In blustery but dry conditions at Oulton Park yesterday, Honda Racing's Steve Plater finished in a fine fourth in the first British Superbike race, but fell after a collision with Yukio Kagayama in race two.

Starting from the third row of the grid Plater dug deep in race one, cutting underneath Kagayama on lap two, then setting his sights on Gary Mason, who he passed on lap four.

The Englishman then began his pursuit of current champion Steve Hislop, setting his fastest laps towards the end of the race. Just as it looked as if Plater would have to settle for fifth place, a crash by Dean Ellison at Lodge Corner on the final lap elevated him to fourth.

"This result has made me realise more than ever about the importance of qualifying," declared Plater. "I was posting some of the fastest laps out there and if I'd qualified further up the grid I'm sure I'd have been in with a chance of a podium position. That's what I'll be aiming for in race two, so I'll be looking for the best possible start."

He duly got his great start in race two, but it would all be for nothing when he crashed out of contention on lap 11. Plater had been running in fourth once again, but his race came to an end when he was involved in a collision with Japanese rider Yukio Kagayama.

"I was lining up Kagayama up for a pass and all of a sudden he took a different line to what I was expecting. In hindsight I guess this wasn't unusual as he was on a different line every lap!" stated Plater.

Kagayama explained things from his perspective: "I made a big mistake and my foot came off the peg. Steve Plater hit the back of my bike and crashed, it was a very big surprise to me and I am glad he is alright."

"We touched fairings and there was nowhere to go but across the grass," added Plater. "Once I touched the grass I was off. I'm obviously disappointed as the bike felt great and the team has worked so hard, so I'll be attempting to redress the balance at Knockhill."

Plater's team-mate Mark Heckles finished race one in tenth position, then benefited from post race changes to work his way up to sixth place in the second outing, slipping past Dean Ellison at Knickerbrook on lap 15 to secure ten valuable championship points.

"That was a much more enjoyable race for me and the changes I made worked well," said Heckles after race two. "The feedback I was getting from the bike was much more positive and I improved my lap time by almost a second as a result. Finishing race two in sixth place is a much more positive outcome from what could have been a frustrating weekend for me."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...