BSB saw history made today at Oulton Park as Leon Haslam, James Ellison and Peter Hickman climbed the rostrum in the opening race to claim the first-ever podium lockout for the Kawasaki factory team.
It was a flying start for the three JG Speedfit Kawasaki riders, with Haslam and Ellinson finishing first and second in the opening practice with Hickman only 0.6s behind in tenth. Continuing that form throughout the remaining practice sessions, the trio came into qualifying with Haslam second on combined times, Ellinson ninth and Hickman13th.
With this weekend seeing three races around the Oulton Park circuit, qualifying was held early on Saturday and all three riders were able to progress through the three sessions – the first time this season the entire JG Speedfit team made it to Q3. After an intense eight minute session, Haslam secured third on the grid for the opening race, Ellisnon sixth and Hickman just behind in seventh. Continuing the incredible pace shown this weekend, all three were under the existing lap record.
Race One saw all three riders running at the sharp end of the pack with Ellinson crossing the line at the end of the opening lap in the lead. Running third for the majority of the opening half of the race, Haslam picked off title rival Shane Byrne on the Ducati on lap seven before moving into the lead on lap nine. With Hickman picking his way through the pack to run fourth, a mistake from Byrne saw him run off track and Hickman snatched the final podium position. Holding positions to the flag, the trio made MCE British Superbike history by becoming the first ever team to claim all three spots on the podium.
Taking his fifth win of the season, Haslam said: “A 1-2-3 for the team is just incredible and to take another win and the fastest lap in the process just doesn’t get any better! We’ve made big steps with the bike and are beginning to understand it more and getting the true potential out of the ZX-10R. There’s still a lot more we can unlock but right now it’s doing the job, and we know we can win, so that’s our main focus.
“To see that my team-mates are second and third is brilliant. The team has put in so much effort over the last few months so to get the first ever BSB podium lockout is perfect way to repay them.”
Making a welcome return to the podium, second-placed rider Ellison said: “We’ve been doing a lot of work on the bike and the team has made some big steps. We had a test at Cadwell earlier this week and found a really good setting with the bike which has paid off here. The boys have done a fantastic job to give me I bike that I can race and fight for a win with which is mega. It’s not been an easy few rounds recently but we’ve shown we can fight for wins and our title challenge is back on track.”
Third-placed finisher Hickman said: “What an incredible race and it’s an amazing feeling to be part of the JG Speedfit Kawasaki 1-2-3, the first in BSB history! It has been a brilliant weekend so far, the bike has been working fantastic and I knew our race pace was strong – particularly towards the end of the race. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s races and hopefully we can get our space in the Showdown.”