Team Suzuki Press Office – July 21.
The Bennetts Suzuki team heads to Brands Hatch this weekend for the sixth round of the MCE British Superbike championship, following the team’s success at the recent Southern 100 road races on the Isle of Man where Michael Dunlop took a hat-trick of victories on the new GSX-R1000.
Taylor Mackenzie is confident of a return to the sort of form that saw him take a fifth-placed finish at Knockhill earlier this season. The reigning National Superstock 1000 champion has found a setup he is comfortable with on his GSX-R1000, and after undergoing arm-pump surgery has gone from strength-to-strength, with only bad luck preventing him from replicating that sort of result at the last round. Work on engine braking strategy at a test the week following the Snetterton round means he is feeling confident.
“We should be on for a good weekend. Snetterton was what it was, but we’re going to Brands looking to pick up from where we were at Knockhill. We did some laps after Snetterton, just to work on the engine braking mainly, and found something that worked. I’m looking forward to trying it this weekend, and with an improvement in our luck we should be back to racing inside the top-10 and pushing for the top-five and higher.”
His team-mate, Sylvain Guintoli, has too shown the potential that he and the new GSX-R possess, and is looking to further refine his setup to allow him to be comfortable enough to push and challenge at the front of races.
“We’re always improving, but just need to keep working to take us to the next level. We had two solid results at Snetterton, which was a new track for me, but of course everyone wants more and to fight for the results we want to be achieving. BSB is very competitive and the top-15 are all very strong so it is a challenge and it is not easy, but this weekend is another chance for us to continue improving.”
Richard Cooper has been left with work to do in the National Superstock 1000 championship, after a run of bad luck saw him surrender his championship lead at Knockhill, and slip further behind at Snetterton. However, his and the bike’s speed has never been in question, and the Nottinghamshire ace and former class champion is ready to fight for wins this weekend.
“I’m ready to get back to it. I feel I’m riding well, the bike’s working well, and we know we are able to win races. I felt comfortable at Snetterton so to lose out the way we did was hard to take, but it’s happened now, there’s nothing we can do, we just need to pick ourselves up and go again this weekend. I feel the pressure’s off me a little bit now. We’ve just got to go out and do what we do and it’s our job now to apply the pressure to those ahead of us.”
Steve Hicken – Team Manager:
“The Southern 100 was good for us. We’d have liked all four Superbike wins, but three and a lap record for Michael [Dunlop], first time there with the new GSX-R, is a good showing. But it also allowed us to learn more about the bike and keep pushing its development forward, and hopefully we can keep improving this weekend in BSB.
“Taylor’s confidence is high and his speed is there. With a bit of luck there’s no reason he can’t be challenging the more established riders and push on. With Sylvain, we’re getting there. We had two top-10s at Snetterton and they’re two solid results. But they’re not where we want to be, where he wants to be, or where we know we can be. So we’re looking to keep working with him. And in Superstock, we’ve also suffered from some bad luck and it’s cost us the series lead, but Cooper’s ability and the bike’s speed has never been in question. We’ve been winning races and arguably should have had another win at Snetterton. We have got work to do now to catch up, but hopefully that’ll start this week.”