Josh Brookes hit top form heading into the 2012 BSB Championship Showdown with back-to-back victories at Donington Park. The Tyco Suzuki man was pushed by title rivals Tommy Hill and Michael Laverty but had all the answers while Tommy Bridewell and Alex Lowes did enough to secure the two remaining Showdown spots alongside the recovering Shane Byrne.
The opening race was being led comfortably by Brookes before a spectacular engine blow-up for his teammate Alastair Seeley at the Craner curves. The Ulsterman did well to avoid an accident but the oil spillage forced a stoppage and a full restart. In the subsequent seven-lap dash, Brookes picked up where he left off though with a superb getaway, eventually leading home Hill and Laverty.
Brookes stormed off the line in race two as well but this time Laverty went with him before diving through at the Fogarty Esses. Brookes came back at the same corner next time around but Laverty wouldn’t be shaken off, regaining the lead at the Melbourne loop on lap nine. Brookes would have the last word though after sweeping through at Starkey’s six laps from home and the Australian feels he is in the best possible form ahead of the Showdown.
“In the first race I put my head down and tried to gap them, but I could hear the Yamaha behind me, so I just kept at it and after a couple of laps it went quiet and I thought ‘yes’ I’ve gapped them! In the second race I got away with a good start and everything was working perfectly on the bike. I got into a rhythm and put some good laps together, but I didn’t get an instant advantage, as Michael was right with me. I made a little mistake, which let him past and he impressed me. Once I got back past I was confident the Suzuki would have more tyre life in the closing stages and I was able to create a gap and win quite comfortably. I’m glad the championship is now going into the Showdown stage as we’ve finally got to the part of the season where it counts. Thanks to the guys this weekend who gave me a great set-up with the GSX-R1000 – the package is working superbly.”
Hill was a distant third in race two but added another podium credit to his total, giving him a ten point lead over Brookes heading into Assen, and is well placed to repeat his astonishing victory of 2011.
“Two podiums were what we needed today and it is nice to have a bit of a lead in the standings going in to the Showdown at Assen”, said the defending champion. “You can’t pay too much attention to it though as anything can happen. Cadwell Park was my weekend to do the double and this weekend it was Josh Brookes. It has been a bit frustrating for us as we wanted to try and come away with two double wins but we still have that ten points over Josh so hopefully we can keep pushing on and come out on top at Assen. We have been struggling all weekend but we made a big change this morning, then we managed to pull something out of the bag.”
Byrne will hope to be back at full fitness in two weeks’ time and will trail by twelve points while Michael Laverty, who has gained speed as the season’s unfolded, starts the showdown with a 21 point deficit. A brace of top six finishes secured Alex Lowes his place while Tommy Bridewell matched his season’s best finish of fourth in race two to cap off a wonderfully consistent season to-date.
Although he has finished in the points seventeen times out of nineteen, the Supersonic BMW rider hasn’t been on the podium this year which will place him at the biggest disadvantage when the Showdown starts but Bridewell is delighted simply to have qualified.
“This was an up and down weekend again but we managed to get it good in the end and secure a place in the Showdown as well as BMW’s best result for 4th so it’s really good in the end! I look forward to Assen, hope we can build on it and see where we can get from there! I would like to thank the whole team for the excellent work they have been doing throughout the whole season – Stefano, Alessandro, Saverio and Andy for preparing a great bike for every race thanks to their experience and for their professional attitude. Also Danilo for giving me the opportunity to ride for this fantastic team. It has been an unforgettable season for me.”