An exclusive interview with Honda Racing's Jason O'Halloran who reflects on his promising 2015 cruelly cut short by a broken leg, his lengthy comeback trail and why continuity could be the key upon his return.
Welcome back to racing Jason, it was great to see you back on a bike in Spain - how did it feel?

Jason O'Halloran:
It was really good and something I'd been looking forward to for quite a few months. After Thruxton it was fairly devastating to end the season as we did and to have so many months of rehab and physio to get back to some sort of fitness to be able to ride. It was really nice to get back out there, test the body on a motorbike and make sure I hadn't forgot how to ride!
Excellent to hear, so what is on your schedule between now and the British Superbike season opener in April?

Jason O'Halloran:
I'm heading back to Australia to spend a few weeks out there with friends and family. Four solid weeks of training to get the body back to where it needs to be to start racing. To be fair it is not that far away now from where it needs to be. We learnt a few things in Spain on what we need to work on with my right hip and a few other bits but where we are now is good and better than I expected it be. On the bike it certainly doesn't feel like I have been off of it for six months, it is a nice feeling to have.
So what will you be working on between now and Silverstone?

Jason O'Halloran:
I've been working hard on my fitness since my injury but it did limit what I could do with my wrist and hands. The past two months have been pretty intense and I feel back to a good level on the bike and doing laps in Spain I felt pretty strong. I will just continue with that and add in a few extra things from what I've learnt from the test with the muscles in my leg that I hadn't been focusing on because I've been focusing on other areas like getting my knee movement back and movement in my wrist. Now I know they are okay to ride a bike I can focus on the areas which are a little bit weak which are the front part of my hips and do some more exercises to focus on that more and I will be 100% by March when we start testing.
So when will we see you back on the full Honda Superbike for pre-season testing?

Jason O'Halloran:
We are heading to Spain at the start of March but haven't finalised how many days we are testing, probably seven or eight days, and I'm really looking forward to that. It has been a long time since I've ridden the superbike and having ridden on the superstock bike from a couple of years ago it was nice to get back because I love that bike. I can't wait to get back to business.

It is a big year coming up. 2015 was going good for us and before I was hurt I was fifth in the championship. I don't see why I can't get back to where we were. After the past two days on the bike I think I will be stronger than ever.
Are you expecting to be testing any new parts on the Honda?

Jason O'Halloran:
I don't know what we have coming but I don't think it is a huge difference to last year. I know we've got a few different engine specification to try and see whether they will be better or worse. The guys are always trying to improve things and make things better for us so when we go to Spain I'm sure we'll have a few things to try.

To be fair the day I got injured the bike was good. I was happy with the package that we had. I'm sure if we'd continued we could have got a few more podiums and maybe better so I'm confident in what we have got and we have to make the most of it as a team.
Having an injury like yours there is obviously no good time to suffer it but was it the worst moment considering the podiums were coming and things were looking rosy?

Jason O'Halloran:
Yes it was but to be fair if it had happened at the start of the year I wouldn't have been able to prove myself in the class and still wondering where I was. But being a couple of rounds outside of the Showdown and knowing I could have made the top six in my first full year in the class with Honda it was devastating. There was so much that went in to last year from the team coming back to BSB, for myself and for my preparation it was a fairly big blow and not easy to accept at first.

I've used that as motivation as I know we are strong enough to be at the front now and the two days I've been on the bike in Spain I've changed a few things I've done with my preparation and I'm definitely seeing the benefit of it on the bike.
While being out how much confidence did you gain from seeing team-mate Dan Linfoot on the Honda making the Showdown?

Jason O'Halloran:
It was good to see Dan in the Showdown and nice for the team after I got knocked out and couldn't be there. It was also really good for Honda to have someone in the Showdown first year back. He had some podiums in the last part of the year at some circuits which we go back to at the start of this year, like Silverstone where he had a third, so we know we are capable of being at the front. Yes, it is an older bike but I do belief it has enough to win some races and be a challenger. If we do everything to our full potential then there is no reason why we can't be as competitive as everyone else out there.
Focusing on this season, I imagine the Showdown is the aim but what goals have you set yourself?

Jason O'Halloran:
We will have to see how the season starts. For sure the Showdown is number one on the list as you have to be there to be within a shot of the championship but I am certainly not turning up just to ride around. I'm there to do the best possible job I can do and I do believe if it all clicks together we will be at the front. We need to aim for the podium and at least the top five regularly and have a consistent year to try a win a race or two.
Looking around the BSB paddock for 2016, Honda Racing is one of the few teams not making any changes with lots of other teams changing riders and machines. How important is that consistency?

Jason O'Halloran:
I think it is so important. I have been at Honda now for a long time and everything is familiar, I know all the guys in the team, all the management and everyone down at Honda UK so for me it is nice to be in the same place. To make the transition from supersport to superstock and to superbike with the same team is about as good as it could be. Whenever you change teams or change manufacturers it is always difficult and there can be unknowns which take time to find your feet. For me we gained experience at the start of last year to use for this season. Everything is there and ready to go.



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