Author: Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 22 Apr 2014
Josh Brookes has said he is disappointed with himself after a rollercoaster weekend saw him take pole position and a second place despite suffering four crashes throughout the weekend.
The Australian was hoping for more success on his Yamaha debut after a smooth switch to Shaun Muir’s Milwaukee-sponsored outfit. Brookes had been fastest in the dry going into Saturday’s wet sessions and says he enjoyed riding the Yamaha in the wet in the third free practice session.
Heading out on circuit for qualifying as he had in the morning session, Brookes didn’t realise how slippery the circuit had become throughout the day and slipped off on his out-lap. The thirty-year old then fell again in the Q1 session after managing to set a time fast enough to progress to the next session. Brookes took pole position by 0.7 seconds before binning it again, this time unable to get back on circuit.
“I’m a bit disappointed in myself to be honest. I don’t think I read the conditions right” said Brookes, speaking to Bike Social at Brands Hatch.
“At the start of the weekend I was building it up slowly and just got quicker and quicker and by Saturday afternoon we were so fast and doing it lap after lap. I was even fast in the Sunday morning in the wet; I could put my knee on the ground and everything was fine. I was confident in both the wet and dry, it didn’t make a difference. Come Sunday afternoon for the qualifying, the track had been contaminated with soap and the different kind of things they use to clean the oil off and it was a completely new track. I thought it’d be a bit slippery but didn’t think it’d be five seconds a lap slower than the morning, which it was! I rolled out of the pits and was going so slow but the back just came round on me. It was my own mistake but I don’t know how I’d have done it differently. The track conditions did catch me out!”
Determined to make the most of the nice weather on Monday, Brookes got a cracking start in the first race although lost out on first position to a rapid Chris Walker. Brookes passed the Kawasaki man on lap three, for the ‘Stalker’ to get him straight back at Druids. On the next lap, the Aussie went to defend his line but tucked the front ruling him out of the race.
“In my head I was thinking I could do 45.5s just like we did on Saturday with the same bike and tyres but we were doing 46.6, 46.7 behind Walker and thinking the pace was too slow.
“I knew Shakey was coming through the pack and was worried that Walker was holding me up so I made a move. As soon as I got past he immediately stuck it back up the inside at Druids so the next lap I protected my line a bit but because of the track conditions dropping after Sunday, when I turned the bike in to protect the position I knew Walker would come from I lost the front. It came as a bit of a surprise, I couldn’t believe it could happen, I was in a good rhythm and felt completely comfortable doing the lap times but I didn’t pay enough attention to the track conditions.”
Starting from tenth on the grid after his first race off, Brookes fought through the pack throughout the race. He managed to make it into second position but couldn’t challenge race leader, Shane Byrne in the final few laps.
“To come back in the second race from tenth on the grid to the podium was good, I’d have loved to have won but this isn’t a bad result so I should be quite pleased. The backmarker definitely didn’t help but I’m not sure if it made any difference to the race result. Hindsight is a wonderful thing so I don’t want to try and predict what could have happened and there was a backmarker so we’ll take it as it was and go on from there.”