James Ellison believes that he and the Anvil Hire TAG Racing team have taken a step in the right direction after a positive weekend at Assen.
The 38-year-old secured a pair of top 10 finishes at the famous Dutch circuit, and was as high as fifth on the final lap of the second race. He would eventually have to settle for eighth, after securing 10th in the opening race.
Despite losing some positions late in the second race, Ellison is more than happy with the progress he and the team have made. He said:
“It’s been a positive weekend really, we made steady progress but straight away I felt more comfortable and I went much faster than I did last year so things have moved on. I posted a 1:36.3 which is quicker than I’ve ever gone around here.
“With it being the first round on the new suspension there was a lot to go through and we tested lots and lots things, so we never really rode the same bike twice. To say we’ve started from scratch I’ve had my best race of the year, apart from round one, so I’d say it’s been a successful weekend.
“It may not look like that on paper because I dropped to eighth on the last lap, four of us wanted the same line I went into the chicane in fifth and came out eighth. I’m little bit disappointed with the end result, but I’m really happy with the feeling on the bike and the progression we’ve made.”
Ellison started the first race from 12th, but a tough start saw him fall to 15th by the end of the opening lap. Ellison regrouped and was soon involved in an engaging battle for 10th – with Richard Cooper, Danny Buchan, Dan Linfoot and Josh Brookes. He would get the better of Cooper, Buchan and Linfoot, but was unable to catch Brookes before the end of the race.
The start of race two saw Ellison make a fantastic start, going from 16th on the grid to 11th by the end of the first lap. Following the safety car period for a crash involving Linfoot and Tommy Bridewell, Ellison found himself in eighth.
He made further progress and was sixth with three laps remaining. On the final lap Ellison was involved in a three-way battle for fifth, alongside Glenn Irwin, Cooper and Bradley Ray. He momentarily moved into fifth but was pushed wide at the final chicane and lost out on the drag race to the line – taking eighth spot.
Team owner, Rob Winfield, was also pleased with his team’s progress at Assen. He said:
“I’m pleased with how this weekend has gone, we’ve made a big change with changing suspension providers and both riders had no data to go from, but both have pulled it out of the bag and produced a good performance.
“We have a chance to go back to the workshop now and focus making the bike suit both riders better, and I’m sure we will see them both improve at Brands. I must thank everyone who has helped in the recent weeks, it hasn’t gone unnoticed.”
The final round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in two weeks.