Glenn Irwin admits he’ll look back on a ‘disastrous’ weekend at Donington Park as his crucial opportunity missed after falling just half-a-point shy of sealing the 2023 British Superbike Championship [BSB] title.
The Ulsterman - who arrived at the Brands Hatch finale just 7.5 points in arrears of BeerMonster Ducati team-mate and title rival Tommy Bridewell - put in a herculean performance across all three races as he recovered from a lowly 17th in qualifying to finish fourth in race one, before taking victory in races two and three.
However, Bridewell’s crucial overtake for second behind on the final lap of the final race would prove critical, giving the Devizes rider just enough points to hold Irwin at bay in the final reckoning.
Missing out by the smallest possible winning margin in a year that has seen very little to choose between the pair throughout the season, Irwin admits he can’t help but look back at the opportunities he missed to secure that pivotal extra point.
Pointing specifically to his zero score at the penultimate Donington Park round, where a technical issue in race three - the legacy of a controversial clash with Bridewell in the previous encounter - eliminated him on lap one, Irwin admits the fine final margin hits a nerve.
“The season has been great,” he told the official BSB website in the direct aftermath of the final race.
“ I think it all started with a win in race three at Silverstone, the first for Ducati at that track and from then we knew we had a bike that had made a step forward from last year.
“A little bit of a lull in the middle of the year, Knockhill and Snetterton weren’t my best rounds, so a bit of information from Eugene Laverty, actually, helped make this bike work and from then I felt the pendulum swung and I felt like I was maybe the dominant rider in that period of the championship.
“We went to Donington Park and it was a disaster weekend to score zero points. The crash was what it was and it has been well talked about, everyone has seen that there is an abundance of respect between me and the guys, Tommy included.
“I think what’s frustrating is race three at Donington Park, the knock-on effect of the crash and just a point would have been enough.”
The 2023 BSB season represents the second year in succession that Irwin has finished runner-up in the overall standings after achieving the same feat with Honda Racing in 2022.