Dominant debut for the new Fireblade at Donington Park
It has been a strong day for the Honda Racing team at Donington Park for the final test before Round 1 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship on 7/8/9 August. Making its debut at Donington Park’s National Circuit, the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP dominated the timesheets leading three of the four timed sessions.
With near-perfect conditions at the Leicestershire circuit, it was Andrew Irwin who topped the times in the first session of the day with a 0.137-second advantage over championship rival Danny Buchan, with his older brother and teammate Glenn finishing third.
The second session of the day saw another Honda 1-3, again with Andrew leading the way and showing the potential of the brand-new Fireblade. But it was all change at the top in the third session with Glenn topping the sheets with a time of 1:06.640, while Andrew came home in third place.
In the final session of the day it was looking to be a clean sweep for the Honda Racing team at the top of times, with Andrew and Glenn swapping places at the top, but in the final stages it was Lee Jackson who claimed the top spot. Times were close with the top-18 riders covered by just 0.787s, which saw Glenn finish fourth (+0.054) and Andrew seventh (+0.207).
The teams’ National Superstock 1000 Championship contenders Tom Neave and Davey Todd also enjoyed their first official outing on the Fireblade. Again, showing the potential of the new machine, Tom was in the top-six in the first three sessions and finished the final session of the day in second place, just 0.073 seconds from the top. Teammate Davey used the day to work through a number of settings and get used to the circuit again, having last ridden at Donington Park in 2017.
The team will now look forward to returning to Donington Park next weekend as the Bennetts British Superbike Championship roars into life with Round 1 kicking off on Friday 7 August.
#18 Andrew IrwinToday was a positive day, we probably didn’t expect to be as close to the front as we were, which is a nice feeling. The Fireblade is completely new and we don’t have a lot of different parts on it from the road bike, so that’s a positive of how good the bike is out of the crate. I am looking forward to coming back to Donington in just over a weeks’ time and get racing. My consistency is good, I have good race pace and I’m feeling strong ahead of the first race.
#2 Glenn IrwinIt has been great to get out on track with other riders, other than my Honda teammates, it’s been a long time for me since Assen last year. It’s been a really enjoyable day and we managed to get an idea of where we are. We needed every lap today and we worked through a lot and topping the times in the third session was really encouraging to show we are competitive. The last session I didn’t really get a clean lap, but overall I am really happy with the times and today is a real testament to the new Fireblade, we do need to stay realistic to where we are keep our feet on the ground heading into Round 1, but I’m looking forward to keep on developing the new machine and moving forward.
#68 Tom NeaveIt’s nice to be back up there again after wrapping up the day second fastest! During our testing we’ve gone from strength to strength from when we first tested the bike out in Spain in March. We knew from the off we had a great package with the new Fireblade, but during our testing schedule that has really shown and I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m so excited that it’s not long now until we’re racing, and I just can’t wait to get going!
#74 Davey ToddIt’s awesome to be back at Donington Park after years away, I still luckily know my way around – just about! Today has been about getting to grips with the circuit and also the Fireblade, I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made and myself more than anything, we’re still making big leaps right now, but come Round 1, I don’t think we’ll be too far away.
Team Manager Havier BeltranFinally, today for the first time in 2020 we have got to run the all-new Fireblade with our competition and it’s been a strong day. During our private tests we had a lot to look at and get through and you’re never really sure where you’ll be with your competition, so it’s refreshing and pleasing to see both Andrew and Glenn are extremely competitive and up there leading the times. Likewise, with Tom and Davey in the Superstock 1000 class, Tom finished second quickest and it is great to see all the hard work paying off as we get closer to Round 1. I would like to thank all our sponsors and partners for getting us to where we are today, in what has been a difficult start to the season for everybody.