Muir on Easton and Ellison
Swan Honda team owner Shaun Muir unveiled his new-look team of Stuart Easton and James Ellison at the Carole Nash MCN Motorcycle Show in London on Sunday. We asked him to evaluate his own riders.
What do you see in Ellison that maybe wasn’t there in 2008 when he rode for you?
I think he’s probably better equipped this year to go and win races than Stuart was this time last year.
It’s difficult to tell exactly how he has improved over the past year. It took him time to adapt to the Yamaha.
What’s different about your team this year?
I’d say when James rode for in 2008 we complimented each other. That’s to say, even if we had a better ride on board, our results would not have been better.
I’d say we are a lot better equipped (staff-wise and equipment-wise) now. We have the technical staff and support for both of our riders to be title contenders. That change only came about last year with new people joining us.
Initially you were content to run a one-rider team. What changed?
We realised it would be very difficult to win the title with a one-rider team.
We saw that when Tommy (Hill) joined us it gave us added perspective on the technical development of the bikes as well as driving Stuart to even greater things.
Will Ellison push Easton as hard as Tommy did?
I think James will push Stuart all the way. The good thing is their neither of them are crashers.
They both have similar smooth styles and I hope they push the barriers. I can’t decide who will come out on top.
Who should you rivals fear the most?
Ha! Stuart. He’s got that new aggressive streak and a mental toughness like you would not believe possible.
Can you explain where that came from?
I think Stuart relied a lot last year on making good start and, even though he was picked off, he was still getting good finishes.
Then in the last few races we got the new air-bleed system. His was comfortable on the bike. And his confidence went through the roof.
In the last round he was riding on the ragged edge and saw what kind of results that achieved for him.
And he seemed to carry that on to Macau?
His determination to win there was un-nerving. You don’t take that (kind of aggression) to that place.
But it’s not just on track. His new training regime has given him a mental edge he didn’t have before. I wouldn’t bet against him.