Racing reactions

Published: 22 April 2005

After every race we get inundated with reports from all the teams so we’ve compiled a collection of the reactions to the weekends racing to let you see first hand what the riders and team managers thought of their performances.

Below is a collection of quotes from riders and managers in the British and World Superbike championships.

Read a full behind the scenes report on all the weekend’s racing action only in MCN, out Wednesday, April 27.

WSB

Jack Valentine, Foggy Petronas Team manager: "The whole team has put in an extremely motivated performance and we are not getting the results we feel we deserve. The riders are pushing hard to pick up as many points as possible, as could be seen in Steve's crash in the first race. I would put his result in the second race down to a tyre problem, although we know we are still struggling with punch out of the corners. Garry was unlucky in both races. I think we have benefited from using the latest engine development here and, although we have more work to do at Monza, we are hoping that circuit will suit the engine better than this tight track."

Steve Martin, Foggy Petronas, retired race 1, 17th race 2: "There are not too many positives to take out of the weekend, although we will hopefully get some benefit from using the latest engine during qualifying here when we go to Monza. I tried my hardest in the second race and the bike was better in the braking areas than in the first race. But, when the tyre started to go off, I didn't have enough control or feel. In the first race, Nieto was holding me up and if I had sat there any longer the pack behind me would have come past. I had overtaken him twice but he immediately passed me back down the start-finish straight. I lost the front end trying to make another overtaking move stick because, if I had got past him at that part of the circuit, I would have half a lap in which to make a bit of a gap on him."

Garry McCoy, Foggy Petronas, retired both races: "Unfortunately, this was just a repeat of Phillip Island for me. After not finishing the first race, I went into the second really wanting to finish, no matter what. But, from starting where we are on the grid, we are playing around with people that we shouldn't be. I was playing everything pretty safe but Silva had passed me three times already and each time had run wide. On lap four I passed him again down the front straight and, as I started braking, he flew back past and ran wide again. Then he came from off line into the white paint and left me with nowhere to go. When we touched, my rear end lost traction and span me round. In the first race I noticed on the grid that we had a bit more tail wind than we had had all weekend, which worried me. Sure enough, I was running out of gears at the end of the straight and was on the hard limiter a couple of times. I was being patient with the guys in front as a few of them were pushing very hard but I was losing out on the straights and getting held up in the corners before the engine problem occurred. So I decided to use the latest specification engine for race two and wanted to get as much information for Monza as possible."

Karl Harris, Honda-racing.co.uk, crashed race 1 sixth race 2: “I was OK after the first race crash, although I believe that it looked quite spectacular on the live television coverage. That made me all the more determined to overcome my misfortune. Although sixth in the second race equalled my best result of the season, it has been a really frustrating afternoon for all the riders – and me in particular. However, I’m looking forward to returning to Oulton Park next weekend, which has traditionally been one of my favourite circuits.”

Gary Mason, Stobart Honda, 8th race 1 7th race 2: “We’ve definitely moved on. The bike is now competitive and I think I’ve done more passing than I’ve ever done in my career today. The guys have been working their wotsits off and we’re definitely moving forward and I can honestly say it’s the first time I’ve ever had a bike that I can race people with. We made some major changes this morning and we just gambled and it’s paid off for us and we’ve made a step forward.”

Michael Laverty, Stobart Honda, 7th race 1 9th race 2: “At least I’m racing again and making progress. Hopefully we can make an even bigger step forward at Oulton and the rest of the circuits. I’m definitely happy with those two races and it’s nice to be racing up towards the front again.”

Jeremy McWilliams, Stobart Honda, retired both races: “It’s a bit of a disaster really. We struggled to move forward and in the race we had a stability problem and whatever line I took on the circuit to try and reduce it, it seemed to make it even worse. It got to the point where I was going to crash, so I just pulled in. Unfortunately what seemed nearly OK in practice, in the race when you’re going that bit faster it was just impossible to get a consistent lap with stability so we need to change our settings back to what the other two guys were running.”

Paul Bird, Stobart Honda team boss , who had threatened wide scale changes unless there had been a dramatic improvement following the Thruxton disaster. “Like the riders have said, we’ve made some big steps forward this weekend. Jeremy is the number one rider and should be up there but in fairness he’s been struggling with a shoulder injury all weekend. He’ll get that sorted this week and I think he’ll be challenging for a top five placing at Oulton next weekend. As for Michael and Gary, that’s where I fully expect them to be finishing and if only they’d stop handicapping themselves by qualifying badly, they’d be further up too. If the riders show this sort of commitment every race then that’s all I can ask and I’ll be very happy”

Colin Wright, Ducati Airwaves Team Manager: “This weekend has been hard work for all teams and competitors, Mallory Park has always been recognised as the friendly circuit! I think the championship has outgrown Mallory, it is now not big enough to cope with a BSB round. However, we are pleased to come away with another bundle of points and are looking forward to Oulton Park”.

