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Hill Impresses On BSB Return At Croft

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Just two weeks after injuring his shoulder, Tommy Hill was back on form at Croft with a fantastic ride from the back of the field to finish sixth in race two.

Changeable weather conditions made tyre choice crucial in race one, and the Swan Yamaha rider struggled on wets, with slicks proving the correct choice, and could only manage 14th.

Race two didn't promise much better either with Hill being forced to start on the sixth row of the grid. But the Lingfield rider stormed through the field to score ten valuable points.

Speaking after the race, Hill admitted he was still suffering with pain in his injured shoulder, and under the circumstances, sixth was an outstanding result.

“Race one was disappointing with the conditions changing and going for the wrong tyre choice but I am really happy with the second race today. I knew we had the pace and that we would just need to keep chipping away. I felt reasonably comfortable when I was in a pack of riders and focused on someone ahead of me as I could try and make the pass then settle in and look at who would be next which gave me focus. That kept me going because when the safety car came out I would really feel the pain again.”

“To go from 21st to sixth was a fantastic result for me and the Swan Yamaha team as we got some good points in the bag. Before this weekend we didn't know what to expect or whether I would even be able to race but once I was out there the adrenaline kicked in and I have to say that is the best form of pain relief! It has been a good end to the weekend for us and we came away with some points and that was what we wanted to do and now we just need to regroup and be fit and ready for Thruxton.”

Teammate Michael Laverty encountered similar problems in race one, with an incorrect tyre choice dropping from the front row of the grid down to 24th. An accident with race one winner Jon Kirkham ended his second race on the opening lap, completing a nightmare weekend for the Northern Irishman.

As a result, Laverty has fallen to 11th in the BSB standings, and admitted that Croft 2011 was a weekend to forget.

“All I can say is that I am really gutted with how today has gone. The first race was a non-event as it was a gamble on tyres and we opted for the wrong choice. For the second race I had a third row start and I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I would have to push as Shane Byrne would be getting away at the front otherwise. I had a battle with Jon Kirkham and I passed him, he then passed me back. I went for a move, we collided and both went down. It was a racing incident which is so frustrating for me and it seems that luck hasn't been on my side here this weekend. I just need to regroup and be ready to fight for the podium at Thruxton for Swan Yamaha.”

Team Owner Shaun Muir was in awe of Tommy Hill's bravery in race two but admitted that was the only bright spot in a largely disappointing weekend for the team.

“In the first race it was a sheer case of the wrong decision on tyre choice, but we need to draw a line under that and move on. In race two Tommy's performance was nothing short of heroic and was the ride of the day in my eyes to salvage a sixth position despite the pain he was suffering. Michael had a lot of determination in the second race and it got the better of him; it was a 50-50 racing incident and he just was a tad eager and paid the price. The Swan Yamaha team will now pull together and we can see what we can do for Thruxton to get back on the podium where we need to be.”

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MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and WorldSBK writer for The Checkered Flag. Contact: [email protected]
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