British Superbike: Josh Brookes Fastest On Day One Of Season Opener

Andrea Wilson | April 19, 2014
Milwaukee Yamahas Josh Brookes fastest on day one of the British Superbike season opener at Brands Hatch.

As the 2014 British Superbike season got underway today at the Brands Hatch Indy course in Kent, England, Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes earned the fastest time of the day in free practice two.  The Australian’s time was just .046 of a second shy of the lap record set by Gregorio Lavilla in 2007.

“It was nice how it ended this afternoon as the changes we made then meant we finished with a bunch of consistent, fast laps which nicely put a bow on the end of the day,” Brookes said. “Now tomorrow we could have different conditions and I wouldn’t be that bothered because I know that we have a bike that I am happy with. We still have improvements to make, but we are in a good position; ready for the rest of the weekend.”

And for Brookes having a head start and confidence with the setup of the bike will be key because he has 18 other riders chasing him – all within a second of his fastest time.

Add to that the man at Brookes heels is none other than the three-time British Superbike Champion Shane “Shakey” Byrne on the Rapid Solicitor Kawasaki. While Byrne was fastest in the morning and only 0.171 of a second off of Brookes, he still isn’t happy and looking for more improvements.

“Today we made some improvements, although at the end of the session we went a bit too far and that ended up costing us a little bit,” Byrne said.  “It is not important to be dominating the session, rather we did 36 or 37 laps on race tires and were still in the 45 second lap times. The more time you are on top of the time sheets the more you are expected to be. We have been chipping away to make the bike as good as possible for Monday and hopefully we will go forward again tomorrow.”

In third was former World Superbike rider Jakub Smrz on the Millsport Ducati. Trailing Smrz was a trio of Kawaskis – Byrne’s teammate Stuart Easton and the Lloyds British GBmoto teammates of Chris Walker and James Ellison.

Buildbase BMW’s James Westmoreland ended the day in seventh and was followed by teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari.

Rounding out the top 10 was the lone Honda of Simon Andrews in ninth and Martin Jessop on the BMW in tenth.

In his return to racing, American John Hopkins ended the day in 12th on his Tyco Suzuki, 0.719 seconds down on the leader.

Fellow Americans Danny Eslick ended the day in 10th in the British Superstock 1000 class and James Rispoli in 16th in British Supersport. The Daytona 200 winner, Eslick was 0.777 seconds down from the leader and Rispoli was 1.185 seconds from the leader in his class. 

2014 Brands Hatch British Superbike Free Practice 2 Results
1. Josh Brookes (Yamaha) 45.506
2. Shane Byrne (Kawasaki) 45.677
3. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 45.768
4. Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) 45.802
5. Chris Walker (Kawasaki) 45.851
6. James Ellison (Kawasaki) 46.026
7. James Westmoreland (BMW) 46.099
8. Ryuichi Kiyonari (BMW) 46.105
9. Simon Andrews (Honda) 46.117
10. Martin Jessopp (BMW) 46.120


Andrea Wilson | Associate Editor / Website Coordinator

Andrea has been shooting everything from flat track to road racing in her job as a professional freelance photographer, but she's made the move to a full-time staff position at Cycle News where her love of all things motorcycling will translate well. Wilson has proven her worth as more than a photographer as she migrates to the written word with everything from race coverage to interviews.