MCN's World Superbikes reporter Michael Guy has caught up with Team Pedercini rider Dean Ellison to find out how he is coping in his first season in the World Superbike Championship.
MCN: How are you finding your first season in World Superbikes?
Ellison: “Hard. I always knew it was going to be tough racing in the world championship because you are up against riders with a lot of experience.”
MCN: What’s been the toughest part?
Ellison: “Learning the tracks. I usually learn new circuits pretty quickly but this year I haven’t been able to get to grips with them as quickly as I wanted.
“I also had two rounds where I wasn’t well and two rounds where I was suffering with concussion after two big crashes, which really didn’t help.”
MCN: Where are you losing time?
Ellison: “I’m struggling to set a single quick lap in qualifying and that obviously effects your grid position for the race. Also at the start with new tyres and a full tank of fuel my pace isn’t fast enough.
“After three laps I generally go quicker and start to catch the guys but I’m losing too much early on.”
MCN: How is the bike?
Ellison: “It’s Okay but right now it’s the limiting factor. I’m riding a 2004 Ducati 999 with no electronics and that makes it difficult when you are up against factory 07 bikes.
“At fast circuits when the speed trap is in the braking zone we’ve topped the table so everyone thinks it’s the fastest bike in the championship.
“The bike is fast once you’ve got it stood up and you’re driving but the problem we’re having is getting the power down out of the corners because it’s too fierce low down.”
MCN: What are you doing about that?
Ellison: “Because we haven’t got any electronics on the bike the team have been working on new specs of engine to change the engine character.
“The plan is to sacrifice a bit of top end to smooth out the bottom which should help with the lap times. We’ve got a couple of engine specs to try and a definite plan for the test so I’m really looking forward to it.”
MCN: Will the Vallelunga test this weekend be another new track for you?
Ellison: “No, I know the track well because I’ve done two World Endurance races there in 2003 and 2004.
“I think it’s changed a little bit since then, but it will be good going to a track that both I and the team knows.”
MCN: Are you fully fit now?
Ellison: “Yes I’m feeling good. I’m in the gym twice a day and I’ve just started working on a really tough programme. In total I’m there about five hours a day so my fitness is pretty good.”
MCN: What are your thoughts on next season?
Ellison: “I want to stay with the team because they are very passionate about their racing, but the results haven’t been what anyone of us would have wanted.
“Since day one we’ve treated this season as a leaning year and I’m hoping I can do enough to stay with the team and get on a newer more competitive bike next season.”