Glenn Irwin slid out of contention in race two at the Easter Monday Bank Holiday meeting at Brands Hatch, but the MCE British Superbike prospect has taken the positives from the second round of the series.
The Carrick rider, who finished a solid sixth in the first race on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati, was holding fifth place in the second race behind team-mate and reigning champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne when he crashed at Clearways. Two laps later, Byrne also went down at the same corner as the PBM team failed to score any points in race two.
Irwin, though, remains upbeat and feels he has the pace to run consistently at the front this season.
He started from 13th place on the grid in the opening race and battled his way through for some decent points after crossing the line in sixth position at the Indy circuit.
“Sixth place in the first race was a good result given the position I’d started in, but the second race was an awful lot better in terms of my pace and where I was running on track,” Irwin said.
“I felt comfortable sitting in fifth place behind ‘Shakey’ and felt confident I’d be able to move forward further still in the closing stages.
“I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard nor that I did anything different going into Clearways but I was caught off guard and down I went,” he added.
“It’s really frustrating as I’m really happy with the bike, so I’m sorry for the team as they worked so hard. We’re running consistently in the leading pack now and feel like it’s where we belong.”
The 27-year-old began the season on a high at Donington Park in round one, finishing sixth in race one before claiming his third career BSB rostrum in the second outing on the Panigale R, fighting his way through to third in the closing laps.
He is currently sixth in the championship, one point behind Smiths BMW rider Peter Hickman.
Michael Laverty finished eighth and 11th in the two races on the McAMS Yamaha R1.
The day belonged to JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider Luke Mossey, who toasted his first BSB wins with a terrific double on the ZX-10R.
McAMS Yamaha rider James Ellison crashed out of the lead in the opener when he tucked the front at Druids hairpin.
Mossey, who was beginning to open a gap between himself and team-mate Leon Haslam and Tyco BMW rider Christian Iddon, was left to take up the running.
He controlled matters from the front using the harder option Pirelli rear tyre to good effect and although he had a bit of a scare at Clearways in the final laps, Mossey held firm to score a deserved victory.
Donington double winner and championship leader Haslam became embroiled in a battle with Iddon for the runner-up spot and eventually came out on top to guarantee a Kawasaki one-two.
Byrne, who missed the opening round after a crash during warm-up, mounted a late charge to take a close fourth ahead of Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot on the new Honda Fireblade, who came home ahead of Ulsterman Irwin.
In race two, there was more misfortune for pole man Ellison, who pulled into the pits after encountering problems with his McAMS Yamaha R1 on the warm-up lap.
Haslam made the early pace but Mossey was poised to strike and soon took over at the start of the sixth lap.
Haslam and Iddon were again left to dispute second place and this time it was Tyco BMW rider Iddon who got the verdict, passing the Kawasaki rider at Graham Hill Bend before chasing after Mossey.
Haslam dropped back to fourth briefly after he was overtaken by Byrne, but the PBM Ducati rider went down at Clearways two laps after the same feat befell team-mate Irwin.
Aussie Josh Brookes came storming through on the Anvil Hire Yamaha to snatch fourth from O’Halloran at the final corner, while Linfoot rounded out the top six on the Honda.