BSB - What We Learned From Silverstone
BSB Is Back And Better Than Ever!
The 2023 British Superbike season kicked off this past Easter weekend with Rd 1 at the Silverstone National Circuit. The action was epic and fans look set to witness an enthralling season. So what can we draw from the first three races of British Superbikes action?
(Image Credit: BSB)
Anyone Could Win
Rd 1 of the BSB season around Silverstone's short 'National' layout saw three races in the marquee Superbike class and each race offered up a different winner. Race 1 went to LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha's Kyle Ryde, Race 2 went to FHO Racing BMW Motorrad Team's Josh Brookes and Race 3 went to BeerMonster Ducati's Glen Irwin. Multiple riders were in with a shout of victory throughout the weekend, including Irwin's teammate Tommy Bridewell - who scored a hattrick of podium finishes - McAMS Yamaha's Jason O'Halloran and even Danny Kent, racing for his own Lovell Kent Racing Honda Team. Each race had at least a dozen riders battling for the win and multiple manufacturers were represented in the fight, making the season opener a true showcase of BSB's brilliant technical regulations. Who will win next time out? The truth is that it could be anyone and that is what makes BSB the best national bike racing series in the world.
The Title Fight Will Be Tight
After years of the controversial showdown format - which saw a handful of riders get their points reset ahead of the final three rounds to encourage a tight title fight - BSB has revamped how points will be awarded in 2023. Gone is the old showdown and in its place are three portions of the season in which points will be attributed in a different manner.
In Rds 1-8, points will be awarded to the top 15 in the following fashion: 18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.
Rds 9 and 10 at Oulton Park and Donington will see the top 15 points scoring increase to 25-22-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1.
Finally, the season finale at Brands Hatch will see points across the top 15 increase again to 35-30-27-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-2.
At Silverstone, the variety of winners and riders in the hunt for victory meant the new, tighter points spread was shared in such a fashion that only nine points cover the top four riders after three races, with O'Halloran only a further four points adrift in fifth. If the varied formbook from Silverstone continues, the title race will go down to the wire.
Josh Brookes Is Back!
Despite being a two-time BSB champion, Brookes' move to FHO BMW over the offseason was met with scepticism, given the extent of his struggles aboard Paul Bird's Ducati across the 2021 and '22 seasons and that BMW isn't seen as the most competitive of Superbikes. But in Silverstone, Brookes was a man reborn. The Aussie finished in 3rd, 1st and 2nd across the weekend and now leads the standings heading into the next round at Oulton Park. Aboard the BMW, Brookes is a genuine contender.
Jack Kennedy And Danny Kent Look Refreshingly Strong
Two names who featured high in the order across the Silverstone meeting were Jack Kennedy and Danny Kent. Both of these came as a surprise. Kennedy - who has graduated to the superbike class with the same Mar-Train Racing Yamaha team that guided him to British Supersport title glory last year - is a rider who has often struggled when competing in Superbikes despite his prior excellence in Supersport. But he looked to have finally cracked the Superbike code in Silverstone and now sits a respectable eighth in the standings. Kent had to write off most of last season due to injury and has seemingly been a luckless rider since his Moto3 title win back in 2015. This year he's set up his own team on unfancied Honda machinery, despite this, he managed to lead at one point during Race 3 and ended the meeting ahead of the factory Honda riders. In Kennedy and Kent, two unlikely names have now been added to the mix as potential race winners this year.
O'Halloran Is Keeping His Powder Dry
One name expected to be on the top step of the podium at Silverstone was McAMS Yamaha's Jason O'Halloran. No rider has been able to match O'Halloran during the regular season in recent years, but the old showdown format saw the rider endure torrid luck. With the new points system encouraging consistency throughout the campaign, O'Halloran is now playing the long game. After limited dry-weather testing, O'Halloran was unable to extract the maximum from his machine at Silverstone, but a steady haul of top-five finishes has given him a suitable foundation to build his title charge upon.
The 2023 BSB season continues with Rd 2 at Oulton Park from April 29 to May 1.