Confident Irwin determined to regain lost ground in standings advantage
Glenn Irwin had a 35-point advantage before the previous Bennetts British Superbike Championship event at Oulton Park, but that lead diminished in Cheshire and now the Honda Racing rider has just two points separating him from Jason O’Halloran ahead of this weekend.
A technical problem in round 11 left Glenn Irwin not scoring in a race for the first time this season, but aside from that, in the additional two races, the championship leader believes that Oulton Park proved to be one of his strongest rides of the season.
Reflecting on the previous rounds, Irwin said:
“I was really content with the last race at Oulton Park and the last race was our fastest with the best pace. The boys made some really good improvements with the bike during the weekend. Oulton Park is always a difficult circuit, and for it being the first time we were there with the new Fireblade, if we look at who was behind us, and how close we were to the likes of Danny, who has always shown good form there on the Kawasaki, it was a really strong race.
“The leaders on the day – hats off to them, they had something; I don’t think it was an outright one lap pace over us as qualifying showed, but what they did have was outright consistency and the ability to do that pace every lap, which is something that we can only improve with another visit there. That isn’t right in the forefront of my mind right now as we don’t race there again this season, but there was a lot of information gathered and we learnt a lot.
“When I talk about how close the bike is to the road bike that is still very much the case, and Oulton Park perhaps highlighted the need for some parts like links which we didn’t have access to, so small things like that could make a difference in the future, but to leave on a high as such is weird.
“I have said, I felt that the third race at Oulton Park was one of my best races I have rode this year, so that gave me confidence that we hadn’t suddenly went off the boil. I wouldn’t use the phrase that we struggled, as that wouldn’t be the case, but it proved to be a more difficult weekend for the entire team, including the support classes.”
The team then went from Oulton Park straight into testing, as they continue the development of the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, something that also gives Irwin confidence, knowing how much is still to come from the new machine.
“We had a little test after Oulton Park and without saying too much, it went really good and we worked through some things we wanted to try away from a race event, without the pressure of only having two free practice sessions,” added Irwin. “We were able to understand the improvements we have made to the bike and it was a successful test so confidence is high, the Honda is capable of performing this weekend, I am capable and we have to!
“I think going back to Donington with the test we did there last week, the improvements we have made will definitely help, so it is nice knowing that the areas we needed to improve earlier in the year we have, and we will continue to work harder. We have to be happy with what we have with the timeframe.”
The return to Donington Park, where the Irwin brothers bagged five podiums between them back in August on the shorter National circuit configuration, is something that the Honda Racing rider is looking forward to this weekend.
“I am confident,” added Irwin. “I can’t go and say I am going to win, but what I can say is the championship is close and I would like to go to Brands Hatch with obviously a lead to start with, and a bigger lead than what we currently have now.
“I think we need and want to do that, and being at a track where I think we realise that we can do that with our package is important. If we didn’t think we had the pace at the track with the bike it would be difficult aiming for higher results, but there is no reason why we can’t perform at a high level. Obviously our opposition can bring their A game as well, which can always make things difficult but that’s where we are.
“The weather could throw some variables as well, so that will be exciting. We have to not read into Oulton Park too much, and we backed that up with our test that followed Oulton Park, take the positives in terms of development and take the positives from the test that we are showing good form and try our best to turn that into good results this weekend.”
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Source: Confident Irwin determined to regain lost ground in standings advantage