Peter Hickman’s topsy turvy start to this year’s British Superbike Championship continued at Oulton Park at the weekend but there were more highs and lows with two top six finishes being the undoubted highlight.
Fastest in the only dry practice session, the FHO Racing BMW rider had to settle for eighth in qualifying, held on a damp track, with a strong sixth taken in the first race where his pace around the undulating 2.69-mile circuit could clearly be seen on the M1000RR with the fastest lap of the race.
However, he was unable to capitalise on his front row position when he crashed at Old Hall corner on the very first lap of Monday’s opening race, just milliseconds after grabbing the holeshot.
“It’s been a bit of a frustrating weekend, but on the other hand we must take the positives. We’re fast, we’ve been at the front all weekend and Sunday’s Sprint race was really strong where we finished fourth coming from eighth on the grid,” he said.
“In Monday’s first race, I got a mega start off the line, and somehow managed to tuck the front at turn one. I don’t really know how or why, I went in tight, but I wasn’t too fast for the corner. I was off the brake, and it was just a bit of an odd crash.”
“Perhaps I had a slightly cold front tyre, but I couldn’t believe I went down at turn one to be honest, it’s not what we expected or what was needed, as it put us on the back foot for the final race of the day.”
Left somewhat bewildered by the spill, Hickman had to start the final race from eighth and although his pace wasn’t quite as strong as the previous day, he was able to take a solid sixth, one place behind team-mate Josh Brookes.
“Without the crash we’d have learnt something from the race, which we could have taken into the final race and because of that the pace just wasn’t there. But as I said, we do have to take the positives, which are that we’re fast, Josh is fast and the BMW is working really well, we’ll now just have to wait and see what we can do at Donington Park.”
Before that though, Hickman – and Brookes – have the North West 200 to contest where he’ll again start as one of the main favourites in both the Superbike and Superstock races. First qualifying takes place around the 8.9-mile public road circuit linking the towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine next Tuesday.
CLICK HERE to view the 2023 BSB Championship Standings after Round 2 of 11