Honda duo back on podium but can the Fire­blade re­ally run with its ri­vals?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - OLI RUSHBY AT DON­ING­TON PARK BSB RE­PORTER oli.rushby@mo­tor­cy­cle­

Dan Lin­foot and Ja­son O’hal­lo­ran con­tin­ued to be the sur­prise pack­age of the 2016 MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike season aboard the Fire­blade at Don­ing­ton Park, with both rid­ers tak­ing podium fin­ishes from Sun­day’s races.

A sec­ond place for Lin­foot in race two saw him move third in the stand­ings, just 26 points be­hind Leon Haslam, while O’hal­lo­ran took a strong third in the open­ing race.

How­ever, while both Lin­foot and O’hal­lo­ran were able to dis­play an im­pres­sive pace, the gap be­tween the eight-year-old Honda and the lat­est of­fer­ings from Du­cati and Kawasaki is be­com­ing more ap­par­ent.

While the Louth-based team have made big steps for­ward with the bike, mainly with how it puts the power to the ground, to make it one of the quick­est ac­cel­er­at­ing bikes on the grid, its lack of sta­bil­ity in com­par­i­son to its ri­vals means both Lin­foot and O’hal­lo­ran are close to the ab­so­lute limit each time they go out.

O’hal­lo­ran crashed twice in one ses­sion as he searched to find a set-up to suit the flow­ing Don­ing­ton Park Grand Prix cir­cuit on Fri­day, an un­usual oc­cur­rence for the ul­tra-con­sis­tent Aussie, while both rid­ers strug­gled with the bike slid­ing too much on their Su­per­pole laps.

“I do feel I’m hav­ing to ride harder on this bike around the likes of Shakey and Haslam than what I’d like to,” Lin­foot told MCN after his sec­ond race podium. “That is in no way dis­re­spect­ful to the Fire­blade, but it spins and slides quite a lot and while that’s great fun for rid­ing, it’s not nec­es­sar­ily al­ways fast.

“If we can get it to stick to the floor that bit more and push for­ward rather than spin, I think we could be so much bet­ter and bridge the gap to the front. Hope­fully that’s some­thing we can find. It would be good to find it be­fore the end of the season, or if I stay with the team, hope­fully it’s some­thing that will be fixed with the new bike.”

The cur­rent bike with the undis­puted tal­ents of both O’hal­lo­ran and Lin­foot forms a com­bi­na­tion more than ca­pa­ble of fin­ish­ing on the podium as has been proved 12 times this year. How­ever, as the ti­tle fight heats up with just five races re­main­ing it could prove dif­fi­cult for the Honda Rac­ing duo to take to the top step with­out mis­takes from the lead­ing duo.

It was a dif­fi­cult week­end all-round for O’hal­lo­ran de­spite tak­ing to the podium in the open­ing race. After three crashes on Fri­day, he could only man­age ninth on the grid for the first race but things got worse in the sec­ond out­ing as he crashed out after con­tact with Peter Hick­man down Craner Curves, re­sult­ing in just his sec­ond DNF of the year.

“The Show­down is great but it’s re­ally hurt us to­day,” he said. “I’ve been third in the championship all year and had a good gap un­til the Show­down changed that and after to­day I’m now fifth.

“It’s frus­trat­ing to be taken out by some­one not in the Show­down, as that’s cut my chances dra­mat­i­cally after a year of hard work.”

‘It spins and slides and while that’s great fun, it’s not al­ways fast’ DAN LIN­FOOT

O’hal­lo­ran’s Honda holds off BMW man Chris­tian Id­don at Don­ing­ton Park

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