WALKER PODIUMS AT SILVERSTONE

Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Walker scored a well-deserved and hard-fought third-place podium finish in the opening race at the third round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Silverstone in Northamptonshire.

‘Stalker’, starting from fifth on the grid, battled his way up to second before settling down for a race long duel for the final podium place in the opening race. Last lap heroics saw him take third and Rizla Suzuki’s first podium of 2007. In race two he was again fighting for the podium but the race was stopped after just 13 of the 20-laps and declared a result with Walker in fourth.

Cal Crutchlow ran off at Becketts in the opening race, relegating himself to 14th before fighting back to 11th. In the second race he ran off and found himself in 14th again before fighting back to seventh when the race was stopped.

Honda’s Ryuichi Kiyonari won both races at the 2.13-mile-long circuit.

Rizla Suzuki returns to action next weekend at Oulton Park in Cheshire. Practice and qualification take place on the weekend with Superbike racing on Bank Holiday Monday, May 7th.

Chris Walker:

“The first race was ace. My Rizla Suzuki crew deserved the podium more than I did because they have worked so hard. This morning they tried something new on my bike – a geometry change – which worked a treat and we were right on the pace.

“For the second race we stiffened the fork springs to give more braking power – it was better and I was a fair bit quicker. The problem was with more stopping power as I continuously out-braked myself. It’s been a positive weekend and now I’m off to Mondello in Ireland for a track day to learn the circuit before racing at Oulton Park next weekend.”

Cal Crutchlow:

“In the first race I was behind Tommy Hill and I used his braking markers. The problem was my Rizla Suzuki was a lot quicker than his bike and I ran straight on at 120mph. I rejoined but couldn’t get any higher than 11th.

“In the second race I ran off at the opening corner as I had to pick my bike up to avoid the riders in front of me. I rejoined quickly and was in seventh fighting for fifth when the red flag came out on lap 14. I was comfortable and biding my time to pass the guys in front but the race was stopped early. My lap times were competitive and that gives me loads of encouragement. We are making progress and Oulton Park next weekend is one of my favourite circuits – bring it on!”

Simon Buckmaster – Team Manager:

“Chris’s podium finish was just what the team deserved and needed – it has given everyone a big lift and proven we can run at the front and compete. I take my hat off to Chris for his brave and determined riding. Credit must also go to his crew for their inspired decisions on bike set-up.

“Cal had two good finishes which is just what we expect of him at this stage of his fledgling Superbike career. His lap times are quick and if he can get off the line faster then he has the chance to be mixing it in the top six regularly. He’s still learning and made more leaps forward with bike knowledge and race craft this weekend; there is a lot more to come from him yet.

“It’s off to Oulton Park next weekend for the fourth round of the Championship and we’ll be going there with a spring in our step wanting to capitalise on our good performance this weekend. I’m proud of the spirit, determination and performance displayed by Rizla Suzuki today.”

Race One Results: 1: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 28:49.500, 2: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +5.800, 3: Chris Walker (Rizla Suzuki) +8.760, 4: Leon Camier (Honda) +8.847, 5: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +16.073, 6: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +16.347, 7: Tom Sykes (Honda) +18.012, 8: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +22.181, 9: Karl Harris (Honda) +26.095, 10: Michael Rutter (Kawasaki) +28.048. 11: Cal Crutchlow (Rizla Suzuki) +28.212.

Race Two Results: 1: Kiyonari 18:37.312, 2: Lavilla +2.450, 3: Rea +11.758, 4: Chris Walker (Rizla Suzuki) +12.597, 5: Haslam +16.336, 6: Sykes +16.966, 7: Cal Crutchlow (Rizla Suzuki) +17.590, 8: Hill +21.227, 9: Rutter +21.603, 10: Tommy Bridewell (Suzuki) +31.640.

Championship Positions (after three of 13 rounds) 1: Lavilla 131, 2: Kiyonari 99, 3: Rea 85, 4: Camier 80, 5: Haslam 64, 6: Sykes 59, 7: Chris Walker (Rizla Suzuki 55, 8: Shane Byrne (Honda) 45, 9: Rutter 41, 10: Hill 37,12: Cal Crutchlow (Rizla Suzuki) 26

 

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