After a positive outing at Thruxton and a productive two-day test at Cadwell Park, Tommy Bridewell reflects on the first half of the 2016 British Superbike season, and looks forward to the next round at Brands Hatch.
"It’s been a bit up and down so far this season to be honest, but we’re certainly on an ‘up' and the moment. There is always the chance it can take a couple of rounds to find your feet when you’re in your first season with a team, but I’m really enjoying riding for the Bennetts Suzuki team.
We had a solid start at Silverstone. It didn’t set the world alight but it was good, but then we struggled at Oulton Park in the tricky weather conditions. We were fast in the wet and fast in the dry, so if the races were either I think we’d have been alright. But we just struggled with our setup in the mixed, sort of half-and-half conditions. We knew the pace was there though, and we showed that the very next time out at Brands Hatch where we were on the podium.
It was quite special to be honest. It’s only the second year of the Bennetts Suzuki team, so it is still a new team, and I was really happy to be able to get that first podium for everyone involved. It’s great to see everyone’s hard work and effort rewarded.
Knockhill and Snetterton were a little more disappointing. However, at the moment everything’s going well. Everyone in the team is working so hard and I’m really enjoying riding the big Suzuki. We qualified second on the grid last time out at Thruxton, had a good fourth place, but also made some real progress with the bike. We fitted a new swingarm in practice and that gave us a real improvement. We’re also experimenting with different engine braking strategies too, and our two-day test at Cadwell was really productive. I came away from there feeling really confident.
The aim is still the Showdown, which is certainly achievable. There are still seven races to go to get in there, and there’s nothing in it. We were fast at Brands earlier in the year, and I think we can be even faster on the GP circuit. We’ve got to go there and gain more ground on our rivals around us in the championship, and that’s what everyone in the team is working towards.
I think we can go there and have two strong races and push for a couple of podiums. I can’t stress enough how hard everyone in the team is working to put a competitive bike underneath me, and if we can get the results this weekend, we’ll go into the second half of the season feeling really confident."