Steve Plater assumes rider/manager role
Steve Plater is now the team manager as well as BSB rider for AIM Yamaha. We spoke to him about his new role – and the forthcoming season.
MCN: So what’s this about you running the AIM team?
Plater: I’m co-ordinating the team for Alastair Flanagan who owns AIM. It’s just a matter of putting things into perspective, giving the guys some direction. It’s good for me at this stage of my career because I’m not the youngest guy on the grid!
Alastair and I seemed to gell from the start, we have mutual trust and he’s bang on. Steve Mellor (AIM’s cheif technician and engine tuning guru – Editor) is bang on but he needs to be left to do what he does best, engines. He’s been doing too much, not just for him but it would have been too much to expect of anyone to do all the development and try to run the team.
MCN: So the management role is about building for the future – on a personal level?
Plater: Yeah. Ultimately Alastair is looking at World Supersport and wants to be there in 2009 with a one-man team, initially.
MCN: Let’s talk racing. What are you up to this year?
Plater: I’m doing BSB again. Last year it was more or less a testing programme for the roads. We had a brand new bike to develop and I’d say the final three races of the year brought better results for us – and 2008 will be even better.
Alastair wanted me to race supersport this year, as part of that development for the WSS programme. But I wanted to stay in BSB, to keep sharp for the roads. So we brought in Hutchy (Ian Hutchinson).
MCN: He’s a star on the roads. How do you rate him in BSS terms though?
Plater: He’ll be very competitive. He’s more than capable of getting on the podium each week and if you do that you have to be in with a shot of the title.
MCN: Going back to BSB, what do you make of the Pirelli tyre rule?
Plater: I know they work because I ran Pirellis in World Endurance last year, including some development stuff for WSB at the Bol. I was on third rate tyres in BSB though (Dunlops) so having Pirellis is another problem ironed out. No longer will certain riders get a tyre that’s a full second or more faster than others.
In BSB there’s always been something better to have than we got. Our tyres were never crap but there was better stuff to be had. I know people say Pirellis may suffer in certain conditions but in my experience they won’t be affected as much by the temperature changes in Britain like the Michelins were.
MCN: Are you still doing World Endurance too?
Plater: Oh yes! I’m with GMT for Le Mans and the Bol and I’m their reserve rider for WSB should either of their riders get injured. What with the TT and the two 24 hour races it means I miss three BSB races: Thruxton (Le Mans), Donington (TT) and Croft (Bol).
MCN: So 2009. AIM Yamaha go to Supersport with one rider? Is that you or will you retire come the end of the year?
Plater: No, I’ll run the WSS team but I’ll continue to do the roads and endurance racing.