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Jul 12, 2013

PTR Honda Boss Buckmaster Talks 2013 World Supersport Results, 2014 World Superbike Ambitions

PTR Honda boss Simon Buckmaster.
BY now most of you will have read that we are interested in the new EVO rules for World Superbike as it is a real possibility for us to step up a level and be competitive in that category.

I fully agree with the view of Carmelo Ezpeleta of Dorna that the current cost of World Superbike cannot be maintained in the current economic climate. We need to reduce costs and have more riders and therefore teams on the grid competing. At the moment even if you had budget it is not possible to compete.

We all know that in the end the best teams with the best riders will come to the top. So even if the whole class was run under EVO rules as BSB has achieved, the best teams still win.

What also happens is that smaller private teams can come close and on occasions beat the better-funded teams. This only makes for better racing and also shows a clear difference between MotoGP and the World Superbike class, which is supposed to be road bike based. We have also shown over the years that this is the case in WSS. Let's hope the final rules are finalised soon so we can try and make the jump up to this class.

One thing that does need taking into consideration is that our season is due to finish on 17th November in India. Hopefully we can look at starting a month later in Philip Island 2014 to allow teams to prepare for the new season. A team like us making a new venture need this time to prepare in a good way for 2014. I have not discussed this with Dorna SBK but I would like to think they are aware of this and will look into it.

On the WSS front we have not achieved the level we normally run at as I write this; and although there are many reasons for this we all continue to work as hard as always to get PTR to the level we are used to being at.

Sheridan sustained a shoulder injury in Assen and basically riding every two weeks has not allowed that to recover and as such he is still not able to put in the consistent fast practice runs needed to allow us to get him to the point where he is getting the maximum out of himself and the bike. As you may now know, we will be resting him from Russia so he has additional time to make a full recovery and look forward to welcoming him back at Silverstone.

We had to change our rider line up fully in 2013 due to finances and other reasons. We continue to manage Sam Lowes but Yaknich Motorsport were able to offer him a long term deal involving Superbike we which we simply could not, so it would have been very wrong for us to hold on to him and not allow him to progress his career as he has. We would of course have been in a good position if we had but it would have been a conflict of interest so we are happy we did the right thing.

Jules Cluzel was ready to stay but the last minute shuffle started by Sylvain Guintoli's move from Crescent Suzuki to Aprilia meant Suzuki came to him with an offer at the 11th hour and he decided Superbike was a better option than being one of the favourites to challenge for the WSS title. Only time will tell if he has made the right choice.

I know we have a very good bike but I have to take some blame in that I underestimated what the depth of field would be this year. Luca Marconi has had his best season to date already and will only add to that in the remaining races. Apart from that, Matt Davies at only 17 years old, Nacho Perez and David Linortner have found it challenging to make the step up to World Championship level and be consistently in the points and looking to the top 10.

There are six rounds left starting in Russia and we need to keep working to get them to focus and concentrate at the required level to improve and not crash at frequent intervals in the process, as this only losses track time and momentum. The good riders find the way to ride at a very high level with only a few mistakes.

Keep watching and let's see if we can make the jump to Superbike and put PTR back at the front in the remaining WSS races this year. I can say either way we will continue to have a presence in WSS in 2014 and we will all relish the challenge with the depth of competition that now exists.