Rizla Suzuki'S John Reynolds finished seventh fastest on his return to racing during today's practice for Sunday's sixth round of the British Superbike Championship at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.
Reigning Champion JR took a break from riding for the last six weeks, missing two rounds of the series as he underwent intensive treatment to his broken right leg. Today he was just 1/10th of a second away from a front row position and is sure he can go significantly faster during qualifying.
Rizla Suzuki's Scott Smart ended up 11th quickest on the time sheets, only a fraction of a second behind his team mate. He is still building confidence in his Rizla Suzuki and will be trying hard tomorrow to secure a good starting position on the grid. Honda's Ryuichi Kiyonari was fastest.
One of the most popular events on the BSB calendar, a bumper crowd is expected to attend Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire. Superbike racing starts at 1:20pm on Sunday, June 5th. It will be broadcast live on Sky Sports. A highlights package of all the racing will be shown by Channel 4 one week later.
"I am satisfied with my first day back on the bike and I'll go to bed and sleep well tonight knowing I can run with anyone around Croft. We are well within reach of the front row and we have a few things to try tomorrow that I am confident will reduce our lap times.
"We made a change to the head angle on my Rizla Suzuki towards the end of the second session and it now feels incredibly planted and pin sharp. Tomorrow we will look at the rear suspension, lift my right footpeg for more ground clearance and try a couple of tyre combinations. It's so good to be back racing!"
"I was sixth in the morning session and feeling very confident. This afternoon I was pushing harder and that didn't work for me. Whenever I push hard and put myself under pressure I start making small mistakes and my lap times suffer. I need to focus on relaxing and when I can do that on the bike I can run with the best of them.
"My Rizla Suzuki feels good and the engine is pulling like a train. Once I relax I'll be able to get the best from it and that's what I am focusing on for qualifying."
Niall Mackenzie, Team Performance Co-ordinator:
"That was a very strong first day back in the office for JR. You just cannot underestimate how impressive he was today. He has come back fast, determined and aggressive. He is still working on the set-up of his Rizla Suzuki and has a clear direction to follow. He will go faster and faster as the weekend progresses.
"Scott is still building the relationship between himself and his GSX-R1000. We cannot fault him for effort, he is giving 110 per cent, but that seems to be working against him to some extent and he needs to relax a bit more, enjoy himself on the bike and then his lap times will definitely improve."
- 1: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 1:21.034
- 2: Michael Rutter (Honda) +0.088
- 3: Karl Harris (Honda) +0.662
- 4: Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +0.817
- 5: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +0.839
- 6: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +0.933
- 7: John Reynolds (Rizla Suzuki) +0.956
- 8: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +0.957
- 9: Steve Plater (Kawasaki) +1.014
- 10: Danny Beaumont (Honda) +1.122
- 11: Scott Smart (Rizla Suzuki) +1.231