Samsung Honda jet off to Assen for superbike showdown

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LOUTH-based British Superbike team Samsung Honda are preparing for the opening round of the British Superbike Championship Showdown as the title battle reaches mainland Europe with the first event at the legendary TT Circuit Assen.

Michael Laverty currently lies fourth in the overall standings and is aiming for success in a bid to close the deficit to his title rivals. Laverty arrives at the circuit 21 points adrift of standings leader Tommy Hill and is seeking success at the first ever BSB event at the hallowed Dutch circuit. Jon Kirkham is also bidding to continue building on his previous performances as he targets a strong end to the season.

Michael Laverty said: “I am sure there isn’t a racer in the world that would turn down the chance to race at Assen and I love the circuit. It is going to be a level playing field, as in the UK everyone has various experiences of circuits whereas at Assen we all start the same. At Donington we took a step forward and were closer to winning again and now we just need to do some fine tuning for Assen.

“If you look back at the last few rounds Shakey did the double at Brands Hatch, Tommy had the double at Cadwell Park and then Josh did it at Donington and I hope that now it will be out turn at Assen. We are all riding at the top of our game and now it is the Showdown third places are not enough, we need wins.

“I am looking forward to taking our circus to Europe and putting on a great show, we are pumped up for this event and the talking stops now.”

Teammate Jon Kirkham added: “I am really looking forward to going to Assen this weekend. It’s a real fast, flowing track and on those kind of sections at Donington that was where we were strong so that puts us in good stead. I have qualified well at the last two rounds but just struggled in the races.

“We have had a test at the circuit though so we know what we need to do straight away and it should be a brilliant weekend.”

Havier Beltran, Team Manager, said: “Heading into the Showdown we now arrive at a crucial part of the season and expectations are high for the whole team. We know that every point counts and that we can challenge at the front of the field; at the same time, Assen being a new track could throw up some new scenarios and this world class circuit could shake things up.

“The Samsung Honda team are all looking forward to the new challenge and we hope that we can start the Showdown in the strongest possible way.”