The Team WD riders had a strong start to the 2019 British Superbike Championships over the Easter weekend. Despite having three new riders, each being rookies in the three different classes, all three performed superbly on their Kawasaki machines, with top-ten finishes.
BENNETTS BRITISH SUPERBIKE – Team WD-40 Superbike, CLAUDIO ‘SHORTS’ CORTI, ITALY #71
Lake Como resident Claudio’s Superbike weekend started slowly on his Team WD-40 Kawasaki ZX10RR. He finished with 16th place in FP 1, just 0.8 off pole position. Over the next two sessions, Shorts finished FP 3 in fourth place just 0.2 from pole. Qualifying did not go quite to plan, finishing 12th in a very tightly packed grid for his first BSB race. In race one Shorts made a great start to the 30-lap race. He moved up the field and crossing the line 8th just a few seconds off the leaders.
Race two did not go as well however, with Claudio crashing out on the first lap and picking up a shoulder injury. (The injury will need ongoing treatment to be ready for the next race at Oulton Park.)
Claudio had this to say about the race:
“I was looking forward to my first BSB, so we showed up in Silverstone with a big ambition for sure. My goal was top 6. My crew and I did a good job in practice. I think we showed our speed is very close to the top, but the times are unbelievably close. In race one we did a good job taking 8th. However I’m sad for the second race crashing out because I felt good.
Now I am working towards Oulton and will try to start to where I finished. I’m aiming for the magic top 6, so see you all there. Thanks to my special crew for their hard work. As we progress, the magic will happen. Ciao till then.”
PIRELLI NATIONAL SUPERSTOCK 1000 – STAUFF Quick Connect, EEMELI ‘EME’ LAHTI, FINLAND #22
Eemeli’s first weekend of Superstock 1000 racing was a real baptism, as one of 57 riders to qualify for the 40 places on the grid. Having not experienced the BSB three-race system before made for a very hard weekend’s racing for him. However, Eme qualified 15th for the first of two 24-lap races on Saturday. In Race one he was one of the quickest starters in the field, blasting into the top ten on the first of 24 laps. It was imperative for Eme to finish this first race of the weekend in order to go through to the second race of the two-part Saturday Event.
The Team WD rider settled down and worked his way through to finish a very credible 6th place, earning 6th on the grid for race two.
As the chequered flag dropped, the race fell into the brilliant hands of Eemeli’s crew, Mark, Scott and Ashely. They had just 15 minutes to check over the Stauff Quick Connect Kawasaki ZX10rr, re-fuel and fit new tyres and be on the grid ready for part two. Great job boys !
Eme had another fantastic start for the second 24 laps and was with the leaders, starting a long battle for the top 5. In only his second race on a 1000, Eme did not quite have the pace of the front 4, but came home in 5th another great result. In what was proving to be a very successful weekend, Eme’s 3rd race was to continue that success. Another great start to Sunday’s 18-lap feature race put Eme in a position to run with the leaders, in a fight for 4th with places changing every corner. The fight came down to the wire, losing out to 4th by just 1/10th of a second. Eemeli now sits 5th in the Championship as we move to Oulton this weekend.
He said: “I was bit nervous before my first weekend with the new team. We had great days of testing behind us but everything was still so new. Free practices went ok and my pace was getting better lap by lap. My riding style was still adapting to the bigger bike, so we had our hands full trying to find the right setup for the bike. I qualified 15th on the grid.
Long story short, I took really good starts in all of the three races. Managed to keep up my pace all the way to finish line. P6, p5 and p5 out of 56 riders was a surprise for me.
I think we really maximised the points we could score from the weekend. With a bit more learning and knowledge of the bike, we will be fighting for podiums!
The team did amazing job, I’d like to thank them and especially my own crew! Also, thanks to all our sponsors for making this possible! We are on our way to the top”.
PIRELLI NATIONAL SUPERSTOCK 600 – STAUFF Quick Connect Academy, STORM STACEY, UK #79
15-Year-old Eccleshall rider Storm Stacey smashed all expectations at Silverstone in the opening round of the Pirelli National Stock 600 series with a magnificent 4th place last Sunday. In his very first race on a 600, Starting from P11 on the grid, Storm ‘The Predator made his way through the pack on his Kawasaki ZX6r Ninja to finish just 4.5 second off the winner.
Storm and his crew Garry, Mark and Kieran put together a great weekend both throughout practice and qualifying. Storm learnt more each time he was on the bike, and showed good race pace. The team were thrilled with Storm’s debut performance on ‘Derek’, as the little Kawasaki is now known. The pair performed faultlessly throughout the weekend, and everyone feels there is yet more to come from them both.
Storm had this to say about the weekend:
“The bike was a joy to ride, predictably fast and loose. I’m working hard on changing my style as I still feel like I’m trying to ride it like a Moto3. Derek needs to be allowed to flow through the sectors, once I get them strung together the times become effortless. I need to build on what I have learned so far, improving all the time. Oulton is a technical circuit and I can’t wait to experience it on a 600, it’ll be like riding a rollercoaster compared to the Moto3.
I would like to say a massive thanks to everyone who supported me at GR Motosport in particular Geoff Crust for his guidance, and Mark and Gary for all their hard work. Also thanks to my personal and team sponsors including Stauff UK, WD-40, Trackside Hire, Swinton Insurance, RST, R&G Racing, Arai and everyone”.
Brent Gladwin, Managing Director of GR Motosport Ltd :
“What a fantastic first weekend of racing for the whole Team at Silverstone. When you are preparing for the first British Superbike event of every season, you’re always at your best but can’t help wondering if you have everything just quite right. Yet again my team worked hard to have it perfect across all three classes. To leave the event with strong top ten finishes from all three riders is fantastic. Claudio’s fall in BSB race two was the only glitch, and sadly he has picked up an injury.
I have to thank all the team and especially Danny for all their and his hard work. We will all be ready for more exciting races at the 2nd round this Bank Holiday at Oulton Park, where we would love to see you all!”
For more about Team WD-40 and GR Motosport, check out grmotosport.co.uk