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Mar 18, 2013

PTR Honda's Simon Buckmaster Recaps The World Supersport Event At Phillip Island

FIM Supersport World Championship: PTR Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster (left) with rider Nacho Perez (right) at Phillip Island.
Well now the dust has settled after the Philip Island race we have had time to sort our troubles and look forward. Without going into the part that was incorrect (supplier problem) on the new engines in Sheridan's bike, at least in the end we found out the problem. Once again our team spirit shone through; if it happened again there are things we would do in a different way but that is just learning as a team how to improve.

There is no point in pointing fingers and trying to find someone to blame, we just look at every situation and put things in place to make sure we avoid repeats of things that go wrong. This was our worst race since Philip Island in 2008 but we will be stronger for this experience.

As soon as we had a bad event there were people looking to put the knife in straight away but that is just the price we pay for such a long period of success.

There were a lot of positives as well from Philip Island. Luca Marconi showed he has true potential to challenge for the top 10 every race. We just need to work with him to improve his qualifying performance so he is with the group he has the ability to fight with from the start of the race instead of having to fight through the field to try and get to them. As we all know if someone the same pace as you gets away you cannot get it back.

David Linortner showed he has true raw pace, he just needs to work on concentration to avoid mistakes. Crashes lose track time and momentum and in the case of this race a good result. He knows this and I am sure we will see a different more controlled approach for Aragon.

Matt Davies at 17 years old rode a sensible event, no mistakes and now he has his first World Championship race under his belt we will all see him go from strength to strength. He is a talent for the future and I hope we can work with him for a number of years to achieve the results his ability deserves.

Nacho Perez has made the step up from Stock 600 and I know Michael Van Der Mark rode an impressive 4th place compared to Nacho's 19th but he did have a race last year and Nacho with a home race next will progress into the points I am sure. Let's see how far up he can get.

Sheridan after all the problems just did not get a chance to show the pace he has. He was very impressive in Portimao' preseason test and you will all see what he can do at Aragon. I admire his professional approach and how he remained calm throughout the loss of the two days of testing and in fact only getting one session (Q 2) before the race. He then suffered a rear wheel speed sensor failure on lap one of the race. I am not one to bemoan bad luck and in the case of the engine problems in practice, we as I said before, have put thing in place to avoid any repeat of this. That said all our bikes are the same and for Sheridan to have the rear wheel sensor problem really was so unlucky.

Pirelli once again came in for some stick and the race was shortened again as it was in 2012. In their defence I do think teams need to look at themselves. I admit we got it wrong in 2012 after looking for more rear grip at the expense of tyre wear and falling away at the end of the race. This year had it not been for Sheridan's problems we were in great shape tyre wear wise (we learnt from 2012!!!).

Luca's tyres could easily have done race distance. Before you all start saying yeah but he was only 12th look also at the Kawasaki of Kenan Sofuoglu. He set his fastest laps at the end of the race (last two laps) and also could have gone full race distance. I felt for Sam Lowes as his team seemed to concentrate on dominating practice too much and come the big day got taught a lesson as Kenan who looked to have no answer came up with all the answers in warm up to unsettle Sam and his team - and then repeat this in the race. As Sam's personal manager we of course cannot have any influence over the team but I am sure Sam will learn from this and go forward to challenge in the race in Aragon.

I do have to say, it did make me smile to hear on the TV commentary how good it will be to see Sam on a fast bike now. Sorry chaps he has been on one the last two-years. The closest he has come to winning in Philip Island was his first year (2011). We have all seen enough tight finishes to know if you are the guy behind with experience you can run onto the leading rider coming off the last turn and pass him with relative ease before the finish line. Kenan is a very experienced rider and he did this to Sam a number of times in the race. This led to Sam having to ride hard to keep regaining the lead which in turn of course did not help his tyre wear. This does not mean the Yamaha has turned into a slow bike does it? By the way TV pundits did you notice our bikes topped most of the speed trap figures during the event? They have not changed dramatically since last year so we will keep on building some more slow bikes I suppose as this seems the best way to have the fastest bike.