Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes had a productive day at Knockhill today in the first free practice sessions of the weekend.
Brookes managed to finish third in both of today’s sessions and ended the day +0.322s behind the pace-setter Shane Byrne.
Despite not being able to beat the championship leader today, Brookes believes he has overcome this morning’s issues and will be able to compete both in qualifying and in Sunday’s races.
He said: “My main premonition turned out to be quite correct. The bike seems to wheelie quite a lot here, which we have had at some other track too, and it has been something we have been working on to improve. This track, because the last corner comes out of a slow corner with acceleration up the hill that makes it worse. The first session out I didn’t have good confidence and put it on the line I wanted so to finish third; I was quite surprised because I felt worse than where the lap times put me.
“This afternoon we made some big improvements and the bike felt much more familiar with what I was expecting it to feel like. The track needs a different balance with the suspension, but everyone else went quicker too so the amount of improvement we made was quite unseen as everyone else must have been in a similar situation.
“We are still third but Shakey went out on new tyres at the end and I did my best lap on say lap 15 on the tyre so I think we didn’t do out best lap time as we didn’t put in new tyres but we are working on putting a whole race package tomorrow and not just focusing on that one lap.
Today was the first time in his career that Brookes’ teammate, Broc Parkes, had been to Knockhill so he used the sessions to build up his confidence and learn the tricky circuit.
Despite ending the day down in 25th position, Parkes believes that he has the ability to move up the field by the end of tomorrow.
He said: “Today has been a bit of an eye-opener, everyone that comes here for the first time though has the same feeling I think. To do a lap I thought would be difficult but not as tough as it was to begin with, but I am not that far away.
“In the second session we used one tyre for the whole session and my times are consistent, but I think to make the next step we need to make a few more tweaks and then try a new tyre to make some laps and that will make a big difference. In general I think tomorrow I am confident we can close again as every time I was on the bike I was nearly a second of a lap faster, so I need to find another half-a-second and then make the next step.”
Parkes will have another free practice session tomorrow morning to try and find some more pace before the Datatag Extreme Qualifying session, which gets underway at 16:05.