Richard Cooper took another podium finish for the Bennetts Suzuki team and the new GSX-R1000 at Thruxton, finishing in second place in today’s National Superstock 1000 race at the seventh round of the MCE British Superbike championship.
Cooper qualified on the front row, and led for periods of the race. Sat in third towards the closing stages, he made a move for second, as Danny Buchan began to pull away at the front. He bridged the gap, but towards the end of the race tyre wear became an issue and he was unable to mount an attack, instead taking second place.
Cooper also made a wildcard appearance in the British Supersport class onboard the team’s GSX-R600. He qualified in ninth place, but a problem on the warm-up lap meant he had to start from pitlane. He recovered to 11th.
In qualifying for tomorrow’s opening British Superbike race Sylvain Guintoli posted the 14th quickest time on his first ever visit to the super-fast circuit, while Taylor Mackenzie will start from 18th on the grid.
Michael Dunlop, who is racing in the British Superbike championship for the first time since his Senior TT, Southern 100, and Armoy road race wins, will start from 25th, as he continues preparations for the forthcoming Ulster Grand Prix.
Richard Cooper, “I’m disappointed really, in the end we ran out of tyre – it’s worn down to the canvas. We all had a few turns at leading, then Danny [Buchan] started to edge away. I passed [Michael] Rutter and caught him back up, but with about five laps to go, every time I shut the throttle, the rear kept coming round on me and I struggled to get into corners. It’s frustrating because I feel we could have won the race, and should have won. The bike’s been working well all weekend, the speed’s been good and I’ve been comfortable. We’ll make some setup changes tomorrow to try and help with tyre life, and hopefully go one better.
“I had good fun on the little 600, too. We qualified well, but had to repair the gear linkage after the warm up lap and start from pitlane. But I enjoyed it.”
Sylvain Guintoli, “This is my first visit to Thruxton and it’s a very unique track. It’s very fast and you can pick different lines to do the lap times. We are improving all the time and have made steps forward, and I’m learning the track more and more. We have two races tomorrow and tyre life is important here, so hopefully we can have two good races and make more progress.”
Taylor Mackenzie, “I was a bit annoyed with qualifying; for one reason or another we didn’t get the one lap in we needed in Q2. But I’m feeling good. We’ve made some progress with the electronics and the engine braking. And the bike’s a rocket ship. It’s so fast, and I’m topping the speed traps more often than not. I think our race pace is quite good. We’re going to make a couple more changes for warm-up, do some work on the front to help with corner entry. The rear’s good; we’ve been working on tyres. The plan is to try and be smooth, be patient, save the tyre, and try and make some progress as the race goes on and hopefully come through.”
Steve Hicken, team manager, “It’s been a solid day today. We’re disappointed with the Superstock result as believe we could have won the race and it was important for our championship to try and get the 25 points. We just ran out of tyre in the end, without that I think we could have had a go. But it’s another podium and shows how well the bike is working. In Superbike, we’ve made progress. Sylvain’s seeing the place for the first time, and we’ve taken some steps with Taylor’s electronics and setup. He didn’t get the lap in in qualifying but I think, come the race, we’ll have good pace and can do the full distance. With Michael, this weekend is just more bike time for him and a chance to try some different things before the Ulster Grand Prix.”
Superstock 1000 race result: 1. Danny Buchan, 2. Richard Cooper, 3. Michael Rutter.
Supersport 600 race result: 1. Keith Farmer, 2. Jack Kennedy, 3. Alastair Seeley, 11. Richard Cooper.
Superbike qualifying result: 1. Jake Dixon, 2. Josh Brookes, 3. Peter Hickman, 14. Sylvain Guintoli, 18. Taylor Mackenzie, 25. Michael Dunlop.