The Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki team contested round nine of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park over the weekend, and although it proved challenging, Ben Currie claimed his best BSB career finish to date.
The weekend didn’t get off to the greatest of starts for the team as, unfortunately, Héctor Barberá had 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 sit out the opening race.
Australian Currie, however, enjoyed much better fortunes and after taking 13th in qualifying – his best grid position of the year so far – he converted that form into a good result and claimed a fine 11th place in Saturday’s opening race of the weekend.
A strong lap time enabled him to start from 12th place on the grid for Sunday’s opening race and he occupied 11th place for the first half of the race. However, he dropped back to 15th on lap 11 and two laps later he was forced to retire.
Barberá, meanwhile, started the race but was also forced to retire on lap six.
The former MotoGP rider’s injuries from Friday resulted in him sitting out the third and final race of the weekend but 24-year-old Currie was again in action and looked on course to take his second points finish of the weekend when he ran in 12th place for the first third of the race.
However, just before half race distance he started to suffer with arm pump and slipped back to 20th and although he regrouped over the final few laps, 17th was ultimately where he finished.
“This weekend it was very unfortunate that I had a big crash on the second lap when I hit a stray bike,” explained Héctor.
“I had a lot of pain in my ribs and this made movement very difficult. I tried to ride yesterday and then I thought it was better to rest and try again today but I realised after five laps it was impossible to race because of the pain.
“I hope to be fully fit for Assen as this is a track I am familiar with and I am looking forward to.”
Ben Currie added: “The start of the weekend was really positive: we were strong in the lead up to and during qualifying. It was testament to my Crew Chief Simon who did a lot of work during the week which helped me take a big step forward.
“My problem this weekend was arm pump, something I’ve never struggled with before. It hindered me towards the end of the race on Saturday and really affected my progress and riding in both races on Sunday.
“On the plus side we turned it around this weekend and we’ve actually got good pace and are sure we can have a good end to the season.”
Team Manager Jack Valentine said it’s been a struggle: “Héctor was happy after doing a track day at Oulton, he liked the circuit and was making good progress every time he went out.
“However, he was involved in a huge crash on Friday through no fault of his own and he was sent to hospital. He cracked a few ribs and had some fluid on his lungs. He tried so hard to get back out there this weekend, but it just wasn’t possible as he was too injured.
“Ben has been making really good steps, the best he has done all year. The team have worked really hard on his bike and his set-up and he’s got a lot of confidence back.
“He’s built steadily and got his strongest result of the season. Sadly, he was hindered with arm pump today and, although he was running well again, he was unable to hold on so had to pull in. Hopefully, it can be sorted before we go to Assen.”