Hickman and the FHO BMW Team headed to Round Ten of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park bringing some positives from the last round at Oulton.
Hicky left it until late in FP2 to secure his place in Q2 on Saturday at the Leicestershire circuit with a 1:28.676 and felt like he was making good progress. On lap 8 during the Saturday qualifying he managed a 1:27.967 to take P8 in the dry session. Hicky’s fastest-ever time around the Donington Park GP circuit!
Race One 12 laps
As the bikes headed to the grid it started to rain. Race control delayed the start to see how the conditions would change and eventually declared a wet race start.
No one had raced on the new surface in the rain so things were about to get very interesting!
Hicky chose wets with a hard set-up to compensate if the track started to dry later in the race.Hicky immediately moved up to P2 within 2 corners as Vickers broke away out front. This wasn’t to last for Hicky though as the rain continued to fall and the hard set-up caused him grip issues dropping him back to P9.
Hickman’s fastest lap of the race was 1:42.047 on lap 4.
Race Two 20 laps
Saturday’s wet race lap time gave Hicky an even harder start to race two with a P18 grid position.
This time a dry race, Hicky started alongside Michael Dunlop and behind Kyle Ryde. He got himself stuck in amongst a pack of riders including Kennedy and Cook. Pushing through the field to take P10 just as the race was stopped due to rain starting to fall on lap 17.
Hickman’s fastest lap of the race was 1:29.304 on lap 6.
Race Three 20 laps
Sunday afternoon’s race was a ‘proper’ wet race and Hicky was again starting mid-pack in P15. A battle commenced with Peter lap by lap catching the riders ahead. Even with a visor issue, he still managed to close down and move up to P8 after passing championship leader Bridewell. In the latter stages, Jackson was behind with Storm Stacey just ahead and his next target. A red flag stopped his progress on lap 15 however after Haslam had an engine failure spreading oil across the circuit.
Hickman’s fastest lap of the race was 1:39.403 on lap 13.
Race 1: 9th / Race 2: 10th / Race 3: 7th
“The weekend was full of potential that never really turned into a result, I guess is probably the best way to describe it, pretty much like my whole year in BSB! Friday was okay, not brilliant but okay, I ended up 12th overall and we made a few changes ready for Saturday, which seemed to go in the right direction.
Qualifying, I did my fastest-ever time at Donington Park GP circuit (1:27.967), which I was really happy about, I was half a second off the front row so overall qualifying eighth I was quite happy with, especially where we’ve been recently and I’m not particularly good on a one-lap dash anyway.
However, it kind of went wrong from there, for the first race I gambled on the wet tyre which was actually the right decision but we left the hard set-up on the bike and it just didn’t work with the conditions worsening.
We had too much movement and I had loads of moments, I got into second place early on the first lap and then just really struggled from there on resulting in us finishing ninth. We were then on the back foot going into the next race with the lap time, which put us 18th on the grid.
My times in Sunday’s first race weren’t so bad and I was actually half a second faster than the leaders for a few laps, but being so far back on the grid I can’t easily make passes and by the fourth/fifth lap the front pack is gone, and you’re on the back foot again for the next race. In the final race, we started mid-pack in 15th and with the rain I struggled with the visor steaming up, something I’ve never had before in my entire career, which is really unusual. Not only was it steaming up, but the water on the outside was almost like it was sticking to the visor, which is really odd, so I literally couldn’t see which is not ideal! So getting up to finish seventh was okay, but I felt like I actually had the pace to be on the podium if I hadn’t had a visor issue, so that’s a positive if not a little frustrating again.
We’ve not had a good set-up in the rain for a really long time now, but we were pretty strong today, which is a positive from the weekend, but again the results are not where we should be.”