The British Superbike Championship reaches a crucial stage of the season this weekend as the gloves come off for the six title fighters at the legendary Assen circuit
As the Showdown kicks off defending champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team head the standings by just six points from Samsung Honda’s Alex Lowes who arrives at the Dutch circuit off the back of four consecutive race wins.
Byrne claimed the first ever MCE BSB win at Assen last season, he said: “This is it; we have worked hard all season to be in the best possible shape to try and win that fourth title so you can be sure I certainly won’t be giving up now! I am ready to get started; I had a lead and now that’s been reduced to just six points so I just need to concentrate on winning, starting with the two races this weekend. The ideal scenario for me and Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki is to come away from Assen with two wins.”
Lowes closed Byrne’s advantage with his recent winning streak but he also needs to hold off the Tyco Suzuki challenge as Josh Brookes is fired up to repeat his victory from last season. The Australian has twice finished as a runner-up and is ready to come out fighting to close the deficit this weekend.
Lowes said: “I can’t wait for Assen, there was a really great atmosphere there last year and I am really excited about going back there and the start of the Showdown. We will be giving it everything; I don’t think it is going to be easy but we just need to stay focused on our performance and try to do the best job we can. I know for sure who I need to beat and that is the other five of us in the Showdown!
Brookes added: “I am confident we can come out fighting at Assen. I am riding the best I can and the team are working hard to put us in the best position. I am approaching these final rounds with a level head and treating it like any other race; I want to do the best I can and that is all I can do and then whatever will happen will be the end result. We go to Assen knowing that we need to beat them all.”
Milwaukee Yamaha’s James Ellison secured his Showdown position for the first time at Donington Park as the team bid to reclaim the crown they last won in a thrilling finale to 2011 and he holds fourth in the standings ahead of Assen. Triple champion Ryuichi Kiyonari and James Westmoreland complete the top six in the title fight as five different teams representing five different manufacturers bid to become the 2013 MCE BSB champion.
The Assen round also marks the return of multiple World Superbike Championship race winner Noriyuki Haga to MCE BSB as the Japanese ace joins the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team alongside Byrne.