Race 1
BSB 2023
Round 9

Honda Racing finishes in the points at Oulton Park

gb Oulton Park

In the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship race of the weekend, the BikeSocial Sprint, Honda riders Tom Neave and Franco Bourne finished line astern in the final point scoring positions.

Honda Racing finishes in the points at Oulton Park

Franco and Tom lined up on the grid in seventeenth and twenty-first respectively after experiencing mixed fortunes in Qualifying. Franco, riding a Superbike for the first time at the Cheshire circuit, progressed through Q1 into Q2 and managed to set a new personal best lap time in the process, and with one of his closest gaps to the front of the field, just 1.5 seconds.

Both riders then launched away from the line as the lights went out and had both made up positions by the end of lap one, Franco having pushed up into fourteenth position.

As the laps ticked by Tom Neave too continued his assault up the order and as he set his quickest lap of the weekend on lap seven, he was hot on the heels of his rookie teammate. At this point, the pair were now locked into a fight for point-scoring finishes. Just two laps later Tom scythed past and set about opening the gap to Franco behind.

Come the chequered flag their positions remained unchanged, Tom in fourteenth and Franco fifteenth, both of whom adding championship points to their respective tallies.

In the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, series leader Dan Linfoot rocketed to pole position on his Optimum Bikes Racing Fireblade earlier in the day. He then went on to score yet another race win with a superb last-lap move to continue the undefeated winning run of the Honda Fireblade in Superstock specification. Richard Kerr finished second aboard his AMD Motorsport Honda.

The Honda Racing UK team will be back in action tomorrow, 17th September, for the remaining races of round nine at Oulton Park, the first of which is scheduled for 13:15, and the second at 16:15.

Tom Neave
Tom Neave 68
Honda Racing UK
It was not the qualifying that we wanted today and I didn't really get to put together a lap time that really represented where we are at, which is frustrating. However, come the race I was able to just get my head down and go after those in front and definitely show more of what I was capable of. I know it's not the headline result that I wanted, but I made good progress, moved forward seven positions and we have a better starting grid slot for tomorrow. It gives me confidence knowing that I was catching the group in front and that with a longer race tomorrow, it will suit me better as I have good late race pace.

Franco Bourne
Franco Bourne 54
Honda Racing UK
To get through into Q2 for the first time this year was mega, and that is really positive for me, especially knowing that I normally go forward in the race. Come the race, I had a little bit of an issue and my dash wasn’t working, that meant it was a bit tricky to know where I was at with my lap times. We will have a look and get it ironed out for tomorrow. I really think that I have a top ten in me, so if we can get the bike back to where we had it in Qualifying, I really think we can do it. I need to continue making good starts as I made up a few positions at the start. But then I also got caught up in a few moments with other riders, Stapleford had a big moment at Shell Oils and I had to sit up, and that let Nesbitt through. After that Tom then came past and I just dug in to keep on the back of him and bring it home. I’m happy with that for race one, and tomorrow we will look to push on a bit more.

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