Red Piranha Racing rider Simon Andrews opened his 2003 British Supersport Championship account with a front row grid position and strong seventh in the season opening round at Silverstone, on Sunday.

After familiarising himself with the changes to the circuit during Friday practice, Andrews was confident of a good showing in Saturday qualifying. The morning session saw the Red Piranha Racing rider hover just outside the top 10 - before a lap late in the session put him fifth on the grid..

Then, in second qualifying, Simon initially slipped to eighth before another late quick lap landed him fourth and a superb front row grid position.

But come race day, Andrews' hard work was ruined in the first few seconds when his engine bogged down at the start of the 20-lap event, dropping him to 11th. The Brit then began his fight back - rising to seventh and setting some of the fastest times on track - before the race was stopped prematurely on lap 16.

"The team knew that even with a short amount of development time in the build up to the season that the Yamaha R6 was a strong package," stated Simon. "The objective was a good qualifying and a top ten finish. To qualify on the front row in fourth and finish seventh was a real bonus. I can't wait to get the rest of the bits on the bike."

"Simon's best lap was only one-tenth slower than the quickest lap set by Leon Haslam during the race and sector times showed he was consistently the fastest on the circuit," enthused Team Manager Pete Jennings. "With a little more work on his starts he's going to be right up there.

"The team made the switch to Yamaha [from Honda] at the beginning of February and it has proven to be one of the best decisions we have made," Jennings added. "The bike is in its early stages of development and we have a lot more to come. I think we are well positioned for the rest of the season."

 

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