Solid Points For MCE Ducati At Donington

May, 23 2022
MCE Insurance

The MCE Ducati team ended round three of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park today in a positive fashion with Tom Sykes and Josh Brookes racking up solid points in both races inside the top eight.

The results from Saturday’s eBay Sprint race meant that the duo lined up in 12th and 13th on the grid for yesterday’s opening 26-lap race with ex World Superbike champion Sykes the higher placed of the two riders and with good conditions all around the 1.97-mile National circuit, they both gained a place on the opening lap.

Positions remained static for much of the race although Sykes did get as high as ninth on the factory-supported and MCE Insurance-backed Ducati Panigale V4R but by half race distance, the PBM pairing were running close together around the fringes of the top ten. In the closing stages, former double BSB champion Brookes managed to overhaul his teammate and so it was the Australian who claimed tenth with Yorkshireman Sykes taking his second successive 11th place of the weekend.

The final race saw the two riders start alongside each other on the fourth row and although they slipped back in the early stages, a safety car period allowed them to close back up to the group ahead and from lap ten onwards they steadily moved forward.

A couple of laps later, they were both running inside the top ten with Brookes moving up to seventh on lap 18. It looked like he’d secure the position, but Huddersfield’s Sykes had other ideas and he took over the position in the closing stages of the race to take his best result of the season. Brookes took the chequered flag right behind in eighth which moved him up into the top ten of the championship standings at this early stage of the season.

Tom Sykes: “We’re continually making changes to understand the bike more and find solutions so a big thanks to the team and whilst we know we’re not where we want to be, everyone’s staying patient. The final race of the weekend was obviously the best and, in some sectors, I was quicker than some of the other riders and able to make some clean passes. With a clear track, I was able to ride more naturally with strong lap times right up until the end of the race. We’ve two strong riders in the team and there’s no doubting the capabilities of anything, anywhere so we’ll keep improving as I’m very keen to taste the champagne again!”
Josh Brookes: 
“We’ve made marginal progress today, but it’s been progress nonetheless and the bike felt better in the final race. The grip was better and for the first time in a while, I was able to battle with other riders, so it was nice to pass people and race people again! We know we’ve several issues that still need to be resolved and whilst it’s hard to be excited with eighth and 11th, it’s still nice to make a step forward and close the gaps. There’s a long way to go so we’ll keep trying as we all want to be back at the sharp end.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: 
“It’s been a positive end to the weekend and nice to see the riders end their weekend on a bit of a high. We’ve a few fundamental limitations with the bike at present so can’t be happy with the results and whilst the way Tom and Josh ride is totally different, their lap times are ultimately similar. We need to get to the bottom of the issues and address them fully whilst we also need to be stronger in qualifying as grid position is really hindering us.”
British Superbike Championship race two (26 laps)

1 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)
2 Bradley Ray (Yamaha)
3 Lee Jackson (Kawasaki)
4 Peter Hickman (BMW)
5 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)
6 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
10 Josh Brookes (MCE Ducati)
11 Tom Sykes (MCE Ducati)
British Superbike Championship race three (26 laps)

1 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)
2 Bradley Ray (Yamaha)
3 Lee Jackson (Kawasaki)
4 Rory Skinner (Kawasaki)
5 Kyle Ryde (Yamaha)
6 Christian Iddon (Suzuki)
7 Tom Sykes (MCE Ducati)
8 Josh Brookes (MCE Ducati)

Picture courtesy of Double Red: Josh Brookes (25) and Tom Sykes (66).

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