Crash.Net WSBK News
Martin's landed: Hot or not in 2005...
21 January 2005 In the latest edition of his latest monthly column on Crash.net, newly signed Foggy Petronas rider Steve Martin takes a look at his main competition for the upcoming 2005 World Superbike championship – and updates us on his pre-season activities...
It's at this time of year when you start looking at who the competition might be for the new Superbike World Championship season, so here are my thoughts on who I think the major players will be - in no particular order:
Karl Muggeridge: I don't think he will find it as easy to win this year as he has done for the last couple of seasons in Supersport. Although people talk about how fast and cut-throat the 600 class is I really don't think that people realise how hard the top Superbike guys push.
Chris Vermeulen: This is his year to prove what he can do in the big class. Last year he was the only guy on the Honda which meant that at tracks where the Ducati 999 was very difficult to ride he had a definite advantage.
Troy Corser: In with a chance to win this year. It is no secret that the Suzuki is a top bike - I thought Lavilla should have won a race on it in 2003. In 2005, Troy has everything in place to win.
Regis Laconi: Mad French guy, so who knows what will happen!? I think he will win a few. His problem this year is that there are a lot more bikes with a similar competitiveness.
James Toseland: To win a second time James needs to ride like he rode at Magny-Cours and Imola last year. I hope he figures out how to do it.
Ben Bostrom: This will be Ben's first year with control tyres which means he won't have the advantage that he's been used to having in the past. But Renegade is a top team and they are in it to win it.
Noriyuki Haga: He did the best job last year and should have been the champion. Having said that, the Yamaha has yet to do anything spectacular in Superbike form.
Andrew Pitt: He will be trying hard to put the last couple of seasons behind him. He is a rider who is consistent and on his day can be fast. He's a demon braker - sometimes it works for him, sometimes it doesn't.
Garry McCoy: My new team-mate at FPR has had a hard off-season and has worn his thumbs out playing Playstation whilst recovering from an unfortunate off at a test in Valencia. At Qatar I honestly hope he finishes second - behind me!
Norick Abe: I can't really see him affecting the championship too much. He has had good Yamaha equipment before and, if he was going to have done anything, he would have done it by now.
Yukio Kagayama: Although he is on a Suzuki it's going to be tough learning so many different circuits, and circuits that are a lot harder to learn than the English ones. This year will test his mettle as a rider.
Frankie Chili: Always fast but last year had a pretty big bike advantage with the 998/999. I would never discount him on his day.
Steve Martin: Has been training hard and is a guy who always gives 100 per cent and never gives up so the other guys should watch out!
In other news, it's been a while since I've been on a race bike, but I have been keeping busy riding my KTM 450 and my little trials bike, a Beta Rev3. I was feeling pretty good about the way I've been riding so I entered a trial called Three Bridges for a bit of fun last Saturday.
Sandra videoed me at all the worst moments, like when I was riding a steep embankment section with a log at the top. I had to be caught by the guys I was riding around with because I forgot to turn the fuel on! The worst part was I couldn't blame my pit crew! The other important lesson I learnt that day was don't park your car next to the biggest mud puddle in the paddock…
My 450 KTM is absolutely flying as well and I go to the local track with my mate who works at KTM Richmond. He's a bloody fast rider and we always have a ball, but with a month to go before my first race I tend to slow down a bit and take it a bit easy.
Talking about flying, I just heard Chris Walker got busted with a 60-day suspension for doing 130 mph in a 70 zone. He's lucky it didn't happen here in Oz because he would have a boyfriend and a cosy spell in the lock up by now!Steve