Josh Brookes: ‘Some riders desperate’ at Brands, suffers ‘damaging day’

While the opening British Superbike race at Brands Hatch saw Josh Brookes edge closer to the front, Sunday’s double-header was far less productive for the two-time series champion, who crashed twice.
Josh Brookes, MCE Ducati British Superbike Brands Hatch
Josh Brookes, MCE Ducati British Superbike Brands Hatch

Far from a crasher, Brookes is usually unflappable during racing conditions whether he’s fighting for wins or lower top ten places, with the latter being a more consistent trend since he last won the British Superbike title in 2020. 

Not the only Ducati rider to have an inconsistent start to the 2022 campaign, Tommy Bridewell and Brookes’ team-mate Tom Sykes have also found it tough to challenge for podiums or better. 

Brookes, who secured his best qualifying of the season with sixth at Brands, was part of the leading group for much of race one, before finishing in the position he started in.

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Struggling with soaring bike temperatures before the race start, Brookes claimed to be distracted during the early stages of race one which allowed the five riders ahead to get the jump on him.

"It distracted me in the early laps and allowed the front five riders to get away but when I realised it wasn’t going to get any worse, I concentrated on getting into a decent rhythm," said the MCE Ducati rider. 

"It was a bit frustrating as we’re so close to the front group now but we’d made progress and to move into the top eight of the championship and the final Showdown spot was something."

Sunday’s British Superbike races ‘disappointing, a bit of desperation by some riders’

Come races two and three, expectation was that Brookes could sustain another top five challenge, however, the Australian surprisingly crashed out of both races.

The first of those came at Stirling’s on lap six, and although the crash was an obvious disappointment for Brookes, so was the level of ‘desperation’ shown by some riders in race three. 

Brookes added: "Today has clearly been disappointing and whilst I thought yesterday was tough, today’s topped that. In the first race, I felt like I was riding well and hanging with the front group so I was waiting to see how the longer race would affect people but, sadly, I never got far as the front went with no warning. 

"I’ve never crashed there before and never even had any moments so I can only assume I was going too quick, carrying too much lean angle or too much front brake. Something caused it. 

"In the second race, there was a lot of jostling in the first few corners and a bit of desperation by some riders which was a bit strange as it was going to be another long race. 

"It’s been a damaging day so all we can do is dust ourselves down, quite literally, and look ahead to the next round."

Sykes resigned to watching race three after ‘technical issue’ lingers 

Still without a top five finish since his BSB return, Sunday’s double-header was as much of a disaster for Brookes as it was for Sykes.

Tom Sykes MCE Ducati British Superbike Brands Hatch
Tom Sykes MCE Ducati British Superbike Brands Hatch

The former WorldSBK champion was unable to line-up for the final showdown after a technical issue in race two carried into race three.

Sykes added: "It has been a difficult weekend for us, and it was a frustrating end to the weekend when we couldn’t take our place on the grid for the final race. 

"We had a technical issue in the first race today which we thought was sorted as all the various settings were checked but it reappeared on the sighting lap of the final race, and we couldn’t take part. 

"It’s such a shame as we had made some progress in the opening race, and we couldn’t put into effect the changes we had planned so that was doubly disappointing. But we’ll come back stronger and hopefully have some better fortune next time out."

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