British Superbikes Knockhill: Irwin collects third win of the season in sprint

The Saturday of the British Superbikes action at Knockhill belonged to Glenn Irwin. He converted his pole to sprint win, leading almost all of every lap.
Knockhill, 2023, podium, Irwin, Ryde, O'Halloran, Race one
Knockhill, 2023, podium, Irwin, Ryde, O'Halloran, Race one

Glenn Irwin has put himself out as the man to beat with the Sprint race completed in fairly controlled style. With the exception of a few corners lead by Jason O’Halloran and some early pressure from Kyle Ryde it was all about the Northern Irish rider.

The #2 said it helped him to think of Knockhill as a sort of ‘home’ round:

“I think it’s my first Superbike podium here, …when you’re from Northern Ireland and you come here it’s kind of like you’re home race, it’s like 20 miles across the water and we sort of sound the same, I think the Scottish are a bit like the Irish and stuff, or like cousins or something.

A really enjoyable race, controlled it I think, I tried not to let Jason through at turn one, you know you don’t need to take risks like that…it’s enjoyable there’s a lot of respect amongst the lads.

Other riders seem to think that changes to the Ducati have made it a good match for Knockhill, but with one of the shortest laps and plenty of corners the BeerMonster Ducati rider was not so sure of the impact:

“I know the Ducati’s fast but there’s more to it than just top speed, I think in qualifying we were the fastest bike in sector one which is turn one, two, it wouldn’t matter what engine you have there,similar in sector two so I think for us to come here to grab a win early on in the weekend and have a weekend we’ve has so far of complete progression bodes really well going forward”.


 ‘I’m over the moon finishing second at Knockhill’


Kyle Ryde had a similar pace to the Ducati ahead but his LAMI ON+MG Yamaha was betetr in places where the Ducati was not and vice vesra, and the result meant the #77 was never quite close enough to find a way around Irwin.

Knockhill, 2023, Ryde, Race one
Knockhill, 2023, Ryde, Race one

Despit that and like his rival, Knockhill was a track where he had not seen much success before so second felt good:

“Same as Oulton Park really, that felt like a win,there was no chance today I was going to pass Glenn,  couldn’t put myself in any situation to pass him so I kept trying to put the pressure on, hopefully, maybe he’d make a mistake but , no, he rode really well.

I’m over the moon finishing second at Knockhill, I’ve never come anywhere close to a podium at Knockhill, so it shows the confidence and all the hard work the team has done to get the bike better than last year.


'We need to refine our package tonight'

On the flipside Jason O’Halloran has seen plenty of success at Knockhill, last season he featured on the podium in all three races and won both full length Sunday outings. Conversely the Australian has endured a tough start to his 2023, which sees him 50 points down on our new championship leader Glenn Irwin.

That ensured that McAMS Yamaha rider was also happy with his podium start, off to a positive start instead of playing catch up: 

“Really good race for us, always good to get a first race under our belt here at Knockhill, qualified well earlier - on the front row, which is what we needed to do.
Felt like I had good rhythm, good pace,Kyle and Glenn just had a little bit more than us in that race, we need to refine our package tonight”.

With two long races in the heat to contend with on Sunday all the riders will be making the most of the time with their crews to battle it out at the Scottish track.

Behind Irwin is his teammate Tommy Bridewell, who lost his championship lead despite a strong performance battling his hard to stop Ducati from tenth to fourth, with the lead trio in race one long gone. Bridewell is now three points behind on 131.

Kyle Ryde sits third with a nine point deficit, with Josh Brookes fourth on 121, four points behind Ryde.

Leon Haslam has seen a strong string of results keep him fifth, while O’Halloran continues his battle back from sixth on 84. 

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