BSB: Ellison: 'It felt like they'd given me Rossi's GP bike!'

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James Ellison has said the breakthrough found by his McAMS Yamaha team ahead of today’s MCE British Superbike qualifying session was like them giving him Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP bike as he blasted to second on the grid for tomorrow’s opening race.

Ellison, who has shown top ten pace all weekend but struggled to trouble to top guys in free practice, clocked a time of 1’46.561, the quickest ever of the Snetterton 300 circuit until Shane Byrne beat it for pole, on his single flying Superpole lap.

And while Ellison says the changes made by the McAMS team gave him what felt like a completely different machine, all that had been altered was the removal of a tooth from the rear sprocket and a little bit of pre-load on the rear.

“I wasn’t very happy with the balance of the bike in FP3,” Ellison explained. “We’ve been struggling with wheelie all weekend. We’re fine braking, going into a corner and getting around it but when accelerating to the next corner the bike would wheelie just before I rolled off the throttle. That meant I’d have to roll off early to get the front wheel on the ground before I could brake. That was happening everywhere, and all of those periods where I was rolling I should have been flat out!


“Whatever we tried didn’t seem to fix it. Finally, before qualifying we changed the gearing, literally we just took a tooth off the back and that helped the wheelies and we also took a bit of pre-load off at the same time.

“Fixing that one area meant we went into qualifying with a different bike. It’s only a minute change, but it was like someone had given me Valentino Rossi’s GP bike!

“We’ve been sort of off the pace all weekend so to get on the front row of the grid is good! Our pace has been consistent but too slow, so now we’ve found a bit of extra time if we can keep the consistency we should be alright.” 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing