Testing – Snetterton – 1st April 2013
This would be the last chance for Jon to test the new for 2013 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsas before the first round of the championships. The first session was very cold and Jon low sided on the second lap exiting Russell’s with minimal damage to the bike and himself.
The low temperatures persisted all day giving no chance to test the tyres at anything like race pace. Jon would have to try and set up both the Ducati which he had never ridden in the dry and Kawasaki ZX10r on the new tyres at Brands Hatch.
Brands Hatch 5th – 7th April 2013
Pirelli Superstock 1000 Championship
Jon qualified a respectable 4th on the Team WD40 Kawasaki ZX10r from 58 entries. An unbelievable 1 second covered the first 30 riders making this by far the most competitive championship in the series.
In the race Jon made a mediocre start to cross the line 7th after the first lap but was close enough to the leaders to make progress in the long 25 lap race. The pace was fast and furious and Jon began to make his move at half distance to go 6th. Just as he made the move he began to struggle in the two major braking zones at Paddock and Druids as the brakes started to fade badly. Rather than throw caution to the wind Jon pressed on as best he could but lost a couple of places at the flag to finish 9th still only 4.5 seconds behind the winner.
Ducati TriOptions 848 Challenge
Due to the cold wet weather during March Jon was unable to test the Ducati in the dry. In free practice on Friday he set the fastest time. He qualified 2nd for race one, just behind Marty Nutt from Northern Ireland.
In race one Jon got the hole shot on the Boast Plumbing Art of Racing Ducati only to be overtaken by Marty Nutty and Mike Edwards as he was cautious in the early laps due to the cold conditions. He followed the pair for several laps before upping the pace to first overtake Mike Edwards on the 11th lap and Marty Nutt on lap 13. He broke the lap record on the 14th lap to take the win.
In the second race Jon again got the hole shot only this time with more confidence in the warmer conditions he stamped his authority on the race to gradually pull away from Mike Edwards, again smashing his own lap record 3 times on the way to the flag.
Jon now heads the championship over his two main rivals Marty Nutt and Mike Edwards by 14 points.
Jon says: “What a fantastic weekend! I was surprised by the speed of the Ducati and the lap times it was capable of. To come away from round one with two wins and a lap record is a great feeling and the best possible way to start the season.
I was pleased with the performance in the Superstock race scoring strong points to start the season but if it wasn’t for the small issue with brake fade I felt that I could have been challenging for the podium.”
Thruxton 12th – 14th April 2013
Pirelli Superstock 1000 Championship
With rain affected practice Jon managed to qualify 11th from another big entry. Following the only dry qualifying session Jon was complaining that the bike was slow to turn and the ride was very harsh. The front end was not diving as it should so the forks were given to Ohlins to rectify. Warm up on Sunday morning was damp which gave no indication of how the bike would handle in the race.
From the lights Jon immediately struggled with pace as the bike was unstable on the brakes and felt very soft on the front end. Lapping a second off his 2012 pace Jon slipped back to 18th as the race was red flagged after 10 laps.
Further testing is scheduled for 26th April 2013 at Oulton Park where Jon hopes to find the correct settings after the adjustments at Thruxton and to get the best from the Pirelli’s.
Jon says: “I am disappointed with the result this weekend. Having had such a good result last season at Thruxton I was confident that I could repeat that but with the problems we faced during the weekend it was always going to be tough. I didn’t have the confidence to push like I have previously and just couldn’t maintain the pace of the front pack.
I am now looking forward to Oulton Park where I hope to get the season back on track in terms of the championship.
Big thanks to Team WD40, GR Motosport, Team AOR, Boast Plumbing and all of my sponsors.
I would also like to thank The Key Collection and Weise for supplying the made to measure Team WD40 leathers, which fit and look great!”.