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Martin Jessopp will focus solely on feature races at North West 200

'The bikes are just too different to mix and maybe if I'd been riding a four-cylinder Superbike it would have been different' - Martin Jessopp
North West 200 speed king Martin Jessopp has decided against riding in the Supersport races at the event on Saturday to focus on the Superbike and Superstock events.

Jessopp created a buzz at the North West 200 during the first qualifying session on Tuesday when he became the fastest rider in the event's history as he flashed through the timing beam at 208mph on his Ducati 1198.

The Yoevil man competes in the World Supersport championship under the Riders PTR Honda banner, but Jessopp has decided against riding in the 600cc races at the North West.

“It would have been nice to do the Supersport races because I've got used to the Supersport bike now having done a few world championship rounds, but the problem is that the 600 Honda is just so different compared to the big 1200 Ducati,” he said.

“The bikes are just too different to mix and maybe if I'd been riding a four-cylinder Superbike it would have been different, but I'm just going to concentrate on the big Superbike and the Superstock bike as well.”

Jessopp is earning a reputation as a rising road race talent and admits he has changed his attitude to events like the North West 200.

“Until last year I'd always really treated the road races as holiday races,” he said.

“I know you get a lot of British Superbike guys who treat the TT and the North West as the biggest races of their year and I do treat it seriously, but you are aware of the dangers involved.

“But once you get your around it all you're a racer at the end of the day and my lap time last year was good enough for second on the Superbike grid behind Michael [Rutter].

“So I'm riding fast and we've more to come from the bike and a bit of work to do yet because I'm not on the front row.”

Jessopp is even contemplating making his debut at the Isle of Man TT races in the not too distant future.

“I went over to the TT for the first time to watch last year and I'd never really shown that much interest in it before to be honest, but I loved it.

“It's something I'd like to do in the future.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Martin Jessopp - Rapid Bathams Ducati [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Conor Cummins has joined the Padgetts Racing Honda team for 2017.
Lee Johnston has teamed up with Ryan Farquhar to race a KMR Kawasaki in the NI Air Ambulance colours at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
Alastair Seeley with the Tyco BMW he will race at the North West 200.
John McGuinness on the Jackson Racing Honda.
Michael Dunlop, Carl Cox, [Credit: Holeshot PR]
Michael Dunlop has signed for Bennets Suzuki for the 2017 international road races.
Michael Dunlop has signed for the Bennett Suzuki team for 2017.
Guy Martin, John McGuinness Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
Guy Martin, Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
Josh Brookes has signed to ride for Norton at the Isle of Man TT in 2017.
Dan Kneen has signed for the Penz13.com Racing Team for the 2017 road races.
Dan Hegarty won the TT Privateers Championship in 2016.
Peter Hickman will ride for Smiths Racing in 2017 at the international road races and in the British Superbike Championship.
Peter Hickman won the Macau Grand Prix for the second year running on the Bathams/SMT BMW.
Glenn Irwin on the PBM Ducati at the Macau Grand Prix.
Glenn Irwin on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati at the Macau Grand Prix.
Peter Hickman on the Bathams/SMT BMW at the Macau Grand Prix.

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