Video: North West 200 launch: Rutter and Plater interviewed
Last year’s big North West 200 winners Steve Plater and Michael Rutter are both on different bikes this year. MCN asked them about their news deals.
NW200 Coca Cola Zero Yamaha
You had nothing at one stage now you seem to have one of the hottest rides in BSB. Tell us about this rags to riches story.
Yeah, here we are, another season, another challenge. I was looking forward to second year on Ducati, having a season of learning behind us, but everything’s changed and here we are with another new challenge with new Yamahas.
When the Ducati deal ended, you were stuck in Thailand, after the airport siege there. What was it like?
The first day was a bit scary when it all kicked off and they were shooting in the street! I was there, stuck in a hotel for seven days, at a time I was dying to get home to talk about a new job. But it’s turned out alright. Alastair Kennedy is helping me out again and we’ve got Yamahas with the Coca Cola Zero backing.
Last year you were down on speed with the Ducati but still managed a race win. How do you think things will pan out with the Yamaha?
For the roads the Yamaha will be really good. Rob Mac (McElnea – team boss) said the new engine configuration will give it really good drive off the corners. In BSB it’s going to be a wide open season. A lot of top names have gone. There’s new bikes. I think the Yamaha should be really competitive and it’ll be an interesting season.
Plater is dressed in period costume for the photo shoot here. How come you aren’t?
Look at the state of him. Oh, congratulations on his 45th birthday by the way!
HM Plant Honda
It’s all changed for you from AIM Yamaha last year with those wins at the North West and TT. Tell us about it.
Yeah, it’s good to get thing sorted so early with HM Plant Honda so I can attack British Superport in the UK and the roads .
What’s the North West 200 mean to you?
It’s massive. I’ve won quite a few now. Last year was really special. I managed to get the supersport lap record, won both supersport race and the main superbike race so obviously, I’ll be in all four races, two superbike and two supersport – and hopefully win all four.
What spec superbikes will you run – roads specials or pure BSB machinery?
Exactly the same bikes that Glen Richards and Josh Brookes race in BSB. That’s the plan. We’re going tyre testing early in the year. We’re running Dunlops instead of the Pirellis they use in BSB.
How come you agreed to dress up in period costume for the photo shoot?
Because I knew what ever I wore I’d still look younger than Michael Rutter!