Oct 4, 2012
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Simon Buckmaster (right).
I just thought I would write a quick word as we go into our last round and the year as a whole draws to a close in all series of Motorcycle Racing.
What a year it has been for PTR. I know we have finished runner up for the third time in four years and missed out on the title and congratulations to Kenan. But you have to say Jules Cluzel has been nothing but impressive on the PTR Honda.
Jules never saw the bike until he got to Australia and had never ridden on Pirelli tyres. His first three round scores were fourth, crash and sixth. If we held those events now I think we all know his results would be much stronger and he would have taken the title to the last round with Kenan. For sure, along with Kenan he will be the rider to beat in 2013. Let's hope we can keep him at PTR and give Kawasaki a big fight and for the fans a racing treat. Kawasaki have been interested in Jules but I hope you all agree with me he would be better off on our Honda.
Sam Lowes has been incredibly fast this year and along with Jules has three fastest laps. There is an award for this at the end of the year and it can only now be won by Sam or Jules. There is also a qualifying performance award in which Sam and Jules are separated by one point and cannot be caught by anyone else. So as you see as a team we have been dominant and also given Honda the lead in the manufacturer's table going into the last round.
Sam looked to be in with a great chance of fulfilling his ambition and winning the title for a large part of the season, even after crashing out of Assen and Misano. However, a jump start in Moscow (we can't argue he did jump it) which resulted in only 12th place followed by a crash out of the leading group of four after Foret had run him and Sam wide resulted in only 14th after he remounted put him out of contention.
Fifth place in Portimao after a massive moment at the last corner injured his shoulder means he goes into the last round this weekend at Magny Cours only fourth in the standings. I know Sam wanted to win the title so much and can now only finish third at best and we are all right there with him as his two wins so far this year and tremendous speed at every round deserves nothing less than this.
One last point on the jump-start that I just have to add. So a jump-start means a drive through and eventually 12th place. OK we all know the penalty but how can almost knocking another rider off his bike (the famous Sofuoglu and Foret incident in Aragon) mean only a drop from 2nd to 5th in the race. I am sure you would all agree no matter which rider you are on side with that this just cannot be correct.
Moving on, I know I have said this a number of times but I cannot stress enough how proud I am of our whole team, for their spirit, commitment and drive that has made all our results possible. On top of the superb performances by Sam and Jules, Ronan Quarmby became the first South African rider to get a Motorcycle racing podium for 25 years when he finished third for us at Imola. Add a fantastic ride to fourth at Silverstone where he battled with the leaders for nearly the whole race and other good rides and he is eighth in the championship with more than a reasonable chance of grabbing seventh overall at Magny Cours this Sunday.
We have also seen very good speed from Mathew Scholtz but his youthful enthusiasm led to more mistakes than he or we would have liked. However, he has shown great character to keep his faith and has been rewarded with a top ten finish in the last round at Portimao. He goes into this weekend in good form and I am confident he will do a great job next year.
Martin Jessopp has been disappointed and we are for him. A few crashes mid season lost him momentum and we all hope he can finish with a season best result this Sunday to end his first World Supersport season on a high.
So, from a PTR side what about 2013? I can tell you if we could we would be happy to keep all our riders as everyone has contributed to a fantastic team atmosphere.
We all know this may not be possible, as Sam for instance would like to move up to World Superbike or Moto GP CRT. As you may know we also manage Sam personally and as much as I would like him to go again and win the WSS title next year I would not in any way want to hold him back. We all want to see Sam reach as high a level as possible in his career.
As I said earlier we are also hoping to keep Jules to challenge Kenan for the title and I expect to be able to tell you all about that soon. Mathew looks set to stay for another year and we are still talking with Ronan. Martin would like to move back to Superbike and if this happens we wish him all the best, he and his family have been a joy to work with this year.
One way or another we will have some new faces in the team in 2013, watch this space and we will update you as soon as we can.