Donington BSB: Andrew Irwin leads Honda one-two in first race

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Picture: Impact Images

Andrew Irwin got the better of brother Glenn in the opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Donington Park to give Honda Racing and the new Fireblade a dream one-two on its British debut.

They saw off the spirited challenge of VisionTrack duo Josh Brookes and Christian Iddon with only 1.5s covering the quartet at the end of the 22 laps but it was a disaster for polesitter Jason O’Halloran who could only manage eighth after running off track to avoid the fallen Danny Buchan.

Kyle Ryde who grabbed the holeshot on the Buildbase Suzuki and he led at the end of the opening lap from Hector Barbera, the two Irwins, Buchan and Brookes as O’Halloran found himself back in eighth.

Ryde led the way for the first five laps but Buchan’s hopes ended on just the third lap as he crashed out at the chicane and that resulted in O’Halloran taking to the grass to avoid him.

Just over a second split the first six riders but Barbera was the next to go as he retired at the Old Hairpin on lap seven and two laps later Ryde’s good run ended as he firstly dropped back and then pulled into the pits.

At the head of the field, it was now Andrew Irwin in the lead from Glenn, Brookes and Iddon with Tommy Bridewell beginning to make good progress in fifth as he pulled away from the battling Tarran Mackenzie and Luke Mossey.

Lap 13 saw Brookes make a firm move on Glenn Irwin at Schwantz and the Australian took the lead shortly afterwards. However, on lap 17 he was back in third as the two Honda riders made their move.

Indeed, they were able to edge away in the closing stages and whilst it looked like Glenn would come out on top, Andrew had other ideas and grabbed the lead at the Old Hairpin, holding on by 0.119s for just his second BSB win.

Brookes was over half a second back in third ahead of team-mate Iddon, both riders making good strides forward from qualifying, whilst Bridewell also dropped back in the final few laps.

Mossey overhauled Mackenzie on the final lap to claim sixth with O’Halloran, Ryan Vickers and Lee Jackson completing the top ten.

As well as Buchan, Joe Francis and Graeme Irwin also came to grief whilst Keith Farmer missed the race after his earlier crash in qualifying.