With 7 rounds of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship complete and the team now on a well earned mid-season break, it is time to reflect on GSE Racing's most successful start to a season in the team's history.
Currently the Airwaves Ducati riders lie first and second in the Championship; Gregorio Lavilla is leading the field with 239 points and his team mate Leon Haslam is in second with 201 points. Ducati now also hold a 43 point advantage over Honda in the manufacturers Championship.
The Ducati 999F06's have covered over 14,000 kms since the start of the season and the team have achieved 7 first positions, 8 second's and 6 third places. Leon and Greg have also, between them, started from pole position in every race so far.
With half of the season finished, and the Airwaves Ducati team feeling confident to retain their BSB crown in 2006, we take a look back at rounds 1 to 7.
Round 1 - Brands Hatch Indy
It was a mixed start to the season for the Airwaves Ducati team, Gregorio Lavilla set out his intentions for the season by qualifying in pole position and Leon Haslam showed himself as a force to be reckoned with qualifying in second behind his team mate. Lavilla won the first race and finished third in a wet second race, Haslam crashed out of race one but finished second in an exciting race two.
Round 2 - Donington Park
The second race of the season was an outstanding success for the Airwaves Ducati team with a first and third place in race one and a second and third in race two. Gregorio Lavilla showed his class on the Derbyshire circuit setting a new lap record of 1:31.243. In a crash ridden first race Leon Haslam took an early lead with his team mate behind him and after the interruption of a safety car Lavilla overtook Haslam and remained unchallenged in first place for the remainder of the race. Haslam slipped from second to third and the race was declared on lap 14 due to rain. In a very wet and cold race 2 the Airwaves Ducati riders held second and third position for much of the 15 lapper but Haslam took second place on the final lap from the Spaniard.
Round 3 - Thruxton
The Airwaves Ducati team really stamped their mark on the Championship in round 3 securing maximum points with first and second places in both races at the Hampshire circuit. Gregorio Lavilla won both races with team mate Leon Haslam gaining two second place finishes. The points resulted in the duo settling into first and second place in the Championship.
Round 4 - Oulton Park
Greg extended his lead in the championship to 61 points with another spectacular double win at Oulton Park. Leon had a mixed day of results, despite being on pole position, coming 3rd in the first race before stalling prior to the warm up lap in the second race; he then had to start from the pit lane on his spare bike, resulting in a well fought 7th place finish.
Round 5 - Mondello Park
Round 5 of the British Superbike Championship was cancelled due to appalling weather conditions at Mondello Park in Ireland. Gregorio Lavilla was due to start on the front row of the grid and Leon Haslam on the second row, in 6th, but race day was a wash out and event organisers had to make the decision to cancel the first BSB event ever.
Round 6 - Mallory Park
The Airwaves Ducati team achieved 4 podium finishes at Mallory Park. There were two 2nd places for Leon Haslam and Gregorio Lavilla continued his run of podium finishes in every race thus far in the season with a 3rd place in the first race and a win in the second. With a new chicane added, lap records were there to be set and the fastest lap of 55.982 was recorded by Gregorio Lavilla.
Round 7 - Snetterton
It was an action packed day and one of mixed results for the Airwaves Ducati team in the final race before the mid-season break. It looked set to be a an exciting battle between the Airwaves Ducati team and the two Honda's but a number of crashes, yellow flags and re-starts at the super fast Norfolk circuit resulted in a race win eluding Leon again, he achieved two 2nd places. Gregorio Lavilla achieved a 3rd place in the first race but failed to finish a dramatic second race after coming off on the second lap of a re-start. Greg was fine and walked away from the crash unscathed. Haslam then battled to the finish but the speed of the Honda was too much on Snetterton's long straights and the race finished Kiyo 1st, Haslam 2nd. It was the first race without a podium finish for Greg.
The team will return to the track for testing at Croft next week before heading to Scotland for Round 8 of the Championship at Knockhill on July 16th.