Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BSB: James Ellison to GSE Yamaha

The BSB silly season is galloping merrily along now that the racing is over for the year. The latest news is that James Ellison has been officially confirmed alongside Leon Camier to ride for GSE Yamaha next year.

Hopefully his return to the Yamaha stable will be happier than his time at Tech 3 in MotoGP. You might remember that Yamaha's first attempt at a chassis that year was atrocious, and Valentino Rossi quickly progressed to a new chassis. However, Ellison was stuck on the old one for the whole year. Add that to the abysmal Dunlop tyres he was saddled with and it was a real year to forget for Ellison. (TV commentators might be apologists for the US-owned Anglo-Japanese company, but they made a pretty pathetic attempt at joining the big two tyre companies in MotoGP. Anyway, Michelin make tyres in Britain too.)

However, next year he will be with the all-conquering GSE team, who have mostly spent this year throwing their toys out of the pram and complaining about the rules when they weren't too busy winning the championship with Shakey Byrne and Ducati. They'll be on snazzy big-bang Yamaha R1's, with technical help from Yamaha Italia. The new Yam should be a missile, and I'm talking Exocet rather than Scud. Ellison has had some excellent showings this year, especially in the early and late races of the season. Now he'll be on an excellent bike with an excellent team behind him, and we'll see the real Ellison. There'll be nowhere to hide if he has a bad day, and he should win races if he has a good day.

May as well yap about the rest of the silly season goings on while I'm at it.

Rizla have withdrawn their sponsorship from Crescent Suzuki, giving no reason but there are mutterings that the move to British Eurosport TV coverage (and Channel 4 in the middle of the night a couple of days later) has reduced the viewing figures too far for the investment to be worth it. They'll just have to sell their wacky baccy wrappers elsewhere.

Perhaps not unrelated is the news that Atsushi Watanabe has transferred to TAS Suzuki (who ran Michael Laverty this year). Atsu is a hero in Japan due to his Suzuka 8 hour results and All Japan Superbike title. He's less of a hero in the UK as he keeps getting beaten by the privateers in BSB. However, nobody goes well at Suzuka unless they have a serious pair of stones. (I mean Bridgestones, of course...) Maybe he'll do better next year. I dunno.

HM Plant Honda have lost both of their riders to world championship racing, and the current rumours are that they'll replace one of them with the hugely popular, so laid back he's horizontal, Australian Glen Richards, who won this year's British Supersport title on a Triumph. The other seat may go to scouser Steve Brogan, who has been impressive in British Superstock 1000 and Supersport this year. He revealed on TV that he has been re-signed by Honda UK, and people are predicting that this will mean a move up to BSB. We'll find out soon enough, but the silly season silliness continues.

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