Leon Haslam, Ducati Airwaves, 3rd race 1 5th race 2: “It has been a tough weekend, especially with all the restarts in the races. In race one I had a few problems but was running consistently quick and was pleased to get on the podium. We planned a few changes for race two but following the restarts we decided to change my tyres for the shortened twelve lap dash. I set my fastest lap on the final lap which has left my spirits high for next week. To take away a third and a fifth from the round is brilliant, especially with many of my favourite circuits still to come”.

Gregorio Lavilla, Ducati Airwaves, Crashed race 1 3rd race 2: “This was a completely new experience and circuit type and nothing like I’m used to. Although I was not able to push quite as hard as I would have liked, I’m pleased to have ended up with another podium and I am looking forward to next weekend.”

Glen Richards, Hawk Kawasaki, to second places: “You know, I’m thrilled. This is my best ever result, and to do it here, at the team’s home circuit means so much. Everyone in the team puts so much work into my bikes and I just want to get the results to pay them back, so I couldn’t be happier. My family is here watching me, and the team has a lot of support here so it’s great to be able to put on a good show for them. The plan now is to just keep firing in the points and see where we can end up at the end of the year”.

Dean Thomas, Hawk Kawasaki, 6th race 1 4th race 2: “It’s been a good day, if a little bit weird. The team have been just superb this weekend, can’t fault them. I’ve come on, the bike is brilliant and we’re working so hard together. I’m not so pleased with my first race result, but considering I thought I was off the bike at Gerrards and heading for the grass I’ll take sixth with no complaints! The second, or third or fourth, depending on how you look at it, race was better. I just need that little bit extra. I was looking at Glen while I was chasing him, and I just couldn’t do anything about him, he knows this place so well. Hats off, he’s at the top of his game and did well. For me, once again I’ve improved my results, got quicker on the bike and that elusive podium can’t be far away now. It’s been good and now I’m looking forward to Oulton”.

Stuart Hicken, Hawk Kawasaki team boss: “How could I be happier? Glen is on top form, Deano is riding out of his skin and everyone in the team is putting the absolute maximum effort in. We’ve got close to Honda, we’ve lead Honda and we’ve got two riders home in both races. On top of that, both Dean and Glen have moved up in the points this weekend, to fourth and seventh. I always look for the team to go forward in every thing it does and we’ve certainly hit that target this weekend, at our home track in front of all of our sponsors, supporters and friends. I’ll sleep happy tonight!”

Rob McElnea, Virgin Yamaha team boss: “Given the problems we had with qualifying Sean’s result in the first race was excellent and we were pleased to see him home safe in the second. Obviously our biggest concern of the weekend is Tommy. He has just had no luck whatsoever. He is now running at the front pace, in the last two races he has suffered from machine problems while he has been in real contention. I’m sure it is only a matter of time before his luck changes.”

Regis Laconi, Ducati Corse, crashed in warmup, didn’t race: "I am fine but now I just need a few days to recover for Monza. It's a track I like, we are at home and Ducati is always very fast. This was a very big crash and I feel very lucky because I could easily have broken something and been out of action for some time. I am obviously disappointed because I wanted to take part in the second race, but I did receive a big bang on the head and was unconscious for a few minutes so the doctors said it was better that I didn't."

James Toseland, Ducati Corse, 8th race 1 19th race 2: "I was riding round with people I shouldn't be riding round with, given the qualifying position. I got a decent start again but going into turn 4 a Yamaha came steaming underneath me and pushed me really wide. I was lucky to stay on and then had to change the front tyre because the brakes were locking up. Monza is the next race, we just need to find some traction because there's not much wrong with the top speed of the bike. We're struggling and we need to find the form again but there's nothing wrong with the bike and nothing wrong with me. We rode hard in the first race but couldn't really do much more after going off the track in race 2."

Ronald ten Kate, Winston Ten Kate team manager: “That was a great ride from Chris – just like in the first race when he had to battle for many laps under a lot of pressure. From what I could see he made no mistakes and protected his position lap after lap. It was a different challenger this time but the result was the same and I am happy for him and the team to take two second places away from what has been a very difficult weekend. I’m disappointed for Karl again as his weekend has been even harder. We’ll have to try and find out what caused his crash but it’s a shame that he wasn’t able to bring his bike home for some valuable and well-deserved points. We’ll regroup and study all the data to make sure that we’re fighting for more podium positions at Monza.”

Chris Vermeulen, Winston Ten Kate Honda, two second places: “That was just as hard as it was in race one but at least I was able to stay relatively close to Troy (Corser). He’s riding so well but I think we’re moving in the right direction every time we go out and hopefully, by the time we get to Monza, we will have closed the gap even more. Chris (Walker) showed what a good rider he is but when I saw a yellow bike behind me I assumed it would be Kagayama. Chris put me under a lot of pressure so it was important not to make a mistake. The Honda is pretty fast so I knew I was OK down the straights. I just had to brake as heavy as I dared into the corners. The track was pretty slippery and it was very hard to turn on the brakes, especially in the early part of the lap. But I’m happy to be on the podium again and to have collected a good load of points.”

