O’HALLORAN JOINS THE TITLE HUNT
Fast-riding Aussie confirms Showdown spot, but has he hit his limits of the Fireblade?
Honda Racing’s Jason O’halloran joined title favourites Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam in confirming his place in the 2016 title fighters’ Showdown at Cadwell Park this weekend.
There might be three races left until the three-round shootout begins, but O’halloran’s consistency has paid dividends this season and another strong weekend saw him with a 64-point lead over fourth-placed Michael Laverty in the championship standings.
O’halloran said: “I’m pretty happy with how things went, we had good pace from the off, topping first prac- tice and I’ve felt strong all weekend. I had a better bike in the second race but didn’t really get to use the potential of the tyre at the start as Leon was controlling the pace and I couldn’t seem to get through.
“As soon as the pace stepped up I could go with him and felt really comfortable. I enjoyed it but had so much pressure from Shakey, I was trying to position myself to catch Leon but also hold off Shakey from behind, so it was a tough race. I made a little mistake at the end into Barn and just dropped off Leon and gave him a bit of a breather.”
However, while O’halloran and his Honda team celebrated his first double podium of the year at the Lincolnshire track, the Aussie remains realistic about his chances of ultimately fighting Byrne and Haslam for the 2016 title.
“I think we’re going to be in the mix for the rest of the year but I don’t know how much more Shakey and Leon have in hand,” he confessed. “I’m getting absolutely everything out of my bike and myself at the moment and we’re managing to be competitive, but we haven’t got a lot more. If these boys step up another level again I don’t know if we can go with them.
“I feel like I can, I feel like I want to
‘I’m getting everything out of my bike and myself at the moment’ JASON O’HALLORAN
but every time I try to go beyond where we are I’m crashing. We’re sort of at the limit of what we’re going to do but I’m sure as hell going to try. We saw at Brands Hatch and here that the pace in practice has been unbelievable but it all comes back in the race so I’m not going to count myself out of the title chase, we might be down on podium points but anything is possible.”
It was a weekend of damage limitation on the other side of the Honda garage as Dan Linfoot struggled to find grip and feeling.
A crash in Q2 hampered Linfoot’s qualifying performance before a further tumble in race one left his showdown spot in jeopardy. A stronger ride in the second race saw him finish sixth, which means he holds fifth in the standings by just five points.
Great results but O’halloran admits his bike is close to its limits right now
O’halloran flying high and into the Showdown thanks to a strong weekend