Renowned wet weather specialist Michael Rutter called upon all of his guile and experience to make up for the disappointment of a race one DNF in the third round of the 2010 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship campaign at Oulton Park at the weekend with a well-calculated rostrum finish in Bank Holiday Monday's second outing.
After qualifying third around the demanding Cheshire circuit, Rutter was forced out of the opening encounter by a suspected engine problem, having already overshot the chicane early on. In race two, however, the 38-year-old brilliantly mastered the tricky wet-but-drying conditions to absolute perfection to come home exactly six seconds adrift of first-time BSB winner Michael Laverty in a comfortable second position aboard his RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati.
“The engine was making strange noises [in race one],” revealed 'The Blade', “but when we checked the data everything seemed okay. [In race two] my tyre lost grip towards the end and I was just doing everything I could to nurse it home but still retain second place. The bike and the RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati team worked really well this weekend, and I'm delighted to be on the podium for them.”
Rutter now sits sixth in the title standings as a result, whilst Martin Jessopp bounced back from a 90mph practice 'off' to chalk up battling eleventh and twelfth-place finishes in the two races to lie ninth in the championship, 17 markers adrift of his team-mate.
“We've had a few issues this weekend,” acknowledged the 24-year-old Somerset ace. “I crashed when I got into the corner a little bit hotter than before and folded the front end. Then we had a gear selection problem – I kept getting neutrals, which was unnerving.
“We got some solid finishes in the end, but I never really felt like I got into a rhythm on race day and maybe I was being too harsh on the brakes in the dry first race and upsetting the chassis.”
“In all, it's been a pretty good weekend for the RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati team,” concluded team owner Phil Jessopp. “Michael's experience showed as he finished a very strong second in race two in the most difficult of conditions, and he's now only six points off fourth in the championship.
“Martin's weekend was trying with the crash and then the gearbox problem. His twelfth place in the wet was a hard-earned result. He wasn't quite sure how hard to push in the rain. We could have done without the technical issues, but we're still looking to get both our riders into the top six in the championship come the ninth round so they can go through to the final three-round title Showdown.”