THE FHO Racing team and rider Peter Hickman picked up two top 20s as they enjoyed a positive FIM Superbike World Championship debut at Donington Park.
As one of just two wildcard entries to this year’s UK round of the world championship, the team had lots of learning to do as it arrived at the Leicestershire track with a new electronics system to get to grips with.
Friday and Saturday’s free practice sessions were spent trying lots of different things and making further changes to Hickman’s BMW M 1000 RR to get it to a place he was comfortable with in time for qualifying and the three races.
In Saturday’s opening 23-lap race, he started and finished in 22nd position as he battled with a few remaining electronics gremlins and as a result, lined up 22nd on the grid for Sunday morning’s Tissot Superpole Sprint race.
After a strong start he took just one lap to settle in and soon started making moves, carving his way through the pack to cross the line 16th and just outside the points.
Starting the final race again from 22nd, Hickman was able to make further progress still as he fought his way through to 19th at the chequered flag.
“It has been tough weekend which is exactly what we expected, it would’ve been nice if we had been where we are now with the electronics at the start of the weekend, we’d have been a bit closer but overall it’s been a really good event.
“The whole team has come together, my team-mate Ryan [Vickers] has been here and even though he wasn’t riding he’s been out spotting and things and it’s been a really good team exercise.
Overall, I’m really happy. We’ve learnt quite a lot and even though the electronics are very different there’s always something to take away and something new to learn so big thanks to the team.
“The second two races were better, in the sprint we had a bit of a battle and finished 16th – nearly a point but not quite – and in the second we were 19tth,which was still an improvement from Saturday. It’s been a really great weekend with no pressure and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Faye Ho, Team Principal:
“It’s been an exciting and interesting weekend and of course, a learning curve for the whole team in terms of running a bike with new electronics. The electronics side of things was all new for us while the others have been running these systems for a long time, so it’s been a lot more work for the team.
“But it has been a fantastic experience. I think we were all excited about making our debut in a world championship event and it certainly has not disappointed.
“The team has worked very hard but we’ve also enjoyed the experience and we finished all three races, got two top 20s and just missed out on a point so it’s been a really great weekend and I am really happy we chose to do this.
“Now, we head back to the workshop in Louth and get ready to return to British Superbikes at Brands Hatch in a few days time and I’m already looking forward to getting my full team back together and seeing what we can achieve there.”