Friday, November 10, 2006

British Superbike Silly Season Musings

Rumour has it that Australian Andrew Pitt might be moving to the BSB championship if he doesn't get the Ilmor MotoGP ride. Pitt has been testing the Ilmor 800cc machine alongside Northern Irish veteran Jeremy McWilliams.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the MotoGP race organizers Dorna might slip Ilmor a few quid to hire McWilliams, as Australia will already have Vermeulen, Stoner and McCoy, while the UK won't have another rider in MotoGP. It's well known that Dorna persuaded teams to run the likes of Shakey Byrne and James Ellison.
Old riders don't get slow, they get scared. McWilliams is 41 and he sure isn't scared.
Andrew Pitt would be an interesting addition to British Superbikes, as he has been impressive on the Yamaha World Superbike in 2006. It might be a step down in terms of prestige, but the racing in BSB is as good as anywhere. Many people regard BSB as the best national superbike series in the world, and with past names like Toseland, Hodgson and Bayliss, it certainly has a strong claim.
2006 title contenders Leon Haslam, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) and champion Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) will all be staying in BSB. The Northern Irish teenager Johnny Rea will partner Kiyo on a Honda and look to improve on his 4th place in this year's championship. Promising young Englishman Tommy Hill (Yamaha) will also stay with his team, and racing on Pirelli tyres will let him appear as a wildcard in WSBK. (As WSBK uses a Pirelli control tyre, BSB teams who use tyres like Michelin or Dunlop are prevented from using Pirellis in WSBK by their tyre contracts.)
Fans' favourite and WSBK race winner Chris Walker is also back in BSB with Suzuki. He regards the BSB title as unfinished business, and will be one to watch, as always.
2006 was an excellent year for British Superbikes. 2007 looks even better.

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