Glenn Irwin is eager to be challenging for the rostrum again at this weekend’s MCE British Superbike triple-header at Oulton Park in Cheshire.
The PBM Be Wiser Ducati rider clinched his maiden podium at Thruxton in race two in July, sealing an excellent third place in his rookie season in the class.
Irwin followed up with a fine fourth at Brands Hatch and after finishing fifth and seventh at Cadwell Park last time out, the Carrick man has the top three in his sights again.
The 26-year-old was 12th fastest yesterday on the Panigale R and will be aiming to climb the leaderboard during final free practice and qualifying today, with the first of three BSB races this weekend scheduled to take place later this afternoon at 4pm.
Irwin said: “After leaving my weakest circuit at Cadwell Park with a decent haul of points, I’m sure with a good, clean weekend we can again achieve solid results in my rookie season at a track I have enjoyed success at before.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend and there’s no reason why I can’t be challenging for podiums again.”
Championship leader Shane Byrne (PBM Be Wiser Ducati) was fastest yesterday from Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) with Jake Dixon impressing in third on the Briggs Equipment BMW for Lee Hardy’s team.
Michael Laverty was 14th fastest on the Tyco BMW, with team-mate Christian Iddon in eighth place.
Alastair Seeley ended FP2 in 18th on the RAF Reserves BMW, while Dublin rider Jack Kennedy was 26th on the Team WD40 Kawasaki.
Tomorrow’s two BSB races are pencilled in for 1.35pm and 4.35pm in the final round of the championship before the Showdown commences next weekend at Donington Park.
Ulsterman Laverty is currently in fourth place in the standings and will be hoping to cement his position at Oulton this weekend, although Honda’s Dan Linfoot and James Ellison on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki are snapping at his heels, only two points and seven points behind the Toomebridge man respectively.
Meanwhile, in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship, Taylor Mackenzie led the way in first qualifying on the Buildbase BMW, with only 0.054 seconds between the championship leader and Ian Hutchinson on the Tyco BMW.
Clogher man Keith Farmer was third fastest on the Quay Garage Honda, three tenths back on Mackenzie, with reigning champion Josh Elliott (Tyco BMW) in fifth behind Bathams BMW rider Michael Rutter.
In the Dickies British Supersport class, James Westmoreland headed the free practice times on the Came BPT Yamaha with Jordanstown’s Andy Reid in third on the Quattro Plant Cool Milk Kawasaki. Andrew Irwin was eighth fastest ahead of fellow Northern Ireland rider David Allingham.
The Sprint race will be held today over 12 laps from 4.45pm.
* Eugene Laverty was 18th fastest during free practice yesterday at Misano in Italy ahead of tomorrow’s 13th round of the MotoGP World Championship.
The Aspar Ducati rider slid off during FP1 in the morning but escaped unscathed. Laverty, currently 11th in the championship standings, finished 12th last Sunday in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Pol Espargaro set the early pace from Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Ducati’s Andrea Iannone, with reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha) in fourth.
Title leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and Valentino Rossi on the second of the Movistar Yamaha machines rounded out the first six. The race takes place tomorrow from 1pm at the Marco Simoncelli Circuit in San Marino.