Two days of rain-struck Bennett’s British Superbike testing saw FHO BMW new recruit Josh Brookes reaffirm his front running status at Silverstone.
With preseason now done and dusted, and last year’s disappointments now firmly in the past, Brookes proved the man to beat by topping both Tuesday and Wednesday running at the short, sharp National layout. The Australian’s overall benchmark time was set on the opening day of the test, but Brookes was back to top the times on day two in the damper conditions.
LAMI OMG Yamaha’s Kyle Ryde maintained his pre-season prowess from Navarra and Donington to conclude the final preparations second in the standings, 0.816s adrift of his championship rival ahead of next week’s opening round.
Danny Buchan was third fastest on the timesheets despite crashing out unhurt in the final session of the test, the SYNETIQ BMW rider’s day one time placing him narrowly ahead of McAMS Yamaha’s Jason O'Halloran on combined times.
Peter Hickman completed the top five on the second FHO BMW Motorrad M1000RR with Christian Iddon holding sixth on the Oxford Products Ducati.
Danny Kent’s time from the penultimate session moved him into seventh overall as the Lovell Kent Honda team prepared for their debut races next weekend, just ahead of Ryan Vickers on the second OMG Yamaha.
Andrew Irwin and Bennetts BSB rookie Tim Neave completed the top ten for Honda and McAMS Yamaha respectively.
"It’s pretty obvious to say that finishing Silverstone on top of the times is pleasing for me, the team and everyone involved,” Brookes said on his recent success. “We’ve been focusing mainly on the new engine as it reacts in a different way to the old one - not that I have much understanding of the old one, but for the mechanics the BMW reacts differently with the new spec engine, so they have to go through a variety of changes to understand better how to set the engine breaking, as well as the throttle with the way it feels as I accelerate out of a turn.
"There are some levels we have worked through to basically make the bike run efficiently and that’s more or less where we’ve spent most effort and time, and it’s those fundamentals of what we have, to be able to progress later. So once we get this work done, and to a point where I’m happy we can then focus on suspension, chassis positions and fine tune the other bits.
"I guess luckily for us and the work we’ve had to do, you can do regardless of the weather and fortunately we’ve been able to make progress on this. We’ve improved the engine braking and the feeling of the throttle in my hand, which must be good, as we’ve gone fastest in what’s been very tricky conditions. As soon as we get some dry track, we can focus on more common changes such as suspension, but during the test we couldn’t really focus on anything else due to the conditions.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, R&G Official Test, Silverstone, overall combined times:
Josh Brookes (FHO BMW Motorrad) 56.155s
Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Yamaha) +0.816s
Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW) +2.123s
Jason O'Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +2.249s
Peter Hickman (FHO BMW Motorrad) +2.829s
Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Ducati) +2.875s
Danny Kent (Lovell Kent Honda) +3.420s
Ryan Vickers (LAMI OMG Yamaha) +3.716s
Andrew Irwin (Honda UK) +3.741s
Tim Neave (McAMS Yamaha) +3.898s