British Superbikes Donington Park: Perfect start for dominant Ryde

Kyle Ryde got his Donington race weekend off to a perfect start after converting pole to a sprint race win on Saturday in the third round of the championship.
Podium for Sprint Race 2023 at Donington Park, Ryde, Bridewell, Haslam
Podium for Sprint Race 2023 at Donington Park, Ryde, Bridewell, Haslam

The day began with superpole format which was was tough for the LAMI OMG rider as he had not experienced it before and had pressure piled on after topping practice, meaning he was due to go last, with a nervous wait as the fourteen riders ahead set their best lap.

He lapped maturely, hitting his markers to qualify on pole, lowering the lap record again and continued to run to his own line and rhythm at his local track in the race where he sped away to a dominant win as the race to be best of the rest unfolded behind.


‘When you know you’re fast in FP1 you expect big things’

The #77 reflected on the fact that although he made it look easy and was confident in his pace it felt anything but:

“A very difficult race - I knew what pace I could do, and it was good that I did exactly what I thought I could do, the bike worked great.

My pit board still said 0.3, 0.4 so so fair play to everyone because on paper I felt like I was a little bit quicker and obviously they matched it in that race.

Ryde however stayed ahead and won by an eventual 1.086s as his rivals battled away after leading from start to finish, completing a strong start to the weekend so far despite feeling pushed to his limit all the way by not only his rivals but himself:

“Perfect day… pole position, I followed it up with a win and can’t wait for tomorrow. I put so much pressure on myself all weekend, it’s always like that when you’re fast - when you know you’re fast in FP1 you expect big things. So I’m glad I took all the pressure - obviously being last in superpole was a lot of pressure as I’d not done it before and I put it on pole, same thing to back it up in the race in front of all my family”.


‘The way BSB is now, you can’t just sit there!’


Tommy Bridewell lined up fourth, and after a few laps of finding his feet was solidly in second. He found it tough to concentrate on chasing down Ryde while always under pressure from Leon Haslam:

“I was pushing really absolutely everything, so precise with my riding to try and edge a little bit back on Kyle, but he just didn’t give me any opportunity”.

The BeerMonster Ducati rider had as many issues to worry about behind as he did in front:

“To be fair I was under a mass amount of pressure from Leon because I had plus nought on my pit board the whole race, so I knew I couldn’t make a mistake and drop back… he was a good target to have, he set a mega pace at the front”.


‘I like to have a little battle in the end and we haven’t got much to fight with at the minute’.


Record lapping was required to even be in touching distance of Ryde and the only other rider to be near at the end of the race was Leon Haslam, on his own team bike - the Rokit BMW Motorrad.

Though the bike still had a fair few issues to iron out the #91 collected his fourth consecutive rostrum visit after another strong performance - after Bridewell lowered that lap record twice more in-race while giving chase it was Haslam that became the new holder of the top time to stay in touch - a 1m 27.593s best seeing him claim pole for race two.

His bike may have had speed but it was lacking in the brakes department, something which he and the team will be looking to improve for Sunday:

“There is an evident area that we need to improve just so I can fight, be able to make some easier passes. The rhythm on my own - I feel real good. We are making improvements with the bike, I like to have a little battle in the end and we haven’t got much to fight with at the minute.

We need to make some steps with the brakes, in superpole we lost the brakes into the loop. The whole race we were fighting with the front brake so the boys have got some ideas for tomorrow. Donington is very demanding on the brakes but we’ve also had these issues at Oulton and Silverstone.

The first day of racing also chanced the complexion of the title standings, but with only five different riders featuring over all the podiums so far the allocation of the big points has kept it close at the top.

Heading into Sunday Tommy Bridewell has taken over at the top by just one point on 103, with Glenn Irwin, who lead the way after Donington just one point behind after his fifth place in the sprint.

Josh Brookes worked hard to climb from tenth to sixth, that keeps him third overall with 97 points.

After his sprint race win Kyle Ryde pulls closer to the Australian on 91, with four consecutive podium visits seeing Leon Haslam on to a total of 90.

A pre-season favourite for many Jason O’Halloran looked to be ready to make inroads after a shaky start to the season an impressed in practice, then qualifying on the front row in third.

With all the frontrunners on a hard tyre, the McAMS rider had taken the soft option which saw him go backwards rapidly in the race. A bad day only got worse when, outside the top ten, he had contact with Peter Hickman in the closing stages and went off track. Amazingly he saved his excursion across the grass and crossed the line in the points in 14th.

The Australian is a distant eighth overall with just 43 points, both Andrew Irwin and Lee Jackson sit between the #22 and a top five slot.

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