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Richard Cooper has extended his lead in the National #superstock1000 Championship after backing-up yesterday's race win from Brands Hatch with a third place from today's outing in the #uk for the Bennetts #suzuki team.
The second round of the championship saw the team make some adjustments to the set-up of the all-new 2017 GSX-R1000, aimed at helping the Nottinghamshire rider with corner entry. The changes proved positive and allowed Cooper to win the first race of the weekend, after he hit the front early on and led the way until the red flags came out because of rain falling at the Kent circuit.
For today's race, the team made more changes to try and further improve the bike that unfortunately didn't yield the same gains. However, he was still able to race to another podium finish, taking third place after a race-long battle at the front which saw six riders covered by just two seconds at the chequered flag. It means Cooper and the new GSX-R1000 have finished on the podium in every #superstock1000 race so far this season.
"It's been a proper weekend. It would have been nice to have done the double but it was never going to be easy in today's race. With Brands, it's hard to get away and it means riders that you've probably got a bit more pace on can sometimes hang-in there and have a go at you. But it was an enjoyable race and good to come away with the championship lead. There were some areas where we could improve - both with the bike and also where I could have maybe done things differently. We made some small changes this morning and to be honest there was no real advantage from them, but I'm all for trying things. We've got the test at Oulton Park this week and it's good that it's so close to this weekend, as everything is still fresh. We'll sit down tomorrow and make a plan and work-out what we want to achieve, and I'm now looking forward to the next round."
The Bennetts #suzuki team made strides with the new GSX-R1000 in the MCE British Superbike class over the course of the weekend, highlighted by the improvements in results from one race to the next: Sylvain Guintoli was forced to retire from race one with a technical issue, but raced to a solid top-10 finish in race two as he continued development of a number of factory race parts.
After the disappointment of crashing-out of both races at Donington Park, Taylor Mackenzie raced to two points-scoring finishes from today's races, finishing 15th and 14th.
"It was always going to be difficult today after qualifying, but we improved a lot. In the first race we had a technical problem that affected us, but in race two we made a lot of progress. It was not going to be easy from 17th on the grid but we kept moving forward and actually we were within 10 seconds of the leader at the end, which, over 30 laps is a few-tenths-a-lap and is not actually a big gap. We're chipping away but the competition is so strong. We're still adjusting everything, and still need to keep working on the electronics. But there are positives too and areas where the bike is working well. I'm looking forward to the test at Oulton, and more testing and track time is what we need. The team is very busy and working hard, so we'll keep trying things at Oulton, evaluate different parts and settings, and keep improving bit-by-bit."
"I'm happy enough with both races to be honest. They're my first points in BSB. We've tried a lot of things this weekend, and settled on a few areas now. The conditions sort of threw us in race one and we used a different tyre as it was a bit colder and I wasn't that comfortable. I had better pace in race two but got boxed-in off the start. I made good progress but once you lose the tow around Brands it's hard to bridge the gap. I just didn't quite have the pace for the next group, which went all the way up to about eighth. It was only about a tenth-a-lap, but Donington was fresh in my mind and I wanted to make sure I finished the race. The Oulton test will be good for us. At every track we struggle to start with because everything is new, even from things like gearing, we're working it all out from scratch. So, if we get good weather there hopefully we can work all that out and try a few more things with the bike. The potential is there, it's just about getting all the areas right."
Steve Hicken - Team Manager:
"It's been another testing but productive weekend. Cooper's had a great weekend and it's been good to take the championship lead in Superstock. It proves how strong the base package is with the new #suzuki. We improved our set-up before this weekend, and hopefully we can further improve after the test on Thursday. We have some more things to try but at the moment we're really happy with the package we have and how competitive we are.
"That base package potential is also clear in Superbike. Sylvain and Taylor are developing the bike the whole time, so we're trying different components and settings, from swinging arms to shocks, different geometry, everything, and we've seen the progression and the improvements. The results don't stand out but we're not that far away from the front. But we're furthering our understanding of the bike a lot and making steps the whole time and when it all comes together it's going to be a really competitive package.
"The Oulton Park test will be really important for us. We need more track time to continue to test. Hopefully the weather is kind, as it will mean we can also do a lot of work ahead of the race weekend there, and start from a better place in Free Practice one."
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