British Superbikes: O’Halloran drops to fifth after Thruxton

Jason O'Halloran hopes to strengthen his shootout claims at Cadwell later this month EMN-170708-161914002
Jason O'Halloran hopes to strengthen his shootout claims at Cadwell later this month EMN-170708-161914002

Market Rasen-based rider Jason O’Halloran dropped to fifth in the British Superbike standings despite two top six finishes at Thruxton in round seven last weekend.

O’Halloran struggled during free practice and qualifying, but fitting a new tyre for the solo Superpole lap brought an improvement in his times.

The Australian rode through to secure seventh place and a place on the third row of the grid for the start of the first of two 18-lap races.

He said: “It was tough for me in qualifying as I had to use an old tyre as we started Q2 and got dropped to the back of the field so I had to pit for a new tyre. It was the best we could do.”

The Honda Racing rider maintained seventh position through the first lap and inherited sixth place when a rider crashed, bringing out the course car for six laps.

Once back under way, O’Halloran passed series leader Shane Byrne and held fifth place through until lap 14 when he was demoted a place when Christian Iddon went past.

He came very close, but could not make a move back past Iddon and crossed the finish line in sixth.

O’Halloran began race two from the second row and maintained fourth place for the first few laps, but he was pushed back by Leon Haslam and then Josh Brookes and he was unable to stay with them.

As Byrne faded, O’Halloran made up a place, but he was then passed by Iddon. Yet in a twist of fate the leader crashed, gifting O’Halloran fifth place at the flag.

“It has been an okay weekend with the overall results,” he said. “We are now joint fifth in the championship and not too far from fourth place, so we are looking positive with the showdown position.

“But I know we are getting some pressure from the people behind us so we need to continue finishing within the points as high as we can.

“We have struggled this weekend with grip and although we have worked hard with set-up and trying to maintain tyre life, we just couldn’t get on top of it.

“It is something that has caused us issues in the past and I know we are not alone as other teams have suffered, too, this weekend.

“I am now going to focus on Cadwell Park which is one of my favourite races of the season. Last year we had two podiums and the test there a few weeks ago was really good so I’m confident we can have a good weekend there.”

The series calls at the Louth-based Honda Racing’s home track of Cadwell Park on August 20 when O’Halloran will be seeking two top results to maintain his place in the top six to go through to the end-of-season title shoot-out.