Stuart Higgs has dismissed Shane Byrne’s criticisms about starting the opening Silverstone race in mixed conditions and says he’d make the same call in the future.

Byrne and a number of senior riders called for MCE British Superbike race director Stuart Higgs to delay the start of race one in order to give the Silverstone track chance to dry out after a heavy rain shower soaked the outer section while the rest of the circuit was only damp and drying.

After Byrne’s reaction to the decision, Higgs has defended the call to not delay the race start and feels it was the most sensible option, having already declared it a wet race, given the cold ambient conditions which saw the circuit dry much slower than predicted. It made the choice on tyres and set-up a tricky one to get right with half the track soaking wet with the other half effectively dry by the end of the race.

“The lap time degraded by about two seconds over a 30-minute period which shows even if we waited 30 minutes it would have been the same,” Higgs said on Eurosport TV. “Critically to go when we did, yes it was 50/50, but the level of the wet track at its most wettest meant riders would go with wet tyres and frankly I’d rather have people on wet tyres on a 50/50 track than dry tyres.

“It is not like flag-to-flag races in MotoGP where people are obliged to stay out on tyres unsuitable for the conditions. Throwing accusations about that Valentino or Maverick… it is irrelevant.

“I think we made the right call and it wasn’t a crash-fest as predicted and we didn’t have people making reckless tyre choices. To go when we did was the right decision and if we were in the same situation again I’d make the same call.”

Higgs says all relevant information was taken into account, including the low ambient temperature plus the differing track surfaces at Silverstone, and was happy to accept responsibility despite the criticisms from senior BSB riders.

“We knew what the weather window was doing and if it was baking hot 75 degree ambient temperature we would have had a dry line within a couple of laps,” he said. “Also if you are at a circuit like Thruxton where you rip a wet tyre on a damp track.

“This was a critical decision to make and I am very confident in the decision. I am more than aware of the decision and the responsibility – these are very broad shoulders.”

Glenn Irwin clinched a maiden BSB win having chosen the Pirelli rain tyres (full wets) along with the rest of the top five finishers Josh Brookes, John Hopkins, Jake Dixon and Luke Mossey. Leon Haslam and Byrne, who both crashed out, opted for the intermediate Pirelli tyres.