Sunday Life

| 3.9°C Belfast

I'm keen to take last year's successful approach into new season, says British title challenger Irwin


Glenn Irwin in the zone prior to a race last season

Glenn Irwin in the zone prior to a race last season

Double Red

Glenn Irwin in the zone prior to a race last season

Glenn Irwin says he won't change his approach to this year's British Superbike Championship after he reaped the benefits of a new attitude in 2020.

The Carrickfergus man did his talking on the track after joining the Honda Racing team to ride the all-new Fireblade, with Irwin eventually finishing fourth in the condensed six-round series after a sustained challenge for the title.

And with both the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT cancelled for the second successive year, Irwin - whose TT debut is now on hold until 2022 - will have no distractions as he attempts to build on his performances from last season.

"I've just got the same focused attitude as I did last season because I've had complacency in the past from myself and also from a team perspective when I was at Kawasaki (in 2019), and we saw how that panned out," said Irwin.

"But I do things differently now and I definitely felt the benefit of approaching things in a better way last year. It was obviously the first year with the new Honda Fireblade and I think we exceeded expectations, but for sure our bike will have improved again this year.

"In saying that, we don't know how much the other riders or bikes will have improved either, so until we go to the first round we can't make any bold statements and it would be silly to do so, because we've seen how the BSB Championship swings backwards and forwards like a pendulum at times."

Although Irwin is frustrated that he will be forced to wait until 2022 at least to compete at the TT for the first time, the four-time NW200 Superbike race winner says he won't miss the 'brutal' pre-race nerves when it's time to go road racing.

"With no road racing for me this year then it's completely all about BSB, so for sure there won't be the same amount of anxiety ahead of this season, which is always there before the North West 200," he said.

"I guess there's a positive in every negative in that respect and it's brutal what we put ourselves through ahead of events like that, but it's all part of the adrenaline and it's what we love.

"My full focus goes to BSB and it's really no different than last year, because it was the same scenario with the North West and TT cancelled.

"Once we're half a dozen rounds in then you'll be able to see who the Championship challengers are, whereas right now I don't have any proof that this will be the case for me. But we did have a great season last year and I would expect to be up there because I do expect the bike to be better, and I'm also working hard on myself to be better," added Irwin, who is joined in the Honda BSB team this year by Japanese rider Ryo Mizuno.

"Part of that is working on myself in terms of my attitude with Honda last year, which means making fewer predictions or bold statements about what might happen and I think that helped to bring the best out in me as well."

Away from the track, Irwin is kept busy with family life during the latest lockdown and also has a house move to contend with over the coming weeks.

"I'm happy at home, we've a new house that we are set to move into in March and there's a lot going on," he said.

"The development is continuing at Honda, I'm doing my bit and as a family we're doing our bit, so a happy rider is a fast rider.

"I'm looking forward to it and of course I want to build on what we did last year. If we do that, then hopefully we can have a great season."

The first round of the 2021 British Superbike Championship is scheduled for the late May Bank Holiday weekend at Oulton Park in Cheshire.

Sunday Life