As Hunt Misses Out
Bad luck and misfortune denied AP Kawasaki the results they deserved at Donington Park this weekend but there were still a number of highs to take from the latest round of the Metzeler National Superstock 600cc and 1000cc Championships.
Freddie Russo claimed his and the team's first ever pole position in the Superstock 600 class and newest team member Michael Booth finished in a brilliant ninth place in the Superstock 1000cc category. Leon Hunt was also running in a strong top ten finish in the 1000cc race before being hit by another rider which caused him to retire.
Brentwood rider Russo had been in superb form around the 2.5-mile GP circuit all weekend and duly lined up in pole position for Sunday's 14-lap race after crashing out of Saturday's rescheduled race held over from Oulton Park. Sunday gave him a second opportunity and a solid start saw him take third going into the first corner but he was pushed back to fifth by the end of the lap and it soon became apparent he had a problem. Unable to produce the lap times he had done in practice, Freddie gradually slipped back through the pack due to a throttle issue and he eventually finished in a disappointing ninth place.
The Superstock 1000cc race saw mixed fortune for the two riders and whilst Brough, East Yorkshire rider Booth was able to fight his way through the pack from 18th to finish in a superb ninth place at the end of the 15 laps, team-mate Hunt from Brighton was denied an even better finish when he was hit from behind on lap nine whilst running strongly inside the top ten once more.
Freddie Russo: "Saturday's race was my fault, I was trying to keep a defensive line and was tighter than my usual line and I tucked the front so a big apology to the team. They did an awesome job in getting the bike ready but throughout Sunday's race I was struggling with the throttle sticking open. It wasn't wide open but it was enough to prevent me from braking where I wanted to and as a result, I was missing my apexes and running wide. I couldn't push on as I would have liked and the riders in front just kept pulling away. It's a really disappointing end to what should have been a great weekend and not at all how I wanted it to turn out."
Michael Booth: "I'm really happy with not only the result but how the whole weekend has gone and to finish inside the top ten is brilliant. We worked really hard all weekend on the set-up of the bike and it's definitely the best it's been for me so all I had to do was concentrate on riding it. I didn't make the greatest of starts and lost a few positions but the safety car periods helped me and I was able to move forward each time and with my confidence increasing all the time I was able to make some good passes. I actually out-braked myself on the last lap and ended up taking people when I hadn't intended to and ninth is a fantastic result. Each time I ride the bike, I'm making good progress and the team are absolutely brilliant so full credit to them."
Leon Hunt: "Everything had gone really well this weekend up until the race itself and luck just deserted us when it mattered most. I was struggling a bit for grip but felt comfortable inside the top ten only to be hit from behind by Jimmy Storrar. It crumpled all the exhaust and there was simply no way of continuing so it's a real shame for myself and the whole team. I really like Donington so to come away with nothing from a weekend that promised a lot is very disappointing."
Alan Greig: "We came to Donington full of confidence and felt it would be a track that suited both of the bikes and practice proved that. Freddie was already on the front row for the Oulton race and put in a fantastic performance in qualifying to take his, and our, first ever pole position. Subsequently, we felt really good for the two races but Freddie just pushed that little bit hard and crashed out. He wanted to make up for it in Sunday's race but suffered a small technical problem which hindered him throughout. I was thrilled that he stayed out there though and salvaged a top ten result and whilst it wasn't the best result under the circumstances, it was a great effort.
"In the 1000cc class, both Michael and Leon qualified well and although Michael's still getting used to the bike, he rode brilliantly and to finish inside the top ten in only his second outing is a great effort. It should give him great confidence for Silverstone in two weeks time. Leon was all set for the top ten too only to be hit from behind by other riders and that's the second time he's been denied a top ten finish due to another rider's error so luck simply wasn't with him this weekend."
Metzeler National Superstock 600cc Championship race 1 (10 laps)
1 Keith Farmer (Yamaha) 16m07.584s2 Glenn Irwin (Kawasaki) +0.295s3 Deane Brown (Yamaha) +5.642s4 Connor Behan (Kawasaki) +5.877s5 Johnny Blackshaw (Triumph) +6.213s6 Josh Wainwright (Suzuki) +12.480s7 Jonathan Lodge (Triumph) +15.920s8 Tom Fisher (Kawasaki) +15.988s9 Ben Burke (Yamaha) +16.159s10 Tim Hastings (Kawasaki) +18.671sDNF Freddie Russo (AP Kawasaki)
Metzeler National Superstock 600cc Championship race 2 (14 laps)
1 Glenn Irwin (Kawasaki) 22m38.178s2 Johnny Blackshaw (Triumph) +3.985s3 Deane Brown (Yamaha) +6.549s4 Josh Wainwright (Suzuki) +7.949s5 James East (Yamaha) +8.169s6 Keith Farmer (Yamaha) +10.233s7 Ben Burke (Yamaha) +13.201s8 Tom Fisher (Kawasaki) +13.759s9 Freddie Russo (AP Kawasaki) +13.994s10 Alex Olsen (Triumph) +14.214s
Championship positions (after 10 rounds)
1 Farmer 177pts2 Behan 1193 Irwin 1094 Brown 1025 Russo 906 East 84
Metzeler National Superstock 1000cc Championship race (15 laps)
1 Richard Cooper (BMW) 24m58.597s2 Victor Cox (Kawasaki) +3.806s3 Luke Quigley (BMW) +5.173s4 David Johnson (BMW) +5.173s5 Taylor Knapp (Kawasaki) +6.489s6 Tristan Palmer (Honda) +7.041s7 Jimmy Storrar (BMW) +9.294s8 Jonathan Howarth (Kawasaki) +9.794s9 Michael Booth (AP Kawasaki) +10.404s10 Daniel Johnson (Kawasaki) +10.901sDNF Leon Hunt (AP Kawasaki)
Championship positions (after 10 rounds)
1 Cooper 180.5pts2 Buchan 1353 Quigley 1054 Palmer 965 Mainwaring 886 Jenkinson 86.515 Booth 3418 Hunt 13