Martin Jessopp faces crunch week to achieve 2013 World Superbikes dream
Martin Jessopp faces a crucial week in his bid to secure a World Superbikes switch after conceding finances were proving an obstacle.
Last weekend the Yeovil rider’s tough first year in the 600cc World Supersport series continued as he battled tyre, clutch and gearbox issues to finish 22nd in Portugal.
The Rapid Riders Performance Technical Racing Honda man has just one point to his name from a season ravaged by injury and misfortune.
Having struggled to adapt to a smaller bike following four years in British Superbikes, Jessopp has made no attempt to hide his desire to switch back to the bigger ride but on the global stage.
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Jessopp admitted weekend meetings about his future did not go as well as expected. Attentions are now turning to convincing sponsors to back the father-of-one, with a return to the manufacturer that brought him success in the BSB, Macau GP and North West 200 a possibility.
However, he faces an important seven days as he aims to travel to Magny Corps in France for the last World Supersport round next week with a deal in place for 2013
Jessopp said: “We had another two meetings with the series organisers about moving up to the World Superbikes Championship but it didn’t quite go as well as I wanted to.
“We had a meeting with the Ducati Racing boss and the option is there to buy a bike and then we are fit to do it next year. But without a sponsor for next year it is not really realistic. We are working with sponsors but at the moment we can’t really commit to anything without a sponsor.
“We are not really any the wiser about what we are doing for next year, which I had hoped we would be by now. We missed a meeting with another team because we were both busy at different times but I will get back in contact with them. But there are no real developments.
“As always with every rider in every championship and every team it comes down to money. If we had Joe Bloggs Company come along with a whack of money we could organise it all and know what we are doing by the end of the week, but we are still working hard with sponsors.”
Jessopp added his team’s focus on rubbing shoulders in the paddock with the likes of Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa next year meant they were not yet considering a contingency plan.
“Not at the minute,” he said. “We have got stuff in the back of our minds but this is the number one thing we want to do and the number one place we want to be. We are working towards that and realistically by Magny Corps we need to know if we are doing World Superbikes next year.
“If we’re not then we need to be looking elsewhere to see if we can generate something. I am 27 in a couple of months and think it is too early to retire. I think I have still got a lot to offer and a lot to win so I don’t want to be hanging my boots up just yet.”
Jessopp said he had to “put on a brave face” to disguise frustrations from a disappointing first outing at the Portimao track, accepting he could do little to change matters.
He said: “It is so frustrating just for the effort that goes in. You are going around the world just for one race whereas for the past four years I have been used to two goes at it.
“Before we have been able to fix the problem and get out there again but in World Supersport there is one race and one chance. It was all out of my hands. I had to put a brave face on and look forward to the last race of the year.
“I came in for my first soft tyre on Saturday and on my first lap had a slow puncture. I knew something was wrong with it, it was losing grip but I was so desperate to get a good time I refused to believe it.
“I carried on and it was spitting me out of the seat and nearly crashing. we put on another and unfortunately I had a bad one on Friday and then I tried another one on Saturday, which was good.
“We decided to use it again in qualifying but just my luck one was duff and the other had a slow puncture. In the first two laps of the race I had clutch or a gearbox problem – we won’t know until we strip back the engine.
“I couldn’t get down the gears and I was having to break a lot earlier, running off the track twice. I was getting frustrated, not being able to ride how I wanted to and having to ride differently.
“On our bikes we have a system where it allows to go down the gears quickly without effecting the speed. That was being messed about on the bike as well so there wasn’t much luck again.
“I was a second and half slower than even in practice so my pace meant I wasn’t able to get a good result. But I stuck at it as you never what can happen. I am not a rider that will come in and quit so the team were happy with that.”