Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki will be making the annual pilgrimage this week across the channel to the legendary TT Circuit Assen for round 10 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship (20th to 22nd September).
Héctor Barberá had a difficult round at Oulton Park following a heavy spill at Hill Top during Friday’s second free practice session after another rider’s bike cut out in front of him.
Although the Spaniard tried to compete on Saturday, the injuries received – which included a broken rib and fluid on the lung – meant he had to miss the opening race. And starting the second race, he was forced to retire early and sit out the third and final race of the weekend.
It was a different story, however, for 24-year-old Ben Currie who achieved his best result of the season so far. He finished 13th in qualifying – his best grid position of the year – and converted that into a fine 11th place in race one. Sadly, arm pump put paid to any hopes of bettering that position.
TT Circuit Assen, known as the ‘Cathedral of Speed’, is a favourite for both riders owing to its combination of very fast flat-out and slow corners and the famous GT chicane just before the start/finish straight.
Héctor said:“I am really looking forward to this Assen BSB round at it’s a circuit I know really well; I love the fast-flowing style of this track.
“I have been working on my injury and feel really fit and ready to go on my Quattro Plant JG Speedfit ZX10-RR.”
Ben added: “I found a new run of form at Oulton Park which was largely down to the hard work of my crew chief Simon. He has done something to give me a better feeling on the bike and I got some really promising lap times as a result.
“I love racing at Assen as it’s a fast-flowing GP-style circuit, which suits my style of riding, and following my last outing I feel confident I can keep moving forward. To finish just outside the top ten is amazing but I want to achieve those sorts of results week in, week out.
“Up to now I haven’t had much consistency; owing to injuries I’ve struggled with my fitness but it’s slowly coming back and we’ve identified what was causing the arm pump so hopefully that’s now been resolved.”
Team owner Pete Extance said: “This weekend the team embarks on its yearly trip to Assen which is a superb circuit and one that the riders really enjoy.
“Both Héctor and Ben are fit and looking forward to finishing the season in style. Since Héctor started racing for the team this is the first circuit in the championship calendar, apart from Donington Park, where he had a superb pole position and two top-ten finishes earlier in the year, that he knows really well, so we’re hopeful of achieving some solid results.”
Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki sidecar teams Ricky Stevens/Ryan Charlwood and Ben Holland/Lee Watson will also be making the journey to the hallowed ground for the round eight of the Molson Group British Sidecar Championship.
Former champions Stevens/Charlwood will be looking for a repeat of their performance at Cadwell Park when they finished fourth in both races. Unfortunately, Holland/Watson were forced to retire from the opening encounter but took a solid seventh place in race two.
Ricky said: “Bike-wise we’re in a much better position as we were down to one engine but at Assen we should have a new engine in the bike and a spare.
“Ideally, we’d have been able to go testing after Cadwell Park as we’ve had such a long break but owing to a lack of money and work commitments that’s not been possible. However, we’re looking forward to getting on to Dutch soil; Assen has been a good hunting ground for us in the past so we’re feeling really positive.”
Ben added: “There are over 30 entries on the grid this weekend, including a wildcard ride from the current world championship leaders, so it’s going to be an action-packed round.
“We know we have the pace so hopefully we can finish both races inside the top ten. It would be great for both teams to end the season on a high, so fingers crossed all of the bad luck is behind us!”