By Christian Tiburtius

One of the most exciting pairings in the 2013 BSB paddock is the new Gearlink Kawasaki line-up of Ben Wilson and Alastair Seeley in the British Supersport class.

The pair provided one of the most thrilling BSS seasons ever when they battled 'bar-to-'bar for the 2011 title - including a memorable moment, when Seeley had to elbow Wilson's bike off his own at the season-closing Brands Hatch decider.

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That was while racing for different teams, but this season they will both be in the same pit garage, so it's fair to say that some great racing is anticipated. caught up with both riders to get their perspective on the upcoming season. The first interview is with 2011 champion Seeley, switching back to BSS - and new to Gearlink - after spending last season in BSB.

(Click Here for part two, with Ben Wilson).
We remember the incredible racing in the 2011 BSS season, how do you feel about 2013 and being in the same team as Ben Wilson?

Alastair Seeley:
We'll want to be starting where we left off, at the sharp end. Ben's already stated that what happened in 2011, he won't allow to happen again, but I've got different ideas.

It'll just make it more competitive having 2 strong riders in one team and I think that's why Michael [De Bidaph - team principal] asked for my services, we're going to be pushing each other on to the front.
This season in BSS looks to be particularly competitive, which are the riders you'll be looking out for?

Alastair Seeley:
Stuart Easton, Scott Smart, Glenn Richards, who's already a double BSS champion, and Billy McConnell who finished the year off strong. The depth of field is massive and I think it's the class to watch for next year. It looks like it's going to be a case of having to get the elbows out for next season.
Do you feel that you are joining 'Ben Wilson's team'?

Alastair Seeley:
Not really, people ask if there's going to be any preferential treatment as Ben's been there for so many years and he seems to be like Michael and Norma's adopted child, but they've just got a great working relationship from him being there so long.

But at the end of the day Michael will put out two identical bikes for the riders and it's up us to make the difference. Ben will have his squad around him and I'll have my guys around me and it'll be like Rossi and Lorenzo this year.

I left TAS on good terms anyway and they said that if anything did happens to my situation before the NW200 they would definitely be able to sort me out with a ride.
Are you bringing your crew with you?

Alastair Seeley:
No, I've been appointed two lads from the team who seem experienced, but it is a bit of a fresh challenge for me as I was part of the furniture at TAS and had the same crew chief for 2009, 2010 and 2012.

Sometimes with a change in team and crew chief you don't know if there are better ones out there until you try them. I'll be having a crew chief who has worked with Ben for a few years so he'll be switched on and have plenty of experience with the ZX6.
Why do you think the results just didn't come last season in BSB?

Alastair Seeley:
We always struggled for dry set up; the bike just wasn't behaving the way I wanted it to. It seemed be tying itself in knots and pumping coming out of the turns. It took a while to dial that out and when I did get a good session I would have a stupid crash and that would dent my confidence. I just never got any momentum going.

Also I was riding the Superbike too much like a Supersport machine for the majority of the year.

To get a decent balance we tried going from the factory fuel tank to a standard one, but that meant that the factory swing arm wasn't working and we felt as if we were banging our heads against a wall

Also, with me being small and light the big bike can become a bit of a handfull and the bigger guys like Josh [Brookes] and Tommy [Hill] can wrestle them a bit better. On a Supersport you can just be more in control of the bike for the whole race.

I kept on going and kept on training hoping that I could pull myself out of the hole, but at the end I would say I wasn't enjoying riding. I felt I was riding hard, but the lap times just weren't there.
Do you feel you were treated equally to Josh Brookes at TAS?

Alastair Seeley:
It's hard to know, we never got to see his bike and didn't know what kind of engines he was running so it would be unfair of me to say I wasn't getting the same treatment, but whoever's bringing in the results will get any new stuff. When you sign for these teams though, you are guaranteed equal treatment
Do you remember elbowing Ben off your bike coming around Paddock Hill Bend, What were you thinking at the time?

