British Superbikes: Market Rasen rider O’Halloran roars into top three

Ryuichi Kiyonari was much improved at Thruxton after a difficult first half of the season EMN-160725-124135002
Ryuichi Kiyonari was much improved at Thruxton after a difficult first half of the season EMN-160725-124135002

Market Rasen-based rider Jason O’Halloran further cemented his chances of a place at British Superbikes title shoot-out after another podium at Thruxton last weekend.

Fresh from his maiden win at Snetterton in the previous round, O’Halloran was brimming with confidence and repaid this with sixth place in the first race and a superb runner-up spot in race two.

Jason O'Halloran claimed his second podium in as many meetings at Thruxton on Sunday EMN-160725-124147002

Jason O'Halloran claimed his second podium in as many meetings at Thruxton on Sunday EMN-160725-124147002

The Australian just missed out on the Superpole lap during qualifying and started his first race from the fourth row.

The race was red flagged after nine laps and rerun over 12 laps. For the first nine laps, O’Halloran held third place but tyre wear saw him drop back to complete the race in sixth.

Starting the second race from a front row grid position, O’Halloran was third on the first lap, and moved up to second when the leader retired with a bike problem.

He was overtaken by Leon Haslam, but fought back and retook the position with four laps left. Glenn Irwin was closing in on the final lap but was not quite close enough to challenge as O’Halloran crossed the finish line in second.

“To get 20 points today in race two is really good for the showdown,” he said. “A massive thanks to Honda Racing as they made a small change between races and it really helped me.

“I changed my riding style a little bit. I was trying to maintain my pace rather than push for an outright lap time.

“In the middle part of the race I felt I had the same pace as Michael (Laverty) and Leon. I was in third but couldn’t quite get past them on the brakes.

“On the last two laps I was just hanging on for dear life as the tyre had gone, but I am absolutely over the moon and pleased with the result.”

O’Halloran lies third in the rider standings on 96 points and looks almost certain to be one of the six top riders to reach the shootout which will determine who is crowned champion.

Fellow Rasen rider Ryuichi Kiyonari also enjoyed a strong weekend, finding improvements with his Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 which allowed him to post the sixth fastest time in the second session of free practice.

The former champion was again sixth fastest in first round of qualifying, but struggled to find another good lap from then on, and started race one from 16th.

In race one Kiyo was having a tough time and down in 27th when the race was red-flagged. But at the restart he was a changed man and came through from 26th to finish in seventh place after the 12 laps.

Starting the second affair from the fourth row, Kiyo was 14th on the opening lap and battled with Jake Dixon throughout the race. With three laps left he was 12th and on the final lap moved forward to take 11th at the flag.

A much improved performance moves the Japanese rider up the standings to 17th with hopes for further improvement through the second half of the season.

The next round is at Brands Hatch from August 5 to 7.