Irwin Superpole 2 and fastest Brit at Donington Park

His first automatic entry to Superpole 2 came Andrew Irwin’s way in today’s World Supersport Free Practice at his home round in the UK.  The Ulsterman ended the day eighth and fastest Brit on the combined timesheets at a soggy Donington Park and will challenge for the top spots on the grid in qualifying tomorrow.  Irwin said: “Today was a strange day it was typical British weather but it was nice to go through to SP2 it was my first time so I think there’s a lot more to come from me still.  I think we can do a good job in qualifying.  We’ll try to improve the bike a little bit more in the morning in FP3 and try to start the race in the best position possible.”

New to the team and World Supersport rookie Ryan Vickers impressed on day one of practice ending his first day on the world stage in 18th position on the combined timesheets.  Vickers took a tumble at turn 12 while running tenth in the afternoon session and is confident there is room for even more improvement in qualifying tomorrow.  He said: “It was going really well in FP2 unfortunately we had a bit of a slow lap, I made the wrong decision, went for a quick lap and the tyre had cooled down so I had a little crash.  We were running tenth for a lot of the session but we missed the window to get the new tyre at the end there and push for a good lap.  I feel like I’ve got it in me to push for a lot better time so we’ll give it another go tomorrow.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “A good job for Andrew we are really pleased for him, us as a team and everybody that has worked so hard.  We’ve been saying all season he’s improving and so getting into SP2 is really good news especially considering he did his time when the tyre was a few laps old so there’s more time to come.  We can find a little bit more with bike set up and he can improve himself.  So a really strong start to the weekend for Andrew and realistically we have to look for the first two rows tomorrow.”

“Ryan Vickers has been very impressive on day one.  He made a little mistake, he did a slow lap and then another much slower lap and slid off at the last corner.  Basically on a cool day like this you can’t really do that because the left hand side of the tyre cools down.  He’s young, it’s his first time in WSS it was just a crash through inexperience. He’ll learn from that.  He was in the top ten even after he crashed but he was always going to drop down near the end.  He’s been very impressive in the wet and very impressive as it started to dry so in some ways it’s not too bad as he’s got FP3 and then SP1 to come and you have to say, although there are some good guys in SP1 he does have a realistic chance to be in the top two and go through to SP2 and qualify up the grid.  Great job this weekend, it’s good for the team after the difficult time of finding a replacement rider so let’s see what we can do with Ryan tomorrow.”