Brookes bails:

BSB chal­lenger throws it away

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

Josh Brookes looked set to have a barn­storm­ing Brands Hatch bat­tle with Shane Byrne, but his in­cred­i­ble prac­tice and qual­i­fy­ing pace did not re­sult in the race pace he promised.

The Yamaha star was the only man able to match Byrne’s pace in prac­tice, but was ham­pered by a mys­te­ri­ous lack of grip in the open­ing race and could only fin­ish fifth. In race two he shat­tered his own long-stand­ing lap record around the Brands Hatch GP cir­cuit as he set out to chase down early race leader Shane Byrne.

But dis­as­ter struck as he tucked the front on the en­try to Sur­tees af­ter halv­ing the gap to Byrne. The crash ended Brookes’ hard charge into se­ri­ous BSB championship con­tention.

“We had a pack­age to fight for the wins this week­end,” said Brookes. “I was re­ally dis­ap­pointed with race one and the un­der-per­for­mance of the tyre and that’s prob­a­bly why I didn’t use my head more in race two.

“I was able to do good lap times but I just tried too hard at the wrong point of the cir­cuit. We’re all hu­man and at the end of the day I made a mis­take. I was in sec­ond look­ing at Shakey’s back wheel, but there’s no­body to blame but my­self.”

De­spite a dis­ap­point­ing week­end, Brookes has shown on sev­eral oc­ca­sions this sea­son that he can run with Byrne – even when the Be Wiser Du­cati man is at his best. It wasn’t un­til this point in 2015 that the Aussie’s ti­tle tilt with Mil­wau­kee Yamaha be­gan. He went on to win an in­cred­i­ble 13 out of the last 16 races. And while that might not be as straight for­ward this time around, strong week­ends at Thrux­ton and Cad­well, two cir­cuits where he has dom­i­nated in the past, will put him in an ex­tremely strong po­si­tion.

“It’s crazy for peo­ple to think I’m not a con­tender,” he re­torts when asked about his ti­tle chances. “Why wouldn’t I be? I was BSB cham­pion in 2015. I haven’t lost that abil­ity in one year away in WSB.

“The se­ries has a good for­mat that al­lows most rid­ers on the grid to race at the front, es­pe­cially with the Show­down sys­tem. I could be miles away from the front guys for the first six or seven rounds, but as long as I’m in the top six I’ve still got a chance.”

Brookes was hunt­ing Shakey down in race two

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