A further win and podium for the new Fireblade at Donington Park

Race Report
It was another successful day at Donington Park for the opening round of the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship for the Honda Racing team, as Andrew Irwin took a second race win aboard the all-new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, bringing its tally of wins to three in its debut outing on British soil.

The second British Superbike race of the weekend was another nail-biting experience in the Honda garage as teammates and brothers, Andrew and Glenn Irwin held off the chasing pack across the 26-lap race. Glenn started from the first row of the grid in third place, with Andrew behind in fifth, and by the end of the first lap it was Glenn leading the race.

By lap six it was again a Honda 1-2, as Andrew made up places to join Glenn at the front. Holding off their championship rivals, Glenn led the way lap after lap, but brother Andrew was hot on his heels and coming into the last corner made his move to take his second win of the weekend, with Glenn crossing the line 0.194s behind in second place.

The final Superbike race of the weekend also didn't disappoint, but with Andrew starting seventh and Glenn 12th, they knew they had a job on their hands. However, showing throughout the race the strength of the new Fireblade, both Honda men set about tracking down their opponents, and by half race distance Glenn was sitting third with Andrew fourth.

On lap 23 the brothers made their move into the podium spots with Tommy Bridewell leading the pack, but again on the final lap Andrew made his move on his brother to take second place, with Glenn completing the podium in third.

Following an incident in the final stages of Race 3, with Josh Brookes exiting Redgate, Andrew has since been disqualified from the race, as well as receiving penalty points for his involvement in the incident, which means he will start at the back of the grid for Race 1 at Snetterton. Glenn moves into second place in the results and takes the championship lead with 60 points, with Andrew in second place with 50 points. After Round 1 Honda is leading the manufacturer standings and is 24 points ahead of Ducati in second place.

Meanwhile Tom Neave made an outstanding comeback in the final Superstock race of the weekend coming from last on the grid to cross the line fifth, setting a new Superstock 1000 lap record in the process. The race was rescheduled to the end of the day after a red flag incident earlier in the day, where Tom should have started from pole position, but after missing the gate for the quick restart he was relegated to the back of the grid.

However, cutting his way through the pack he soon moved his Fireblade up through the order to finish in an impressive fifth place, and was only 2.295s from the win. After this weekend Tom is sitting joint first with Chrissy Rouse in the championship standings with 36 points. Meanwhile teammate Davey Todd continued to progress throughout the weekend, crossing the line 10th in the race.

The Honda Racing team will now look forward to Round 2 of the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship, which takes place in two weekends time at Snetterton on 21/22/23 August.

Click here for the full results of Round 1.

Andrew Irwin

Even with the outcome this evening from the final race, this has been a great weekend, with two race wins at the first round on a brand-new machine. It's been a good start to the season with Honda and the Fireblade, and I'm looking forward to the progress we can make. I'll keep working hard, putting in the time and effort in the next two weeks, to arrive at Snetterton even better. But we have to be realistic there, we know it's a different track and a different style to Donington, so we have to hope the bike is also competitive there, so I'll go, try my best and hopefully we can do a good job. 

Glenn Irwin

It's been an amazing weekend! Race 2, for sure I chucked away a win! The final race today was probably my favourite ride, even though we finished third, (then moved into second). I wanted to not do anything stupid and if Andy came past me then fair play, but to come from 12th, same for Andy he was 7th on the grid was a good job. That race was enjoyable I got to him and he was stuck behind the Ducatis and I felt I could pull him through, so was nice to overtake him and the others, to be honest I never give up and I stayed in 1.06s to try and catch Tommy [Bridewell]. I threw everything at that race and when you do that and come away with a podium, it's the icing on the cake - a victory would have been sweet, but we never expected the results we had this weekend and we leave here as a happy team, with a really happy rider with his confidence back - a lot due to what I've been working on off the track. Thanks to Harv and everyone at Honda for this weekend.

Tom Neave

We made a mistake not getting out on time, but that was probably the most solid and maturest race I've ever had, I learnt so much - it was character building for sure! I suppose sometimes you have to have a weekend like that to prove where you're at, but anyone who knows anything about racing will know I should have won that race, the Fireblade was amazing and the team has worked so hard to be where we are now. We came through the pack from last to finish fifth, so I can't be disappointed with that. Thanks to Marcus for coaching me and helping me with all my training, everything off the bike feels like it's come together and with the bike I have the full package. Also thanks to everyone who is supporting me, it's been such a great weekend to get my first race win! I cannot wait to get to Snetterton redeem myself, and continue my 2020 journey! 

Davey Todd

It's been a bit of a crazy day all in all, with the red flag and incidents this morning. To be honest we had our work cut out for us at the start, it was always going to be difficult starting so far back on the grid with the times from Race 1, but we made some really good set-up changes and we were strong in warm up this morning, I knew we had the pace and made some good changes. In all honestly we had the pace, we had the pace to be at the front, we were running pretty much the same time as the race winner in fact - we had the pace to run at the front, but just that pack of riders in the top-10 is busy! We need to work on a few things but we're making progress with the Fireblade and making progress with me, most of all, but we'll be strong at the next round. 

Team Manager Havier Beltran

We’ve had a fantastic start to the season, we arrived at Donington without any expectations and the results this weekend across the Superbike and Superstock classes show what a great bike the new Fireblade is. I’m proud of everyone in the team for what we’ve achieved this weekend and we’re now leading BSB with Glenn and also the manufacturer standings. We’ve learnt a lot across the weekend and have more of an understanding and more information of where we need to be stronger. Of course we can’t take anything for granted and Snetterton is such a different circuit to Donington, but we will refocus, set our goals and see where Round 2 takes us.