Honda Racing’s Andrew Irwin had a low-key start to his 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Championship campaign at the weekend with eighth and ninth place finishes taken at Silverstone.
A heavy spill early on in Friday’s free practice session put Irwin – many people’s tip for a top six position come season’s end – on the back foot and this could be seen in the relatively lowly qualifying position of 14th. Eighth was the outcome in the opening race.
“The race was always going to be difficult starting from 14th after a tricky qualifying. Really that was my fault due to wrecking the bike early in FP2 which lost us valuable track time to set up the bike,” he said.
“But credit to the team, they did a great job transforming the bike from qualifying and we moved forward to finish eighth. After getting a good start, I had to fight through some of the riders in the group I was in and continue to go forwards. If eighth is a bad result, then I don't think that’s too bad.”
Unfortunately, Irwin was unable to better that over the remainder of the weekend with firstly a ninth in Sunday’s Race 2 and then a retirement towards the end of the third and final race, a technical issue forcing him out on the 28th of 30 laps whilst running seventh. However, he remained upbeat.
“Overall, it was a positive weekend. For sure I wanted to have stronger results as eighth and ninth isn’t what we came here for, but there are positives. After Friday when we lost lots of time due to the crash it was difficult, but come race three I was feeling really good on the bike.”
“It was disappointing not to finish but the feeling was there so let's keep this ball rolling and try to take steps forward at Oulton Park. We’ll bounce back for sure.