GSE Racing team manager Colin Wright believes they will still be amongst the favourites for the 2009 British Superbike Championship, despite the decision to switch from Ducati to Yamaha machinery.
The GSE team, which have been competing under the Airwaves Ducati banner since 2005, announced yesterday that they would switch allegiance to Yamaha in 2009 after securing a three-year deal to join forces with Japanese manufacturer.
Revealed just as they sit on the verge of the 2008 title with Shane Byrne on the Ducati 1098, the move may have been considered something of a surprise, but Wright does not think it will take long for them to adapt quickly.
Adding that it is a different bike, but not a different team, Wright is confident they will hit the ground running come the first race next season.
“Come the first race, we will be up at the front because that is what we do,” he exclusively told Crash.net
. “We know what ingredients it takes to win races and we know what it takes to lead races, so having all that information and knowledge, we aren't about to enter the championship with expectations of anything less than podiums and wins.”
Motivated by the prospect of a completely new challenge, one that he hopes will dispel the critics who believe they have gained an advantage in running the Ducati, the security of a multi-year deal at Yamaha was also instrumental in the switch.
“They provide a longer term situation. We have had a year-by-year thing with Ducati but this time it is a three year deal, or two years with an option for both sides. We have been racing with Ducati for ten years but this is a big opportunity to change because we have achieved all we possibly can with Ducati.
“It is a massive challenge and we are all excited about it. Critics have said that GSE Racing are a one-trick pony and we only win because we are on a Ducati – those sort of digs that say we are only win because we are getting an unfair advantage. The way we see it, we can do the same with another manufacturer and that's what we intend to prove. GSE Racing can win championships and races on a Yamaha.”
As for riders, Wright makes no secret of the wish to retain Shane Byrne and Leon Camier, who have won ten of the twenty races this season between them. However, while he admits negotiations have opened, no deal has been agreed.
“I'm not confident as such (of keeping them), but I know that Shane and Leon have shown their interest in staying with us and we're very happy to keep them - having said that, other teams are talking to them and making offers. We only have one-year contracts with Shane and Leon to give them the chance to move on if there were better options for them, but we are back in negotiations with them.”