DESPITE struggling whilst on the track, Martin Jessopp has revelled being sandwiched between two team-mates gunning for glory when back in the garage.
The Rapid Riders Performance Technical Racing rookie from Yeovil has just one point to his name from 11 World Supersport outings. However, experienced team-mates Sam Lowes and Jules Cluzel have enjoyed far better fortunes on the same 600cc Honda.
Frenchman Cluzel and Brit Lowes have two wins each to their name this year, the former most recently pipping the latter to the chequered flag at Silverstone last month.
With two races left, Turkish rider Kenan Sofuoglu is odds-on favourite to lift the crown but will face stern competition from second-placed Cluzel, who is currently 38 behind the leader.
Jessopp said: "This is the biggest team in Supersport and I have four great, really fast team-mates. They are all younger than me, they have all raced only 600cc or smaller so have great experience on these little bikes.
"I am learning as much off them as they are learning off me. In the garage I am sat in the middle, Jules is at one end and Sam is at the other fighting for the Championship.
"Unfortunately it is over for Sam now and all but over for Jules barring a mechanical mistake from Kenan in the final rounds. There is a lot of rivalry in the garage and I'm bang in the middle of it."
Jessopp finished 20th at the Nurburgring, Germany, on Sunday, having qualified 30th. A gamble to take the outside line at the first corner helped him pass rivals, but Jessopp had still left himself too much to do.
"By the time I had got passed he slower guys there was a bit of a gap," he said. "I got past one guy to make my way to 22nd and in the last parts of the race I was just racing myself and my pit board again. We had a gearbox problem as well and with a tight first corner my bike was struggling to select first gear. I was losing about 0.4 secs which doesn't sound too much but when you are around a track where you are fighting so closely is it a lot.
"I was losing that time but still managing to match the times of the top 12. I find myself saying that again and that it is down to qualifying again."
PTR team manager Simon Buckmaster added: "Martin had too much too do after qualifying, we need to do something about that."
The World Supersport series heads to Portugal and the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve next week for the penultimate meeting of the series. It could also be one of the final outings in the World Superbikes support series for Jessopp as he mulls over options for next year.
However, Jessopp said his immediate focus is currently on a week of training ahead of his journey south.
"It is back to work and back to training," he said. "We will be flying down to Portugal as it's a good two-day drive to the Algarve, which is too long for us to be away. It is back to normal, back to training and getting as fit as possible before the next round."