THE 2016 British Superbikes Championship did not get off to the start that Martin Jessopp had hoped for.
In the first meet at Silverstone the Yeovil rider secured 17th and 18th place finishes in the two races, ending up outside of the points on both occasions with only the top 15 being rewarded.
"It was a very up and down weekend. The conditions were not favourable but the first day sessions were good. I was tenth in practice and it was all looking good," Jessopp said.
"But then in qualifying we made an error. There are three qualifying sessions and you are only allowed one tyre change for each session and you must put a sticker on the tyre once it has been changed.
"Unfortunately we put the sticker on the wrong side, so when I got to the end of the pit lane they couldn't see it so I ended up doing two laps after being black flagged. So it was a disaster and I qualified back in 20th."
Despite this difficult start to the weekend, Jessopp went into race day on his Ridersmotorcycles.com BMW in a positive mood as the signs looked good early on for some string times on the track.
"The conditions were dry and I finished sixth in the warm-up and and it looked as if we were set for a good day, but then race one and race two were very similar. We struggled with the tyres and had the same problems at Silverstone as we did last year," he said.
"I also lost a few positions off the line and ended up 17th in race one. We made some changes for race two but after a poor start again I was back in 19th. The pace picked up, though, and for five laps I was matching the times of the top eight.
"Then we hit what we call a 'tyre wall' and I dropped off and was losing around a second a lap. Something was wrong with the settings and we are going to have a debriefing to see what the problems are and what the answer is to it.
"There are fast and flowing corners at Silverstone which are slow going in to and quick coming out of, which did not suit our settings. The times were too far off.
"There were guys who finished in front of me that I shouldn't be allowing to get in front of me. It is frustrating that one small mistake cost us so dear."
Jessopp has taken some positives from the opening weekend, however, as with only a few places between himself and the points it suggests that if the mistakes are ironed out then he could well be getting himself on the scoreboard at Oulton Park on April 30 to May 2.
"The bike is capable of good times, but just not over the whole race at the moment. We are better in practice than in the race," he continued.
"The clutch needs to be looked at because we had issues at the start in both races. There is always room for improvement and I am a racer so I guess I am never going to be happy unless I win.
"It is not how I wanted to start the season, but there is no point in letting your head drop. I am looking forward to Oulton now and I would race there tomorrow if I could.
"I am promising now there will be a lot more positives and it will be a completely different conversation after that meet."
Thanks to the Western Gazette for the use of this story
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