Thruxton winner Josh Brookes admitted that he had 'waited a long time' to notch up his breakthrough victory in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship – as the HM Plant Honda star revealed that he had never once doubted his ability to stand up on the top step of the podium.
Suffering from something of a fast-but-wild reputation last year with scintillating raw speed marred by a number of contentious accidents, in 2010 Brookes looks to have come of age. In the opener around the ultra-fast Hampshire circuit, the Australian emerged second in a fraught and entertaining four-way scrap for supremacy with Worx Crescent Suzuki rivals Tommy Hill and Yukio Kagayama and Swan Honda ace Stuart Easton, only being passed for the lead at the end of the penultimate lap.
In race two, however, the Sydney native would gain his revenge, making the most of a front row starting spot to launch himself to the head of the pack when the starting lights went out and thereafter superbly resisting race-long pressure from earlier winner Hill to take the chequered flag just under four tenths clear of the Brit, after the pair's relentless pace and fierce duel took them more than seven seconds clear of their closest pursuers.
The result not only marked HM Plant Honda's first success in the championship since Silverstone in 2008 and the first Australian triumph since Troy Bayliss at Cadwell Park all the way back in 1999 – but it also hoisted Brookes up from tenth in the title standings after Brands Hatch to second heading next to Oulton Park at the beginning of May. Not bad for a day's work, all-told.
“I was feeling good and confident, picking up places and able to pass and then making moves stick to get into the lead,” the 26-year-old recollected of the opening encounter. “It was good fun out there, but my tyre was spinning up when Tommy Hill came past me. I have felt confident about the bike since we started testing – we are moving forwards with the package, still learning, but getting stronger.
“[Victory in race two] felt pretty good – I've waited a long time for this! The bike has been good all weekend and I was able to lead all of the way. I could feel Tommy breathing down my neck but I knew that if I didn't make any mistakes, then the race was mine. I always knew that I was capable of doing this, and now I have the trophy to prove it.”
Team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari, for his part, endured a torrid time of things in race one, coming in a brave ninth after suffering with rear grip issues and having started way down in 13th following a red flag-strewn qualifying session in which the former double BSB Champion had struggled to find a decent rhythm.
A set-up change ahead of the second outing, however, at least allowed the Japanese ace to end proceedings with a smile on his face as he more confidently came within a whisker of stealing the final rostrum position from Easton at the close.
“I couldn't push on [due to a] grip problem,” the Japanese ace admitted of race one. “[It was] very difficult. Early on [in race two], Easton came past me at the Complex and I went a bit wide, losing a lot of places. After that it was difficult to settle, but I battled hard for third place – I thought my tyre was finished, but everyone else was in the same position.”