|Christian Iddon leaves Knockhill leading the British Superbike championship after a race win and two fourth places
|• Christian Iddon wins his first British Superbike race of 2021
• Christian Iddon now leads the British Superbike Championship
• Iddon’s Race 1 win was the first Ducati BSB victory of the year
The opening Bennetts British Superbike race at Knockhill saw VisionTrack Ducati's Christian Iddon take his maiden win of the season.
Iddon had been looking strong in Saturday's free practise sessions and continued his form into qualifying scoring a front row start, second on the grid for Saturday's 20-lap race.
Jason O'Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) initially led the pack from pole around the Scottish circuit, but it wasn't long before Iddon took the lead, with Synetiq BMW Motorrad's Danny Buchan's also passing the Yamaha rider just moments after Iddon to move into second.
Iddon ran wide at the Hairpin on Lap 6 allowing Buchan though, only for Buchan to momentarily lose the front of his BMW at the same corner a few laps later. Iddon retook the lead and went on to chase down the chequered flag to take his, and Ducati's, first BSB win of the year ahead of O'Halloran and Buchan.
Tommy Bridewell made several passes throughout the race to cross the finish line on his Oxford Products Racing Ducati in ninth, up from 14th on the grid. Iddon's VisionTrack Ducati teammate Josh Brookes had initially lined up one place ahead of Bridewell on the grid, going on to finish his race in twelfth.
Iddon and Brookes both had consecutive grid positions for Sunday's opening race in second and thirteenth respectively, while Bridewell moved up onto the third row of the grid to start his race in eighth.
A great start from Iddon from saw the VisionTrack Ducati rider get the holeshot to lead pole sitter Buchan as the 30-lap race got underway at Knockhill.
By half-race distance Iddon and Buchan had momentarily edged away from fellow Scots Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) and Rory Skinner (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki). On Lap 17 Buchan passed Iddon into the hairpin and won the subsequent drag race into Duffus Dip for the lead. And a few laps later Skinner also passed Iddon into the hairpin to snatch second.
The final stage of the race saw Buchan extend his lead by over a second, with the chasing trio of Skinner, Iddon and Mackenzie all in the battle for second place.
Tommy Bridewell had once again made several passes thorough the field and when Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) hit a false neutral and ran on at the first corner, the Oxford Products Racing Ducati rider was promoted up to fifth.
Going into the final lap Iddon was ready to fight for second until Mackenzie made a pass, with the McAMS Yahama rider going to take third across the line behind race winner Buchan, and second-placed Skinner. Iddon finished his race in fourth, with Bridewell fifth, and Brookes bringing his VisionTrack Ducati home in twelfth.
Current championship leader Jason O'Halloran crashed out on Lap 11, so Iddon's fourth place finish saw him leapfrog the McAMS Yahama rider to take the championship lead with a slim three point advantage.
After lining up on the second row of the grid, Christian Iddon was immediately up to third at the start of third and final race of the weekend at Knockhill, passing Mackenzie into the hairpin to complete his first lap in second behind Skinner.
Hickman demoted Iddon to third after a move at the hairpin on Lap 11 only for Iddon to get back past the FHO Racing BMW rider on the following lap.
Lap 22 saw Buchan briefly pass Iddon, before putting on a late move that cost Iddon some time and a subsequent place as Mackenzie came back past, which dropped Iddon down to fourth.
But as the leading group were preparing to battle for the win, the red flag came out after Honda Racing's Glenn Irwin crashed out with his bike stricken on the racing line. The race was declared, with Buchan getting his second win of the day and joined on the podium by Skinner and Mackenzie.
Iddon took a consecutive fourth, but with O'Halloran finishing his race in 6th, the VisionTrack Ducati rider doubled his championship lead ahead of him to six points, leaving Knockhill top of the table with 111 points.
Tommy Bridewell had another strong points finish, crossing the line half a second behind O'Halloran in seventh. But after finishing in thirteenth, Josh Brookes will be looking forward to getting his season back on track at Brands Hatch later this month.
Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati #21)
Race 1, 1st - Race 2, 4th - Race 3, 4th
“I struggled a bit in the first race today when the bike had a full fuel load, and I wasn’t riding as smoothly as I had been. I made a few mistakes and got mugged on the last lap which meant I ended up fourth, but the second race was a lot better. I was in the mix throughout and my pace was good but there were some sizeable moves, and I lost a couple of places. But I felt good and regained some of those places quite quickly only for the red flag to come out. It was a shame as I felt the race was coming to me and I felt confident of a podium if the race had gone the full distance. With a win and two fourths, I’ve taken a good haul of points and it’s obviously great to be leading the Championship.“
Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati #25)
Race 1, 12th - Race 2, 12th - Race 3, 13th
“I’m obviously disappointed with how today has gone and embarrassed to be that far back with the number one plate. It’s not natural and it’s not normal for me to be in those positions and I’m in a bit of shock to be honest. The bike hasn’t felt right from the moment we rolled it out the truck and it doesn’t matter what we’ve done, the feeling has been the same. I’ve had bad races in the past but not so many in a row like we’ve had so far this season. I’ve always been able to turn it round and end the weekend on a positive note but that wasn’t the case here at Knockhill. But we won’t give in, I’ll work with my team to sort what we need to.”
Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati #46)
Race 1, 9th - Race 2, 5th - Race 3, 7th
“Positive weekend all round. I’m happy with the progress we made. It’s probably no secret that missing the test put us on the back foot a little bit. Myself and the team had to work extra hard to dig in and get the results that we got. Really happy with everything. Knockhill certainly isn’t my forte. I personally don’t think it’s the strongest circuit for the Ducati but I’m glad it’s done and it’s out that way because early in the championship I feel like we’ve had a good strong start.
We’re understanding the bike really well and it just leads us into a really strong 2021 campaign. Looking forward to getting to some circuits like Brands next, where we know the Ducati is phenomenally good there and we’re really able to use all of the benefits of the bike. So, positive weekend all round and looking forward to Brands.”