Brookes tops opening day at Thruxton

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Josh Brookes has topped the opening day of the Thruxton round of the MCE British Superbike Championship, taking the top spot from a surprise performance form John Hopkins on the Moto Rapido Ducati, while championship rival Shane Byrne finished all the way back in seventh overall.

But with tyres as always a big question at the ultra-abrasive and fast Hampshire circuit, Brookes was quick to dismiss the day’s performances in the grand scheme of things ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying.

“It didn’t start out immediately that ok – we like to have the bike close to the same as the previous track, but Thruxton is so unique that you have to come with a whole different attitude. We started on a set-up that didn’t work that well, but we were able to improve all day and a fresh tyre left me at the top of the sheets.

“In the afternoon, that meant we were able to play around with SC1 and SC2 tyres. It’s left us with more questions than answers at the minute – I tried the SC0 too, and while I like it, will it last all race? I wasn’t terrible on the SC1 – I think I was 0.6 faster than Shakey on it – but it’s how it’s going to affect how the race goes.”

Hopkins was impressively only 0.161 behind Brookes, despite his lap coming with a single flyer at the end of the session after mechanical problems, ahead of strong performances from Brands Hatch podium man Richard Cooper, James Westmoreland on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki, and Luke Mossey, with Christian Iddon rounding out the top six.

Shane Byrne was eighth overall, but the reigning champion remained upbeat afterwards, working on tyre life and race distance simulations rather than single lap performance.

It was a difficult day for some of the other championship front-runners however, with James Ellison a distant sixteenth, with three-time champion Ryuichi Kiyonari even further back in twenty-fourth.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer