It was a tough opening day to the second round of the MCE British Superbike Showdown for title fighter Jake Dixon with handling issues leaving him 0.7 seconds off the pace after FP2.
The 21-year-old suffered with getting his ZX-10RR to turn at the high speed and technical Dutch circuit, leaving him lingering in 14th place in this morning’s first free practice and it looked like he’d end the second session in a similar position until he jumped into the top five in the closing stages.
However, while he’s in the top five the gap to the front is still bigger than he’d like it to be, but while he says there’s still a lot of work to do he’s not sure Shane Byrne will be able to consistently be that much quicker than the rest of the field come Sunday’s races.
“It’s been a difficult first day, probably one of the hardest Friday’s of the year so far,” Dixon told MCN at the track. “I just can’t turn the thing, I’m having to run a lot of lean angle to make it turn and where that’s hurting us is it affects a lot of other things too, but this track is so different to anywhere else we go.
“We’ve made a bit of headway but nothing spectacular, it’s quite hard work to be fair. The boys are working hard and we’re only two tenths off Leon, and Shakey is good for one laps but I’m not sure his race pace will be consistently in those times.
“It’s not been a good day, but we’ve got a few ideas so the boys are going to have a busy night. At the end of the day, we’ve got to win if we want to stay in the championship fight.
“We’ve never been here before on the Superbike and we’ve made some good headway but not enough. Fifth might not look so bad, but the gap to Shakey is 0.7.”
The RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki star was adamant he isn’t being hampered by the Moto2 testing crash he had last week in Spain.
“It’s obviously hard work at the minute as the bike isn’t doing what I want it to do. Usually this bike is a dream to ride and not even physical but today it’s being a bit of a handful, but the boys will get it sorted and like I say, god loves a trier!”
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