Josh Brookes and the Be Wiser Ducati team took a brilliant double victory in round four of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch today with further joy coming for the Penrith-based team as team-mate Scott Redding claimed a podium in the second race.
With the duo having qualified in first and second, the team were confident of some strong results although the good conditions of Friday and Saturday were replaced by rain showers and the first 20-lap race started with a wet track albeit with the sun shining. It saw Australian 2015 BSB champion Brookes opt for full wets whilst ex-MotoGP rider Redding gambled on the track drying with an intermediate rear tyre on his factory-supported Be Wiser Ducati Panigale V4R.
It proved to be the incorrect decision as the track didn’t dry quickly enough and although the Gloucestershire rider set the fastest lap at the end of the race, he slipped back to 22nd at the flag. Brookes, meanwhile, rode a sublime race to gradually make his way through the field before closing the gap to the leaders and hitting the front with two laps to go. From there he held on to take his 42nd career win by nearly two seconds to add to his victories scored at Oulton Park last month.
Despite their differing fortunes, Redding and Brookes again lined up in first and second on the grid for the second race later in the day and in the dry conditions, circulated at the front for the first half of the race. Brookes led throughout and after seeing off the challenge of Redding and fellow Ducati rider Tommy Bridewell, he took his second victory of the day with Redding a deserved third. Brookes was also crowned ‘King of Brands’ for a third time for good measure and claimed first blood in the Integro Summer Triple Crown which, if he wins the next four races, will secure him a £75,000 pay day.
The result also meant it was the seventh straight win for Paul Bird’s team who remain unbeaten since the opening round and elevated both riders up the championship standings with Redding in second and Brookes just seven points back in third going into the next round at Knockhill in Scotland in two weeks’ time.
Josh Brookes: “I knew the track would dry out in the first race so we switched to a different setting although I also knew the first few laps would be hard in the wet. The circuit took a lot longer to dry out than I thought, and it gave me a few edgy moments in the first few laps, so I had to stay patient and let the track come to me. The second race was incredibly tough and although I had a bit of a gap mid-race, I had to up the pace. My lap times were practically identical every lap, so it was a hard-fought win. PBM have done a fantastic job this weekend for me and it’s great to have come away with two wins.”
Scott Redding: “Some people may not have thought a podium was possible for me this weekend, but we were quick straightaway which raised expectations. However, I knew that whilst I was quick for a few laps, doing it over the full race distance would be a lot more difficult particularly as I’m still learning the bike and the tyres. At the moment, I’m using the rear tyre in the wrong way and although I tried to hold onto the leaders, I ended up making a few mistakes so settled for the position and brought the bike home in third. I made a mistake in the first race with the tyre choice, so I’m pleased to come back with a podium.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “It’s been an eventful day and the mixed conditions in race one gave both riders a lot to think about but whilst Josh was able to call upon his experience and opt for the full wet tyre, Scott made a gamble with the intermediate which didn’t pay off. It was his decision and as he said afterwards, you have to make mistakes to learn from them. Josh bided his time perfectly and to come from more than ten seconds from the leaders to win the race was a great ride. He then wrapped it up in the dry with a superb start to finish victory and with Scott in third it was a near perfect race. We took a 1-3 and there were three Ducatis on the podium so we can’t complain at all. We’ve strengthened our positions in the top six of the championship standings and that’s seven wins on the bounce now so it’s onwards and upwards to Knockhill where we’ll look for more of the same.”