Josh Brookes has stressed the need for HM Plant Honda to heed the lessons from a 'difficult and frustrating day' in the third round of the 2010 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park over Bank Holiday weekend – a meeting that saw the Australian cede vital ground in the battle to make the 'Showdown'.
After qualifying on the outside of the front row in fourth, Brookes ran inside the top four early on in the opening encounter around the demanding Cheshire circuit, but as the race progressed the 27-year-old suffered increasingly from chatter that dropped him down the field to finish sixth.
In the shortened second outing, the Sydney native subsequently found himself afflicted by rear grip woes in the changeable conditions that restricted him to a distant and disappointed eighth at the chequered flag – leaving him a full 52 points adrift of leader Tommy Hill in the title standings heading next to Cadwell Park, where he did not compete last year due to his two-round ban.
“It was a difficult and frustrating day for me,” a phlegmatic Brookes reflected. “I think that somewhere along the line we made the wrong decision on the setting and I was desperate to go out and make amends for it in race two, but that didn't happen. It was difficult as we were on a wet tyre on a drying track, and by the end everyone's tyres were destroyed as expected, but ours' went off very quickly.
“I feel annoyed that I couldn't get back up there in the second race, despite the whole team putting in a huge amount of effort and hard work. The reality is that these things happen sometimes, though, so we just need to learn from this so it doesn't happen again and get back up there at Cadwell Park.”
Team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari fared a little better, despite being denied a possible podium position in race one after being forced wide by Relentless Suzuki rival Alastair Seeley on lap nine – dropping the Japanese ace down the order – and later retiring from the fray with a technical issue.
From pole in race two, however, 'Kiyo' made the early running before giving best to eventual winner Michael Laverty, and the former double BSB Champion and series returnee went on to enjoy spirited scraps with both Michael Rutter and John Laverty before a determined effort enabled the 27-year-old to come home in a solid P4.
“It was a tough weekend for me,” he acknowledged, “and I am disappointed to have not finished on the podium. In the first race Alastair Seeley passed me into Shell Oils Corner really hard, and it pushed me wide which lost me positions and my momentum. I then had a technical problem so I had to retire, but I was happy to be starting from pole position in the second race.
“In race two I was really pushing hard as I wanted to make up for not finishing the first race, but there was a big gap to close. I then got pushed wide again by John Laverty; he leant on me and it was impossible to hold the line. I now just want to go to Cadwell Park and fight again for the podium.”
“It was a tough day for the team,” echoed HM Plant Honda team manager Havier Beltran in conclusion, “and it was disappointing for Josh and Kiyo that we didn't get the results we thought we could achieve. Both riders struggled; Kiyo got beaten up in both races, whilst Josh really struggled with rear tyre deterioration in the second race. The whole team is now looking forward to our home race at Cadwell Park in a few weeks.”