Knockhill calling as Honda Racing UK head North of the Border
This weekend the Bennetts British Superbike Championship returns to Scotland’s Knockhill Racing Circuit, 741 days since the last race in 2019. The Honda Racing UK team is eager to race the new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP for the first time at the circuit, after last year’s event was cancelled.
Despite the race absence in 2020, the team enjoyed a two-day test at the 1.27-mile circuit last month, where BSB rookie Ryo Mizuno got his first taste of the Scottish circuit. Teammate and fellow rookie Takumi Takahashi will get his first experience of Knockhill this weekend having missed the test as he recovered from a dislocated shoulder.
Coming off the back of the opening round at Oulton Park, Knockhill presents a different challenge, but Glenn Irwin is coming into the weekend positive after progress was made with the Fireblade at Round 1. Sitting ninth in the overall standings, Glenn will be looking for three solid race results to boost his championship points.
Meanwhile the teams’ Superstock contender Tom Neave will be looking to restart his championship challenge after leaving Round 1 with zero points to his name. During last month's test Tom recorded his personal best lap time at the track, and the Lincolnshire-rider is looking forward to getting back in action this weekend with two Superstock races on Sunday.
Due to current restrictions the weekend’s schedule has been condensed into just two days, with track action getting underway on Saturday and continuing into Sunday.
Click here for the full weekend schedule.
Click here for the full weekend schedule.
#2 Glenn IrwinI feel better coming into this weekend, how we finished at Oulton Park wasn’t too bad and we took a lot away from the weekend, as well as learning from any negatives. After a weekend like Oulton it’s easy to press the panic button when you have a race that doesn’t go how you want it to, but in reality, Oulton wasn’t too dissimilar from last year and we managed to improve in all areas. The test at Knockhill was good and I feel we’ve furthered the bike since then and feel we have moved forward. The test was an interesting one as timing was unofficial, but we all have an idea of what everyone did. I felt strong during the test, even though we’ve not raced there since 2019, and having missed a year there I think it helps as everyone is in the same boat. Knockhill is a great track to ride but it can also catch you out if you’re not careful.
#88 Ryo MizunoI got my first taste of Knockhill during the test and so far, it’s one of my favourite circuits. It’s a short track, but because it requires a sense of rhythm, I enjoyed learning and getting to know the layout. The weekend schedule is busy, but I am looking forward to getting more track time and learning the circuit more to improve. After my crash at Oulton Park thankfully I had no injury, so I am feeling good ahead of the weekend and look forward to first practice.
#13 Takumi TakahashiComing into this weekend my shoulder is in better condition than at Oulton Park, I have been working on strength in the gym and feel I have made good progress. I am looking forward to learning the track at Knockhill after I missed the test, it’s a short track so I think it’s a little easier to learn how to ride than other circuits we have been to. This weekend with some more strength in my shoulder I’ll do my best to finish in a better position.
#68 Tom NeaveI am feeling confident for Knockhill, Oulton Park I was under the weather and even with it being my bogey track, I felt we turned things around in the worst circumstances possible and I surprised myself with my lap times! I really like Knockhill and managed my personal best time during the test on the new Fireblade, so I am feeling a bit more confident for the weekend. We have two races on Sunday, so that’s two opportunities to get points on the table, which is what we need after coming away from Round 1 with none. I think the biggest confidence booster for me is how I now feel in myself, I’ve had a solid week of training, ridden motocross, so I’m now back in my usual routine and it’s not fatigued me. My brain is refreshed and I’m ready to fight and get my championship started. All in all this weekend is stacking up to be a good one, I’ve already gone faster on the new bike since we raced there in 2019, so with a bit more track time on Saturday, Sunday’s two races should be good – we just need the sun to shine now!