Crash.Net BSB News
EXCLUSIVE Shaun Muir (Milwaukee Yamaha) - Q&A
15 January 2013
By Dexter Fielding
Milwaukee Yamaha team boss Shaun Muir talks about his expectations for the 2013 season - when he will run the all new line-up of James Ellison and Josh Waters in BSB, plus William Dunlop and Conor Cummins on the Roads...
Shaun, what results do you expect to see from your British Superbike and Road teams in 2013?
We have thought very carefully about our plans for this season, having won the BSB title in 2011 and lost out last year we need to come back very strong. We signed James Ellison, a rider we have worked with before; he is coming back from MotoGP with a big point to prove and we think he is a certainty for the 'Title Showdown'.
With signing James it took a bit of pressure off me in signing the second rider. I wanted to take a bit of a risk that is why I have taken Josh Waters on. He is a young Australian; they are hungry and keen racers who have ambitious plans for themselves.
You only have to look at Josh Brookes, he has done himself no harm by coming to BSB and once Waters gets used to the circuits, he could also be in with a chance of the Showdown. He is here on a 2 year deal, so it is a very strong pairing.
Our two riders could really push each other to the chequered flag and they're also good development riders when testing and new parts arrive, so we should be championship contenders.
We have had two barren seasons in the road competitions. Signing Ian Hutchinson was a gamble, but it didn't pay off. We took a step forward in 2012 by competing in more road events and it was great to pitch ourselves against the other teams, so we came away from the events with a lot of good information and data which will assist us for this year.
I feel that we have got a good two-man road team with William Dunlop and Conor Cummins, you always need a two-strong rider team for the roads if you look at the competitions that are out there, we might not have the fastest individuals who can win each race, but we have got a very solid pairing who can push each other and develop ourselves further.
With William we have got a rider who is a favourite for both TT Supersport races and a podium in Superbike, while you can probably reverse that with Conor, a favourite for both Superbike races and a podium on the Supersport. If you look at depth and quality we have those bases covered, so that is the reason for selecting those riders.
Every time a Milwaukee Yamaha goes to the grid, we want to be challenging for podiums and if you are challenging for podiums, you have got a chance at winning.
The 2011 'showdown' did you a favour in terms of winning the British Superbike championship, but last year it really turned your season around badly. Are you a fan of the 'Showdown'?
That's tough. We have a bike that is more difficult to set-up than anyone else on the grid. It is a very balanced chassis, but looking at the championship, we need to work harder at the Showdown rounds than the other teams out there.
For us, it is an issue as it changes the testing program that we have put forward. I am an advocate of the testing ban abroad. We need to be testing at the Showdown races as that is where we need to be at the end of the year with both riders.
I'm a bit 50/50 with the Showdown rules as it could've affected the rider choice in signing Josh Waters. If the Showdown rules were not in place, I might have gone for another rider and not selected Josh.
As I've said, Josh can get used to the tracks and hopefully fire himself into the Showdown. The end result is that the top riders have got to perform at all circuits and that includes us. We've got to take the rules as they are and stop complaining about it.
I personally think Tommy lost the championship due to the Showdown last year. We didn't do enough to win it and we will prepare ourselves better than last year. If we do that, then we could be in a position to win the championship at Brands, unlike 2012 where we weren't. This year we have to be in with a chance of winning the title.
The British Superbike R1 will have factory developed equipment, but are the road bikes a Shaun Muir Racing in-house job?
The chassis on the British Superbike is ex-WSBK factory from 2011, so it is effectively a Yamaha Japan item. The engines are our own SMR development, but with the rules we can't do too much with that really.
Supersport, there isn't anything that is a 'factory' Yamaha Supersport, but we have got the best kit out there that is available to anyone on the roads. It really is down to who builds the best bikes and the best bikes will win the races.
William will contest the first three rounds of the British Supersport Championship and it will be as strong a bike as we can give him. When the road competitions start, William and Conor will have the same spec machines and the best Yamaha R6s and R1s that we can give to them.