BSB: Dixon finds form to bag front row start

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After a tough few opening rounds, Jake Dixon seems to have got his 2018 British Superbike Championship campaign going at Oulton Park this weekend.

The RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki rider will start second on the grid for tomorrow’s opening race after lapping just 0.130sec slower than polesitter and six-time champion Shane Byrne.

Dixon was outside the top ten in both races at Donington Park and managed to finish sixth last time out at Brands Indy and then crash out of the fight for the lead in the wet second race.

However, his dry pace has improved session by session at Oulton Park this weekend as the RAF team continue to make steps forward with the ZX-10RR.

“We’ve been there or there abouts in the dry throughout the first few rounds but we’ve missed those vital tenths,” Dixon told MCN.

“This weekend we’ve chipped away and I tell you what, they are making me work for it this year! It’s not easy any year but this year seems to be harder than ever.

“Now I seem to have this bike that’s working for me a bit better, we’ve improved it each session and I’m in a much better position than I was a few weeks ago. Things are coming together slowly, I’ve just got to keep my feet on the ground, plugging away slowly and my time will come, whether it’s tomorrow or in six weeks’ time! I’ve just got to continue doing what I’m doing and it’ll come.”

Dixon’s tough start to the year comes as somewhat of a surprise to the young gun. After such a strong 2017, his squad had tried to start out at each round with settings from last year, but that doesn’t seem to be working for the Norfolk-based outfit.

“I don’t know if the bike is reacting different to the tyres or what it is, I put my settings in from last year and the bike is unrideable so it must be something to do with how the tyre has changed this year.”

This weekend’s progress seems to have come from the introduction of a number of new components, but both Dixon and the team are remaining tight-lipped as to what they have changed.

“They aren’t so much new parts, it’s just we are putting parts in that we haven’t tried before. I can’t tell you what they are though,” he laughed.  

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing