Martin Jessopp: No regrets over difficult debut year in World Supersport Championship
Martin Jessopp has no regrets from his troubled first year in World Supersport, hoping the track experience he has gained will prove invaluable.
The Yeovil racer finished 18th in last weekend’s final championship round at Magny Cours, France, leaving him with just one point from 13 meetings.
Having struggled to adapt to his 600cc Rapid Riders Performance Technical Racing Honda all year, Jessopp signed off with another display that failed to produce the finish he deserved.
His lap times in the second half of the race matched competitors in the top ten, but the damage had already been done as it took seven laps to get tyres up to temperature.
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Now contemplating his opt ions for 2013 and a potential switch to World Superbikes, Jessopp drew attentions to the positives gained this year despite being frustrated with race positions.
Jessopp said: “A lot of people would have jacked in the job and tried to look elsewhere but the reality was that there was not anything else available.
“I wanted to learn all the tracks in case there was a chance I was back in the Championship or competing in World Super bikes next year.
“I have now got that track knowledge under my belt so it was worth sticking arou- nd just for that. I am glad I did stick around and I would not really change much if I could do it again.
“But the way I ride does not work on that bike and it is not something you can really change. It is like getting into a car, swapping the pedals around and having to steer right to go left all of a sudden. When you have been riding in a certain style for ten to 15 years it is hard to change.”
The former British Superbikes ace added his own high standards left him feeling unnecessarily down after races.
“I learned so much,” Jessopp said. “I kept beating myself up after each round because I did not get the results I wanted but I also had to keep telling myself it was a world championship, not a Sunday league in Somerset. It was the best 600cc riders in the world, I like to compare myself to the best and that is what I set out and intended to do.
“I am a racer and if you are not at the front you are not happy so there is always room to improve.”
Jessopp was left to rue a slow-speed crash during a practice session before Sunday’s race in France, admitting he entered the series finale “blind” as the fall effectively ended his session.
Whereas the entire PTR garage suffered bike set-up headaches, Jessopp was the worst effected.
“My team-mates were really surprised as well because in the warm-up we were really struggling,” he said. “Everybody was saying that the grip was a real issue so we all had a bit of problem going into the race.
“But the big difference was that they all completed at least one flying lap going into the race on a wet track, whereas I had not.
“So I was going into the race completely blind which showed in the first few laps when I could not keep up the speed. Once I got heat into the tyres I was moving through the field strongly.
“It would have been really nice if the race had been stopped for whatever reason and restarted because I would have had that little bit of practice that I had missed out on in the morning.
“But it did not work in our favour. Everyone was really happy with how I rode during the race but it was just a shame the result did not go as well as we deserved.
“By the end I was lapping at the same speed as the riders in the top ten, and even my fastest lap was as quickest as the rider who came sixth.”