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HICKMAN GIVES SMITHS RACING A STRONG START TO 2017

Smiths Racing BMW got their 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship campaign underway in fine style at Donington Park with Peter Hickman claiming fourth and eighth place finishes in the two races.

 

Mixed conditions throughout the first two days meant that grid positions for today’s first 20-lap race were decided by the overall times recorded across the three free practice sessions and so the Louth-based rider started from a strong fourth place on the second row of the grid.   Race day was dry and bright and Hickman enjoyed an excellent start in the opening race and was soon locked in a battle with a number of other leading riders. By half race distance, Peter remained in fifth place but was eyeing a podium finish and with just five laps to go, Hickman and rival Christian Iddon were right on the back wheel of third placed James Ellison.

A couple of laps from the flag, the 29 year old was up to third but a forceful move by Iddon meant he got the better of his BMW counterpart and as a result, Hickman ended up in fourth place.   With the sixth fastest lap of the opening race, Peter started race two from the second row but didn’t get such a good start and held a top seven place in the first half of the race. In the closing stages of the race, he came under pressure from 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli and the Frenchman relegated him to eighth with two laps to go.   Team-mate Lee Jackson suffered contrasting fortunes though and, after suffering a heavy spill in practice, he was due to line up for the first race in 26th place. However, the Lincoln rider suffered another heavy crash in Sunday morning’s warm up, crashing at Craner Curves, and with the bike too badly damaged to repair, he had to withdraw from the two races.

 

Peter Hickman: “Overall, it’s been a good weekend and a good start to the year. The bike was mega throughout all three days and we proved that in race one with a really strong fourth place. After a year on the Kawasaki, I’m still getting used to the characteristics of the BMW and we went slightly in the wrong direction in race two when we got caught out by the change in temperature. The more miles and laps we get under our belt, the stronger we’ll be and to be so strong so early in the season bodes well.”

 

Lee Jackson: “The first weekend hasn’t gone to plan and it’s really disappointing for both myself and the team not to have been out on the grid for today’s races. It’s the first time in my BSB career I haven’t been able to start one of the races but things have conspired against us. Coming into the weekend, I was feeling confident so it’s a shame we couldn’t get out today and show what we can do. I’ve bruised my left hand side but am otherwise fine so we’ll come back stronger in two weeks’ time at Brands Hatch.”

 

Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: “We’re obviously gutted for Lee and it’s not the way we wanted his season to start with us but it is what it is and we can’t do anything about it so we’ll go again at Brands Hatch and look to get him back in the heart of everything. On the plus side, Peter’s clearly shown what the bike is capable of and for him to start the season the way he has is better than any of us could have expected. The team’s worked tirelessly not just this weekend, but all winter and we’re over the moon to finish in the top four so early in the season. Pete’s still getting used to the BMW so will only get stronger whilst a fully fit Lee on a competitive bike will also be a force to be reckoned with.”

 

Round two of the MCE British Superbike Championship takes place at Brands Hatch over the Easter weekend (15/17 April) and for further information, please visit www.smithsracing.co.uk and www.britishsuperbike.com.

 

MCE British Superbike Championship race one (20 laps) 1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki) 2 Luke Mossey (Kawasaki) 3 Christian Iddon (BMW) 4 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 5 James Ellison (Yamaha) 6 Glenn Irwin (Ducati)

DNS Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW)

 

MCE British Superbike Championship race two (20 laps) 1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki) 2 Josh Brookes (Yamaha) 3 Glenn Irwin (Ducati) 4 Christian Iddon (BMW) 5 Luke Mossey (Kawasaki) 6 James Ellison (Yamaha) 8 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

DNS Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW)

 

Championship Points (after one round)

1 Haslam 50pts

2 Mossey 31

3 Brookes 29 = Iddon 29

5 Irwin 26

6 Hickman 21

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