Hickman sets his sights on third after Assen podium

by Joshua Close
Hickman secures Assen Podium

Peter Hickman has put himself back in contention for third spot in the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship after securing an impressive podium at Assen.

The Smiths Racing BMW rider just missed out on a podium spot in race one, losing to Tarran Mackenzie by only 0.300s. Hickman challenged once more in the second race and this time he was able to cross the line in third.

Hickman began the opening race from 10th, however a fantastic launch off the line saw the 31-year-old finish the first lap in fourth. He would join the fight for the lead, alongside Mackenzie, championship leader Leon Haslam and Jake Dixon.

The top four were covered by just over a second for the majority of the race, with Hickman taking third from Dixon on the penultimate lap. He would, however, miss a a gear and subsequently drop back to fourth. Hickman did not have enough time to catch the top three again.

Commentating on the first race, Hickman said:

“The Smiths Racing team have worked so hard to get the previous issues we had with the bike fixed and they’ve done a mega job, so I felt happy with the bike all weekend and we were fast from the word go.

“I had my usual rubbish qualifying session, but I made a great start in race one and showed we had the pace to win at Assen. A small mistake from me at the end meant we just missed out on the podium, but it was great to be back at the head of the field where we should be.”

Hickman posted a new circuit lap record in the opening race, and therefore started race two from pole. Another great start saw him open up a lead of more than a second on the first lap.

Unfortunately for the BMW rider, this lead would be wiped out during a safety car period. He was still leading at half race distance but having lost the lead to Josh Brookes on lap 11, Haslam would soon push him back to third as well.

Hickman was able to keep up with the leading duo and crossed the line in third, securing his third podium of the season. Reflecting on the second race, Hickman said:

“It was great to start race two from pole position and I made the perfect start, but the safety car period hurt us a bit as the tyres cooled off a bit too much. The tyre was chattering a lot in the last six laps as I’d spun it on the rim when I was trying to generate some heat, but it was great to be back on the podium and we’re well in contention for third place in the championship.”

Two top four finishes mean that Hickman is now fifth in the championship, just eight points behind Brookes (third) with three races remaining.

The final round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in two weeks.

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