Assen BSB: Hickman ‘still in the hunt for second or third’

Picture: Impact Images

Smiths BMW’s Peter Hickman has maintained fifth in the overall MCE British Superbike championship standings after bouncing back from a big qualifying crash to come away with two finishes inside the top seven in Assen.

A big incident in Saturday’s wet qualifying session meant 30-year-old Hickman had to start the first 18-lap race from 19th on the grid but a superb start on the Smiths BMW S1000RR saw him up to tenth at the completion of the first lap. A lap later he was up to eighth but as the race progressed, Hickman found himself shuffled back to 11th on lap six. Into the second half of the encounter and the Lincoln rider dug deep to claim a deserved seventh at the flag.

Hickman started the second race from tenth on the grid and another great start saw him gain three places on the opening lap only for a coming together with another rider to drop him back to ninth. He soon regrouped and was back up to sixth where he remained after a race long battle to maintain his fifth place overall in the title race, now he is aiming for second or third in the championship.

“Considering how qualifying went on Saturday, I’ve had two good rides today, probably my best ever results at Assen, but it’s been a frustrating day as I knew I had the pace to run with the front group,” said Hickman.

“Starting race one from so far back was a big ask but I made a great start to get up to tenth, aided by some big moves, but it took me too long to get back to the head of the group by which time the front pack had escaped. We made a few set-up changes for race two, which were a big help, and I felt I had the pace to go with the front guys but I got hit in turn three and I lost three places.

“I got back to the front of the group again and was running in sixth but, again, by that time, the front five had gone. I know I’ve got the pace to run at the front so it’s a little bit frustrating through no-one’s fault but we’re still in the hunt for second or third in the championship so we’ll see what we can do at the last three races.”

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