Jon Kirkham wins Round 1 of the 2012 championship with Samsung Honda
17:06 10 April 2012
The Samsung Honda team took victory in the first race of the opening round of the 2012 British Superbike Championship season at Brands Hatch as Jon Kirkham made a move on the final corner of the final lap to cross the line ahead of Alastair Seeley and clinch glory.
Kirkham had a good start from the front row and was in the leading pack, before taking the lead on the sixth lap. He was challenged for the position as Seeley made a move into Druids, but Kirkham was preparing a counter move and on the final lap as they exited Clearways he got the opportunity to take the advantage to cross the line 0.136 seconds ahead. It was a disappointing opening race for Michael Laverty who after starting from the sixth row was determined to move up the order, however on the opening lap the conditions caught him out and he high-sided on the exit of Druids and was then sidelined for the remainder of the race.
The second Superbike race of the day was unfortunately postponed to due to track conditions.
An ecstatic Jon Kirkham said “First race and first win for Samsung Honda, I’m delighted. I knew there would be a few incidents but I just kept my head down. The safety car bunched the pack up within a lap of it pulling in Alastair Seeley nipped up the inside of me at Druids and got away a little bit. I started closing back in on him and tried to make a pass at Paddock Hill but it was sliding underneath me. I just knew I needed to stay as close as possible to Alastair and then he got a bit sideways out of Clearways and I just went for it!”
Michael Laverty’s race wasn’t quite as hoped for. “It has been a nightmare day for me” he said. “This morning was the first time I had any wet practice on the Samsung Honda and we planned on making some changes for the first race and I felt more comfortable even on the warm up laps. I just pushed as I knew I needed to make up some places early on and I just pushed too hard out of Druids and the bike bit me. This wasn’t the start I obviously wanted to the season but we will be looking to turn it around this weekend at Thruxton.”
Team Manager, Havier Beltran: “It was fantastic for Jon to give the Samsung Honda team a victory in the first race of the season. He has gelled well with the team and he rode a controlled race and knew where he would have a chance to pass Seeley, and when he did he was able to make it happen. For Michael it went wrong in qualifying and that gave him a lot of work for the race and unfortunately he got caught out, like many others, in the conditions.”
For updates direct from Jon Kirkham and Michael Laverty you can follow them on Twitter: @JonKirkham10 and @MichaelLaverty. For team updates, follow @SamsungHonda