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Sep 25, 2013

AMA Pro SuperSport East Champion Corey Alexander To Race With PTR Honda World Supersport Team At Magny-Cours And Jerez

AMA Pro SuperSport East Champion Corey Alexander (5). Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
JUST in case you might all be wondering why we have changed most of our riders here at PTR, I thought it best to explain so you all get an insight into how racing works some times.

Sheridan Morais had been riding injured since the Assen round when he damaged shoulder ligaments. Despite some flashes of what he could be capable of he never really delivered. A fourth place on the gird at Aragon ended in being knocked off on the first lap by one of our other riders, David Linortner. Then a podium challenge faded as he lost strength in his shoulder ending in seventh at Donington. A sixth at Monza quite soon after the initial injury showed the raw speed of our bike and a front row start in third at Portimao resulted in fifth in the race.

Sheridan was offered the chance to ride the GO Eleven Kawasaki after the tragic accident to Andrea Antonelli just after a disappointing run in Silverstone when he accidently turned the electronics off instead of activating launch control before the start.

He decided that maybe he could re-find true form on a Kawasaki and asked to be released for this. We have had a good relationship with Sheridan and I know it is no good having a rider who believes he could do better elsewhere, so we agreed. I did warn him of the risk to his reputation were he to fail on the Kawasaki but he still wanted to give it a go.

Unfortunately for Sheridan, as I write this his performance on the Kawasaki has only really matched his worst performance on our bike. Hopefully his performances will improve for him as he is a nice guy but it does go to prove we still have a bike capable of winning and just need a rider to make it happen with us.

I covered the reasons why in the last column, how we lost Jules Cluzel who we believed would lift the title for us when Sylvain Guintoli jumped ship from Suzuki to take the Aprilia ride. That prompted my old friend Paul Denning to offer Jules a Superbike ride on the eve he was due to sign for us. The joys of the politics of racing I suppose...

Sheridan trying pastures new has given us the chance to give Danny Webb a four-race programme to step up to the 600 class after only riding 125 and Moto3 bikes in his career.

He improved in a big way from his first ride in Nurburgring when his only ever 600 race bike ride before then was a track day at Cadwell Park with us the Tuesday before the German race. He has come on leaps and bounds and came close to his first points in Istanbul. I truly believe he will be challenging for the top 10 by the last round at Jerez and hope we can reach agreement for him to ride for us in 2014 and show what he can do.

We were faced with further problems after David Linortner suffered a car crash just before Nurburgring and could not ride. After having only a matter of a couple of days to find a replacement as required by our contract with Dorna, we ran Kevin Wahr, leader of the IDM Supersport Championship. He showed promise after only having ridden a Yamaha, but his fitness for the longer race came into play and he had to pull in. I must admit it was hard for me to believe a fit young man cannot complete the race but those were the facts.

We had kind of got used to finding last minute riders after both Sheridan and Luca were found unfit to ride just days before Russia, but as we all know this round did not take place in the end after the Antonelli accident in wet conditions. This did not give stand in riders Kenny Noyes or Luke Mossey the chance to score in the rain as had looked likely. Linortner said he had quit racing for the year just before Istanbul and David Mcfadden rode there in his place. He struggled to come to grips with the Supersport pace but I am sure will go form strength to strength in the future. This does just show the real quality and depth in the field despite the dominance of Sam Lowes and Kenan Sofuoglu.

We were then faced with a request to drop budget from the Matt Davies camp due to the cancellation of the Indian round. I was also more than surprised that they had decided to miss the Istanbul round to spend time at home in Australia. This was the round with the most track time, so this cemented our decision that Matt was too young to give the commitment, focus and determination at this time in his career. I hope he can come back in other seasons and show what he can do when he has the maturity to compete at the World level.

Anyway, other doors open and we welcome 19-year-old American Corey Alexander to the team for Magny Cours and Jerez. We are all excited to see what he can achieve having just won an AMA title. I am sure he would make a welcome addition to the WSS paddock in 2014.

We have another rider announcement to make for Magny Cours and Jerez so watch this space. For next year we have made an agreement with a rider who I firmly believe we will put PTR back where we belong - challenging for the world title. Can't say more at the moment but we will update you as soon as we can.

We are not the only ones faced with problems as the arrival of Toni Elias in Superbike and the recent BSB shuffles with Tommy Bridewell and Nori Haga show. I hope you all realise we all start the season hoping we will all achieve our goals and it is a real shame when changes have to be made.

It certainly has been an eventful year.

Cheers

Simon
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