BSB Round 4 - Knockhill
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Milwaukee Yamaha left the fourth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Knockhill disappointed after two challenging races despite hard work from the team during the event.
The weekend had been tough for the team as they worked hard to close the gap to their title rivals, with the demanding and short nature of the Knockhill circuit meaning that the smallest of margins are exaggerated over the 49 second lap.
In the opening race of the weekend James Ellison fought to try and move up the order from his thirteenth on the grid, pushing on to secure a seventh place. In race two he had aspirations of further improvements but after making a lightening start his hopes were dashed with a crash at Leslies. Josh Waters also had his hopes of making steps forward shattered in both races, finishing nineteenth in the first race before retiring in race two.
Ellison said: "It has been a disappointing weekend for me. I came here with bags of confidence after our run of good results and a nice break where I kept busy on the MX bike to stay bike fit, but despite that, things just didn't click for us from the start. At this level you cannot afford to be on the back foot. I tried my hardest in race one but from thirteenth on the grid at a tight circuit like Knockhill, seventh was all we could do. As for race two, with starting from eighth on the grid, I knew if I got in the top five on lap one I could push with the front four so I made a great start. Going into turn two I was tight on the inside curb when Chris (Walker) seemed to just stop mid turn and I hit the back of his bike. I'm gutted for the whole Milwaukee Yamaha team as we shouldn't be fighting just for top seven finishes. We will group together and test before Snetterton to make sure this doesn't happen again. It's just a blip, we will be back!"
Waters said: "It really has been a tough weekend for me and although we have worked through some changes to try and help it just hasn't come together. I obviously feel disappointed for the Milwaukee Yamaha team because we were hoping that this weekend we could turn things around to give us a bit of a boost. Hopefully we can test before Snetterton again as we want to be moving up the order as it is so important now to be scoring good points to try and make the Showdown."
Team Co-ordinator Mick Shanley concluded: "Unfortunately Knockhill has been the worst weekend of the year for us so far. In both races James's performances really were a consequence of his qualifying, because with a short lap here it is hard to make up positions. He was trying to make positions up in the second race and he just got caught out really. We need to try and find a solution to make Josh a bit more comfortable to give him some more confidence, but we are a strong team and we will do whatever we can to solve it. We want to turn it around at Snetterton."
Milwaukee at the TT
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After an encouraging Isle of Man TT with William Dunlop and Conor Cummins, Milwaukee Yamaha now look forward to the rest of the international road racing calendar, starting at the Southern 100 in July.
Ulsterman William Dunlop gave the Milwaukee Yamaha team a podium in the opening Monster Energy Supersport Race at the TT in third place, and narrowly missed out on a second Supersport podium in race two - despite a phenomenal last lap of 127.173mph. He finished ninth in the four-lap Superstock race on the same day with a best lap of 126.741mph.
The Ballymoney lad took ninth place in the opening race of TT2013, the Superbike TT with a best lap of 128.311 from a standing start on lap one, which was encouraging in his first TT race aboard the Milwaukee R1 Yamaha.
In the Senior TT, despite carrying the remnants of a shoulder injury, which was aggravated at the North West 200, William joined the 130mph club, with an impressive lap of 130.028mph - his new top mark on the Mountain Circuit. William was as high as second place on the opening lap, eventually finishing seventh in the blue riband six-lap Senior TT encounter.
His Manx team-mate Conor Cummins finished fifth in the Superbike TT and despite still working on perfecting set-up on his Milwaukee Yamaha Superbike, Cummins recorded three laps in excess of 128mph, with a best lap of 129.091mph.
Cummins retired from Monster Energy Supersport Race 1, but took tenth place in the second middleweight encounter. The Ramsey man also had the misfortune to post retirements in the Superstock and Superbike races, but is now looking ahead to the Southern 100.
Dunlop said: "I was really happy with my opening lap in the Senior TT and the bike was good enough for a lap of 131mph; I just wasn't fit enough with my shoulder giving me a few problems in the last few laps, but I know we can win on that bike at the Ulster Grand Prix.
"In the Supersport races, the level at the top hasn't changed, it has just got stronger down through the field. 127mph would have been good enough for two wins last year, but things move on. I am disappointed with the results as the bike was so good, but again we can be stronger as the season goes on.
"I got on with the boys really well and especially enjoyed working with Pete Jennings, who listened to me and dialled in settings that I wanted and run with them, which I really appreciated. We just need more time on the bikes now as I don't want to be finishing second to Michael or Guy, or anyone else when we get to the UGP."
Cummins added: "I was happy enough with fifth place in the Dainese Superbike TT, but this year's whole event was a bit frustrating - as I just couldn't find a setting that I was really comfortable enough with to challenge the boys at the front.
"Sometimes I wasn't riding the Superbike, it was riding me, but it's an awesome bit of kit and mega fast; a great bike. We just need some set-up time before the Southern 100, and I'll be working my backside off to maintain my physical condition. Thanks to all the boys for a big effort at the TT. I believe we have a winning package."
Team owner Shaun Muir concluded: "We can take a lot away from this TT and know where we can improve for the future, which is important. William really got his head down and delivered a Supersport podium and that 130mph lap on the Superbike, which is encouraging. His shoulder injury certainly came into play in the latter laps, but the top three start in the Senior TT was very positive and I'm happy with the effort. Along with Conor, as a team, we were frustrated with the constant battle to find a set-up for him and not being able to get him as comfortable as he would like this TT. We now need to baton down and look ahead to the Southern 100 for both riders."