Hydrex Bike Animal Honda riders James Ellison and Guy Martin finished fourteenth and eighteenth respectively after a weather-affected opening qualifying session at the first round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch today.
After a successful and intense three days of testing in Spain aboard the factory-backed Honda Fireblades, the team arrived at Brands Hatch with high hopes and following the free practice sessions, whereby the riders were regularly in the top ten, the team mood was optimistic.
But 27 year old Ellison from Kendal suffered a problem with his main machine and had to revert to his spare, whereas 26 year old Humbersider Martin, continued to get used to the Pirelli tyres in the fifty-minute session.
However with the rain clouds threatening throughout the one and only qualifying session this afternoon, everyone was hoping the rain would hold off but both riders saw their hopes of progressing up the grid dashed as going into the final ten minutes, a heavy rain shower put paid to any further track action leaving them languishing down the grid.
Shaun Muir (Team Owner): "It is disappointing that James didn't get enough time on the bike. He had a problem with the HRC bike and had to change to the PI electronics bike. He was just about to put his softest rubber in and the clouds opened up, so we'll be hoping for rain tomorrow. I'm pretty happy with Guy, he's just getting his confidence up with the Pirellis and he's been in the top ten all weekend up until the last session and I think he can run with the top boys in tomorrow's race."
James Ellison: "We had to change bikes as we had a problem and then we had some issues with that bike also, but it's really just a lack of time. We crammed all of our testing into three days and it didn't really give us much chance to find out any problems with the bike. We've not really got a setting for the dry so wet conditions will probably be better for us tomorrow. It's a shame I didn't get a chance to go for it in the last session."
Guy Martin: "I'm struggling a bit with the tyres, but I'm getting there. The weather didn't help at the end of the session as I wanted to put a fast lap in but we're making little tweaks here and there and remember Rome wasn't built in a day - but we're getting there."
Race one gets underway at 1.45pm on Sunday, with race two at 4.30pm.
1, Shane Byrne (Ducati) 1m25.832s, 2, Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 1m26.155s, 3, Karl Harris (Yamaha) 1m26.364s, 4, Leon Haslam (Honda) 1m26.552s, 5, Tom Sykes (Suzuki) 1m26.641s, 6, Leon Camier (Ducati) 1m26.833s, 7, Simon Andrews (Yamaha) 1m26.926s, 8, Michael Rutter (Ducati) 1m26.974s, 9, Atsushi Watanabe (Suzuki) 1m27.893s, 10, Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 1m27.937s.. 14, Guy Martin (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 1m28.873s, 18, James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 1m29.059s.
Round 1 - 4th/6th April - Brands Hatch GP, Kent
Round 2 - 18th/20th April - Thruxton, Hants
Round 3 - 3rd/5th May - Oulton Park, Cheshire
Round 4 - 24th/26th May - Donington Park, Leics
Round 5 - 13th/15th June - Snetterton, Norfolk
Round 6 - 27th/29th June - Mallory Park
Round 7 - 18th/20th July - Oulton Park, Cheshire
Round 8 - 8th/10th August - Knockhill, Fife
Round 9 - 23rd/25th August - Cadwell Park, Lincs
Round 10 - 12th/14th September - Croft, North Yorkshire
Round 11 - 26th/28th September, Silverstone, Northants
Round 12 - 10th/12th October - Brands Hatch Indy, Kent