- British Superbike Championship Season Review 2012 [DVD]
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Niall Mackenzie: The Autobiography
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Laverty eyes winning rides as Kirkhan fights back
|Monday, 20 August 2012 15:15|
Michael Laverty is determined to give his Samsung Honda team double race winning cheer in the holiday Monday, 27 August, eighth round of the 2012 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at their local Cadwell Park circuit. And his team-mate Jon Kirkham is confident that he can power out of a lean spell with strong results having tested strongly in recent weeks.
Laverty is all but sure of a place among the six "title-fighters" who go forward to the Showdown sequence over the final three rounds and seven races that will decide which rider takes the country's premier crown.
However the Ulsterman, currently fourth in the rankings, is not concerned about riding just for points to become mathematically certain of securing his position, rather he is going out to attack, aiming for winning rides, or as a minimum top three finishes, to boost his podium credit score.
The Showdown works on the basis that after the tenth round at Donington Park, the top six riders have their points scores deleted, and are given a score of 500 each to which is added their podium credit score, awarded on the basis of three for a win, two for second and one for third.
This is an area that Laverty needs to work on, as going into Cadwell Park he has nine, compared to the 23 of series leading defending champion Tommy Hill. Former two times title winner Shane Byrne and Aussie Josh Brookes, just above Laverty in the rankings also outscore him in terms of podium credit points.
Kirkham, meanwhile, is intent on getting his season back on track building on the strong works done in pre-season testing at the Lincolnshire circuit, which is nearby to the team's Louth home base, and also more recently at Croft and Donington Park.
The Derby rider's season began strongly with a winning ride in the opening race, but he suffered a major set-back in an horrific high-speed tumble in the third round at Oulton Park. That left him on the back foot but he is determined to come out fighting in this round to show what might have been and also to boost his fading hopes of making the Showdown as he currently lies fourteenth in the rankings.
Kirkham faces an uphill struggle to make the cut, but Padgett's Honda rider Ian Lowry has a strong chance going into this round in seventh place and only seven points down on his immediate target to beat the inconsistent former World Superbike runner-up Noriyuki Haga, with Tommy Bridewell only a further 11 poins ahead.
Lowry, the winner of the Thruxton round back in April has struggled to match that form, but after testing believes that he has turned the corner and can be running back up front. That is also the case for Lincolnshire lad Alex Lowes who needs to make his circuit knowledge and experience count if he is to make the cut on the WFR Honda.
Lowes, along with his team-mates James Westmoreland and Graeme Gowland need to record their first podium finishes of the campaign to have any chance, and given the strength of the opposition, that will not be easy.
HONDA RIDER COMMENTS
Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda):
"I'm looking forward to this round as it is the team's home circuit.
We've tested well twice since the previous round and I am looking to pull back podium credit scores ahead of the Showdown. We are stronger than for Brands Hatch and want to make inroads on the points table.
I'm not thinking about consolidating my position in the standings, rather riding for wins and podium finishes, getting the maximum amount of credits I can as they could be decisive in the final outcome of the title.
Jon Kirkham (Samsung Honda):
"We have been working hard on testing, trying a lot of things to get me back up to speed and we are going in the right direction. We have done a lot of testing work at Cadwell earlier in the year and I did good respectable race times so that should stand me in good stead. I am feeling good though it is hard when results are not going your way. This round and the next at Donington are on good circuits for me so there is no reason I can't get good results. The Showdown now will be difficult, but I am determined to get results to show what I am capable of but for the accident at Oulton Park."
Ian Lowry (Padgett's Honda):
"This is a fun track to ride, but a challenging one to race on, however in the past it has been a good track for me. We are all pretty close for the top six and I will be giving it my all because we need to capitalise if we have the chance. We tested at Cadwell Park pre-season and even then we were able to do some decent lap times and that was before we started racing. I am really fired up now for the event and I can't wait to get cracking."
Article source: Honda Pro Images