Karl Muggeridge, Winston Ten Kate Honda, Double DNF: “What can I say? It’s been a very tough weekend – not just for me but for the team as well. Once again we seem to be making some steps forward as we get through practice and qualifying but it’s not quite enough to get a good set-up for racing. I was feeling pretty comfortable in that race, though, not pushing too hard and trying to conserve the tyres for the end of the race. I just lost the front and tried to save it but my foot was stuck under the bike and that was it.”

BSB:

Jonathan Rea, Red Bull Honda, two 14th places: “I enjoyed the first race battle with Kirkham. It was good to get the better of him eventually. He unsettled me a bit at first, but I got into a good rhythm and took my chance when it came along. The second race was more of the same and I’m happy to have taken four points today considering my qualifying position. Overall I’m really pleased with my lap times. I’ll be aiming to qualify better next weekend at Oulton Park, because I feel that I can run comfortably higher up the field.”

Michael Rutter, HM Plant Honda, Double winner: “I’m obviously a happy man tonight, but it’s such a shame that Kiyo had to miss out. I would rather be winning when he’s out there with me. There’s no doubt that the HM Plant Honda is going well at the moment. The input that we’ve had over the past two seasons from HRC and Michelin has been invaluable. We’re now seeing the fruits of our labour. It’s a special feeling for me at Mallory in particular to win in front of my family and friends.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari, HM Plant Honda, crashed race1 sat out race 2: “The crash was directly as a result of my mistake under braking. After my check-up in the medical centre, I feel OK except for a bit of a sore head and neck. If I’m fit to ride, I’ll be aiming to return to action at Oulton Park next weekend. I’m happy that Michael has done so well today for HM Plant Honda Racing, which makes up in some way for my disappointment.”

Scott Smart, Rizla Suzuki, 5th race 1 8th race 2: "I nearly took third and my first podium of the season in the first race. I had the pace on the two guys in front of me but I just couldn't force my way past them. We had three starts in the second race and every one of them was poor. Once I got going, I was running the same times as the leaders, so there's nothing wrong with my Rizla Suzuki - we just need to get off the line quicker and we'll be working specifically on that for Oulton Park next week."

John Reynolds, Rizla Suzuki, Retired race 1 didn’t start race 2: "In the opening race I was getting beaten up at every corner and my right leg was cramping badly. I made the call to retire to the pits because of the pain and an inability to ride in my normal aggressive style. I sat down with my crew after the race and we had a good heart-to-heart. We decided I should withdraw from the second race of the day as I honestly didn't think I could get in the points. I see my doctor on Tuesday and will have intensive physiotherapy after that.

Robert Wicks, Rizla Suzuki Team Manager: "Well done to Scott for scoring his season best performance with a fifth place in the opening race. He was riding his Rizla Suzuki as hard as he could and was racing for the final podium position right until the last lap when he ran wide trying to make a pass stick. Today is another step forward in Scott's season and it's great to see him fighting at the front - we'll be after more of the same at Oulton Park. JR made a tough call today by coming in. It was obvious he was in a lot of pain with his right leg and couldn't continue under those circumstances. We will now let the dust settle and see how he responds to treatment through the course of next week."

Troy Corser, Alstare Suzuki, double winner: “It’s been a perfect weekend and I want to thank the whole Alstare team for making it all possible. Conditions were very variable today - due to the change in track temperature - but we had done all the groundwork in qualifying and were ready for anything. I used the same rear tyre for both races but it didn’t work as well in race two - because the temperature was higher. The first race was pretty comfortable for me and I just controlled things right from the start and left the rest to sort themselves out. In race two, I was a bit surprised to see Andrew (Pitt) get off the line ahead of me and lead into turn one. I wanted to pass him as soon as possible because I wanted to run my own race, so I overtook him on lap two. I then pushed quite hard for about eight laps and made a bit of a break, but in doing that I think I must have worn the rear tyre out a bit. So then, I eased the pace, conserved the tyres and kept and eye on my pit-board. The wind in race two was a bit of a problem because it was different in different parts of the circuit. But, it was great to do another double and extend my lead in the championship to thirty-one points.”

Yukio Kagayama, Alstare Suzuki, Race 1 3rd, Race 2 7th: “Today I am a lucky man - or maybe double lucky. In the first race, I had moved up to fourth, with Norick (Abe) in third but too far away. Then he crashed two laps from the end and suddenly I was third and on the podium! I was also lucky in the second race, because I didn’t crash! I had very little feeling in my tyres - maybe because of the high track temperature - and I overshot one turn because I had no grip. I recovered OK, but the leading group was too far to catch. After that I had to go more slowly because I knew I would crash if I went faster. I am happy for Troy-san and our team and I am still second in the championship, so I think I am a lucky man today.”

Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Xerox Team director: "Unfortunately it was a weekend to forget for us. This morning Regis was quicker than everyone in the warm-up but his crash meant that he could not take part in the two races, in which I am sure he would have given Corser a hard time. James on the other hand, was unable to find the right direction in qualifying and this conditioned his two races on Sunday. Now is the time to concentrate on Monza and focus all of our energies on the next round, which is traditionally an important appointment for Superbike and for Ducati."