Debut TT podium the aim for Kneen in 2013 Leading Isle of Man rider Dan Kneen is preparing in earnest for the rapidly approaching 2013 road racing season and the Marks Bloom Racing rider has outlined a debut TT podium as his main aim. Continuing with Suzuki power for a second year, the 25-year old will contest all three Internationals – the TT, North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix – as well as having selected outings in both the Pirelli National 1000cc Superstock and Thundersport Championships in what promises to be a busy year for the Braddan rider. Kneen has established himself as one of the leading road racers of his generation, a permanent fixture in the top ten and a thorn in the side of the factory-supported teams and he’ll campaign GSXR1000 and GSXR600 Suzuki machines in the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport classes as well as having the use of the Track Electronics ER6 Kawasaki for the Lightweight TT and it’s at his home event where he really wants to make his mark once more. A triple Manx Grand Prix winner at his first attempt in 2008, Kneen has a best result to date at the TT of 5th in the 2010 Supersport A race, something which looked like he’d better last year. After a solid 11th in the opening Superbike race, he was holding onto a superb fifth place in the opening Supersport race and embroiled in a hectic six-man battle for the final podium spot only to suffer a spill exiting Governor’s Bridge when he hit a damp patch at the end of the third lap. With back injuries the outcome, it not only ended his race but also his meeting and a two-month spell on the sidelines followed. However, he bounced back to record strong top ten finishes at both the Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix and, remaining with Marks Bloom Racing for a fifth consecutive season, he comes into 2013 as a contender for success in all classes and at all meetings. Speaking about the season ahead, Kneen said: “Ever since the end of last season, we’ve been working really hard with the bikes to ensure they’re fully prepared from the word go and I can’t wait for my first outing in a couple of weeks’ time. With new machines, we were a bit behind where we wanted to be this time last year and it took me a while to get totally dialled in but that’s certainly not the case this time around and we should hit the ground running.” “We’ve improved the Suzukis considerably over the winter months and am in a strong position coming into this season so I’m firmly aiming at the podium places at the TT. The competition will be as tough as always so I know the task ahead but I’ve proved I can run with the top boys, particularly in the Supersport class, so that’s where I want to be. Contesting the first couple of Thundersport rounds will give me plenty of track time on both the Superbike and Supersport machines so by the time I get to the North West 200, everything will be in place for me to be running up the front from the off.” Kneen’s preparation for the season can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/60944163 whilst you can keep up to date with his progress during the course of the year at www.marksbloomracing.com and on the team’s Facebook page. His first outing scheduled to be the opening round of the Thundersport Championship at Donington Park over the Easter weekend, March 30-April 1.
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