BSB Brands Finale: ‘I’ll be back stronger’ - Brookes| Phil Wain | British Superbikes
Four podium finishes from 33 races, and no wins for the first time since 2009, was a far cry from how Josh Brookes envisaged the defence of his Bennetts British Superbike Championship going but the message for 2022 was clear and simple.;
The Australian ace was plagued by a lack of grip all season long with his VisionTrack Ducati, with the team turning the bike upside down regularly in a bid to fix the problem.
Improvements were clearly made across the season but a disappointing, by his own extremely high standards, sixth place overall was the ultimate outcome.
The three races at Brands Hatch were a prime example of the issues encountered all year and when front grip was improved, rear grip suffered, the balancing act between the two a constant battle.
Grid positions also played their part in his results at Brands as he had to try and fight his way through the pack from the fourth row on each occasion, the first race on Saturday resulting in a seventh place finish.
“Qualifying on Saturday was a bit strange, one minute Christian (Iddon) and I were sitting in the top two positions, the next minute everyone went quicker all at the same time!” he said afterwards.
“12th on the grid wasn’t great but I won’t use that as an excuse as I’ve come through from lowly grid positions before. I made quite a poor start but settled into a nice rhythm only for the safety car to come out and when racing resumed, I got pushed back a few places after a hard pass by Hicky.
“I made a couple of places back but I just didn’t have the strong enough lap times to move forward. I tried to as hard as ever to do what was needed but wasn’t able to do what was necessary.”
The grid positions weren’t any better for Sunday’s races and as often been the case this season, coming through the field was no easy task given the competitive nature of the series this year.
Nevertheless, Brookes took sixth in the opener before saving the best until last with fourth place, which put him sixth overall in the standings after a challenging year. However, it was clear that he intends to come out fighting next year.
“The weekend’s been a reflection of our year in that we’ve been aware of what the problems have been, but we’ve been unable to fully resolve them. We’ve learned to live with it and made the best of it and seen progress in the last few rounds with some better results which was how this weekend went.
“It’s been a constant battle between front and rear end grip and when one’s better, the other’s worse but we’ve got to the end of the season and I can guarantee everyone, I’ll be back.
“This year hasn’t been a reflection of myself in terms of my motivation or my desire to win. I can assure you, that’s as strong as ever and I’m desperate to get back to winning ways so I’m looking forward to the time off and coming back even stronger in 2022.”