Fast-rid­ing Aussie con­firms Show­down spot, but has he hit his lim­its of the Fire­blade?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - OLI RUSHBY BSB RE­PORTER oli.rushby@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

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

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