By Philip Wain
Christian Iddon leads the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship into the third round of the season at Brands Hatch this weekend and the Tyco BMW rider knows he will have a fight on his hands in his quest to celebrate a debut race win in Kent.
Iddon is the only rider to have finished on the podium in all four of the races so far this season and the Stockport rider will be pushing for his maiden BSB win after missing out in the previous races at Oulton Park by just 0.1s – first to Leon Haslam and then Richard Cooper.
“I had hoped to have started the season in the way I have; aside from winning a race already it’s been the perfect start for me,” said Iddon. “I’m feeling pretty happy but it will be ridiculously close at Brands because anything like a tenth, or less than a tenth, can make such a big difference. The win has to be our next goal, because I couldn’t have got much closer without getting it than I did at Oulton!”
Second in the standings is Shane Byrne and he arrives at his home round hunting his first win of the season for the Be Wiser Ducati team. The four-time Champion trails Iddon by 14 points after the opening four races of the season and after a pair of second places at the opening round at Silverstone, the four-time champion is gunning for a return to the top step of the podium.
Byrne said: “Obviously Oulton Park was somewhat disappointing for me but if every round was easy, you would get pretty bored and it is the challenge that has really been getting me going this season. We have been working hard and hopefully we can get to Brands this weekend, my home round, and really come out fighting as I don’t want it to be long before we’re back at the top again.”
Michael Laverty is one of four race winners from the opening two rounds and the Tyco BMW rider is gearing up for the next dogfight. The Ulsterman arrives at the 1.2-mile Kent circuit holding third place in the overall standings courtesy of a victory in the opening race of the season and a further three top six finishes and is seeking a podium return next weekend.
Laverty said: “I’m looking forward to Brands, and hoping we get some nice weather as we haven’t been graced with much sunshine so far this year! The Indy circuit provides a different challenge, with such a short lap you really have to perfect each corner to be in with a chance of winning. The lap times will be incredibly close and I think we will have around 10 riders lining up come Sunday believing they could win on the day.”
Meanwhile, JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Haslam, will be making his first appearance at Brands since 2008 and has new suspension components as well as a new fuel tank.
“I’m not completely happy with where the bike is but we haven’t had much dry track time, so we are still really trying to find a perfect base setting for UK tracks,” said Haslam. “We will have some different components from Showa and the new fuel tank, which will make matters a little easier. At the moment, the tank is big and round but the new one will make getting the body position right.”
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