Michael Rutter is optimistic for the season ahead after the Rapid Solicitors–Bathams Ducati team began their 2011 British Superbike Campaign with a solid points haul at Brands Hatch.
The Wordsley rider translated his sixth place grid position to an identical result in race one, and came through from the third row to finish seventh in race two.
The Ducati 1198 was unable to match the Swan Yamaha and HM Plant Honda machines that took the two victories. Despite that, Rutter remained positive, believing that the package would be better suited at other circuits.
“It was great to finally be back racing again after the winter and to be honest the results were as we expected them to be. We knew it wasn't going to be an easy opening round as we have still be working on the new electronics, but we are learning more all the time. We are definitely looking forward to Oulton Park now, as that track should suit the Ducati better than Brands Hatch Indy. We have some new suspension parts due for the next round and hopefully we can get up there and have a stronger finish in my 350th BSB race start!”
Teammate Martin Jessopp had a mixed afternoon after taking ninth position in race one, finishing in the same group as Rutter. Race two proved more challenging for the Yeovil rider as he raced through the pain barrier to take the final point for 15th.
Jessopp later shed light on his injury problems and also explained some of the other problems that hampered him at Brands Hatch.
“I think the weekend went well and I was happy to score eight points after two tough races. If someone would have offered me that before the weekend I would have taken it, as my leg is still not one hundred percent yet and I had two terrible starts! I then had to just do my best to fight my way through in both races, but the times are so close it was never going to be easy. We are looking forward to Oulton Park as that is a track that has suited the Ducatis before; I just need to get a better qualifying and get my starts sorted then we will be up there.”
The team won't have long to find out if the Ducati 1198 will be more competitive at Oulton Park, as the British Superbike Championship heads to the Cheshire circuit this weekend.