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Racer is considering options for next year

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: September 15, 2012

  • FINAL PREPARATIONS: Martin Jessopp, above, relaxes on the Nurburgring grid on Sunday while inset the race gets underway in Germany.

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MARTIN Jessopp concedes it is becoming less likely by the day he will be a World Supersport rider next year after a tough weekend in Germany that also involved meeting a World Superbikes chief.

The Rapid Riders Performance Technical Racing's struggle aboard a 600cc Honda continued at the Nurburgring when qualifying 30th effectively ended hopes of adding to his only point from 11 rounds.

Jessopp of Yeovil battled back to 20th, aided by a bold first corner move, but was hampered by a gearbox issue and was unable to close a gap that had grown between him and the rest of the pack.

The 26-year-old had planned to take two years in World Supersport to learn the global tracks before stepping up again to World Superbikes and a return to the 1000cc bikes he rode in the British series.

However, Jessopp could bring plans forward and left Friday meetings in Germany with World Superbikes director Paolo Ciabatti and a Superbikes team in positive mood.

He said: "We had meetings with Paolo Ciabatti at World Superbikes, who is responsible for getting the bikes on the grid and he is really keen to get us there next year and to get the Riders Racing team back, as it was. We had another meeting with another World Superbikes team who are looking at their options for next year, as are we, but at the minute there isn't really anything more than that to report.

"Mr Ciabatti said in the meeting that he was as disappointed as us that it hadn't quite worked out on a 600cc because we thought it was going to be a two-year plan. It is looking less and less likely, day by day that I am going to be on a 600cc next year so I am weighing up my other options.

"He will be doing his best to try and get our team back. We are also looking at what else we can do."

With temperatures soaring in Germany, Jessopp, crew chief Alec Tague and technician Greg Smith were forced to move away from the soft grade of tyre they favour for qualifying.

Despite failing to adapt to the change and finishing outside of the points, Jessopp remained impressed with improvements made during the third meeting where Tague has been present.

Jessopp said: "Qualifying is definitely something I can work on, it just a lot of the guys are excellent at going mad for one lap and not quite concentrating on their race pace. That maybe shows that my race pace on worn tyres is better than theirs, with a lot of guys in front of me. With five guys in front of me I am better at the end of the race than they are.

"Maybe in qualifying we have got to change the strategy but the important thing is that we get the bike set up before the race. We worked really hard on that this weekend but we had to sacrifice time because we couldn't use the soft tyres to get a really quick, one-off lap time.

"It is definitely a case of taking the brain out, gritting your teeth and trying to get a couple of laps together at the end of qualifying.

"The finish position didn't reflect the amount of work put in over the weekend and it looks like a bad result. I am not happy riding around in those positions but when you go through the time sheets and look at the sectors like us riders and team managers do, you can see what the situation is.

"But obviously all that is irrelevant, it is down to where you finish the race. It was encouraging but isn't where I want to be."

Jessopp added his starting position left him fearless from the start. "In the race I took the gamble of going around the outside of everyone at a tight first corner. That can easily go wrong as if somebody tips off and makes a mistake then I will be going down with them. It was a gamble I took that paid off.

"Because I had qualified so far down the grid I was willing to take that risk of taking a big chunk of guys at the first corner or something happening on the inside and going down.

"I had a good first couple of laps but once I had got ahead of the slower guys there was that gap of six or seven seconds that I couldn't quite close down."

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