BSB

Laverty and Hickman get 2016 BSB off to a winning start

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Michael Laverty and Peter Hickman has got his 2016 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship campaign off to a flying start by winning the opening two races of the season at Silverstone.

At the start of race one on Saturday Jason O'Halloran had initially grabbed the lead as the pack streamed into Copse for the first time, but pole sitter Leon Haslam was instantly on the attack and he forced his JG Speedfit Kawasaki ahead on the run through Maggotts and Becketts. His lead was short lived though as Michael Laverty stormed through to the front and the Tyco BMW rider then held the pace as behind Haslam the Honda Racing pairing were dicing for the advantage ahead of Byrne.

Linfoot though knew he had to try and get ahead and he made a move on Haslam at Stowe to snatch away the second place. It was a short lived opening race for Haslam though as he was forced out of contention by a technical problem just a lap later, leaving the leading train of Laverty, Linfoot, O‰ÛªHalloran and Byrne plus Danny Buchan, Christian Iddon, Luke Mossey and James Rispoli to battle for the leading positions.

Byrne was also attacking in the early stages and by the fourth lap he had carved his way ahead of O‰ÛªHalloran to move into third place on the Be Wiser Ducati. The race was then over for Rispoli as he crashed out on the seventh lap whilst pushing for the top eight in his debut race; the American will be forced to miss the second race this afternoon after sustaining an injury to his finger.

Laverty was still holding the lead in style, but the JG Speedfit Kawasaki of Peter Hickman had also tagged onto the first pack and had moved up to fifth before he was also forced out of action with a technical problem.

By lap eleven Byrne had moved to second, pushing Linfoot back to third and closing in on Laverty at the front of the field. At the same time Mossey was also vying for the final podium position as he dived ahead of O‰ÛªHalloran to move fourth and then had Linfoot in his sights.

Mossey had dispensed with the second Honda Racing rider at Stowe a lap later as Iddon also started making moves forward through the pack, by also passing Aussie O‰ÛªHalloran at Luffield with three laps to go.

Laverty was able to fend off the challenges of Byrne to claim the first victory of 2016 as behind Mossey was defending hard from the chasing Iddon, Linfoot and O‰ÛªHalloran. However it wasn‰Ûªt enough and on the final lap Iddon made a move at Copse to hold third place and then held on to claim his first ever podium finish in MCE BSB.

"It is difficult to just run out front and look at your lap timer," Laverty said. "I only looked at my pitboard once as I just wanted to concentrate on being as smooth as I could and not making any mistakes and the toughest thing was mid-race as my hands went a bit numb ‰ÛÒperhaps as it was a bit cold out there! I didn‰Ûªt feel as comfortable as I wanted to be and I was losing time in a few areas and then I pushed on and it was enough to bring it home. We can improve for race two and we have worked hard over the winter so this is a perfect start for me and the team so thanks to everyone at Tyco BMW.‰Û
Peter Hickman (60) lead home Shane Byrne in race two. Byrne holds a 5 point lead in the championship.
Race 2

Race 2 saw Peter Hickman win an intense final lap battle with Shane 'Shakey' Byrne to claim the second MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race win of the day at Silverstone after an incredible tussle between the pair on the final lap as they scrapped through Luffield and Woodcote for the final time.

Hickman had launched off the line to lead the field on the opening lap from race one winner Michael Laverty, Dan Linfoot, Jason O'Halloran, Danny Buchan and Byrne, but the four-time champion was instantly on the attack and was up to fourth by the third lap.

At the front Laverty had hit the lead on the Tyco BMW, but Hickman wasn‰Ûªt going to give an inch in his quest for victory and on the sixth lap he launched his attack; making a move to return to the front of the pack.

A lap later though and Laverty appeared to have an issue; he dropped down the order leaving Hickman and Byrne to fight it out for the lead. The Be Wiser Ducati rider was shadowing his JG Speedfit Kawasaki rival and despite some attempts to look for a passing opportunity he had to wait until the final lap.

The pair were inseparable down the Wellington Straight for the final time and at Brooklands Byrne went for a move; a small window of opportunity gave him the chance to move ahead, but Hickman was instantly fighting back to recapture the lead.

A corner later at Luffield Byrne looked like he had the edge but as the pair exited the corner on the drag to the line the Be Wiser Ducati dramatically drifted sideways as Hickman powered to the line to claim the victory. The incredible finish saw the pair separated by just 0.099s at the line.

"It feels like a big relief to have won the second race today," Hickman said. "I was disappointed that we didn‰Ûªt finish the first race with a technical issue and I was surprised at how fast I could be from the start of the race. The weekend started steady and we built up throughout the three days. I got a really good start and tried to get my head down and not make any mistakes. When Michael came through I thought I would follow him for a few laps, and then he had a bit of a problem so I got in front of him.

‰ÛÏOver the last few laps the Ducati is so loud that I knew it was Shakey behind me. I did run a bit deep into Brooklands which gave him a bit of a shot at it and then that made me too tight into Luffield, so he snuck underneath. There was no way that I was doing all that work and not winning though. I just pinned it and pretty much closed my eyes and it was enough to take it.‰Û

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