The rumour mill has been in full swing regarding the rider movements on the road racing front.
Top of those rumours has been the future of Guy Martin who finally clinched his first major international road race of the year on Saturday in the second superbike race at the Ulster Grand Prix.
Martin – at his own request - has run his own set-up this year, virtually independent of the BSB team but he’s failed to live up to expectations, thwarted by machine problems – primarily with the superport bike, the one machine that he says he doesn’t prepare.
There has been friction in the team all season: especially after Martin’s outspoken comments in the heat of the moment after his TT bike failures. A continued lack of race wins has fuelled the negativity.
There was talk he was going to substitute for injured Cameron Donald on the Relentless by TAS team but both TAS boss Philip Neill and Hydrex Honda owner Shaun Muir denied it. At the Ulster though Martin admitted he approached Neill about riding their superstocker at Dundrod.
Martin told MCN: “I was told by one of the guys back at the workshop my stocker had been sold. Obviously it’s the first race of the day and it’s important to get that one under your belt to suss the track conditions ready for the superbike race so I asked Philip about riding their bike instead.”
Martin then asked Muir if it was okay to ride the GSX-R1000 and he was told in no uncertain manner it wasn’t a good idea – but Muir also said his Honda superstock bike would be available for the Ulster. Obviously some crossed wires in the Hydrex camp!
But after Martin’s UGP superbike win, Muir said: “It’s been a tough season. He’s not had any luck this year. For sure, the supersport bike has not been right all year – and it’s let him down here. It’s overheated again this weekend but the boys can’t find a leak where it could have lost water.
“But respect to Guy. He deserved that today, though any one from four could have won it. I like the kid and want to stick with him.”
Pressed on that as confirmation that he will continue to back Martin next year, Muir said: “It all depends on which manufacturer we’re with.”
That’s fuelled another suggestion that Muir will ditch Hondas and run either Aprilia or BMW factory bikes – with both manufacturers looking for a top team to run a 2010 BSB effort.
Muir says he gets no help from Honda – either financially or technically - and pays for his own equipment – bad news when the superbikes have suffered ten crank failures in two season at £4000 a pop. He also said he has had no dialogue with Honda Racing boss Neil Tuxworth all year. A switch to Aprilia and BMW will be costly exercise – gearing up to run different equipment - and Martin’s future could depend on whether either manufacturer sees any PR benefit from running on the roads as well as BSB.
Muir added: “We’ll take stock (of Martin’s future) after Scarborough. Like Guy said one win buries a 1000 bad results.
“It’s nice to finish (the major international road races) on a high. He had to get that top spot on the podium and I got the feeling it was a crash or bust effort. He was so determined. But I’m pleased everyone has come home safe and they al showed respect for each other out there."