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Motorcycle News (UK) - - BSB Preview -

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LLOYDS BRI­TISH MOTO

RAPIDO DU­CATI

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TYCO BMW

Michael Laverty struck a com­pelling con­trast with Shane Byrne dur­ing the pre-sea­son test­ing. Af­ter battling through 2015 with a new and un­de­vel­oped ma­chine, Laverty con­vinced his team boss Philip Neill to in­vest in a new swingarm sys­tem for the S1000RR.

The im­pact was both im­me­di­ate and im­mense with Laverty post­ing podium fin­ishes at the fi­nal three rounds of 2015 in­clud­ing the race win in the fi­nal out­ing of 2015 at Brands.

“I am re­ally happy,” the 34-yearold said as the North­ern Ir­ish squad packed up early at the Carta­gena test in March. “We have a good base set­ting and the bike is a lot more user friendly, more pre­dictable. Last year it was a bit of an an­i­mal but now the power de­liv­ery is re­ally smooth and the chas­sis re­acts well.”

The S1000RR had been packed up where it left off af­ter Brands 2015.

“I re­ally only clicked with the BMW at Assen last year,” Laverty says. “I had strug­gled with front end feel­ing and never could be ag­gres­sive with the bike. We got the swingarm for Assen and that gave me a lot more pos­i­tive feel­ing. It fixed a lot of the prob­lems we were hav­ing with the front end which was sur­pris­ing and we found some im­prove­ments with throt­tle con­nec­tion that helped the power de­liv­ery.” The magic swingarm is a full fac­tory com­po­nent, de­vel­oped by Chaz Davies and Marco Me­landri when they were fac­tory BMW riders in WSB.

“It has been the key in­gre­di­ent and I am con­fi­dent that I can pick up where I left off last year,” the ex-mo­togp rider says.

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on mak­ing the power de­liv­ery as smooth as pos­si­ble to help com­pen­sate for the lack of trac­tion con­trol and he has ben­e­fit­ted from an in­tense pre­sea­son test­ing pro­gramme that has seen the squad ride at Aragon, Guadix and Jerez. With three riders and bikes the squad’s garage may ap­pear over­crowded but Haslam has not voiced any con­cerns.

The team’s shift to Showa sus­pen­sion also re­quires adap­ta­tion but again Haslam re­mains un­ruf­fled.

“The team is new to the bike and the team is new to Showa,” he agrees.

“I have worked with Showa be­fore and I’ve tested both Showa and Öh­lins ev­ery year. We are still wait­ing for a lot of com­po­nents to come, which we know will make the bike dif­fer­ent. It is still a big learn­ing curve but I feel happy where we are at.”

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On­board the 2015 spec GSX-R1000 (the new 2016 GSX-R is not avail­able yet) it could be an up­hill strug­gle but Tommy’s de­ter­mi­na­tion will mean he’ll be a reg­u­lar podium fin­isher.

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DU­CATI 1199 R PANI­GALE

Safety car

Un­like other two-wheeled cham­pi­onships, the Bri­tish Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onship de­ploys a Safety Car when deemed nec­es­sary by Race Di­rec­tor Stu­art Higgs. This can be brought about by a crash ne­ces­si­tat­ing a clear up or by fluid (oil or wa­ter) de­posited on the track. If the in­ci­dents aren’t too se­ri­ous, the Race Di­rec­tor will send out the safety car for a pe­riod of time to slow the pack down and en­able crashed bikes to be re­cov­ered or in­jured riders to be treated by med­i­cal staff. It has the ben­e­fit of mean­ing that races don’t get stopped and re-started, en­sur­ing spec­ta­tors can stay en­gaged with the race be­cause they know what is go­ing on.

The Show­down

In 2009 Bri­tish rider Leon Camier dom­i­nated the sea­son wrap­ping up the cov­eted ti­tle with three rounds to spare. In an ef­fort to pre­vent that hap­pen­ing again, BSB bosses came up with the Show­down for­mat which vir­tu­ally guar­an­tees the cham­pi­onship will go down to the fi­nal round.

The Show­down ef­fec­tively di­vides the 12-round cham­pi­onship into two.

The first nine meet­ings (19 races) form the Main Sea­son of the cham­pi­onship, be­fore the fi­nal three meet­ings (seven races) make up The Show­down. At the end of the Main Sea­son, all riders drop their two worst scores, which must be from events for which they have at least qual­i­fied. From this points or­der, the first six riders in the cham­pi­onship stand­ings will be el­e­vated to a new base level and be­come the Ti­tle Fight­ers for the fi­nal three events and seven races of the cham­pi­onship.

Each Ti­tle Fighter starts The Show­down with 500 points, plus ad­di­tional points for each podium po­si­tion they have ob­tained in the Main Sea­son termed Podium Cred­its – five for a win, three for sec­ond and one for third. The stan­dard points scor­ing for­mat from the Main Sea­son (see right) then con­tin­ues for The Show­down, with all points scored from the fi­nal seven races count­ing.

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