Superbike stars on MCN Live stage

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The MCN Live! stage was brimming with talent today at the London Motorcycle Show with no fewer than six superbike stars taking part in the celebrity interview in front of hundreds of race fans.

Troy Corser was arguably the biggest star on stage, but it was Yamaha BSB rider Chris Walker who got the biggest cheer.

Corser was speaking of his switch to BMW on the new S1000RR having already undergone some testing he feels this isn’t as big a challenge as his move to Foggy Petronas in 2002.

He added: “I don’t think there’s any one rider who’s going to run away with it like Troy Bayliss did although I think Max Neukirchner is probably going to be the most experienced guy as he’s stayed with Suzuki.”

Relentless Suzuki’s Ian Lowry is making the step up for 2009 from the supersport class but feels he’s ready for the challenge.

Lowry said: “It’s a big step up for me coming from the 600 class but we have got a good pre testing schedule coming up in Spain.”

The Northern Irish rider will remain in his homeland and travel back and forth for racing.

He said: “I park my truck at Leon’s (Haslam) house and fly in and out of East Midlands airport. I only live 10 minutes form the airport at home so it’s as easy as living here.”

Cal Crutchlow, who heads to World Supersport with Yamaha says he’s looking forward to travelling round the world with his new career.

The 23-year-old said: “I’m looking forward to the challenge, travelling the world and having a bit of a jolly whilst also still doing the business on track. It’s nice to get to see lots of countries and to get good weather as it’s always snowing pissing it down here so we crash the bikes. I want to be world champion and being in the 600 class I think I have got a good chance to bring a title back to Britain.”

Leon Haslam is also ready for his return to World Superbikes with Stiggy Honda.

He said: “A lot of the riders have moved to different manufacturers so the championship is going to be wide open. I’m sure we will all be challenging for podiums so it’s going to be really exciting. I’ve been trying to get back to WSB for a couple of years so I just want to get to Australia now.”

Chris Walker made a return to the show having come along on Thursday but was happy to be interviewed again and feels his best chance for a shot at the British superbike title is likely to be in 2010.

“I was desperate to come back to BSB a couple of years ago. I’m back with the people who gave me my chance back in 1997 with Rob McElnea, he’s been my mentor both on the track and behind the scenes. Once I get back in to the swing of it and get settled I consider that by 2010 I’ll be in an even better place to vie for the title.”

New Kawasaki BSB signing Julian Da Costa was first on stage and managed to get through the language barrier to say how much he’s looking forward to returning to 1000cc racing for 2009.

Da Costa said: “I raced in British Supersport with Kawasaki in 2006, it’s a professional team and is like a family. I kept in touch with team boss Nick Morgan and he said they might have a ride for me in 2009.”

Da Costa hasn’t raced at Knockhill or Snetterton but is confident his knowledge of the other circuits will help him to do well this year, adding: “There are many good riders in BSB but we are hoping to get top five this year.”

Sarah Carnell

By Sarah Carnell