Simon Says in association with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda – Heading into the Portimao test and the last four rounds

After the usual long summer break for World Supersport, it is great that Dorna have included our class in the official test coming up in Portimao this weekend.  As always with this break, we use it to prepare in the best possible way for the last rounds and to look to the 2020 season, as in reality this break is actually longer than the winter break.

We as a team want to challenge at the front.  In some ways we were aware that this year would be harder to do that as we are working with two riders who are both growing in different ways.

In the case of Jules Danilo, he came over from the Moto GP paddock after a challenging season in Moto2 and Moto3 before that.  Everyone in the team knows he has the talent but he has found it hard to really show that in WSS so far.  We have seen it in practice and he has been in the top ten on two occasions.  In reality he is much better than that. I do believe as a team we have maybe allowed him to convince us he needed a different setting for his style. We have worked with this but now is the time to return to what we know works and for Jules to adapt.  Had we not changed the bike after Australia it is hard to believe he would not be in a better position now.  It’s great that we have the chance of the two-day test and then the race at the same track two weeks later.  This is a real chance for Jules to re-group and together we can show everyone what he can really do.  I’m looking forward to achieving that starting on Saturday.

Peter is a different case. He joined us for the second half of last season and we got him to the top ten by the last round.  He now sits tenth in the championship and has the chance to climb as high as eighth, but of course, also has threats from behind.  We are all up for the challenge and looking for the best possible finish to the season and building for a proper challenge in the top six in 2020.  As I always say, only when we get to sixth will we know if Peter can unlock the door and make that last step to be a real front running rider at every race.  I am also looking forward and relishing the opportunity to make that happen.

Whilst we all have the passion and we work well as a team at all times, we do of course need the backing to make it all happen.  Unfortunately we have had some problems with Peter’s management company. We are working to overcome this situation but at this time, while we get to that point, Peter will have to miss the test this week.  That is a real shame but it is out of our control and we just ran out of time to get the changes needed agreed with them.  I worked as hard as I could but as the saying goes “it is what it is”.  Let’s see, but I am very hopeful we will be able to get everything sorted and continue with our goals together.  I think it is important for me to point out that we in no way have any problem with Peter and whatever is happening now, we are already working on a deal for him to be with our team in 2020.

We have enjoyed working with Peter and Jules this year but of course we cannot guarantee they will both be with us next year.  It does not just depend on us as they also have their own views and ambitions.  We like to look for continuity in our team so we will be talking with both riders in the coming weeks and of course to others as we look to build our team for 2020.

For the upcoming test this week, Gabriele Ruiu will be replacing Peter.  I have been watching this young Italian rider and see some real talent there.  There is no pressure on him, let’s just see what he can do on our bike which has always been very strong at the Portimao track.  It will also give us another view which can be of benefit for Jules and as a team we are also more than willing to look at every angle to improve our package. Whilst we would not normally have this chance and we certainly didn’t plan things to be like this, it is a real opportunity to look at a rider who I believe can be a rider for the future and for us both to see how we can work together and discuss possibilities after the test.