Mixed feelings following Thruxton qualifying for Anvil Hire TAG Racing
James Ellison will start Sunday’s first race in 16th after struggling with rear grip during an extremely hot qualifying session at Thruxton. Team mate Shaun Winfield will line up next door to James in 17th, progressing into Q2 for the first time in his Bennetts British Superbike career after posting a new personal best lap time.
Both riders headed into the three tier qualifying session following a positive final free practice, where James and Shaun posted their fastest laps of the weekend.
For the first time in his Bennetts British Superbike career Shaun progressed into the second stage of qualifying with his team mate, after posting a 1:15.6, a new personal best lap time for the 25 year old.
The second session saw both riders improve once again in time, with Shaun posting a 1:15.560, setting a new personal best once again. James struggled with rear grip, and could only post a time strong enough to line him up 16th on the grid for race one.
After the session James Ellison said: “I expect to do a lot better around here but it’s tight. We’re looking for that last little bit, we have been all year but it hasn’t been there. I can do a decent lap time but then i’m just stuck on it and i can’t seem to go any faster, even with a new tyre in it’s the same. It’s down to feel and i’m just not getting the grip from the rear that i’m after.
“We’ve been chasing feel from the front and rear all season, and at Brands Hatch we made a step forward with the front end but everyone else has made a step forward too.
“It’s really frustrating because the team shouldn’t be here, and neither should I, we’re still putting in 100% but i’m struggling with rear grip and feel. I’m not looking for the holy grail but we will get to the bottom of it. Tomorrow is going to be tough, but we’ll sit down look at the data and make a plan for tomorrow.”
Shaun Winfield added: “That qualifying session was really good, I managed to chase down a few ahead with a new set of tyres in the bike. I felt really comfortable and I let it flow and the pace came to me, I posted a 1:15.5 in Q1 and I had to try and match it in Q2, which i did.
“I just didn’t have the grip in the tyres to have another crack at bettering it, but my times were consistent anyway so i’m really happy. It was the first time i’d been into Q2, and it’s given me a better grid position for race one tomorrow. I’ve got to get my head down and crack on from the start, I know I have the pace to run in the points and that is my goal for tomorrow.”