BSB’s 2009 bikes

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1 Airwaves Yamaha
GSE Racing showed why they gained factory Yamaha backing when they finished 1-2 in the series.

They started the year with virtually stock bikes but quickly switched to full factory R1s as the hardware became available and their £1.3 million budget seemed well spent as Leon Camier dominated the series.

But, after comparing their results with those of, people were left wondering if factory bikes and technical support were a prerequisite to getting the best out of the crossplane crank R1.

2 Hydrex Honda
Privateer team Hydrex Honda eclipsed the works HM Plant Honda team as Stuart Easton scored two wins and another 12 podium to rack up 374 points finishes to claim third place in the points.

The bikes were developed in-house, and used Pectell electronics which meant their machines arguably better specs than the so-called works HM Plant Honda team.

3 Worx Suzuki
After losing potential title-contender Sylvain Guintoli to injury, Worx Suzuki must have been cursing their lack of finances to run two riders, though Tommy Hill and Micheal Rutter both had promising rides substituting for the inured Frenchman. 

But the bottom line was that their GSX-R1000 was one of the best all-round machines on the BSB grid, featuring a lot of factory equipment.

4 HM Plant Honda
Held back by savage budget cuts, HM Plant Honda went into the year with the same bikes as that had been so competitive during 2008 in the hands of Leon Haslam and Cal Crutchlow.

But limited upgrades from HRC left the team with an uphill battle in terms of equipment plus Glen Richards was coming back to BSB after two years on superstock and supersport bikes and Josh Brookes lacked circuit knowledge.

Brookes finished fourth on 188 points in a year the HM Plant team failed to garner a single victory.

5 Relentless Suzuki
The Irish-based Relentless by TAS team stepped up a gear in 2009, with factory support that meant they had access to virtually the same kit as the Worx Suzuki team.

But TAS were held back by having a rider in Atsushi Watanabe who was woefully off the pace.

That meant all the machine development had to be channelled through BSB rookie Ian Lowry.

But he did a brilliant job and showed that the team had their GSX-R well sorted by finishing an impressive fifth in the points.

=6 MSS Colchester Kawasaki and Buildbase Kawasaki
The ever-improving MSS Kawasaki duo Simon Andrews and Julien Da Costa finished half a point apart in the series in sixth and seventh respectively but went almost opposite directions in terms of development – Andrews primarily sticking with the Kawasaki kit ECU electronics while Da Costa was prepared to persevere with the more complex Marelli system.

John Laverty finished 10th overall with resurgent Buildbase Kawasaki team – some of his second-half season performance outshining the MSS riders.

His crew opted to run Bitubo suspension and Motex electronics .

8 Motorpoint Yamaha
Rob McElnea’s Scunthorpe-based privateer team lost their way with development of the new R1 – something they only realised after the season had finished when Airwaves Yamaha rider James Ellison agreed to test the bike.

The team had run both K-Tech and Ohlins suspension in the year, an aftermarket  Feb Tech swing-arm and Motec electronics but Ellison made then realise the chassis set-up and to much reliance on electronics wasn’t the way to get the best out of the R1.

9 Bathams Ducati
Michael Rutter dusted off the 2008 ex-NW200 Ducati 1098s for the final two BSB rounds of this year but failed to reach the kind of competitive level he had previously shown.

He had aftermarket pistons installed to boost the power output of the previously ‘supersport-tune’ engine builds required by the rules a year earlier – but his shoestring budget meant cutting corners and he was plagued with lots of irritating technical issues.

Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin