British Superbikes: O’Halloran finds the positives in Donington Park disappointment

Jason O'Halloran had a disappointing opening to the season at Donington Park EMN-170304-103139002
Jason O'Halloran had a disappointing opening to the season at Donington Park EMN-170304-103139002

Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran made a disappointing start to the British Superbike Championship with a brace of 10th places at Donington Park on Sunday.

It was a tough start for Rasen-based rider O’Halloran on Friday when he struggled through free practice well down the field as he got to grips with the new Honda Fireblade.

Saturday’s final free session went no better, but he was anticipating a better time in qualifying later that day.

But after an oil spillage in another class caused racing to be abandoned for the day there was insufficient time on the packed timetable to allow for Superbike qualifying and grid positions were taken from free practice, giving the Australian a place on the fifth row of the grid.

He completed the first two laps of the opening race down in 13th place, but he persevered and eventually hauled himself up the order to complete the race in 10th.

Starting race two from the fifth row, O’Halloran started badly and slipped to 18th on the first lap.

But again he got his head down and powered the Fireblade through to 10th at two-thirds distance. Unable to make up further ground he remained in that position to the finish.

“Although it probably looks on the outside we are struggling, we are making progress and everyone is still learning with the new Honda Fireblade,” he said.

“Race one was a huge learning curve for us and the 20 laps were the longest run I have had on the bike.

“The boys have been working hard trying to improve the power and engine braking and for race one it felt a lot better so I was happy with 10th. “Although it was the same result in race two it was a positive outcome for us. I lost a lot of time at the start, but pushed hard to make up places.

“The bike felt more comfortable and I was able to push. There is a lot more work to do, but I am feeling more confident.”

The 12 points leave O’Halloran eighth in the overall standings but as the new bike’s development continues he will be seeking to move further upfield next time out at Brands Hatch over the Easter weekend of April 14 to 17.