Taking to the track again later that same day Sam improved her best time in free practice one, showing excellent progression, already beating her personal best time from last seasons opening race.
The timetable for Saturday would see the WNT/Burman Racing team take to the track for Free Practice 2 and the first of a standard two qualifying sessions. Sam was in high sprits heading into the first qualifying session, and with the weather forecast predicting rain for qualifying 2, which had been scheduled for mid morning the following day, it would be vitally important for Sam to put in her best lap of the weekend.
Out of the pit lane came the eager riders, and Sam started with times almost matching her pace of the previous session. On lap 5 a group of riders entered Paddock Hill bend, and a collision with a fellow rider unfortunately resulted in Sam crashing out, at this point she knew the chances of a high grid position were slim and found it difficult to take.
Sam said: “I thought qualifying was all going to come down to just one session as the forecast didn’t look good for Sunday. I felt good on the bike and was hoping to knock more time off, after a good session earlier in the morning. When I was knocked off I was gutted and deep down knew that qualifying was over for us.”
As Easter Sunday arrived so did the rain, which had been expected and any hopes of improving on Saturdays qualifying position had been dashed. Despite the wet track conditions the WNT/Burman Racing team decided to get in some laps as a handful of the front runners opted to sit the session out. This track time proved to be valuable as some technical issues evolved as the clutch started to slip, which would be resolved prior to race day by replacing the clutch.
Come race day the sun was shining bright, and after the short morning warm up session Sam felt confident and ready to race. There was some delay to the Motul Motostar race start due to stoppages, but once on the grid the racers didn’t have long to wait before coming under starters orders. Sam got off to a good start, but after making a few mistakes on the opening series of corners and getting boxed in, she dropped down the strong field of riders. Over the coming laps Sam regained those places as she picked her way through the pack and consistently lapped the 1.2 mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit faster than the time she had qualified. Eventually Sam would finish the race in 27th place overall and 12th in the Moto3 standings.
“It’s been a disappointing start but we get to do it all again in a fortnight and we are already looking ahead. I did believe in the race I’d be able to pull through a bit more but I made some mistakes and took too long getting past slower riders and then it was too late.” Sam Burman By Michael Burton