Gary Pinchin: How do you deal with a problem like Kiyo and Rea?
It can’t be easy having Neil Tuxworth’s job. Just what does the Honda Racing boss say to his riders who are so blindingly quick that they can virtually win at will, but occasionally force the pace so hard that when they make the slightest mistake they crash quite spectacularly?
For the past two British Super bike rounds now we’ve seen Ryuichi Kiyonari and Jonathan Rea winning and crashing. Kiyo’s win crash, crash, win sequence in the past four races means he’s dropped a potential 50 points. Rea’s crash, win, second, crash tally means he’s dropped a potential 45. By my reckoning Kiyo would have been 21 points head of Rea in the championship and over eighty points clear of Haslam.
So what can Tuxworth say? Like Rea said at Mallory after his wild second race excursion into the Recticel, ‘my only mistake was trying too hard.’ And, at the end of the day, HM Plant riders are still 1-2 in the championship so I don’t believe Tuxworth will be moaning too much.
I did hear from someone who overheard a conversation within the Honda camp that the ‘management’ weren’t best pleased with Leon Camier’s blow par performance at Mallory but I’d say that’s a bit harsh.
Everyone was in the same boat (nearly literally with the amount of rain we had) with no dry practice until the 35minutes on Sunday morning. Leon had never been around the place on a superbike prior to that – and what happens? He’s the innocent party when Chris Martin’s Honda dumps a load of fluids at the new Gerard’s chicane and catches Camier unawares.
The resulting highside left him with a tweaked ankle but worse still even less time to set up the Bike Animal Honda so I don’t reckon anyone can say too much about his eighth and 11th places on Sunday.
Getting back to the front end of the series, one thing the Kiyo and Rea crashes have done is to have spiced up the championships. Leon Haslam’s continuing run of consistent finishes means he’s now only 31 points adrift of Kiyo in third place. One more dnf for Kiyo and Rea and suddenly Leon will be right back in contention – and don’t forget, the remaining four tracks really do suit the Ducatis.
Gregorio Lavilla has dipped out of the battle, thanks to his appalling run of bad luck and, to be honest, while he didn’t make a fuss about his injured ribs on Sunday, he was actually struggling quite badly, unable to get his breath on what is arguably the most physically demanding racetrack in the BSB series.
But he’s got time to recuperate properly now and, along with Leon, I reckon the Ducatis are going to be really strong in the run in to the title with Croft, Cadwell, Donington and Brands to come.
The interesting one for me is just how much more ground Shane Byrne can claw back on the championship leaders. His past four rides mark him down as the highest scoring rider and the Stobart Honda is so well sorted now that Shakey must be pretty confident he can rock up at any track and be on the money. Okay, he is still 70 points down and that’s a huge gap to close with only eight races (four rounds) left but his Mallory win and four straight podiums shows how up for it he is. Wonder what I could get on him winning the title right now?