It was a strong opening weekend at Donington Park for Peter Hickman as he made his debut for the Smiths Racing BMW team.
Looking back over the weekend, Hickman said: “Overall, it’s been a good weekend and a good start to the year. The bike was mega throughout all three days and we proved that in race one with a really strong fourth place.
“After a year on the Kawasaki, I’m still getting used to the characteristics of the BMW and we went slightly in the wrong direction in race two when we got caught out by the change in temperature. The more miles and laps we get under our belt, the stronger we’ll be and to be so strong so early in the season bodes well.”
The 29-year-old started the opening race of the season from fourth on the grid after Saturday’s qualifying session was cancelled.
Hickman enjoyed an excellent start to the race and got away with the front-runners. By the half-way stage he was battling in fifth place with Christian Iddon, with the pair chasing down James Ellison.
Hickman made his way through to third but was unable to keep Iddon behind him – losing out with just a couple of laps to go.
With the sixth fastest lap of the opening race, Hickman started the second race from row two but didn’t get such a good start and held a top seven place in the first half of the race.
He would remain there until lap 18, when he lost-out to former World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli and eventually crossed the line in eighth place.
Team boss, Rebecca Smith added: “Peter’s clearly shown what the bike is capable of and for him to start the season the way he has is better than any of us could have expected. The team’s worked tirelessly not just this weekend, but all winter and we’re over the moon to finish in the top four so early in the season.
“Pete’s still getting used to the BMW so will only get stronger whilst a fully fit Lee on a competitive bike will also be a force to be reckoned with.”
The second round of the season will take place at Brands Hatch over the Easter Weekend.