Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha’s Josh Brookes remains Haslam’s closest title challenger despite a somewhat challenging weekend at Assen.
Brookes was fourth quickest in Friday’s dry sessions, albeit some six tenths off pace setter Shane Byrne, but struggled in the wet qualifying to bag an 11th place start for Sunday’s opening race, where just a couple of tenths’ deficit would see him unable to mount a strong challenge on the race leaders to eventually cross the line fifth.
Despite improving the pace in race two, he was the only rider in a five-bike train not to lead the race, but he was able to take advantage of late race slip ups by Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam to bag a much needed second place.
“This weekend has been similar to Oulton in many respects,” Brookes explained. “Qualifying let us down and made things a bit trickier for race day but I’m pleased with how we recovered.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit to be fast with a full fuel load and we’ve done everything we can to fix it, lowered the fuel, widened the tank, changed the tank, had fabricators panel beat it, but at the end of the day you can’t change the amount of fuel you carry. When the fuel load goes down I’m quick and I seem to be able to conserve the tyre well, even better than Shakey whose bike is really good on tyre wear.
“We’re doing something right, but we’re just missing a little something and in this game you can’t miss anything. I improved my lap times by a couple of tenths from race one to race two but I needed another couple of tenths to be as strong as I wanted to be.”
However, with the series now heading to Brands Hatch, where Brookes showed strong pace earlier this year before crashing out of second place, the 2015 champ hasn’t given up on another crown.
“We’re some way off now, but this is BSB. Anything can happen. One DNF for Leon and the title fight is wide open again. Brands was a strong round for us earlier this year and I feel I’ve improved since then. That was the very early stages of a step forward for us so I’d hope to think we’ll be better when we return. It’s simple; I have to win.”
Have a browse for your next bike on MCN Bikes For Sale website or use the MCN's Bikes For Sale App.