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Smiths Racing Donington

TOP TEN FOR HICKMAN AND POINTS FOR ELLISON AT DONINGTON

The Smiths Racing BMW team were back in Bennetts British Superbike Championship action and it proved to be a strong round three for the team at Donington Park with Peter Hickman taking three top ten finishes and James Ellison scoring his first points of the season.

The triple header weekend meant it was a busy time for all concerned, particularly on Saturday with practice, qualifying and the first 26-lap race and times were extremely close around the 1.97-mile National circuit. Just one second covered the top twenty riders with the end result being that Hickman lined up in 12th on the grid for the opening race with James slightly further back in 19th on the Smiths Racing BMW S1000RR.

The afternoon’s race saw the two riders suffer differing fortunes on the first of the 26 laps with Peter moving up to tenth but James slipping back to 23rd. However, whilst Hicky, from Lincoln, hovered on the edge of the top ten for much of the race, Cumbrian Ellison was able to make good strides forward and with Hickman crossing the line in tenth place, James joined him in the points for the first time this season in 15th.

Sunday’s first race saw Peter start from the fourth row of the grid with James three rows further back and conditions were considerably different compared to Saturday with cooler temperatures and showers. On this occasion, Hicky ran inside the top ten throughout and was involved in a battle with former MotoGP rider Hector Barbera for much of the race and eventually took ninth position. After a great start, which saw him move up four places on the opening lap, Ellison just missed out on the points in 16th.

Hickman was able to start the third and final race from seventh on the grid with Ellison on the sixth row with the two riders completing the first lap in ninth and 13th respectively. Ellison was enjoying his most productive ride of the year and was soon inside the top ten and in the wheel tracks of his team-mate Hickman although he again suffered with arm pump in the second half of the race.

It resulted in James running on at the chicane and dropping back to 15th but Peter enjoyed another strong ride and seventh place was not only his best finish of the weekend but also his second-best finish of the season so far.

Peter Hickman: “It’s been a tough weekend but we’ve steadily improved although we’ve had an issue under braking which we’ve never totally cured. It was slightly better in the last race and I’ve ended the weekend with three top ten finishes so we’re making progress. The potential of the bike is huge, we’re just not quite unlocking it all at the moment but we’re moving in the right direction for sure.”

James Ellison: “My confidence with the bike is improving all the time and this weekend was particularly good as my lap times were the closest they’ve been to the leaders all year. That’s very encouraging but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the results I felt we deserved this weekend due to suffering with arm pump. I got my first points of the year, which is obviously pleasing, and we again improved in each session so once we get these little issues sorted, we’ll be able to show our true pace and potential.”

Darren Jones, Team Co-ordinator: “We’re learning the bike all the time and we had a few issues this weekend which we never got to the bottom of; we made them better, but never totally cured them. Both riders chipped away all weekend and made good progress, particularly James who got his first points of the season which was obviously pleasing but they both suffered with arm pump which affected their results. James suffered with it more, so it was a shame it stopped him from finishing inside the top ten but the progress both riders are making is there to see so once we iron out these few issues, we’ll be in a good position.”

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (26 laps)
1 Scott Redding (Ducati)
2 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
3 Xavi Fores (Honda)
4 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)
5 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)
6 Hector Barbera (Kawasaki)
10 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)
15 James Ellison (Smiths Racing BMW)

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race two (26 laps)
1 Scott Redding (Ducati)
2 Xavi Fores (Honda)
3 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)
4 Josh Brookes (Ducati)
5 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
6 Christian Iddon (BMW)
9 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)
16 James Ellison (Smiths Racing BMW)

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race three (26 laps)
1 Scott Redding (Ducati)
2 Xavi Fores (Honda)
3 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)
4 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
5 Josh Brookes (Ducati)
6 Christian Iddon (BMW)
7 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)
15 James Ellison (Smiths Racing BMW)

Championship Positions (after three rounds)
1 Redding 115pts
2 Bridewell 109
3 Mackenzie 108
4 Brookes 74
5 Fores 70
6 Buchan 68
11 Hickman 41
23 Ellison 2

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