Tommy Bridewell moved into the lead of this year’s British Superbike Championship for the first time at the conclusion of round three at Donington Park with two more podiums helping him turn a four-point deficit into a three-point advantage.
It could have been so much better too had it not been for a second race retirement whilst leading but with all of the leading contenders having at least one ‘bad’ race, the bad luck balanced itself out. Nevertheless, the Wiltshire rider has now taken six podiums from the first nine races.
It all started with a close second to Kyle Ryde in Saturday’s Sprint race when although close enough to keep the pressure applied, he couldn’t quite get close enough to make a pass with Ryde’s Yamaha particularly strong in the final sector.
“I was happy enough with second on Saturday as it was a good, solid ride,” he said. “I was putting pressure on Kyle as much as I could whilst also being put under pressure by Leon (Haslam) all race. I made an average start and dropped back a bit and by the time I got up to second, Kyle had opened a bit of a gap which I was never able to pull back.”
“Getting off the line is something I need to work on but fair play to Kyle, he never put a wheel wrong although I did feel I was stronger on some parts of the course than him.
"The bike was faultless, and the pace was good although I knew Sunday’s longer races would be different in terms of looking after the tyres.”
Sunday’s opening encounter followed a similar pattern but when Ryde crashed out of the lead, Bridewell seized control.
However, the advantage he had was eliminated by the deployment of the safety car which allowed the pack to close up and he was ultimately forced to retire with just two laps to go.
He bounced back though to take another second place behind Ryde to maintain his best start to a championship campaign.
“I was a little bit deflated after the first race and actually felt quite sad sitting on the grid ahead of race three, but we turned it around and whilst it’s always disappointing to have a technical issue, it’s ended up being a strong weekend for both me and the team with two podiums.”
“Donington has seen mixed results for Ducati in the past but full credit to the team as you could see how strong the bike was; Kyle just had that little bit extra in the last sector which meant I couldn’t get close enough to make a pass. I ride with a lot of heart as both myself and the team are putting in so much effort but the season’s shaping up quite nicely for us.”
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