MSS Colchester Kawasaki team owner Nick Morgan has warned the squad's 2010 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship rivals that the Essex-based operation has 'never looked sharper' – even if he is well aware that the strength-in-depth of the opposition will be fierce.
The team has retained 2009 sensation Simon Andrews – who finished last season in sixth place outright – and has added the super-keen, super-fit Gary Mason, who won last year's Privateer Cup for riders without full 'manufacturer' support.
Both men have both been preparing all winter, with fitness a never-ending focus as they ready themselves to muscle round the 200mph, 200bhp Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Superbikes. Andrews has been off climbing and skiing in the Alps, and in addition to MSS Colchester Kawasaki's positive test last week at Brands Hatch – scene of the 2010 curtain-raiser over Easter weekend – the 25-year-old has enjoyed the extra benefit of some high-level track time with World Superbike Championship outfit Paul Bird Motorsport in Valencia this week.
In the season-opener twelve months ago, the Worcestershire ace was left with much work to do following an off-colour qualifying performance, but he battled through the order on race day to claim seventh and eleventh-place finishes at the chequered flag, tussling with Mason in race one – the latter impressing greatly on a three-year-old machine – and running as high as fifth before ultimately giving best to the rider who will now ironically compete alongside him.
“I feel so ready for Brands now!” Andrews enthused. “The WSBK test in Valencia was great for saddle time, and with a year on the bike I feel I should now be pushing for good results at every circuit. It's been a long winter, and now it's time to race!”
“Brands has always been a good track for me,” added Mason, whose physical training in recent months has included a brutal martial arts fitness regime during which he trained and sparred with a renowned cage fighter. “I've had some good results there, so fingers crossed we can continue that form. It's so important we come away with two strong finishes – and I know I'll have great support from the off!”
Indeed, whilst the 2010 BSB field reads like something of a who's who of motorcycling talent – from former World and British Superbike Champion Neil Hodgson to two-time BSB king Japanese ace Ryuichi Kiyonari, front-runners James Ellison and Stuart Easton at Swan Honda and Australian Josh Brookes at HM Plant – Morgan is hopeful that with the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Superbike having been redeveloped over the winter with the addition of a WSBK-spec Magneti Marelli engine management system, Andrews and mason will be in with a solid shout.
“We know this is potentially the most difficult season of British Superbikes yet,” he acknowledged, “but we also believe that our riders are the strongest team we've ever put together. Both are both mentally and physically strong, and our race machine is the most developed it's ever been. We've never looked sharper, so we definitely have all the ingredients for success!”