After a sobering opening weekend hampered by the late delivery of Smiths Racing’s new BMW S1000RR, Peter Hickman was delighted to turn things around for a ‘fantastic’ front row start at Oulton Park.

A title showdown contender in 2018, Hickman could only manage a pair of 14thplace finishes at the Silverstone opener as Smiths Racing worked to dial in a bike it had barely completed any pre-season mileage on.

However, having capitalised on a timely in-season test between the opening two events to introduce new parts – including a brand new swingarm – for this weekend’s event, Hickman has proven quick from the off.

Top three throughout practice, Hickman replicated that feat in qualifying to land a spot on the front row in third position, much to his delight.

“Silverstone was unfortunate for us because it showed all of our weaknesses and none of our strengths, whereas Oulton Park is so diverse it’s got different types of corners so even in the areas where we may still be weak we can gain our advantages in other areas.

“The new S1000RR has been fantastic all weekend, right from the test., we learnt a lot from Silverstone so we came here with new parts, a new swingarm and different ideas so we have been fast straight away.

It is interesting because the times aren’t as fast as we would normally expect but we are further up the grid so it is relevant towards everyone. I am really happy with the bike, the team is working really well. It has been difficult but the BMW is going good!”

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