Battle for 'title showdown' spot hots up.

As many as eight riders are challenging for three obvious 'Title Showdown' spots with four rounds remaining.
With the completion of the fifth round at Knockhill, the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship has moved into the latter half of its 'first phase' with the an intense battle for a top six finish looming.

Nine rounds make up the first part of the 2011 season, with the top six classified at the end of the Cadwell Park round in August going on to challenge for the title over the final three events.

With four rounds still to go, the top three of Shane Byrne, John Hopkins and Tommy Hill are looking fairly comfortable having won seven of the year's ten races thus far. Currently, the trio are already 93, 62 and 41 points clear of the all-important seventh place.

However, the battle for the remaining three positions is proving closely contested, with eight riders in with a close shout of a top six spot at the moment.

Fourth place man Michael Laverty has hit some good form recently to lift himself up the order, the Swan Yamaha rider 16 points clear of seventh place man Peter Hickman, while the injured Stuart Easton still remarkably retains fifth aboard the MSS Colchester Kawasaki, a measure of how strong his start to the season was.

If Laverty – and even Easton – have a comfortable buffer to the battle for sixth, things are much closer further behind with just 22 points covering Ryuichi Kiyonari down to Josh Brookes in 12th.

A lacklustre few rounds have dented Kiyonari's title credentials, but while he is 88 points behind HM Plant Honda team-mate Shane Byrne at this stage, the fact he remains on the top six bubble – and is a reputed title winner at this level – means, somewhat bizarrely, he cannot be discounted as a title favourite.

Arguably the year's surprise package, Tyco's Peter Hickman – ironically riding the bike that took Kiyonari to last year's title – remains well in contention in seventh, the Thruxton podium winner now the only top rider to have finished every race this year. However, that attribute could prove his downfall when dropped scores are taken into effect as currently Hickman stands to lose six points from his current total.

The only rider outside the top six to have won a race this season, Croft victor Jon Kirkham is having a turbulent return to the BSB top flight, though his accomplished Samsung Crescent Suzuki machinery suggests he is well capable of stringing some consistent results together.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Michael Laverty - Swan Yamaha [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Jon Kirkham - Samsung Crescent Suzuki [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Laverty - Buildbase BMW [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Martin Jessopp - Rapid Bathams Ducati [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins - Samsung Crescent Suzuki [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Hill - Swan Yamaha [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Hill - Swan Yamaha [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Graeme Gowland - WFR Honda [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
The field drops into Duffus Dip [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Elliott, Tyco BMW, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Elliott, Tyco BMW, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael Laverty, McAMS Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Byrne, Brookes, O`Halloran, Snetterton podium [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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Gaz - Unregistered

June 22, 2011 10:57 AM

I know all the riders are aware of the rules before the season starts but the points system makes a mockery of the whole championship when a rider has under performed for half a season then gets a clean slate to try again. Hope they scrap it for next year.

Buzz Beurling - Unregistered

June 22, 2011 11:24 AM

I agree with Gaz 100% this makes a mockery of the championship. there are going to be odd years when one rider dominates..well good for him...but there are also years when it goes down to the wire...this is a mummers makes an artificial end to the true fans we should only be bothered with the real points scored...the sooner they dump this overcomplicated ******** of a system the better

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