Glenn Irwin has got the final round of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship off to a flying start winning the opening race of the weekend aboard the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP at Brands Hatch in this afternoon's 16-lap eBay Sprint Race, having claimed the pole position in Qualifying earlier in the day.
Glenn rode a superb race leading the pack from start to finish, as well as claiming the fastest lap (1:25.090), which sees him start tomorrow's longer 20-lap race from pole position.
Despite scoring 25 points with the race victory, Glenn's title rival Bradley Ray finished fifth, which saw him score enough points to be crowned the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Champion.
Tomorrow Glenn will be looking to finish second in the championship and going into the two races, the Honda-man is 13 points ahead of third place rider Tommy Bridewell.
Meanwhile teammate Takumi Takahashi added some more points to his championship tally coming home 13th, but it was disaster for BSB rookie Tom Neave on the first corner of the first lap.
Having got a good start off the line Tom had moved up the pack but coming into Paddock Hill Bend, he was left with nowhere to go after the pack ahead grouped up and he ran into the back of his Honda teammate Ryo Mizuno and crashed out of the running. Ryo was forced to retire at the end of the first lap, after the impact of Tom's machine caused his seat unit to come off.
Tomorrow the Honda Racing UK team will look forward to the last two races of the 2022 season.
Glenn Irwin: It’s been a fantastic year, we started with the treble at Silverstone, but seemed to stagnate from there. Takumi my teammate worked through a swingarm option, which at the time wasn’t giving what I needed, but at Knockhill it then came to a level where Takumi had a better lap time, and I knew it was starting to come good. We made the change, which was an instant improvement. The Fireblade developed and we worked incredibly well, I also had some surgery on my shoulder which is something that hindered me. We then went to some physical tracks where we were able to fight, which showed that the bike had made a huge step but also physically I had. This weekend has been great, I did want three from three after yesterday, but I fought hard for the third place. In the final race things felt good and we instantly went into tyre saving mode, but then I had to work hard and I had a clear target to take the lead. The wins are for my team, they have worked so hard this year and it’s nice to be able to reward them with two wins and second overall in the championship.
Ryo Mizuno: I am honoured to have run with this team for two years. Today, I finished both races but wasn't able to score any points. I want to thank all the staff at Honda Racing UK and everyone at Team #88.
Takumi Takahashi: The final round was not a perfect weekend for me, but it was good to get points in all three races. I didn't have many races this year that I could be satisfied with, but after the Suzuka 8 Hours my rhythm has improved a bit, which is good. In our last race of the year, I'm not happy with the result, but I did enjoy it! Thank you for all your support over the past year!
Tom Neave: This year is not how I wanted it to be, but it’s half how I expected it; I knew it was never going to be easy, but I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it has been. There have been a few things that have gone against me and I’ve not made the best of some of the other opportunities I have had. But on reflection, it’s been a huge learning experience and I can’t thank the team enough for sticking by me in difficult times and keeping believing in me. I didn’t end the year how I wanted to, but I think we’ve shown small glimpses of potential throughout the season. I’m going to get to work in the off season, work on myself and I’ll come into 2023 a different person, stronger and ready to fight.