The challenging Knockhill Circuit

The challenging Knockhill Circuit

The MCE British Superbike Championship returns to action this weekend following a six week break and current Championship leader Alex Lowes will be looking to build on his impressive Oulton Park victory – however he’ll face tough competition from the chasing pack.

Pirelli Overview

It has been a successful start to the season for Pirelli following the introduction of an all new SC1 rear tyre which features a wider operating window of temperature. Proving incredibly popular with all of the riders, the new SC1 has been the tyre of choice in all six victories this year.

MCE British Superbike Championship Renowned for its inclement weather, Knockhill may well see the Pirelli Diablo Rain tyres utilised in a racing scenario for the first time this year, although 2012 stayed dry. Similar to the Brands Hatch ‘Indy’ circuit, this very short track means there will be no sustained high speeds, and the predominantly right handed corners will mean the left hand side of the tyre will require careful management, as it will take a few laps to build up the heat in this side.

This weekend also sees the return to action for the British Supersport Championship, and following on from support races at the World Superbike event at Donington Park, the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 and 600 classes will be racing at Knockhill. All three classes will once again be utilizing the Diablo Supercorsa SC V2 tyres.

MCE British Superbike Championship Race Preview

Current Championship leader Alex Lowes took his first victory of the year in the first race at Oulton Park, a race which also saw an uncharacteristic crash for reigning Champion Shane Byrne; as he attempted to chase the youngster down. Bouncing back with his fourth win of the year in the second race, Byrne sits just one point behind Lowes in the title chase. With a win and second place here last year, Byrne will be hoping for a repeat this weekend.

While many of the leading names will have used the past six weeks to rest and train, Australian Josh Brookes took on a whole new challenge when he took his Tyco Suzuki out to race ‘between the hedges’ at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT road races. Silencing any critics, and stunning the paddock, Brookes shattered the newcomers lap record, lapping over 127mph average lap of the demanding TT circuit. He now turns his attention back to BSB as he hunts his elusive first title.

Going head to head in the Supersport category both Alastair Seeley and Stuart Easton will again be swapping paint as they battle for the victory. Both riders also rode the North West 200, with Seeley once again dominating around the ‘Triangle’.

Knockhill in the sun Pirelli View

Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, Knockhill is challenging circuit in terms of tyres as the predominantly right handed nature of the track sees one side of the tyre suffer more. The long left hander of ‘Hislops’ onto the back straight is critical as it sets up an overtaking opportunity at the hairpin. Machine set up for Knockhill has to balance agility for the tight turns with braking stability for the approaches to the first and final corners.

We expect the majority of riders will choose the SC1 rear compound and hope the good weather for race day continues for yet another round!”

Stuart Easton

Stuart Easton

View from behind the screen

Mar-Train Yamaha rider Stuart Easton is looking forward to his home track as he sits just two points in arrears in the British Supersport Championship. “It’s always nice to come to Scotland and race in front of my home crowd. I don’t really have any additional Knockhill knowledge to be honest as I started out in Aprilia Superteen like everyone else but maybe I’ve been more concentrated on riding well there with all the local support, which makes it a real highlight for me.

We had a little track time at the North West after Oulton Park, and we had a very productive test at Kirkistown in Northern Ireland so I’m raring to go now.

Coming back to Supersport for the first few laps at Brands Hatch was a culture shock to be honest, it was pretty cut throat and I had to re-calibrate my brain. If you get caught up in the pack you have to battle for every corner, the bikes are so close but I do enjoy it a lot. The little Yamaha 600 is a great bike to ride, the machines have come on a lot since last time I’ve rode them and they have 15bhp more on tap! At Thruxton I had a faster pole time than the top Superbikes were lapping, it’s incredible really.

You can learn Knockhill pretty fast straight away but that last 2-3 tenths is hard to find, you have to really string the corners together smoothly and use the whole track. The first sector needs a lot of commitment and the final hairpin is also vital for that last lap move. If you stay fast and consistent you can be hard to pass round here for sure.

Physically it’s one of the hardest tracks as there is no rest and the weather obviously can play its part. At the end of the day it’s all about digging in, biting the screen and keeping your head down!”

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Knockhill

2012 Flashback:

Race one result:
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +1.199s
3: Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +1.551s
4: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +8.494s
5: Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +10.160s
6: Noriyuka Haga (Swan Yamaha) +10.211s
7: Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) +11.085s
8: Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +12.835s
9: Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +13.924s
10: Michael Rutter (MSS Kawasaki) +20.835s

Race two result:
1: Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda)
2: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.765
3: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +3.091s
4: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +4.119s
5: James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +11.068s
6: Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +11.227s
7: Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) +13.074s
8: Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +15.389s
9: Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +16.658s
10: Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) +21.224s

Championship standings after Oulton Park:
1: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 117
2: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 116
3: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 96
4: James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 71
5: Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) 68
6: Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) 43

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For more circuit and BSB information visit www.britishsuperbike.com

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