Josh Brookes was in a bullish mood when he spoke ahead of the final round of the 2011 British Superbike Championship in his latest blog.
The Australian will be hoping to go one better than last year when he finished as the runner-up but he secured his place in the Showdown in controversial circumstances, after colliding with Michael Rutter at Cadwell Park in August.
While Brookes qualified for the top six, Rutter missed out after scoring no points in the entire weekend but the Australian maintains that he wasn't at fault, and accuses Rutter of a lack of professionalism.
“The only chance Michael had to make the top six was to beat everyone in front of him or crash trying to do it – so he had nothing to lose. So the fact that I got alongside him, he obviously just switched off and waited until I backed off, but I didn’t have to as I was on the inside – the controlling position here. If anyone was going to suffer it was the guy on the outside, which just so happened to be Rutter.”
“That didn’t seem to come into his mind, even though he has more experience than anyone in the field, and in my eyes he didn’t act as a professional should and he ended up on grass. Subsequently he voiced his opinion and the officials favoured him instead of me, but it didn’t bring his points back, so I didn’t see the point in him kicking off. And it didn’t really affect me as I was still inside the top six and it also didn’t have a massive bearing on the Championship. All it cost me was one podium credit.”
Brookes made a steady start to the end-of-season contest but sprung into contention with victory in the second race at Silverstone, outracing his title rivals in the process. The Relentless Suzuki rider lost ground early on after some forceful overtaking moves on him but enjoyed getting his own back as he charged back through the pack.
“The aggression did come out at Silverstone in that second race when we won after a few people had served it up to me. I was like, ‘well don’t criticise me for hard passes if you’re going to do it to me,’ and it turned into a really good race. If I can harness that and take it with us to Brands then we should be okay. There are definitely some good points to focus on going into Brands, as we’ve had success before and the bike’s good there. I’m good in the wet or the dry at this stage, so we don’t have to be concerned with the weather, providing it doesn’t snow!”
Despite trailing John Hopkins by 41 points, Brookes is refusing to give up the chase and reminds everyone that Ryuichi Kiyonari was also playing catch-up heading into last year's finale before coming through to win.
“Last year Kiyo won three races and everyone crashed so you just never know. I know for sure I’m going to Brands a lot more relaxed than a few other guys are, so that’s gotta count for something. I’m chilled and relaxed and if fate plays a role then I’ll let that take care of it.”
Brookes took his first win of the season at Brands Hatch on the GP layout in August and will hope the set-up of the GSX-R1000 is as strong as it was two months ago.
“It’s just a case of going there and doing the same thing I do every weekend. Preparation is the same even though it’s the last round, but we all know how important it is as it will affect the final standings in the Championship. The boys have fine-tuned the bike a little to find some more horsepower and we can try that on Friday. We have good settings from the last time at Brands and coming from Silverstone I’m carrying some decent confidence as well. The weekend really kicks off on Saturday, which is going to be a big intense day and physically trying. Then on Sunday it’s the normal two races and we’ll be looking for more wins.”
With the Suzuki squad full of confidence after winning last time out, Team Manager Philip Neill wants the feel-good factor to continue for one more weekend.
“It’s certainly going to be an exciting weekend for everyone. We’ve had our ups and downs at Brands but it’s also been good to us. Josh finished on a high at Silverstone and hopefully that confidence will carry through to Brands. The team has continued to work on the overall package of the GSX-R1000 for him so a repeat of Silverstone race two would be welcomed.”