Team WD-40 begin season in style with podium

As spring finally began to show itself, the 2013 season got off to a flying start for Team WD-40 and riders Joe Francis, Jon Railton and Tommy Aquino at Brands Hatch.

The opening rounds of the National Superstock 1000 and the Monster Energy Motostar British Championships delivered­­­­­ some excellent results, including a first podium and trophy of the season.

Joe, from Backford (Chester), secured second place in the Motostar race to get his season off to a flying start.

After qualifying second on the grid, the 15-year-old was always on the tail of the leader, Tarran Mackenzie, as both riders pulled away from the rest.

A red flag on lap two, shortly after Joe had briefly taken the lead, meant a delay; the restart was from original grid positions and both riders battled hard throughout the 19 laps as they fought for the lead.

They reached the chequered flag over 11 seconds ahead of their nearest rival and are set to renew the battle at Thruxton this weekend.

“This was a great way to start the season and while it was frustrating not to win, the points from this race could be vital at the end of the year,” said Joe.

“My bike was brilliant and I can’t thank the lads in Team WD-40 enough for getting everything ready.

“Thruxton can’t come quick enough and I’m ready to race again for a podium place – this time the top one!”

In Superstock 1000, a very close qualifying where 65 riders were split by just 3 seconds, Jon did a fantastic job qualifying on the front row, fourth on the grid. Tommy, who had never raced or tested in the UK until two weeks ago, put in a brilliant performance to be just one second off the leaders yet such is the competition in the British Superstock he was on the ninth row.

Both Jon and Tommy made great starts to the race, Tommy picking up places and Jon running with the leaders, but later in the race the two suffered brake problems that hampered progress as Jon finished a frustrating ninth, while Tommy made up 12 places to pass the chequered flag in a creditable 23rd place.

Jon said: “I was in a great position in the leading pack towards the middle of the race, but my brakes started to fade away and I had to reduce speed earlier than normal at the braking areas.

“This meant I was losing time and instead of challenging for the podium places, I as battling to stay in the top ten.

“The positives are we’ve collected points and the team and I are more aware of how the bike works, after an almost test free pre-season.

“I’m really looking forward to Thruxton and I’m sure Team WD-40 will have podiums to celebrate in the Superstock 1000 championship in the near future.”

Tommy’s small chattering problem under hard braking meant he was unable to make up as many places as he had hoped, but he was happy with most aspects of the race.

He said: “I’m pleased that I made up over ten places during the race, but know that I can go faster as the front chattering was a little unnerving.

“This has been a tough learning curve as I’ve never raced at Brands Hatch or on a 1000cc bike and next time at Thruxton I’m looking to be further up on the grid.”

Team WD-40’s manager, Brent, said: “I’m very proud of all three riders and my whole team. I am delighted with the form they showed after very little time on the bikes during pre-season with the hideous weather problems we have all encountered.

“The podium finish from Joe was a superb result and it shows that he is a rider with the talent to continue progress through the ranks of racing.

“He’s put himself in a superb position to challenge for a championship and we hope he can build on the performance at Brands Hatch this weekend at Thruxton.

“Tommy and Jon both suffered small teething problems during the Superstock 1000 race, which hampered their progress, but the results show we’ve got two fast bikes with two committed, determined and fast riders.

“The season continues very quickly and I’m sure Tommy and Jon will continue to improve on the season’s start.”

David Whittome, UK marketing manager for team sponsors WD-40 Specialist, said: “This was a very good start to the season and was a great way to mark the start of the company’s new WD-40 Specialist Motorbike range of products.

“Jon, Tommy and Joe showed we have some excellent young riders and we’re all now looking forward to more exciting action at Thruxton this weekend.”