Race 1
BSB 2023
Round 7

Honda Racing UK makes progress after a challenging Saturday at Thruxton

gb Thruxton

Saturday’s action at the fast and flowing Thruxton circuit was not without challenges for the Honda Racing UK team, as riders Franco Bourne and Tom Neave both needed to dig deep to recover from lowly qualifying positions in the opening Bennetts Bike Social Sprint.

Honda Racing UK makes progress after a challenging Saturday at Thruxton

A challenging qualifying session ended with both riders qualifying line astern on the eighth row of the grid in twenty-third and twenty-fourth as Tom and Franco struggled to improve upon their free practice lap times.

Then in a race full of sideways action and spinning tyres, Neave made up an impressive six places from his qualifying position to finish in eighteenth position. Teammate Bourne recovered from an early race mistake to finish in nineteenth. Both riders will be looking to kick on in the morning warm-up in order to put together more competitive feature-length races.

At the front of the field, class rookie Charlie Nesbitt delivered a sensational performance to score his maiden British Superbike podium with a breathtaking second aboard the Hawk Racing Honda Fireblade, securing the team's first podium of the season in the process.

In the Pirelli National Superstock series, a damp qualifying session earlier in the day saw seven Honda Fireblades occupying positions within the top ten. The afternoon race was then an action-packed affair, culminating in a last-lap winning overtake for Billy McConnell, who headed up a Honda podium lockout. Richard Kerr and Dan Linfoot occupied second and third. The two are now separated by just ten points at the top of the championship standings.

The Honda Racing team will be back in action tomorrow morning with warm-up scheduled for 10.50 - 11.00 before the two feature-length races at 13.30 and 16.30.

Tom Neave
Tom Neave 68
Honda Racing UK
This is obviously not the result that we came here for, but I take away the positives. We made a good start and I was able to move forward from my grid position and had decent late-race pace. We got ourselves a better grid slot for tomorrow and I look forward to getting stuck in tomorrow. The aim is now to move forward in every race and keep building to get the results that I know I am capable of. We have made progress from the start of the weekend and I want to keep taking steps forward. 

Franco Bourne
Franco Bourne 54
Honda Racing UK
It was definitely an up-and-down race. At one point, I went into turn two and I was at the back of the field, and straight away thought ‘I’m not having it, I’m getting through.’ But the thing with this track is it’s so fast and everyone is on the throttle everywhere so to find a margin is really hard, so I struggled to get through the field.
One of the first moves was on the inside Hector Barbera and when I got onto the brakes he came across, and I just missed him but I had to cut across the chicane and lost a load of time. After that, I just had to keep chipping away and I got onto the back of some of the boys in front who had some pace. To start twenty-third and come away with nineteenth, it’s not the result I wanted but I cannot complain because I have improved from qualifying and given that I was last at one point it’s ok. 
We are going to sit down tonight and have a look at trying to make the bike a little bit more user-friendly so I can build my confidence and get stuck in during the early laps with the group in front. 

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