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Donington GP BSB: 'It’s nice to be the hunter now rather than the hunted' – Irwin

Donington Park at the weekend marked the first time Glenn Irwin has lost the lead in this year’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship but second in the final race around the 2.5-mile Grand Prix circuit ensures he’s very much a title contender going into the final round at Brands Hatch.

The Honda Racing rider saw a two-point advantage coming into the meeting turn into a 18-point deficit but he was far from despondent with the firm aim to fight all the way until the very end.

“If Jonathan Rea held an 18-point lead over Scott Redding going into the final round you could perhaps say the title was pretty much over but the nature and competitiveness of BSB means you can quite easily come seventh or eighth in one race and then win the next,” said Irwin speaking to bikesportnews.com.


“There are so many variants in terms of potential race winners and podium finishers - never mind the UK weather in late October - and you simply can’t relax as you’ll get gobbled up. You can’t go to Brands and think I’ll sit in this or that position during a race to take the title as there are 15 top class riders with the others behind them having the potential to be top class.

“The depth is so strong and that means you have to fight all the way and be at the top of your game in every race; you only need one thing to be slightly off to fall down the order.”

Irwin lost a big chunk of points to his rivals in the opening damp race when he crashed under braking for Goddards but didn’t get too downbeat and although seventh in the second wasn’t what he wanted, changes to the front and rear springs as well as to the damping turned it around for race three.

Looking back at the first race, it’s all ifs, buts and maybes and yes, maybe I could have won, but such were the conditions, I could equally have crashed on the eighth or 12th lap, anyone could.”

“I didn’t have a great feeling in the second race as the settings I opted for didn’t work but given we’d only had one dry session on Friday morning, that could have happened to anyone. The margins are so small that people were having to make changes all the time between the races; sometimes they work for you, sometimes they don’t and any one of the front runners could have been in the same position.”

“The team really turned it around for race three though and I knew immediately from the warm-up lap that the Fireblade was working well, so hats off to them, they deserved this second place position backing up Andy’s win.”

“I knew I had to beat Josh, it was as simple as that and to end the weekend 18 points down as opposed to 22 – which is what the gap would have been if he’d beat me – is a much better position to be in and a huge uplift for the team.”

With the final three races set to decide the 2020 Champion, everything’s still to play for, a challenge that Irwin is relishing.

“With the new Fireblade and new tyres, three practice sessions and two races per weekend would probably have suited us this year, as it would everyone I guess, but I can’t wait for Brands. Christian and Jason are riding phenomenally well and I know they’re riders who are prepared to pull big moves if that’s what it takes to take points off Josh and get the job done. It’s great to fight with people like that.

“In a way, it’s nice to be the hunter now rather than the hunted so we’ll go to Brands and do a professional job. It’s been an absolute blast this year and I’ve loved every minute of it so to win the title would be a fairytale ending.”

“If we don’t, it’s still been a superb season. I’ll be riding hard and fair and what will be, will be but, rest assured, I won’t be settling for anything at Brands and will be fighting for every inch of tarmac.”

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