Top-six finish for Hickman

Peter Hickman. Photo: David Yeomans.
Peter Hickman. Photo: David Yeomans.

Willoughby racer Peter Hickman rode to a sixth and 11th place at Oulton Park in round two of the 2019 British Superbike Championship on Monday.

After finding a good set up at the BSB test at the Cheshire circuit last week Hickman was confident of a good result on Monday.

He rode well in the free practice sessions and made it through to the final stages of qualifying when he secured a front row start to the first race.

After qualifying Hickman said: “We qualified for a front row start to Monday’s first race.

“The bike has been working brilliantly this weekend and the Smiths Racing team has done a fantastic job.

“Coming away from Silverstone with everything we learned plus the test day and then this weekend the bike just gets better and better.

“Every time I get on it we learn something else, we have just gone faster again in qualifying.

“I am not the best at qualifying so for me to be on the front row is really good and bodes well for Monday’s two races.”

As the lights went out Hickman didn’t get the start he wanted and was swallowed up in the pack on the charge to the first corner.

He held seventh place for the first six laps before passing Christian Iddon at Hall Bends on lap seven to move into sixth place.

Hickman spent the rest of the race reeling in Scott Redding and was right behind him on lap 10.

But he was unable to make a pass and crossed the finish line in sixth place just 0.1s away from Redding.

When the riders took their places on the grid for the second encounter The Smiths Racing BMW fell foul of the new tyre pressure ruling and Hickman was relegated to the back of the grid.

But the Lincolnshire ace rode like the wind picking up places to 13th on lap 12.

He was over a second away from Brad Ray but got his head down and reeled him in, passing him on lap 12 to take up 12th place.

Not content with that he overtook Luke Mossey but ran out of laps to make further progress and completed the 18 laps in 11th place.

Hickman said: “Overall, it’s been a strong weekend and I can’t have too much to complain about.

“We’ve only had the bikes six weeks so from where we were at round one at Silverstone to where we are now is like night and day and the potential in the new BMW is massive.

“I ran strongly in both the dry and wet and qualifying on the front row was a huge boost to us all and I felt that I had the pace for the podium in both races.

“I got caught in a group of other riders in the first race and couldn’t take the lines I wanted but I learnt a lot about the bike and how it behaves when out on track with other riders so sixth was a good result.

“Unfortunately, there was a discrepancy with the tyre pressure at the beginning of the second race and we had to go to the back of the grid so to come through to 11th, which could and, perhaps, should have been ninth was pleasing.

“The team has worked mega as always, and we’ve put ourselves in a good position for the rounds ahead.”

Hickman is now 12th in the rider standings on 19 points.

The next round will be at Donington Park over the weekend of May 24-26.

But prior to that Hickman is to head to Northern Ireland to take part in the first International road races of the new season.

The North West 200 will take place on May 14-18.