‘I spent half of my racing ca­reer on Suzukis’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Feature -

For­mer Bri­tish cham­pion and WSB win­ner ex­plains why he’s racing again “I’ve al­ways had an affin­ity with Suzuki. I spent half of my racing ca­reer on Suzukis, from bikes I bought my­self, to a proper fac­tory set-up with Mick Grant and two years in WSB when the Har­ris brothers ran the fac­tory team.

“I’ve raced most years since I re­tired, on MT125S and the Good­wood Re­vival. But the main thing is I still do a lot of riding on my train­ing days. I’m on the back foot com­pared to some­one who’s racing week-in-week out, but I don’t feel ring-rusty.

“I want to en­joy it. The worst thing you can do as an ex-racer is go back think­ing you’re go­ing to rekin­dle some of the old magic and some­how it’s all go­ing to work out... it’s b****cks. You’re do­ing it to en­joy it and to have the craic with the team.

“I’ve only done three 24-hour races and three Suzuka 8-hour races. They were very much one­offs. I’ve had to do the run­ning start twice – once at Le Mans and once at Paul Ri­card. Be­cause you’re stood there and it’s quiet, for some rea­son the bike doesn’t seem like it’s with you any more, so you get more ner­vous.

“I re­mem­ber the last time I ran across the track, look­ing down at my legs and think­ing: ‘Well, move you bas­tards’, and they weren’t mov­ing quick enough, but I was go­ing the same speed as most oth­ers. I’m look­ing for­ward to it.”

‘You’re do­ing it for the craic with the team’

Whit’s nor­mally No69 but today he’s sport­ing the team’s No7 plate

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