Points scored in the sunshine at Snetterton

Race Report
Honda Racing UK and Tom Neave score more championship points at round 5 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Snetterton, as Franco Bourne makes an impressive debut on the Fireblade Superbike. 

After the final Free Practice session of the weekend on Saturday morning, the Honda team geared up for qualifying in hot and humid conditions. Both riders would aim to progress through the initial session in their pursuit of a strong qualifying slot on the grid. 

Tom Neave would dig deep to go purple in the final sector of his quickest lap and set the sixth quickest lap of the session to advance through to Qualifying 2. He then went on to smash his personal best lap of the Norfolk Circuit to lap in 1:48.450, placing him 15th on the grid for the Bennetts BikeSocial Sprint race. 

Meanwhile, Franco, in his first weekend racing the Fireblade Superbike, set his best lap of the event so far with a 1:49.750, almost a full three seconds quicker than his FP1 time, to qualify in 25th position in the ultra competitive series. 

As the lights went out and the race roared into life, Franco fired up the order and got his elbows out to gain several positions in the first lap. Knowing that each lap would be an opportunity to learn from those around him, getting away with quicker riders in front was always the aim. 

Tom Neave meanwhile, also made a strong start to hold position throughout the early laps, setting his fastest lap of the race, a 1:48.750, on his third circuit. As the race progressed, Tom began to pick off those in front of him and would finish the race in twelfth. His quickest race lap time places him 13th on the grid for the first feature length race tomorrow. 

Franco would finish his first BSB race in an impressive 19th place as he continued his adaptation to the Superbike. He set a quickest race lap of 1:49.394 to qualify 18th for tomorrow’s opening race. This grid position gives him a great opportunity to potentially reach those championship points-scoring finishing positions come the chequered flag tomorrow. 

In the Pirelli National Superstock series, the Honda Fireblade continues its strong early season form as eight ‘Blades’ occupied positions within the top ten. Dan Linfoot fired his Optimum Bikes Racing Fireblade to pole position in a blisteringly quick 1:48.948.

The Honda Racing team returns to the track tomorrow morning with morning warm up at 9.30 before the two feature length races at 13.15 & 16.30.

#68 Tom Neave

It was nice to get through to Q2, the first one of the year, which sounds really disappointing considering we have had some half decent results. I set my fastest ever lap here in Q2 which is positive. I know I race better too, and I am working on my qualifying. I was only a few tenths away from a solid top ten qualifying position, and a few tenths around here really isn't a lot. 

I knew I would race better, I made up a place at the start but then Kyle Ryde came past me. In all honesty, I thought that he was going to pull me up to the group in front, especially with how he has been going this year. After two to three laps though I realised he was holding me up, so I went past him and put some time into the group in front, but it was a bit too late by then and the gap in front was too big. 

It gives me confidence heading into the longer races tomorrow that I have the pace to go with them and catch them. I feel strong, the bike feels good & my fitness is good so let's aim for some solid top tens tomorrow from 13th on the grid. The last few laps I was lapping at a similar time to the guys fighting for sixth, so that's the target. 
Sprint race - 12th

#54 Franco Bourne

Qualifying was another step up from Friday, not that I felt bad on Friday but it took some time to get used to how the bike was feeling and to get used to it, so I was happy to make an improvement each time that I went out on the bike. 

Coming into the race and picking up a strong result like that has been great. One of my weak points has been my starts, I have really struggled with them. Today though, as soon as I set off though I felt good, I made a great start and got a great run on a few people and made up a few positions there. Then I just tried to get stuck in really. I made a bit of a silly move into turn two and ran myself wide but I just tried to stick with the guys in front and not let them get away. I used all of my energy to catch up with Josh Owens and when I got on the back of him I felt pretty spent to be honest! Then I saw that Hicky was coming back to us and when Josh went past him, I then followed him through a few corners later on the last lap. 

Once I was past I just wanted to get to the finish line, then as I crossed it I felt awesome. I’ve finished my first race on the Superbike and I can go again twice tomorrow from a higher grid slot. It’s been great. 
Sprint race - 19th

Bennetts British Superbike Championship 2023

Snetterton 300, Qualifying


Bennetts British Superbike Championship 2023

Snetterton 300, Race 1

Race 1