Francis smashes PB times whilst T-Fox climbs to 8th in STK 600 championship
A nasty crash going over Hill Top during race day warm up saw Joe Francis lose the front end of his BMW tearing his machine in two as it cartwheeled through the gravel at over 100 mph in slippery conditions. An injured Francis managed to make the grid for race one, but he was unable to capitalise on his P18 qualifying time of 1:36.966 as an oil leak forced his retirement during the out lap.
Battered and bruised the Cheshire rider struggled in race two around his local circuit, and being forced to start from row eight of the grid, not having completed a lap in race one, it was too tall an order to climb and he crossed the finish line in P23 in a time of 29:36.534
Joe Francis said. “After a great build up to race day I was obviously disappointed how the weekend finished. I was feeling confident and we made fantastic strides with the bike’s development. Oulton Park is a very demanding circuit on the body, so after the crash in this morning’s warm up I struggled as the race went on.” On the crash he said. ”I was pushing the bike as hard as I could in the slippery conditions, but the track was changing lap by lap. All I remember was the front end folding going over Hill Top and being smashed to the tarmac. I feel very stiff and my right hip is sore. I also managed to pick up a nasty friction burn, but I should be fighting fit for the next round. I would like to thank the team, as the guys did a phenomenal job rebuilding the bike in the short time they had.”
On the other side of the garage Pirelli National Superstock 600 rookie, Taylor Moreton had a fantastic weekend as he continues to build on his experience racing the Yamaha R6. The 18 year old from Stoke qualified in P17 in a time of 1:43.102 to cross the finish line in P9, taking his championship tally to 18 points and an 8th place standing.
Solid performance from Francis and STK 600 rookie Moreton
Both PR riders had a solid weekend in an exciting start to the BSB Championship.
Joe Francis qualified P24 in a packed BSB grid in the glorious sunshine of the Easter bank holiday for the inaugural race of the 2019 British Superbike championship. Qualifying in a time of 54.73 just 1.18 seconds off the pole sitter. The PR rider from Chester made a good start in Race 1; however, being caught up in an incident at the chicane in lap 1, he lost several places, dropping down the running order. His fight back continued until crossing the finish line in P21.
Another great performance in Race two saw Francis battling for a top 20 finish, unable to capitalise on the safety car coming out in the second half of the race, which also saw the race distance extended to 33 laps, a happy Francis passed the chequered flag in P20.
Joe Francis. “It was nice to get the first round under our belt. We had a few issue in Race 1 with the rear of the bike under breaking, but that was resolved for Race 2. I am pleased with my overall performance on riding the superbike, when compared to where I was at the end of 2018. Even though we are running last year’s bike, as a team, we keep pushing and moving forward, so I am really excited to see what we can do when the new BMW is ready.”
Superstock 600 rookie, Taylor Moreton made a blistering start from the second row in his maiden outing on the Yamaha R6. In the first race of the season, he catapulted his way to P3, only to see a red flag seconds later. At the re-start, which saw the race in a reduced format, the number 89 rider was once again in the top 3 before turn 1. Settling into his rhythm Taylor crossed the finish line in P5.
Taylor Moreton. “This was only my third outing on the bigger bike, having come from the standard Moto 3 and this is a tough class. I am pleased with the result from today. Given the pace I was running I know the bike would have caught the front pack, it was just a shame the race was reduced from 22 to 15 laps. I would just like to thank the team and my sponsors for this opportunity and look forward to testing at Oulton Park later this week.”
Francis set for first full season in Bennetts BSB
After making his debut for the team at his local circuit of Oulton Park, team principal, John Jameson recognised the potential of the 20-year-old from Chester, so agreed a deal that will see Francis ride in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship next year.
On signing, Joe Francis said. "It is great to have signed for PR Racing for the 2019 season and I would like to thank the team and their partners from giving me this opportunity. There will be many challenges ahead as I continue to learn to ride a superbike, but as a team, we have made a great start in that journey and it will be exciting as we continue that momentum going into next year."
Team Principal, John Jameson added. "We are really excited to sign Joe for 2019. Since joining the team, he has shown a real understanding of the bike, finishing just outside of the points in 16th place in his first ever race on a superbike was exciting to watch. He is keen to make an impression in what is shaping up to be a very exciting championship."