Irwin had 'nothing left' for final laps, Skinner calls pace 'ridiculous'

A perfect Glenn Irwin matches his career win total after claiming a brilliant British Superbike hat-trick at Silverstone.
Glenn Irwin, Honda British Superbike Silverstone
Glenn Irwin, Honda British Superbike Silverstone

Irwin’s incredible treble means he’s the third British Superbike rider to achieve that feat in the last year after Jason O’Halloran did so twice in 2021, while the Australian’s team-mate and reigning series champion Tarran Mackenzie managed it at the season finale.  

Although race two was a slightly fortuitous victory given Bradley Ray crashed out from a near one second lead with just six laps to go, there was no doubt about who the fastest rider was in race three. 

After getting through on the likes of Rory Skinner and brother Andrew Irwin early, the Honda Racing UK rider began to stretch his legs, to the tune of a 1.5 second lead. 

Ray did produce a late charge which saw him get within six tenths come the final lap, however, Irwin responded when needed in order to complete his first career treble. 

"I think coming into this weekend it was fair to say things were difficult," claimed Irwin following win #3. "Our pace at the test was never our pace and that continued through Friday here. 

"Our team has had so much going on this weekend. Right until race three all the lads from every bike were working on Takumi’s [Takahashi] bike. Not Honda faults but just little faults and things going wrong so they (the team) deserve that (win). 

"The last race was different and might have looked easier, but I didn’t feel like the track was as fast, for sure there was less grip. When I passed Rory [Skinner] and saw that Andrew was into second and holding a good pace; I put a little bit into him before I had a moment at turn six, I think the first moment I’ve had all weekend. 

"From that point on I was able to get back to that 53.4s lap time which would see the gap increase on the pit board. 

"When Bradley got up to second I knew he would have something. He’s incredibly strong here, a top rider, and has a motorcycle that works very well here which is a dangerous combination. 

"He was coming and I had nothing left, but I was pleased I could maintain a 53.7s. My edge grip was absolutely gone though."

Did back-to-back mistakes cost Ray a chance at victory in race three?

For Ray, race three was a brilliant salvage job following his race two disaster. But could it have been better?

Bradley Ray Kyle Ryde Yamaha British Superbike
Bradley Ray Kyle Ryde Yamaha British Superbike

Ray suffered near highsides on back-to-back laps when behind A. Irwin, which came at a time when the Yamaha rider was clearly the quickest rider on-track. 

Ray had just completed three overtakes in as many laps, but a first mistake came on the approach to Luffield which set him back by a few tenths. 

On the next lap Ray attempted to get good drive out of the final corner, however, the 24 year-old asked too much of the rear tyre as it nearly launched him overboard. 

Overall, the two mistakes cost Ray around one second in lap time, which was enough to set him back a couple of laps. 

Nevertheless, it’s Ray’s best start to a BSB season since 2018 after claiming third in Saturday’s race one. 

Summing up his wild day, Ray said: "In race two we had real good pace and I led from the start, but I just got a little bit excited to be honest. 

"I made a tiny mistake in the last corner, the last right, had some chatter and then lost the front. 

"I was annoyed with myself and then it’s hard to bounce back for race three when you only have a couple of hours in between. 

"I had a few big moments out there and had to regroup. I think I went back to sixth at one point (race three), but it was nice to make my way back through to second and have some pace at the end of the race." 

Is Skinner a British Superbike championship contender?

Rory Skinner Kawasaki British Superbike Silverstone
Rory Skinner Kawasaki British Superbike Silverstone

Although Skinner missed out on a race three podium by less than a tenth, signs over the weekend point to the former Supersport champion making a big year-two jump. 

The FS-3 Kawasaki rider didn’t finish lower than fourth in any of the three races, while P3 in race two was his best result. 

Given the fact Silverstone is traditionally a circuit that suits Honda, and in particular Yamaha - better tracks lie ahead for the ZX-10RR - being a regular top five finisher this weekend was a big statement from Skinner, and one that should see him kick-on to become a real threat. 

Having already taken two podiums as a rookie last season, there’s no doubt about Skinner’s potential. The Scot will also want to perform well as a potential move to Moto2 could be beckoning come the end of this season. 

Still missing a couple of tenths to really challenge for the win at the season opener, Skinner called Irwin and Kyle Ryde’s pace ‘ridiculous’ after securing his race two podium. 

"Yeah it was a great race. The pace between Glenn [Irwin] and Kyle [Ryde] is just ridiculous," added Skinner. "It’s qualifying laps for 30 laps! It’s nuts! 

"To already come away from the first weekend with a P4 and podium is great (speaking prior to race three), I’m very happy. 

"It was a nice little view on the last lap. I saw Kyle and Glenn and thought ‘I’ll just hold back’ and see what happens. But fair play to them both, they were absolutely on it all race."

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