Glenn Irwin has allayed any concerns that he could miss Thursday practice at this year’s North West 200 due to a date clash with an official British Superbike test at Snetterton.
The PBM Be Wiser Ducati rider is one of several leading British championship riders due to compete at the international road race this year.
Irwin won the feature Superbike event in 2017 following a memorable battle around the Triangle course with fellow Carrick rider Alastair Seeley.
The Snetterton test will take place on the same day as final qualifying for the North West on Thursday, May 17, and although Irwin admits the scenario is far from ideal, he concedes it is ‘not the end of the world’.
“It’s a little bit frustrating but I’m not falling out with anyone over it. I spoke to the team about it and I’ll have nine days of testing before I even get to the first BSB round, so by the time the race comes around at Snetterton at the end of June there’ll be something wrong if I’m not sharp,” Irwin said.
“It’s not as if I don’t know the track, although I did miss the round there last year through injury. In saying that, I don’t think being absent from the Snetterton test is going to impact our performance.
“I’m looking at things in a positive way and I feel strong because I feel we have made a good step with the bike in terms of understanding what we need this year,” he added.
“I’m not overly worried about missing Snetterton and I will be at the North West. From what I gather, you must do both days of practice at the North West so we’ll go there and hopefully do a good job.”
The 27-year-old will compete in both Superbike races on Saturday, May 19 and Irwin says a successful day at the north coast road race would enable him to carry some momentum into the ensuing BSB rounds.
“I’m looking at it that we could be leaving there on a high like last year and that gives you a bit of a lift and some momentum and once you have got that, then you can be fast anywhere,” he said.
“It would be nice to go to the North West and have a really good day and carry that confidence onwards.
“Missing the test at Snetterton is not the end of the world. A few people have been having a dig at Stuart [Higgs, BSB Series and Race Director], but he does a great job and this is just one of those things.
“There are only so many available days in the year and his priority is BSB, as in mine, but unfortunately sometimes things clash and you have to work around that,” added Irwin, who is currently testing at Cartagena in Spain.
“We have an agreement to do the North West and we will go and do it, so bring it on, but before we get there we have a big job to do in BSB.”
BSB Series Director Stuart Higgs received some criticism on social media after the date clash became apparent, but argued the conflict was unavoidable.
Higgs wrote on Twitter: ‘Daft conspiracy theories & absolutely no understanding of the realities of what goes on with dates &logistics, factors including safety barrier transportation out of Oulton beforehand, track utilisation, staff/medical & prep for WSBK at DP [Donington Park] the week after & Suzuka 8H test in June’.