Glenn Irwin moved to the top of the British Superbike Championship standings at the weekend after taking first, second and third place finishes in the three races at Oulton Park.
The BeerMonster Ducati rider saved the best until last with victory, his second of the season, in the final race of the weekend which has put him four points clear of team-mate Tommy Bridewell and Josh Brookes and with five podiums in six races, the Carrickfergus rider couldn’t have asked for a better return to Paul Bird’s team.
Third behind race winner Brookes and Leon Haslam in Sunday’s race – which was red flagged two laps early due to rain – Irwin was left slightly disappointed with that result but made changes to the set up of the F23 specification V4R throughout the following day to take second and then first on Monday.
“It was good to start the weekend with another podium but it was also a bit frustrating as we had the potential to have done better than third,” he said.
“The three of us at the front had strengths and weaknesses in different areas so there was a bit of a yo-yo effect without any of us having an opportunity to overtake anywhere.”
“I had a chance on the tenth lap, which, on hindsight, I should have taken with the red flag but that’s racing. When we tested at Oulton earlier in the month, we used the 2022 engine-spec so when we fitted the 2023 engine this weekend, we had to dial in the electronics all over again, which took us a bit longer than anticipated and with all the mixed weather in practice and qualifying, the race felt like FP1.”
More confident for the longer races, Irwin made a sluggish start to Monday’s first 18-lap race, which saw him drop back to sixth, but he came through the field to take second behind team-mate Bridewell which gave the team their first 1-2 since September 2020 at the same venue.
He then had to battle his way past brother Andrew in the final race, taking the lead on the third lap and then dropped to third when Haslam overtook him at Old Hall at the start of lap 12. However, he got by team-mate Bridewell at the next corner and got Haslam a few corners later at Hizzy’s, holding on for his 11th BSB win.
“Monday was a brilliant day for both myself and the whole PBM team and you can see the passion within the garage with everyone working really hard. I really struggled at the beginning of the first race and lost a position when Peter Hickman crashed in front of me so I had to work hard to get going. I was really happy to come through to second and give PBM a 1-2 and fair play to Tommy, he rode faultlessly.
“We made some changes for the final race which helped in some areas but not others and I nearly lost the front at Shell whilst I also made a mistake when Leon came by. I got back in front and I think that’s 17 races out of the last 18 where I’ve finished in the top five so let’s keep this run going.”
CLICK HERE to view the 2023 BSB Championship Standings after Round 2 of 11