British Superbikes: Hickman scorches to top four finish at Donington Park

Peter Hickman. Photo: Dave Yeomans.
Peter Hickman. Photo: Dave Yeomans.
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Peter Hickman claimed a fourth-placed finish as the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship got under way at Donington Park on Sunday.

The Smiths Racing BMW backed that up by coming eighth in the second race to bring 21 points back to the team and settle into sixth place in the championship.

“I will take that. Overall, it’s been a good weekend and a good start to the year,” Hickman said.

“The bike was mega throughout all three days and we proved that in race one with a really strong fourth place.

“After a year on the Kawasaki, I’m still getting used to the characteristics of the BMW and we went slightly in the wrong direction in race two when we got caught out by the change in temperature.

“The more miles and laps we get under our belt, the stronger we’ll be and to be so strong so early in the season bodes well.”

In warm and sunny conditions on Friday, the Louth rider completed the two free practice sessions in a strong fourth place.

But for the final session on Saturday the weather had changed, the temperature dropped and it was wet so the Lincolnshire rider went steadily to try out some wet weather settings should it be wet for qualifying later in the day.

But due to an oil spillage in a race prior to the start of qualifying, racing had to be abandoned for the day and grid positions were taken from the overall free practice sessions.

Starting the first of two races on Sunday from the head of the second row, Hicky settled into fourth place behind Luke Mossey, but was relegated back to fifth by Michael Laverty on lap six.

The top three riders then pulled away, leaving Hicky to chase Laverty.

He regained his fourth place on lap 12 and began to reel in James Ellison who he passed at the Melbourne Hairpin on lap 16.

Now in third place, Hicky was fighting to keep Christian Iddon behind him, but Iddon forced his way past at the Foggy Esses on the penultimate lap in a harsh move which put Hicky onto the rumble strip.

Iddon held his ground and went on to claim third place at the flag, leaving Hicky to follow him home in fourth.

Starting the second race once again from the second row, Hickman just couldn’t match the pace of the first encounter and circulated in sixth place for the first half of the 20-lap affair.

Glenn Irwin finally caught and overtook him on lap 11 and, in the closing stages, former world Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli made a move and demoted him to eighth, where he remained to the chequered flag.

The next round is at Brands Hatch on the short Indy circuit over the Easter weekend of April 14 to 17.