After a disappointing opening round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship, the Be Wiser Ducati team bounced back in superb fashion at round two at Oulton Park this Bank Holiday weekend, capped by Aussie Josh Brookes scoring a double victory for the Lake District-based squad and team-mate Scott Redding posting a fourth and fifth place finish.
Former BSB champion Brookes qualified the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale V4 R four tenths of a second inside the lap record to start race one from pole position and topped the leaderboard during the morning warm-up held in wet conditions meaning he went into the afternoon’s opening race in confident mood.
Ex-MotoGP rider Redding, meanwhile, qualified in seventh place on the grid on his Oulton Park debut and overcame a morning warm-up crash to line up on row three of the grid.
The sun came out for the opening race and both riders got a great start to complete the opening lap with Josh in the lead and Scott up to fifth. As the race wore on, the duo found themselves locked in their own individual battles with Josh battling with fellow Ducati rider Tommy Bridewell for the lead and Scott doing similar with Peter Hickman for fifth.
There was never much in between each pairing but the end result was the same with Josh getting the better of Bridewell by 0.2s for a superb win, which was his and the team’s first of the season, along with the first in the UK for the new Be Wiser Ducati Panigale V4 R, with Scott doing the same to Hickman to take an equally impressive fifth.
The second race later in the afternoon saw Brookes start from the middle of the front row in second with Redding again in seventh and the duo completed the opening lap in first and sixth places respectively. Just like the first race, 2015 champion Brookes went head to head with Bridewell but he again led for the entire race distance and on this occasion, his victory was more dominant as he was able to pull away in the final third of the race for an eventual 2.6s victory.
Redding, meanwhile, rode brilliantly and after sitting in sixth place initially, he made his first move on lap six when he overhauled Jason O’Halloran at Old Hall Corner and at two thirds race distance he dived up the inside of Christian Iddon at Hizzy’s for fourth, a position he held all the way to the chequered flag.
After two rounds, Brookes has moved up to fifth in the championship on 50 points with four-times GP winner Redding one place behind in sixth on 40 points meaning both riders occupy one of the important top six places in the series at this early stage going into round three at Donington Park over the weekend of May 24/26.
Josh Brookes: “When you ride for the PBM team, people expect you to win and it’s hard to maintain that level, so I’m delighted to get my first wins for them at round two, especially as Oulton Park is their local circuit. Neither race was easy, but we made good progress at the test last month and it meant we could come here this weekend and just make small refinements to the bike rather than big changes which enabled me to be quick from the off. My pace was stronger in the second race and although Tommy came with me again, I was able to break him in the final third and it’s always nice going into the last lap with a bit of a buffer. What happened at Silverstone was just one of those things and I think a few people were a bit more down than perhaps they should have been, but this is the perfect way to bounce back.”
Scott Redding: “It wasn’t the perfect weekend as I felt a podium was within reach, but I came into the weekend wanting two top six finishes, so I have to be pleased with fourth and fifth today. I learned a lot and I felt good particularly in the second race where I lapped as quick as I did in qualifying so that’s why I’m perhaps a bit frustrated as I had one hand on a podium position. At the same time, I understand the bike more, I understand the circuit more and both of those things can only benefit me as the season progresses and today has been good for my confidence. I’m taking it round by round but we’re building all the time.”
John Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “Josh has been on the pace right from the very first free practice session and when you’re at the sharp end like that, you hope the wins come, and when they do, it makes for a perfect weekend. It’s a big boost for the whole team after what happened at round one and the work we’ve done since then has certainly paid dividends. As for Scott, he’s been phenomenal and has shown what a class rider he is. To come here for the first time and get fourth and fifth is simply superb with his lap times being extremely strong and both riders can now head to round three in a confident frame of mind.”