March 28, 2005
Suzuki's reigning British Superbike Champion John Reynolds recorded two top-10 finishes in the opening round of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch today despite racing with a broken leg.
The Rizla Suzuki rider battled through the pain barrier and refused to give in to his injured right leg or his rivals, fighting every lap of both races and scoring valuable Championship points in front of a huge 50,000-strong crowd.
Team mate Scott Smart crashed out of the first race when he had to brake mid-corner to avoid colliding with another rider, hurting his left wrist and straining his back in the process. A still-sore Smart started from third place on the front row in the second race and bravely finished in eighth place to get his Championship challenge off the ground.
"I am happy to have scored points today, but in my heart I really wanted to be racing at the front. In fairness, the limiting factor today wasn't the pain in my right leg; it was the lack of ground clearance on right hand corners because I was wearing a huge boot and cast that was dragging on the track. Put simply, I couldn't lean my Rizla Suzuki any further and that was costing me time everywhere.
"Saying that, my technicians have been brilliant this weekend. They have accommodated my injury and given me a fantastic GSX-R1000 to race. They even gave me reinforced toe-sliders so I could complete 30-laps without wearing through my entire right boot! Well done to the team and thank you for having the belief in me to race. The 14 points I've scored today could make all the difference at the end of the season."
"I'm disappointed in my results today because my Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000, my team and myself were capable of much better and we proved that by qualifying third on the grid.
"Race one was unfortunate as I crashed avoiding another rider and hurt my left wrist and back. In race two I was mugged in the first two laps and found myself down in 12th. I felt weak because of my injuries but as the race wore on, I built up my confidence and started to get a move on and that's very encouraging. We are matching the bike to my riding style and we will make very fast progress thanks to all the data we've got this weekend."
Robert Wicks - Team Manager:
"I am ecstatic for 'JR' to take two top-10 finishes against all the odds. It is more than any of the team could have hoped for and has lifted us all enormously. If he can get this sort of result with a broken leg, I can't wait to see what he can do when he's fit again. This is a long season and he is going to be in the reckoning.
"I feel for Scott as he had a lot of pressure and expectation on his shoulders because of 'JR's' injury and a front row starting position. He suffered a bit of bad luck in race one and spent race two rebuilding his confidence, which he did very effectively indeed. He posted his fastest laps of the race towards the end with times equaling the front-runners. He has the ability; he has the bike; and when it gels for him, he's going to be spectacularly fast.
"My first race weekend as Team Manager has been thoroughly exciting and I am delighted with the professionalism and dedication of the Rizla Suzuki team. We'll go back to the workshops and regroup before Thruxton where I know we will be much stronger when we line up there in two weeks time."
Race One Result: 1: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 23:17.515, 2: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +10.242, 3: Glen Richards (Kawasaki) +10.432, 4: Michael Rutter (Honda) +10.533, 5: Sean Emmett (Yamaha) +14.168, 6: Karl Harris (Honda) +18.874, 7: Jeremy McWilliams (Honda) +24.408, 8: Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +24.604, 9: JOHN REYNOLDS (RIZLA SUZUKI) +26.892, 10: Tommy Hill (Yamah a) +32.289. SCOTT SMART (RIZLA SUZUKI) DNF.
Race Two Result: 2: 1: Kiyonari 23:16.796, 2: Rutter +5.041, 3: Lavilla +8.027, 4: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +9.786, 5: Emmett +14.181, 6: Harris +14.421, 7: Richards +16.612, 8: SCOTT SMART (RIZLA SUZUKI) +24.002, 9: JOHN REYNOLDS (RIZLA SUZUKI) +24.439, 10: Gary Mason (Honda) +24.506.
Championship Standings (after 1 round): 1: Kiyonari 50, 2: Lavilla 36, 3: Rutter 33, 4: Richards 25, 5: Emmett 22, 6: Harris 20, 7: JOHN REYNOLDS (RIZLA SUZUKI) 14, 8: Thomas 13, 9: Haslam 13, 10: Hill 10, 13: SCOTT SMART (RIZLA SUZUKI) 8.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office