In the runup to the first World Supersport race of the 2010 season, MotoMatters.com - like every other motorcycle racing news outlet - is swamped with press releases. Unlike most other news outlets, however, we do not bother our readers with them, for they are, for the most part, bland and uninteresting fare, and completely interchangeable.
Not all of them are so insipid, however. In the press releases of some teams, the character of the riders, press officer or team manager shines through, spicing them up and making them a much more palatable affair. And they don't come much spicier than the missives from the pen of Parkalgar Honda World Supersport boss Simon Buckmaster. Buckmaster is not shy of expressing his opinion, and likes to do so forcefully and frequently. This makes him a breath of fresh air, and always informative and entertaining to talk to, whether you agree with him or not.
Just prior to the first race of the season getting underway, Buckmaster fired off a press release with his view of how the season will unfold, and who he thinks will be champion this season. It will come as no surprise to find out that the Parkalgar team boss believes that his very own Eugene Laverty will be the man holding the trophy at Magny-Cours in seven months' time, but his reasoning provides a fascinating insight into the politics of the World Supersport class, and is a very entertaining read to boot. Here's what Buckmaster has to say:
Simon Buckmaster says...
IF I was a betting man, then I would be putting my mortgage on Eugene Laverty to win the World Supersport Championship this year. I believe Eugene as an overall with the Parkalgar Honda bike and team is a better package compared to his two main rivals Kenan Sofuoglu and Joan Lascorz.
I am sure I'll have my critics to publish these thoughts so close to the first round but I believe over a season Eugene is the strongest contender and I don't mind saying so. Here's my reasoning why:
Firstly, Sofuoglu. I don't think he's as strong as Lascorz for a start and to go at the same speed as Eugene or Joan he has to push hard and he may crash sometimes as he did in 2009. Also, his Ten Kate team appears to be getting a bit shirty about things. Up until last year there was always a friendly sportsmanship with Ten Kate but now that we have beaten them some members of the team seem stand-offish. That's a shame as I have the utmost respect for such a professional team and my attitude towards them doesn't change whether we win or lose. The fact they don't have Factory Ohlins suspension and we do may also give us a slight edge, although to be fair to Ten Kate they have worked hard over the winter and their bike is closer to ours now. But for all the reasons above, I believe Sofuoglu will finish third in the Championship as he did last year. Consistency is always a good thing.
Just for clarity, I don't think the other Ten Kate rider Pirro can maintain the consistency to be a title contender; he's probably brought money to the team and got a good ride, but if he wanted the best Honda team he should have looked elsewhere.
Lascorz is consistently fast and talented, very close in level and ability to Eugene and I respect him and his team enormously. He will be tough to beat but I think the Parkalgar Honda package is overall stronger. My good friend Randy Mamola rode both bikes at the end of last year and while he confirmed the similar engine performance, he also said our Parkalgar Honda was much smoother and easier on tyres. It is that tyre management that should give us a slight edge. In the last couple of laps we should have a tyre performance advantage and that means a stronger finish. If all things go to plan then Lascorz will finish second this year and deserve it, he is an excellent racer.
Anyway, I am getting ready for tomorrow's opening day of the 2010 World Supersport Championship and thought I'd share my opinions with you. Here's to a good battle all weekend between the three riders above and I wonder if there are any bookies would take my bet...