South African James Egan was confident going into the latest round of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship at the superfast Thruxton circuit, knowing that the superior power of the Panigale R would hold him in good stead. Unfortunately we struggled with setup due to not being able to get the exact wheelbase we needed for this fast sweeping track. The mechanics made massive inroads with this and very quickly were going in the right direction, but just ran out of track time to get to that point where we would have been there. We were all very confident for the race that we had the tools to come through the field and secure a very good result, but a clutch issue on the start line saw us moved to the back of the grid for the re start. It was an issue that was not going to clear and James made the decision to pull in after just two laps.
I was really looking forward to Thruxton as I enjoy the fast, yet old airfield circuit, but unfortunately the weekend just never went our way.
We started practice with a new setting we haven’t tried before in pursuit of improvement, but I couldn’t get on with the setup. This lead us to big changes for qualifying 1 and 2, both sessions seeing us make steps in setup but we still battled to find a good base setting that worked. Unfortunately we ran out of sessions to try things before the race and we had to take another shot at a setup. The race itself continued giving us a hard time when we had our first technical issue with the clutch overheating and stalling the bike on the start line. We got moved back to 38th on the grid, and despite managing to get up to 25th by lap 2, we still didn’t have the bike where we needed it in setup and with the clutch overheating, the bike wasn’t behaving as I needed it – saving the chance of a crash and/or bad result, I decided it better to bring it back to the pits safely so we could properly scrutinize the bike before damaging anything. Dan and Em handled the situation so professionally and we took more data away. Thank you so much to Mark, Dan and Em for working so closely with me as they always do, but to come out of a challenging weekend like this still smiling is reassuring that I have the right team around me. It was a tough one all weekend long, but we have a plan in place for the next week to rectify this setup problem and I can’t wait to get out on our Ducati again!
That was a tough weekend for the Ducati side of the team and I don’t think I’ve said that once yet this year. By the time we had got to the point of having a set up that we were confident with a clutch issue saw us DNF. I am so pleased with the speed in which Dan and Em were able to identify the set up problem and transform the bike for James. We were massively confident that we were going into the race with far more pace than our grid slot suggested. But a clutch issue put pay to that and you just have to draw the line under that race and move on.
James as ever the complete professional, just takes this in his stride and was immediately looking towards the next round at Cadwell in 3 weeks time. A big thanks to Dan and Em for a massive effort this weekend and to the boys at Moto Rapido who yet again showed they are right on the winning pace in the Superbike class with John Hopkins. A special thank you must go to Steve and Rachel at Pawson Commercials for their continued support both on and off the track!! .