Bridewell Takes “A Lot of Positives” From BSB Navarra Despite Race 2 Retirement

Tommy Bridewell was in the leading group in just his second race with Honda when a quickshifter failure caused him to retire

Tommy Bridewell leads Leon Haslam, 2024 Navarra BSB.

While the opening British Superbike weekend of the season was dominated by Yamaha, who won all three races, Honda also stood out.

A number of technical issues limited running for the Honda Racing UK riders throughout the week at the Navarra BSB, which included two-and-a-half days of testing in the build-up to the race weekend.

Honda’s new star rider, reigning BSB Champion Tommy Bridewell, then suffered a technical issue in the one-lap Superpole qualifying session on Saturday afternoon, which left him on the fifth row to start the first race. Finishing seventh, Bridewell got himself further up the grid for Race 2 on Sunday, but a quickshifter failure ended his race just as he was challenging for the podium.

The two other Honda riders, Andrew Irwin and Dean Harrison, struggled in both races to crack the top 15, Harrison crashing out of the second race.

Despite the issues the Honda team faced, Bridewell was optimistic after the first round of his title defence.

“Look I know there are some frustrations with the results of the weekend,” he said. “I think a seventh place in race one was the best we could get from thirteenth on the grid, but to tell the truth, I take a hell of a lot of positives from this weekend. 

“We have come here with a new bike and with lessons to be learned. Yes, we’ve had some technical issues and some teething problems but we have a great package underneath us.

“When I got through to the front group in race two I had a smile on my face and I said to myself ‘You guys are in trouble now!’

“We are going to get stronger and stronger and heading to Oulton, which is a bit more of a track for me, I think the bike with the split throttles is going to be really good there. I’ll keep my feet on the ground, I’m not getting too giddy and we will keep chipping away.”

Andrew Irwin was less upbeat. “It’s been a trying weekend,” the #18 said. The first round had begun badly with the pre-event test. “We lost time on Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning and then didn’t ride at all on Thursday in the tests, which simply meant we lost track time and we came into the weekend on the back foot and had to play catch up.”

Things didn’t get better once the weekend itself rolled around. “I crashed in FP1, so I put my hands up for that, and we lost more time,” Irwin admitted. “I didn’t come here to come thirteenth but we built as the weekend progressed. 

“We made steps forward and the team has worked really, really hard putting in a lot of effort.

“It is nobody's fault what has happened this week, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes and a lot of late nights. I want to thank the team and my crew, they have been away from home and their families for nearly a week and all of their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed by me, so thank you to them.”

The issues for Dean Harrison extended beyond the bike and to the layout of the stop-go Circuito de Navarra. “This isn’t my favourite style of track with a lot of stop-starts and it’s my first race on the Fireblade. We’ve learnt a lot but I do feel frustrated with what we’ve come out with to tell the truth. 

“I know I’ve got more potential than these results and I think we have a better understanding of how to put it all together now. Now, we look to Oulton, a track that’s familiar with some more testing to come before the race weekend.”

The second round of the 2024 British Superbike Championship is scheduled for 4-6 May and takes the series back to the UK and to Oulton Park, where there will be a two-day test beforehand on 1-2 May.

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