Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati Score Podium And Close Ahead Of The Showdown
The Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team returned to the podium at Brands Hatch last weekend as Michael Rutter took a strong second place in the first of the three MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship races to close in on the top six in the overall standings.
In the opening race of the weekend the changing conditions meant a gamble on tyre choice and Rutter opted for slick tyres that allowed him to carve his way up through the field to secure second place and close on the top six in the standings. In race two Rutter was running in third place over the opening laps and ended the race in fifth which he repeated in race three to close to within five points of Ryuichi Kiyonari in sixth place in the overall championship standings with three rounds remaining ahead of the Showdown. Martin Jessopp meanwhile had his strongest qualifying to date in sixth, but opting for the wrong tyre choice in race two saw him miss out on a points scoring finish. In race two he fought back to take ninth place, but was unfortunate in the final race to suffer a problem with the foot peg that forced him to retire.
"I am really happy with the weekend. In race one I just gambled on slicks and it paid off for me. I was just going to go out and see how it goes and luckily for me it stopped raining and began to dry out. I could see Josh Brookes was pushing really hard in the first laps and I didn't want to risk crashing so I just went at my own pace and I had a few moments but it was great to finish on the podium again for the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team. I couldn’t have done any more in the two races on Sunday and now we are much closer to the top six after that race."
"It was an up and down weekend for me really. I had my best ever qualifying performance when I ended sixth to start from the second row and I was really happy and looking forward to the three races. In the first race we made the wrong tyre choice, but at the time it seemed the right decision and several of the riders around me on the grid had done the same.
I had to pit and change to slicks just to get a time to put me somewhere better on the grid for race two. In the second race I didn’t get the best of starts and then I had to try and make my way through the field and I was close to Jon Kirkham for eighth but at the line there was only 0.005 seconds between us! I was riding hard but it shows the competition level that I was ninth but I was happy with our improvements. In the last race the pin in my foot peg had broke and I tried to ride around it, despite it flapping and making it difficult to down shift but in the end it just fell off and I had to retire. It was unlucky but other than that is was a positive weekend for me and the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team."
Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team owner Phil Jessopp concluded:
"The whole team did a brilliant job all weekend and it is great for Michael that he was able to have a podium and a further two strong races which has put him back where he needs to be and in a position to challenge for a position in the Showdown. Martin had his best qualifying session to date and it had been a positive weekend for him, apart from the disappointment of the third race. The whole Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team are now looking forward to Cadwell Park to try and take the fight to the other riders to secure that place in the top six."