MotoOnline.com.au speaks to Jamie Stauffer about his first ASBK test with Ducati Motologic at Phillip Island last week.
The news that Jamie Stauffer would be spearheading Ducati’s return to the Australian Superbike Championship with Motologic Racing may have surprised some, but the fact is that the double series champ is going to be a major threat in 2010.
Stauffer will be joined by rookie Jordan Burgess in the Victorian-based team run by former racer Paul Free, the pair replacing Glenn Allerton and Wayne Maxwell in the Motologic outfit.
A stunning debut was had last week at Phillip Island for Stauffer and Motologic in their Ducati debut, with an unofficial best lap of 1:35.1 proving the fastest of the two days against all the major contenders of the season.
MotoOnline.com.au gave Jamie a call to see what he thinks of the 1198R, how he likes the new Dunlop D211GP Racer control tyres, and to find out if he’s ready to get that ASBK number one plate back once again.
Test number one is complete with Ducati Motologic, how was your first ride in the new colours?
Yeah, really good. The team hasn’t had much time to work on the bike so it was pretty standard, but it was good to get down there and get a feel for the Ducati. Obviously switching from a four-cylinder to a V-twin there’s a few differences in the way you have to ride it, so it was good to get down to the Island and ride the bike. It was good to get to know the team, so it was really good for us to get down there in a fairly relaxed couple of days to see what it was like.
You’ve spent a number of years with Yamaha on 1000cc and 600cc four-cylinders, so did you know what to expect when you climbed aboard the 1198R V-twin for the first time?
Well a lot of people were saying that it would be a lot different, which obviously they are, but at the same time they’re all motorcycles.
I suppose through all my years of racing in dirt track I would ride a 125, 250 and 500 all in the same day, and then get on a slider and race Speedway bikes as well – they’re all motorbikes and you ride them all different, but you just have to adapt yourself to whatever you’re on.
This year I’ll just have to adapt myself to how a V-twin should be ridden, but it won’t be that hard to adapt to riding the bike once I get used to riding in a different part of the rev range, so yeah, so far, so good.
Did you get to ride near defending champion Josh Waters or any of the other contenders at the test? Have you discovered the strong points of the Ducati yet?
I got near a few of the guys and it seemed I was able to be fast into the turns on corner entry, and then also picking up the throttle through the corner on the twin.
It was hard because we only had two sets of the new control tyres, so everybody had good tyres and bad tyres on at different stages of the test, which makes it hard to gauge yourself.
But yeah, we definitely found some strong points of the bike and have sat down to speak about where we can possibly make it better, so hopefully next time we ride we’ll be able to improve even more.
The test obviously went well for you on debut with Ducati and the team, but how much development do you guys have to go considering you’ve had just two days on the bike?
We’ve got a lot of development to go, because even though we were fastest at the test, everybody else is going to get faster from this point as we all get extra time out of the control tyres because they are different to N-Tecs.
I feel as though we have can get a lot more out of the Ducati than what we’ve got now, but in saying that it’s fantastic in stock trim. I feel that we can improve in quite a few areas and develop the bike as the year goes on.
As you said, a control tyre has been implemented for 2010 using the Dunlop D211GP Racer, so what were your thoughts on the tyres at the first test?
They’re obviously not as good as N-Tecs, but to be honest the new control tyre has more grip when it’s new than what I expected it to have. Once they’ve got a few laps on them then they have the grip that I initially thought they would have, but it’s always going to be hard to adapt to a tyre with less grip.
I think that it’s definitely cheaper for everybody in the sport and all of us will be on the same tyres, so it’s just a matter of who gets out there and learns how to go fast on them the quickest.
You’re recognised as one of the greats in domestic road racing with two Superbike and Supersport titles apiece, so just how much does it mean to you to be able to stay on a Superbike in the ASBK with a manufacturer like Ducati?
It’s great, you know. Last year definitely wasn’t one of my best years – it was pretty poor really. But a couple of things went on, had trouble with my young fella Max, and at the same time the 2009 R1 wasn’t competitive in our series.
I feel that I wasn’t riding at 100 percent, but as my results showed on the 600, I wasn’t riding too bad. However when you look at the Superbike results then it went terrible.
The Superbike class is the premier class and I thought that’s where I needed to be, because if I didn’t do it this year I’d be kicking myself for finishing off on a bad run.
I know that I’m good enough to win races and championships – you don’t just forget how to ride. If the package is right I’ll be as competitive as I ever was when I won the titles.
In closing, what are the chances of us seeing a number one plate on the front of the Ducati come the final round this year?
It’s hard to say isn’t it? To win a championship you need a good team and a good bike, which I’ve got for this year, but you also need a little bit of luck on your side.
We’ll be trying to get the bike sorted out as quickly as we can, and I really didn’t expect it to be as good as it is at this stage, so that’s a good sign heading into the season.
As far as winning the championship goes, I’m not really sure because there are a lot of good riders out there. I know I’ll be trying my best to win it, which would be great for Ducati in their return to Aussie Superbikes.
I’m not really thinking about the championship right now, I just need to work hard on developing the bike and I’ll be taking it race by race. We’ll see where we’re at come the end of the year – hopefully we’ll be in contention at the final round.
Thanks mate and good luck for this season, we’ll see you in a few weeks at the opening round.
No worries, thanks mate.