Yamaha’s Josh Brookes joked the he didn’t become ‘more talented’ between race one and two at the latest round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship held at Assen.
The 2015 champion struggled in the opening encounter at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’ picking up a ninth-place finish, after finding himself as far down as 12th, however after set-up changes he was back to the old Brookes in race two.
He fought all the way, leading the race and making life difficult for eventual winner Haslam, just losing out at the death by just 0.138s.
But afterwards Brookes kidded w that he didn’t find more talent in between races in Holland and that the set-up of his Yamaha was crucial to securing his third rostrum finish of a troublesome campaign.
Brookes has only visited the podium six times this year
“It’s been a tough couple of rounds really, it’s not just been this weekend,” expressed Brookes. “Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you want or try for a result, it’s out of reach and that is how it was in race one.
“I certainly didn’t get more talented between race one and two, it seemed the bike settings were crucial at Assen. The bike worked well in race two, normally I’d be disappointed with second but I’m actually quite pleased, because after ninth in race one, second is such a great result so I’m really pleased.”
It’s has been a challenging year for last year’s championship runner up, with just three wins and further three podiums from the 23 races so far.
Many expected the born man to dominate this campaign, returning to a factory backed Yamaha squad where he enjoyed his best season in 2015.
And after almost collecting a second title on a privateer R1 last year with the unfavoured Anvil Hire TAG Racing outfit, all fingers were pointed at ‘’ to take this season’s crown.
It’s been a tough year for Brookes
However, it has proven otherwise, with Brookes not taking to the podium until the fourth round of the season at Snetterton. He looked back to his best, banging elbows with the championship leader on the final lap of the second race, where he crossed the line third.
But Brookes admitted that this has surprised him more than anyone following his recent success with the Japanese manufacturer, expressing that he and his Raceways Yamaha backed outfit have struggled to find the perfect set-up all year long.
“I’m overwhelmed with surprise that this year hasn’t been better,” added Brookes. “It’s been up and down, absolutely, you only have to look at the results and they speak for themselves.
“Like I said I didn’t improve my talent between race one and race two at Assen, if physical fatigue was a part of it I’d have been slower in race two. It’s nothing like that.
“When the bike’s not working I can only ride it to the best of my ability, a few times this year we’ve struggled to get the motorcycle to where I know it can be, I really love the bike.
“I had so much success last year with the Anvil Hire TAG Racing team, there were fantastic results and this year we thought we’d build, but it hasn’t been like that, so we have to accept it and move on.”
Brookes picked up second at Assen
Mathematically Brookes is now out of the fight for the title, and he’s a part of a three-way battle for third in the standings. Eight points separate Brookes Be Wiser Ducati’s Glenn Irwin and Smiths Racing’s Peter Hickman heading into the final three races at one of the former World Superbike star’s favourite circuit.
Although once again finding the best set-up will be vital for Brookes, he picked up the double victory at the GP circuit earlier in the year, and many thought he would kick on from that result.
But, he struggled to replicate that form heading into the Showdown, and once again due to further head scratching over set-up woes.
However, Brookes was quick to admit that the big difference was a change in electronics set-up at Assen which made the difference for the 35-year-old Australian.
“Engine brake control and electronics that was what we changed, I don’t have a set data guy on my side of the garage and I feel like this is letting the team down, we need to focus on the electronic side.
has three races remaining to secure third
“In BSB there are almost no electronic aids, the one thing we do have is the torque map with the throttle opening and the throttle connection feeling. It’s almost like when people say if you lose your sight then your hearing is better, it’s the same sort of thing.
“Because we only have one element to tune it becomes more important, so I feel like we made some good changes to that in between the races and we went from where we were to almost winning.”
Brookes has just three races remaining of the 2018 season to round out what has been one of his most challenging campaigns, but he can still seal third place in the series.
Brands Hatch is a venue in which ‘’ has enjoyed most of his success in the British Superbike Championship, so you can expect fireworks as he aims to throw his hat into the mix to hold his ‘King of Brands’ crown.
Tickets for the final round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship are available from brandshatch.msv.com/BH-18-BSB-3 with a full weekend admission ticket starting from just £38.