TEAM SUZUKI RACING NEWS 43 2021 Winter Issue Uramoto was confronted with some harsh weather in his BSB debut. British Superbikes 2021 2 021 was very much an up and down year for the Buildbase Suzuki team. Danny Kent continued to adapt to the GSX- R1000R Superbike, while Gino Rea built his experience with the team. However, despite injuries and general bad luck playing a part, plus ongoing bike development, the season ended with wins and podium trophies. Round 3, Brands Hatch Moto3 World Champion Kent was embarking on his first full campaign aboard a Superbike, and though the opening rounds brought their challenges, there were flashes of potential including running fourth at the third round, at Brands Hatch in July, before being forced to retire with a brake issue. Brands Hatch also delivered a dose of bad luck for Tim Neave in the National Superstock Championship, aboard his GSX-R1000R as he was collected by a wayward rival and suffered a tear of his Acromioclavicular (AC) joint ligament. Round 4, Thruxton Good fortune was around the corner, however, and at Thruxton, Kent clocked his first top- six finish before following it up with his first British Superbike podium, claiming third in the third race of the weekend. He said afterwards, “I was really happy with the podium, and the whole weekend. it was great to be able to repay the team for all of the hard work they’d been putting in. I enjoyed Thruxton when I last visited, so I was hopeful of going well, coming back on a better package, and I felt good from the first dry session. We also made positive steps at Brands Hatch even though the results weren’t there, so we were confident coming into the weekend of getting a good result.” There were Superstock trophies too, as former Suzuki rider as stand-in for Neave, Luke Stapleford, collected a brace of second- place finishes after qualifying on pole position. Round 5, Donington Park Things were looking up, and the team headed to Donington Park over the weekend of the 14th and 15th of August with renewed confidence. Donington was another circuit of which Kent had prior experience and was also the scene of Rea’s best-ever BSB finish of fourth. Stapleford also remained with the team while Neave returned to action. Sadly, lady luck was not on the team’s side, and there were crashes and retirements across the board, the biggest victim of which was Kent, who suffered a dislocated and fractured hip as the result of a relatively innocuous-looking crash. Rea was fighting his own battles, too. He and the team were making progress with his GSX-R1000R Superbike and evolving the setup to suit the former European Superstock 600 Champion and Moto2 podium finisher, but bad luck was hampering progress. The following weekend at Cadwell Park he crashed out for two of the weekend’s three races. Round 6, Cadwell Park There was a positive story from Cadwell’s round 6, however, as Neave swapped his Superstock-spec GSX-R1000R for Kent’s Superbike-spec machine to make his class debut at his local circuit. And he didn’t disappoint, improving in every session to take a best finish of 11th in a highly-competitive field. “It was a mega weekend”, Neave reflected. “I really enjoyed it. We set no expectations and the goal was to improve in every session and we did that. Thursday’s test started wet, which was actually good; the bike was softened off, I was on tyres I was familiar with, and it broke me in gently. Rea overcame some early season issues to Donington Park with two race victories.