The Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki team will be heading to Oulton Park this weekend (6th to 8th September) for the three-day Bennetts British Superbike Championship Showdown decider.
It’s been a difficult season for the defending champions so far with former MotoGP rider Héctor Barberá replacing Glenn Irwin part way through the season.
It’s been a steep learning curve for the Spaniard, who is competing at many of the circuits for the first time and on a new bike. He’s also been recovering from a fractured tibia sustained during a heavy crash at Thruxton at the beginning of August.
Despite this, on the team’s last outing at Cadwell Park (16th to 18th August) Barberá managed to cross the line in 11th place in race two, just over half a second adrift of ninth place, and will be pushing hard to get some stronger results at Oulton Park.
“Oulton Park is a very good track for Kawasaki and I think for me also as it’s a very fast circuit and not as technical as Cadwell,” said Héctor.
“After testing last week, I have a good opportunity to do really well here and hopefully get my best results of the season so far. I’d like to finish in the top five, but I know it’s very difficult as the riders are so fast. However, I’m ready for the weekend and looking forward to the challenge.”
Teammate Ben Currie also had a tough last round; while competing at Cadwell Park on a Superbike for the first time, he had a crash which knocked his confidence and aggravated his previous foot injury.
Ben said: “For the past three years I’ve won races at Oulton Park and when I’m feeling good on the bike it’s one of my favourite tracks as it’s my home circuit.
“However, we still need to find a set-up we’re 100% comfortable with so I’m under no illusions – it’s going to be challenging but we’ll do the best we can and hopefully get a good result.
“Although we had a test at Oulton Park the beginning of the year the weather wasn’t conducive and I got big injury there on the last outing so I haven’t had as much track time at the circuit on the Superbike as I would like, but I’ll be giving it everything I’ve got as always.”
Team owner Pete Extance added: “While this season has been a struggle for the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki team we are determined to put on a good show and battle near the front over the last four rounds.
“Ben only did free practice 1 the last time we went to Oulton so both he and Hector are going to be on the back foot as far as set-up goes for free practice 1 and free practice 2. Hector did a track day on a stock machine last week and really enjoyed the circuit so hopefully it won’t take long for both riders to get up to speed.
“After this round we are at the last three circuits which both riders know well and, hopefully with all the injuries behind them, we should be pushing near the sharp end. Massive thanks to all our sponsors and fans during this very difficult season.”