Alastair Seeley:
For me it was on safety grounds, I'd run wide and Ben was heading for my front wheel so I put the elbow out to keep him off my front brake. I believe that Alex Lowes tried the same thing on Haga at Snetterton.
What is it with the NW200, why do you always race there and do so well?

Alastair Seeley:
I try and keep the road racing down to a minimum which is why I only do the Northwest. It's local to me and the only chance I have to race in front of local people, I don't race in Ireland unless I do the Northwest or the Sunflower.

It's based at seaside resorts where I've been going all through my childhood - I went there with my dad and watched it for years and years.

It started off in 2004 as a bit of fun, but after three years I was doing well in the Supersport race and JMF Millsport had some tuned 600s and gave me an opportunity in 2008 to ride one of their fast bikes. I've done my apprenticeship there now so can just keep things ticking over.

But I don't want to do any more than that, I want to concentrate on my short circuit career and get to the World championships at some stage.
Regarding the hard pass on William Dunlop in the NW200 Supersport race, are you back on his Christmas card list?

Alastair Seeley:
I think he made more out of it than he should have, it was a racing incident. A back marker caused him to hesitate, I saw a gap and went for it. He had a 7mph advantage on straight line speed so didn't expect me to be there, but I wanted that race and my name's on the trophy, not his.

I think when he called it a dirty pass, everyone jumped on the bandwagon but once everyone had looked at the footage there was no more said about it.
What would you say about your riding style?

Alastair Seeley:
Everybody says that my style is very smooth and it doesn't look as if I'm trying. I was reading an article about Lorenzo recently and he said the same, it looks effortless but inside the helmet you're trying 100% every lap.

I've had that style from day one. I do change a bit though, and I only realised I'd changed my style to suit the Supersport when I had difficulty readapting to the Superbike.

But I can go through one set of knee sliders all year. I probably get more feel through the handlebars and from my arse rather than putting my knee on the ground.
How do you feel on the grid before a race?

Alastair Seeley:
At the last race at Brands in 2011 I was pretty nervous, but I tried not to show it. I think Ben was showing it more than I was, he seemed to be puffing and blowing a bit. I was more Mr cool, calm and collected with the shades on.
How do you feel going into the 2013 season?

Alastair Seeley:
2011 when I won the title was basically a dream year, I'll always remember the Brands battles between me and Ben and I'm looking forward to going back to something that puts a smile on my face, I can't wait.

Gearlink are going to step up to the plate and get some World Supersport engines and we're going to have guys on hand who work with the World Supersport teams and the same suspension as Sofuoglu and Foret so it should be great.
What are your plans for the future, beyond 2013?

Alastair Seeley:
I think that if I won the BSS title again I would look to go for the WSS route.
And Moto2?

Alastair Seeley:
If I ever got the offer yes, but it seems that WSS would be the next option before even thinking about Moto2. The door would always open easier if you had done well in WSS.
And finally, some quick-fire choices... Would you choose a win at the NW200, or a win at the first BSS race at Brands?

Alastair Seeley:
I actually had a dream that I won the first BSS race, so maybe that dream will come true.
Do you prefer the modern shoot out/title fighters BSB format or the traditional tally of whole season points?

Alastair Seeley:
Probably the whole season's points, I'm a bit old school.
Do you prefer the BSB Evo Superbike specs or the WSBK relatively unlimited ones?

Alastair Seeley:
I've got to say the WSBK ones, I got to test the Crescent Suzuki WSBK and loved it.
Would you watch BSB or MotoGP?

Alastair Seeley:
I'm going to say MotoGP because I want to see Rossi taking it to Lorenzo, BSB I can watch through a fence rather than on TV.
What do you think about the rule where you can't get back on to a bike after you've crashed?

Alastair Seeley:
I would keep the rule on safety grounds.
Thanks Alastair.

Alastair Seeley: