning bike. I was happy running at the front, but I didn’t think we had a winning bike as of then, turns out we did. Although we didn’t win the race it proved it wasn’t far away at all, we still have some development work to complete, so we’re only going to keep moving forward.

“I do go well at Brands Hatch Indy, and the only issue with that is expectations are really high, so if we don’t win or set a lap record then people are disappointed. We are heading into this weekend knowing we still have work to do and must focus on making the bike stronger than it was at Donington. We’re under no illusions that it’s going to be easy just because I hold the lap record or that it’s a good circuit for me and the bike is working well at the minute.

“The aim is to win races, my expectations aren’t too high but I’m confident it’s going to be a good weekend. The goal is to win races, that’s always the goal and my main focus. We’ll know a lot more after FP1, but I’m heading there confident and very excited.”

Ellison completed a double win at the circuit back in 2015 on the JG Speedfit GB Moto Kawasaki, whilst also winning two races on the GP layout at the end of the 2016 season. Anvil Hire Tag Racing won on the GP layout once last season, with Josh Brookes in the last race of the season.