The final round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike championship got off to a challenging start with the October weather conditions hindering progress for McAMS Yamaha.

There were signs of promise for the Fleetwood-based squad with Jason O’Halloran leading the way in fully wet conditions half way through opening free practice, but as the track started to dry up conditions were significantly sketchy leading both O’Halloran and Mackenzie to err on the side of caution with nothing to gain and a lot to lose.

There were hopes the afternoon’s second session would be dry, but a heavy shower over lunch made things tricky as while much of the track had dried, there were still a number of wet patches around the back of the circuit. Again taking it easy, O’Halloran ended the session 12th fastest while Mackenzie only completed three laps.

Despite the frustration, both O’Halloran and Mackenzie were left feeling positive after significant changes made with the YZF-R1 between Donington and this weekend proved to provide a better feeling for both riders.

Rookie Matt Truelove impressed in the sketchy FP1 conditions to sit ninth and was 19th overall in FP2.

Saturday will be a busy day for the team with three outings, beginning with FP3 at 09:35 before qualifying at lunch time and then the opening race of the weekend at 16:00.

Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Free Practice 1:

  1. Joe Francis (Lloyd & Jones Bowker BMW 1:35.483s
  2. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +0.142s
  3. Ben Currie (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.417s
  4. Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.545s
  5. Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing) +0.611s
  6. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +1.255s
  7. Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) +1.943s
  8. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +2.008s
  9. Matt Truelove (Raceways Yamaha) +2.205s
  10. Josh Owens (CDH Racing) +2.327s

Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Free Practice 2 result:

  1. Josh Brookes (Be Wiser Ducati) 1:28.873s
  2. Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +0.038s
  3. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.437s
  4. Scott Redding (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.991s
  5. James Ellison (OMG Racing Suzuki) +1.000s
  6. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +1.440s
  7. Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Racing Ducati) +1.626s
  8. Ben Currie (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +1.782s
  9. Gino Rea (Bike Devil Sweda MV Augusta) +2.085s
  10. Joe Francis (Lloyd & Jones Bowker BMW) +2.247s
    12. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +2.370
    19. Matt Truelove (McAMS Yamaha) +5.712
    26. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) +12.957

Jason O’Halloran
“It was a difficult day for everybody. I went out in both sessions and did plenty of laps because you never know what conditions are going to be like on race day. We’ve got a race tomorrow so it was important to get out today in all the conditions and get a feel for it. I don’t think we’re in too bad a place, FP2 was a bit difficult and it just depends on how much you want to push in dodgy conditions. We’ll come back tomorrow for a busy day with practice, qualifying and race so hopefully we can have a good day!”

Tarran Mackenzie
“This morning was really wet to start with and quite cold. I had a really good feeling straightaway which is good as the bike is quite different to how we’ve had it most of the year. This afternoon it looked like it was drying out but rained just after lunch so it was mixed again. The first half of the track was dry and the second half wet so I didn’t do many laps. I’m feeling good on the bike and the rest of the weekend looks dry now so fingers crossed we can have a strong weekend.”

Matt Truelove
“It was nice to be in the top ten in this morning’s session, I quite like those conditions and pushed on as the track dried. This afternoon was a bit more difficult, half of the track was bone dry and then out at the back it was wet, which made it quite challenging and there’s a lot to lose in those situations and very little to gain! We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

Steve Rodgers
Team Owner
“Today was one of those days where it’s all a bit pointless! We were happy to be sixth and eighth in FP1, especially as we showed very strong pace in the fully wet conditions early on until things started to dry up and then it becomes about weighing up risk versus reward. That was the case in FP2 as part of the track was bone dry and the other part, some of the fastest sections, very wet so it’s just not worth pushing too hard when there are no points for free practice! It looks like it’s going to be dry for the rest of the weekend, fingers crossed!”