Stuart Easton admitted to having ridden 'erratically' at times on his way to his first podium finish of the 2010 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship campaign at Thruxton at the weekend – as he reflected that 'some days you have to fight for the positions'.
Riding solo for Swan Honda following the leg-breaking accident suffered by team-mate James Ellison during final free practice on Saturday morning, Easton lined up third on the starting grid and vaulted into the lead at lights-out in race one.
The Scot would retain that advantage all the way to half-distance when he was passed by Worx Crescent Suzuki rival Yukio Kagayama, before HM Plant Honda's Josh Brookes and pole-sitter and championship leader Tommy Hill similarly fought their way by to leave the Borders native – by now battling against a lack of grip – a close fourth at the chequered flag.
Set-up changes ahead of race two, however, enabled Easton to narrowly get the better of former double BSB Champion Ryuichi Kiyonari aboard the second HM Plant Honda machine to mount the bottom step of the rostrum from back on the third row of the grid – and in the process move past Ellison into third spot in the standings.
“Like everyone, I was struggling with tyres and grip problems,” the 26-year-old confessed. “We tried a couple of things for the next race, to put a bit more weight onto the back of the bike to try and give more grip. We solved the problem, and I knew I had a lot of work to do and I wasn't riding as smoothly as normal. I was up to third and started pulling in Josh and Tommy, but by that point I had used the best from my tyres. I think my riding was in some places a bit erratic, but some days you have to fight for the positions.”
Swan Honda has yet to decide if Ellison will be replaced for Oulton Park next time out over May Day weekend, with the Cumbrian eyeing a Mallory Park return in late June to still be in a position to score sufficient points to finish inside the top six and thereby make the 'Title-Fighters Showdown' and go on to duel it out for glory in the newly-devised shoot-out over the last three meetings [see separate story – click here
The 29-year-old has declared himself to be in good spirits and 'on the mend' after undergoing surgery to have a metal bar inserted through the femur in his right leg at Winchester Hospital following his hefty, high-speed crash as he sped through the long, sweeping Goodwood right-hander two days ago. As the front end stepped out of line, Ellison was thrown over the top of his CBR1000RR before sliding some 120 metres along the track and grass-run off area.