It's been a long 8 week break since the Ducati Tri Options Cup had their 3rd round at Oulton Park. This series does 8 of the 12 British Superbike rounds, with the 4th round held in beautiful weather over the weekend at Snetterton. It's a track I have enjoyed success at in the past, scoring 2 podiums there in 2015 in the Supersport Evo Championship. I hoped to repeat that this weekend and I was confident I could run at the front. We have started getting a handle on the Ducati in recent outings, and with a 3rd place in race 2 at Oulton Park, I was really keen to get back on the 959 Panigale and see how we would get on at Snetterton.
With only one practice session on the Friday, we focused on gearing and what would work well for the races on Saturday and Sunday. The bike felt good and I was happy with our set up. We were 3rd fastest in practice and confident we could find more time. Snetterton is the second longest circuit we go to, just under a 2 minute lap time, and it can sometimes be difficult to make up time if there is a gap.
Qualifying on Saturday was at 9am and we were the first bikes out on track for the day. Of course with new tyres on and with qualifying positions at stake, everyone upped their pace and the times were dropping. I managed to string some good laps together on the busy circuit with over 40 riders out there, to put it 3rd on the grid, the final spot on the front row. This was my first front row for the year, and I'm generally happy with my starts, that I was confident I could get away well in the race at 2:50pm that afternoon. With the sun coming out and warming things up I was really excited to get race one underway.
I got the hole shot to lead into turn 1, but that was short lived as I got overtaken at turn 2. I didn't make the most of the new tyres that we had one for the race and it took me longer than it should have to get up to the speed of the riders in front. Sean Neary who had got away well and put in faster laps at the start, was in 3rd at half race distance, but my pace started to come and I managed to get the better of him with a few laps go, to take 3rd over the line. I was really pleased to finish the race off strong and get another podium for the season and good points for the championship. Our grid positions for race 2 go off our lap times from race 1, which meant I started again from 3rd for Sundays race.
We were late in the afternoon on Sunday and again the weather was amazing. I got away well and got the hole shot into turn 1 again. I had dropped to 3rd by the end of the first lap but had managed to get away better and make some improvements from race 1. I lost the tow to the front two but Sean Neary was hot on my heels to pick up the 3rd place on the podium. Unfortunately a bike blew up on lap 6 which caused a red flag and the race to be called early. I was in 3rd at the time, meaning another podium to finish of the weekend! I'm stoked to get the double podium over the weekend and score some good points in the championship. My team worked hard all weekend to give me a great bike to compete with and I must thank them for all. We have Brands Hatch GP in 3 weeks time and i'm continuing to work hard to keep this momentum going and fight for race wins and more podiums!
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Image Credit - Bonnie Lane
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