By Haydn Cobb

Kyle Ryde sits down with Crash.net to catch up on his second full season in World Supersport, having World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea as a mentor and balancing a job to keep funding his racing.

The 19-year-old joined the Puccetti Kawasaki Racing squad at the start of 2017 alongside defending champion Kenan Sofuoglu after a tricky maiden campaign in which he raced for two teams and on three different manufacturers.

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Ryde caught the eye as a Red Bull Rookies Cup rider in 2011 and 2012 while also becoming the youngest-ever British 125cc champion. After winning the British National Superstock 600 championship in 2014 he finished runner-up to Luke Stapleford in the 2015 British Supersport championship - in a year he reached the World Supersport rostrum at Donington Park as a wildcard.

Crash.net:
Hi Kyle, it's your second season in World Supersport after a tricky first year jumping on different bikes and teams. What were you able to take from that experience into this year?

Kyle Ryde:
Definitely, the main one was learning all the tracks that I had never been to before. Apart from that I think it was more the riders I am against. I have learnt how they act on the first lap, how they act throughout a race situation, but nothing about learning riding at the front because this year is the first time where I've been at the front in World Supersport.

I did the one wildcard two years ago but I keep trying to forget about that. It was a brilliant thing to finish third but the depth of talent was nothing compared to what it is now. I finished third and I think I was 8.7s behind Sofuoglu. This year at Phillip Island I was 0.8s off of the win and I was fourth. Little things like that are a big learn.

Crash.net:
That intensity of competition has been a hallmark of the series this year. How do you describe racing in that environment?

Kyle Ryde:
It is a bit nuts and I think this year looks a bit more dangerous on the television than compared to previous years as the depth wasn't there before in 2014 and 2015. Now it is ridiculous. To get into the top ten on a Friday is a massive task but for outsiders they say I should get a top ten easily with the best team. I was ninth on the grid at Imola and 0.4s off pole position. Everyone looks at Moto2 and the depth of that is ridiculous and ours is just as good. I'm learning step-by-step but I've got to keep going to maintain it all the way through.

Crash.net:
How would you assess your progress in the series so far in 2017?

Kyle Ryde:
Phillip Island became a massive shock in both senses as I was 17th on Friday and ended up finishing fourth in the race which was outstanding. In Thailand it was a bit 50/50 with fifth but I think if Kenan was there it would have been worse. Aragon and Assen I pulled it out of the bag a little bit but I felt a lot of pressure to make a step there. At Donington Park I know what I can do around Donington I've just got to do it. If I can do it I know I can be very capable of the top five. Hopefully this is the weekend where we make the step towards the front.

Ryde went on to finish 11th at Donington Park

Crash.net:
You've got a world champion in your corner in the shape of Jonathan Rea. What is it like having him as a support?

Kyle Ryde:
It is really strange but really good at the same time. It is not something you see very often. He has been awesome to me for the last year and a half. It has been the little things he does to help, like coming in the box at the end of each session, during the session, on the grid before the race, he is awesome with all that. He has grown up like me through the sport and knows what a rider likes before a race and other things like that.

He isn't a bloke who turns up and does nothing either, he has also got to do a good job on Friday, Saturday and Sunday so credit to him for helping me out. He has done a good job and helps me for this year.

Crash.net:
How would you describe Rea's role?

Kyle Ryde:
He doesn't like being called my manager at all. He does like to mentor me as his focus is on me through the weekend when he has got the time. It is little things like I said. I'm going to the TT to go see him and I've been to his house a couple of times. I've got a double World Superbike champion in my corner and it isn't the worst situation to be on.

Crash.net:
What advice does he give? Riding tips?

Kyle Ryde:
It is more tactics than anything. He tells me I can do it day in and day out but not really any riding tips. More things around little tactics like how long to go in a session when to put the new tyre in as he's done it all before. I trust him and we work from there.

Crash.net:
Obviously the goal is to claim the World Supersport title which would mean you'd follow in a strong line of previous British winners - Sam Lowes, Cal Crutchlow and Chaz Davies to name a few - how much pressure does it put on you to follow that line?

Kyle Ryde:
It certainly wasn't easier for them but when they were young lads with extremely good talent, but they could purely focus on racing thanks to sponsors. The main focus was training and making sure you are better than any other rider on that grid. For me that is different as I'm working Monday to Friday every week to put a bit of money into my racing which isn't so good now as I want to do the same as Chaz and Sam did.

I prefer Sam's route by going to Moto2 than Chaz's but it is more difficult now. I can't complain as I am in the best team so I've just got to try and do my job the best I can.

Crash.net:
Where are you working?

Kyle Ryde:
I work with my uncle five days a week in a billet machining place. It keeps the ride going but I get cuts and bruises every week. I had a big slash in one of my fingers at Imola all weekend which was a pain but I couldn't help it because if I didn't work I couldn't race.

Crash.net:
Christian Iddon had a similar story in BSB last year by cutting his finger open working and since then has been told he can't work alongside his racing. Is that a worry for you?

Kyle Ryde:
As I work with my uncle it is the safest it can be for me but I don't mind getting up for work at 6AM, going to the gym first, then work until half four and do what I want after that. It isn't a bad life as I've got a bit of pocket money after the weeks racing but that is about it.

Crash.net:
Away from racing is it the same Kyle that can switch off when off the bike?

Kyle Ryde:
Yes, I can definitely switch off. Everyone always says to me at home, 'are you sure you enjoy racing Kyle', and of course I do I just like to get home and not speak about it.

When MotoGP is on I'll sit down and watch it as I like that but if it is not I can't stand talking about it as I've got bikes in my life Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You want a break after that. Like I said it is nice to get home, go to work and switch off sometimes.

Crash.net:
Perfect, thank you very much Kyle.

Kyle Ryde:
No problem, thanks again.