Dan had a very constructive first competitive outing on his Valvoline Padgett's Superstock Fireblade at the weekend's BSB opener at Donington Park.
Riding for testing and track time as much as anything, Dan qualified 22nd, using the outing for set up on the new bike. In the race, Dan took the first lap very steady, in order to avoid any possible comings together. As the pack spread out a little, Dan started picking his way through the field. Despite still riding relatively cautiously, Dan fought his way through to finish a very credible 8th place. Well among the series regulars.
"Had mega fun in the race today, didn't want to end up in a heap so took it steady till the first lap was done then got stuck it, only the first proper outing this year so made up, used it as a test but had fun too. The Padgett team are awesome, so can't wait for my next run thanks to everybody"
Photo: John Manclark
Trik-Moto BMW’s Hudson Kennaugh snatched a last lap Pirelli National Superstock 1000 victory after diving past former champion Alastair Seeley with half a lap remaining.
Tyco BMW’s Seeley held the lead on the last lap after motoring around the outside of Kennaugh at the Foggy Esses on the previous lap.
As the pair flicked right through McLeans, Seeley held the inside line but Kennaugh bravely shot under the inside to Seeley’s surprise.
South African Kennaugh appeared to run wide at the Melbourne Loop but what Seeley is reporting as a fuel issue denied him from getting the drive he needed to retake the lead.
Kennaugh held on to the chequered flag but Seeley couldn’t hold on to second, with Morello Kawasaki’s Josh Elliot taking full advantage of the faltering Tyco BMW beneath Seeley.
Northern Escalator Installtions Yamaha’s Adam Jenkinson held the lead throughout the race after grabbing pole position yesterday but the Mancunian faded off of the back of the leading trio, eventually coming through in a lonely fourth place.
Jones-Dorling Racing’s Ashley Beech got the better of Luke Quigley to take fifth place after a race-long scrap, with Scotsman Michael Robertson not far behind in seventh.
Padgett Honda’s Dan Kneen, Dom Usher and MSS Kawasaki’s Jesse Trayler rounded out the top ten.
Dan Kneen got his 2015 season off to a flying start at Donington Park on Easter Monday when the Manxman took a brilliant eighth place in the opening round of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc Championship.
Using the meeting primarily as extra practice in preparation for the International road racing season, Dan was having his first race since breaking his foot at last year’s Ulster Grand Prix as well as making his debut for his new team, the highly experienced Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Honda squad.
Getting quicker and quicker as the weekend progressed, Dan placed 23rd after the opening qualifying session and knocked a further seven tenths of a second off his time to move up to 21st on the grid for Easter Monday’s race. A brilliant start to the 16-lap encounter saw Dan immediately move up inside the top 20 and from there on in, he consistently moved forward. By lap seven he was holding onto a top ten position and part of an eight man dice for eighth place and, aided by a lap a further half second quicker than what he’d done in qualifying, he duly seized eighth place on the last lap for one of his finest British Championship rides.
The result on the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, in a class dominated by Kawasaki and BMW machinery, has given Dan great optimism for the season ahead and with the next round at Brands Hatch on April 17/18 followed by a Dunlop test session at Castle Combe, the 27-year old is ideally placed to arrive at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT in the best shape possible and with the opportunity of having his best ever year on the roads.
Speaking after the Donington meeting, Dan said: “Coming into the weekend, I’d only had a handful of laps on the bike, and they were in the wet, so I was certainly rusty after such a long lay-off with the injury and I didn’t set myself any targets or have expectations; I just wanted to use the weekend as more preparation for the roads and get myself more used to both the bike and team. We tested and tried a lot of things with the bike over the course of the three days, continually making it better, and mainly to suss out what I wanted from the bike. We certainly did that and to cap the weekend off with such a strong eighth place, in what’s always a seriously competitive class, was the icing on the cake.”
“Clive (Padgett) has such a massive amount of experience and it was great to start working with him and I couldn’t have wished for a better start as we clicked straightaway. I’m still not bike fit so it was nice to get some mileage under my belt and with the next round at Brands and the test at Castle Combe, we’ll arrive at the North West 200 in great shape. I’m delighted with the start to the season and can’t wait to get out on the Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Honda Superbike and Supersport machines as I know they’re going to be ultra-competitive. I’m really grateful for the opportunity and am eager to repay the faith shown in by Clive and the team with some strong results throughout the year.”
Picture by Jon Jessop Photography
Dan Kneen has signed for the Valvoline Padgetts Honda team to contest the Isle of Man TT.
The Manx rider was left on the lookout for a new team after his deal with Northern Ireland team Millsport Suzuki fell through in February.
However, Kneen has pulled a rabbit out of the hat and joins Kiwi Bruce Anstey in Clive Padgett's success-laden Batley squad for the Superbike, Superstock, Supersport and Senior races. The 27-year-old will also compete at the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix.
Kneen, who won the Irish Road Racing Superbike Championship at his first attempt in 2014, said: “I've gone from having nothing to securing a ride with one of the best teams in the paddock in a short space of time. I can't thank Clive enough for giving me this opportunity and I am really excited about getting the chance to work with him and his crew.
“It's one of those teams that you always look at when you are coming through the ranks, hoping that one day you might get the chance to ride for them, and my chance has come and I intend to take it with both hands.”
Aussie Cameron Donald will also be part of the Valvoline Padgetts Honda line-up for the Supersport races at the TT, complementing his ride for Norton in the Superbike and Senior events.
Kneen was in terrific form last year, finishing inside the top 15 in all five solo races and earning thee top-eight finishes in the Senior, Superstock and Supersport races, setting his fastest ever lap of the Mountain Course at 129.360mph.
He went on to claim his first international win after a thrilling battle with Dean Harrison in the Superstock race at the Ulster Grand Prix and team manager Clive Padgett is relishing the chance to help Kneen achieve even bigger things in the seasons ahead.
“We are delighted to be working with Dan Kneen in 2015. He is a rider we have long admired and who we feel has shown great potential, often without the chance to really show what he is capable of,” Padgett said.
“We see this as the start of what will hopefully turn into a long relationship and we want to be part of Dan realising his potential over the next few years.”
Kneen will also contest selected rounds of the National Superstock 1000 Championship this year.