Leon Morris (2) and Marty Nutt (77)

Leon Morris (2) and Marty Nutt (77)

Rapido Sport Racing Ducati continued its run of fantastic form in the National Superstock 1000 series, as Tristan Palmer scored his second podium in three races in beautiful, sunny conditions at Brands Hatch in Kent.

After scoring victory on debut at Knockhill for the team, Palmer narrowly missed out on a podium at the last event at Snetterton, and was determined to put on a good show around the iconic Brands Hatch GP circuit. A bad tyre choice in qualifying left the midlander out of position in qualifying in seventh on the grid. In the morning warm-up the team went back to a softer compound tyre and Tristan went straight to the top of the time sheets.

Palmer got a mediocre start in the race and found himself eighth over the line at the end of lap one, but got his head down and rode methodically to pick his way through the pack. With three laps to go he was sitting fourth, and made a superb move going into the fast right-hander at Hawthorne Bend to claim third position on the penultimate lap. Despite looking faster than the riders ahead, he didn’t quite have enough time to move further forward, crossing the line just 0.3s behind the second-placed rider.

The Rapido Sport Racing team didn’t enjoy the same success in the British Superbike class, as Matteo Baiocco had a lot of catching up to do to re-learn the Brands Hatch GP circuit having not ridden it for several years, and never on a BSB machine. The task was made harder still by the fact that all-important track time on Friday was restricted to the Indy circuit.

Matteo Baiocco Rapido Sport Racing

Matteo Baiocco Rapido Sport Racing

In race one, Matteo started down in 19th, but suffered an electrical fault and had to pull into the pits on the second lap. The second race was much better for the Factory Ducati Superbike test rider, and he worked his way from 20th up into 14th to score two championship points. His pace improved throughout the weekend, and this experience bodes well for when the championship returns to Brands Hatch for the series finale in October.

The Ducati 848 Challenge proved to be as unpredictable as the weather at Brands Hatch. It looked to be another Jonathan Railton (Boast Plumbing/Art of Racing) and Marty Nutt (Ducati Coventry/JHP) show in race one, but an uncharacteristic mistake from Railton led to him crashing out at the bottom of Graham Hill on lap ten while holding a three second lead over Marty Nutt. Leon Morris (Stockbridge racing) was second and Mike Edwards (Ohlins @P&H Motorcycles) third, taking the final podium position.

In race two Leon Morris led from the start with Nutt and Edwards in close contention, however soon it became apparent it was only ever going to be between former champion Morris and Nutt. Nutt tried turn the screw and led from half distance but a big moment for Nutt on lap seven opened the way for Morris to take the lead which he was never to relinquish. Railton caught Edwards on the penultimate lap to take the final podium place.

Steve Moore, Team principal Rapido Sport Racing Ducati (BSB), said: “It was a tough weekend for the team, we struggled in qualifying and two or three pieces of bad luck which didn’t help. We missed Q2 by 0.003 of a second and by an even smaller margin to be on the fourth row. To start from that far back here is always going to be difficult and it’s a circuit where we have had no testing, but we can come back here again later in the season with a good set-up for the last race of the year. To start 22nd on the grid and to finish in the points and 14th, well I think we would take that before the start of the race.”

Tristan Palmer, National Superstock 1000 rider, said: “It was another amazing race. I got a bit boxed in at the start but I didn’t panic as I knew it was a long race. I did leave it just a bit too long to pull the pin at the end there – I had a fantastic last two laps but should’ve got second really. I’m still really happy with another podium for the Rapido Sport Racing Ducati team. I can’t wait to get to Oulton Park – I love it there and the Panigale should work well again.”

Leon Morris, Ducati 848 Challenge rider, said: “It was great to get a win, it was becoming so frustrating because I knew I had it in me to win. This time I had a good start, we had been having problems getting off the line at Snetterton so it was good to be in a position to challenge for the win from the off. Hopefully this win can get my season started.”

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