Ryan Vickers took the spoils in the opening British Superbike Championship race of the weekend at Donington Park, the LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha rider prevailing in a wet and shortened race full of surprises.
The Thetford rider made light work of the slippery surface to break away over the 10-lap Sprint, coming home almost four seconds clear of Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad Team), while Luke Mossey (Tactix by Lloyd & Jones BMW) made a welcome return to the podium after overhauling Jack Kennedy on the final lap.
The podium figures tell only half of the story though, as BeerMonster Ducati duo Glenn Irwin and Tommy Bridewell came home empty-handed and a lap down in 23rd and 24th after bungling their tyre selections. But with closest rival Kyle Ryde could only muster 12th in the sketchy conditions, Irwin and Bridewell remain well ahead in the title fight and still split by 0.5 points.
Held on a damp, greasy track, with the threat of further rain high, and cut from 12 laps to ten, it was Vickers who grabbed the holeshot from the middle of the second row and he led at the end of the opening lap by 2.2s from Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW), Jack Kennedy (Mar-Train Racing Yamaha), Haslam and Mossey.
But it was a disaster for Irwin who pulled into the pits whilst team-mate Bridewell was also struggling in 21st, the pair both running intermediates all round. Ryde, running the same tyre combination, was circulated in tenth.
Second time around, Vickers extended his lead to 4.6s and it was now Kennedy up to second as Irwin rejoined a lap down. Ryde had dropped back to 15th with pole sitter and another championship contender Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) in 17th, while Bridewell's afternoon failed to improve when he ran straight on at the Melbourne hairpin having already descended to 23rd.
Back at the front and Vickers’ lead was up to 4.8s after four laps with Kennedy still in second and with Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) no up to third, and Haslam fifth, they were set to benefit most in the championship standings.
Vickers’ decision to run full wets was clearly the right one and with four laps to go, his lead was up to a commanding 5.7s but Haslam had now taken over third with Mossey, Jackson and Hickman the running order behind. Haslam wasn’t done there either and he took second from Kennedy at the start of lap seven. Bridewell, meanwhile, pitted like Irwin for a change of tyres but all hopes of any points had disappeared.
Vickers continued to maintain his lead of five seconds and duly came home for his second career BSB victory, but second place was wide open as Kennedy, Haslam and Mossey continued to do battle with Jackson now having lost ground in fifth.
Haslam came out on top, and it was Mossey who prevailed for the final podium position, diving up the inside of Kennedy at the Melbourne Hairpin. Kennedy had to settle for fourth with Jackson in fifth as Franco Bourne (Marvel HCL Motorsport Honda) came through for sixth on the new Pathway-spec machine.
Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW), Storm Stacey (Starline Racing Kawasaki), Hickman and Louis Valleley (Rapid CDH Racing Kawasaki) completed the top ten, the latter putting in a great ride. Further back, Ryde salvaged four points for 12th but O’Halloran was out of luck in 17th as Irwin and Bridewell finished outside the top twenty.
|2023 British Superbike Championship [BSB] | Donington Park GP | Race 1 Results|
|1||Ryan Vickers||🇬🇧||LAMI OMG Racing||Yamaha R1||10 Laps|
|2||Leon Haslam||🇬🇧||ROKiT BMW Motorrad||BMW M 1000 RR||+3.742|
|3||Luke Mossey||🇬🇧||Tactix L1 Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+5.332|
|4||Jack Kennedy||🇮🇪||Mar-Train Racing||Yamaha R1||+5.493|
|5||Lee Jackson||🇬🇧||Cheshire Mouldings FS-3||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+8.763|
|6||Franco Bourne||🇬🇧||Marvel HCL Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R (P)||+29.700|
|7||Josh Brookes||🇦🇺||FHO Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+33.342|
|8||Storm Stacey||🇬🇧||Starline Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+33.995|
|9||Peter Hickman||🇬🇧||FHO Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+37.127|
|10||Lewis Valleley||🇬🇧||Rapid CDH Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+39.895|
|11||Tom Neave||🇬🇧||Honda Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+44.181|
|12||Kyle Ryde||🇬🇧||LAMI OMG Racing||Yamaha R1||+45.735|
|13||Max Cook||🇬🇧||Cheshire Mouldings FS-3||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+46.629|
|14||Jack Scott||🇬🇧||Rapid CDH Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+46.784|
|15||Bradley Perie||🇬🇧||VisionTrack Racng||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+52.358|
|16||Christian Iddon||🇬🇧||Oxford Racing||Ducati Panigale V4||+1m >|
|17||Jason O'Halloran||🇦🇺||McAMS||Yamaha R1||+1m >|
|18||Davey Todd||🇬🇧||SYNETIQ BMW Motorrad||BMW M 1000 RR||+1m >|
|19||Brayden Elliott||🇦🇺||DAO Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+1m >|
|20||Charlie Nesbitt||🇬🇧||MasterMac by Hawk||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+1m >|
|21||Michael Dunlop||🇬🇧||Crendon by Hawk||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+1m >|
|22||Alex Olsen||🇬🇧||Cumins by Team IWR||Honda CBR1000RR-R (P)||+1m >|
|23||Glenn Irwin||🇬🇧||BeerMonster PBM||Ducati Panigale V4||+1 Lap|
|24||Tommy Bridewell||🇬🇧||BeerMonster PBM||Ducati Panigale V4||+1 Lap|
|DNF||Andrew Irwin||🇬🇧||Honda Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|DNF||Niccolo Canepa||🇮🇹||McAMS||Yamaha R1|