Iddon "happy-ish" after Donington BSB top 10s, eyeing further improvements

Suzuki have had a strong start to the 2022 British Superbike Championship, and Christian Iddon was once again competitive in Donington.

Christian Iddon and Leon Haslam at 2022 Donington National BSB. -

SUZUKI have been arguably one of the surprises of the 2022 BSB season, and at Donington they were able to move into provisional Showdown qualification with Christian Iddon. 

Iddon’s season has started in a good way, and in the championship he has now entered the all-important top eight for Showdown qualification. 

It was ultimately a surprise to see the #24 let go by PBM Ducati at the end of 2021, after Iddon had been the stronger rider between himself and then teammate Josh Brookes for most of the season. But he has adapted to the Suzuki well, and has been a top 10 contender throughout the season. 

Indeed, in Donington he was able to be in the group with the likes of Rory Skinner, Leon Haslam and Glenn Irwin, fighting for the top five, which is impressive with the GSX-R1000. Not that Suzuki are incapable of fighting for the top positions, but much time has passed since the current generation Suzuki superbike was winning MotoAmerica titles with Toni Elias; and while the Yoshimura SERT Suzuki team in EWC has been dominant in the past couple of years, it can be said that that is a somewhat unique situation. 

In EWC, the money from Yoshimura keeps the factory team performing at the top of the series, and what a team it is. SERT is the most successful outfit in EWC history, and in Sylvain Guintoli, Gregg Black, Xavier Simeon they have a formidable trio of pilots at the moment. Yoshimura SERT is also the second of the teams converted from factory Suzuka 8-Hour one-off efforts to full-time EWC programmes after FCC TSR Honda France did something similar in 2018.

But Iddon is performing well in BSB, in any case. And, while Hawk Racing is the official UK Suzuki team, they do not have the kind of backing the factory World Endurance outfit gets. So, it is impressive to see the work they are doing, hanging onto factory Hondas, Kawasakis and Yamahas, and beating factory Ducatis. 

“I’m going home happy-ish,” said Iddon after a complicated Saturday that saw him start the first race at Donington National from 14th.

“Honestly, Friday was good but Saturday was a disaster. In qualifying that was all we had and I said that to the team, so I was pessimistic going into the first race. But the team had made some changes to the bike and we went back more to what we had in the front at Oulton and it was a good race. I had a good opening lap and then I was able to pick people off.” It was a great race from Iddon, with pace from start-to-finish that brought him from that aforementioned 14th to sixth in the race. After that, a 7-6 on Sunday was enough to push him into the top eight, and beating the PBM Ducatis once again must have been of some satisfaction to the #24.

“I feel like we’re settled in that second group, we just need to find that little bit that’ll put us with the very front runners,” Iddon said.

On the other side of the Buildbase Suzuki garage, things were not quite as positive. Danny Kent finished Friday in fifth place in FP2, but a crash on Saturday morning left him concussed and unable to compete in qualifying and the three races.

“I was really gutted to miss the remainder of the weekend after the crash because, for the first time this year, I felt really good on the bike and I felt our potential was really high for the races,” said Kent, who also suffered lung damage in the crash. 

“It was a fast crash down ‘Craners’ and I banged my head a bit, and I was coughing up blood at the side of the track. I was transferred to Queens Medical Centre for scans, which showed two small holes in my lungs, plus severe bruising and bleeding from the lungs,” said the #52, who is now 23rd in the championship having scored only one point from the opening three rounds.