World Superbikes dream could still be alive for Martin Jessopp
Martin Jessopp’s World Superbikes dream could still be alive when he travels to Magny Cours today but the rider admitted he was still someway short of his goal.
The 26-year-old of Yeovil heads to France for what will be his last ever World Supersport round following a challenging first year with the Rapid Riders Performance Technical Racing team.
Jessopp has struggled to switch from a superbike to the smaller 600cc Honda and in recent months has signalled his intent to stay on the global stage but return to the 1000cc bikes.
The father-of-one wanted to determine his future before crossing the English Channel, but said that might not be the case with further meetings lined up this weekend.
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Jessopp said: “It is getting closer but it is still a long way to go and there is nothing really to report.
“We are still talking to people, really, and we have got another meeting in France with another team in the World Superbikes paddock that we haven’t spoken to yet. That could be interesting.
“We wanted to know what we were doing by Magny Cours and we still might do and hopefully we will do.
“There has only been one year –which was last year – in ten years of racing where I haven’t known what I am doing a year later at the last round of the series. It is that time this weekend so hopefully we can sort something out.”
Jessopp revealed he and his current garage crew could resurrect his British Superbikes team from last year for the world series, but said finances would be the deciding factor.
“We do have options and we have got to look at what is best for me,” he said. “There are options and it is about balancing what I really want to do with what we can realistically ride for.
“We have still got a truck and everything that allowed us to run our own team last year and we have looked at that but without a sponsor at the minute it is so hard. We couldn’t go anywhere without a sponsor.”
Jessopp will also strike a balancing act ahead of Saturday’s race day, with the pressure off as he attempts to add to his only point.
Unlike most of the other circuits on the World Supersport calendar this year, Jessopp has experience of Magny Cours, and more crucially experience of the famous track on a 600cc ride.
Twelve months ago whilst still a British Superbikes competitor, Jessopp took up an offer from a French team to guest at the final round but failed to race after bike problems cut short his weekend.
Jessopp said: “I have got to find a balance. If I shut my eyes and just go for it I tend to go back to my old Superbikes style, which I have spent a year trying to get out of.
“It is not something that I necessarily want to do. There is a balance between the two and the main thing is staying on the bike and not crashing.
“If you crash in qualifying it’s not so much a problem, you have to stay on it during the race. I will be pushing it from the first lap of first practice because I do know where the track is going and the bike will be well set-up as the team have been there so often.
“I will definitely be going there with a different attitude in practice and qualifying.
“I spoke with one of the team managers a couple of days ago and we agreed that this is the last round and I should take a few more risks than I usually do, especially if the weather gets a bit dodgy which it can be as we have seen when Superbikes have come to this track.
“The mentality is definitely different for this round than it has been for any other round. There is no pressure, only that which I put on myself which is more than enough anyway.
“There is obviously pressure from the sponsors but after so many years in the sport you get used to that and you try to turn it into a good thing.”
Jessopp will be joined by a familiar face in the garage, with crew chief James Buckingham travelling to France having most recently worked with him at Silverstone.
“He works for a British Superbikes team and is back on with us for the final round which will be good as we have a good working relationship with him,” said Jessopp.
“When he first retired from racing he worked with me for a season so it is good to have James back.
“I am looking forward to it. It is somewhere where I did a few laps around on a 600cc last year so it is pretty fresh on my mind. I only did about 60-70 laps but that is a lot more than most of the other tracks.
“I really enjoyed riding the track last year and it is a bit more like the British Superbikes tracks where it is a bit stop and start.
“I am really looking forward to getting there and I am confident of hopefully having a good last round on the 600cc.
“It turned out to be disaster with the team last year and the bike they gave me was just not up to spec. it will be good to go back there and finish off what we had hoped to do a good job with last year.”
Even if Jessopp’s plans for next year are in doubt, he will definitely race a superbike before the end of the year after confirming his entrance to November’s Macau Grand Prix, where he finished second in 2011.
The event in the Chinese administrative region boasts a reputation as one of the most dangerous road races in the world, with only former BSB team-mate Michael Rutter beating Jessopp last year on his way to a record-breaking win.
Jessopp took the same Ducati he rode at this May’s North West 200 to an English track last week for a shake-down test he believed could not have gone any better.
After taking little time to re-adjust to his old bike, Jessopp said he would take that confidence into this weekend’s meeting.
“I will take those positives into the Supersport this weekend,” he said. “I was enjoying being back on the bike, digging in deep and pushing hard like I have always ridden a bike so hopefully I can take that enjoyment on to the Supersport bike.”