Glenn Irwin says his first race win of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike campaign acts as the best leaving present to Be Wiser Ducati as he moves on at the end of the season.

Earlier this month Irwin confirmed he would switch to the JG Speedfit Kawasaki squad for 2019, with Scott Redding and Josh Brookes arriving at Be Wiser Ducati next season, and was eager to finish his time at Paul Bird’s squad on a high.

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Irwin duly produced a flawless performance with a lights-to-flag victory in the Brands Hatch opener, his first of the year and first dry-weather win in BSB, and despite suffering a technical issue with his Panigale R’s dashboard he was delighted to deliver after five second-place finishes this season.

“It is the best way we could hope to leave,” Irwin said. “Jake [Dixon] told me the weather is horrendous tomorrow so being Irish I could easily go and get a crate of Guinness! We might be racing tomorrow or that might be it and me going out on a high.

“I really enjoyed the race despite my timers not working from the first lap. When you are leading with no target you can use a reference on your dash to let you know how you’re doing but it wasn’t working so it made it difficult.

“I started quite slow deliberately and the guys weren’t making moves so I thought if it stays like this with six or seven to go I thought I’ll start to go.

“Then I saw my brother’s pit board saying P2 and I didn’t want him behind me as he’s mad! I knew he was harder on the tyre because he is new to this game and with six to go we started to wind it up. The bike was faultless and it’s weird because an easy race is a race you win and it is the only easy race I’ve had other than Silverstone in the wet last year.”

Irwin also paid tribute to Leon Haslam who sealed his maiden BSB title by finishing in sixth place in the opening race at the Brands Hatch finale. The Northern Irish rider replaces Haslam at the JG Speedfit Kawasaki squad with the 2018 champion heading to World Superbikes with the factory Kawasaki team.

“A massive congratulations to Leon as he’s deserved the championship as we’ve all been relying on some lady luck shining our way,” he said. “He really, really deserves it so I wish him all the best at KRT next year.

“Also a big thanks to Paul Bird for everything over the past three years, I really appreciate it but now we move on.”

 

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