Positive Suzuki shakedown could see 'Mad Eyes' back on the grid.
Words: Russell Colvin
Double Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) winner Marty Craggill had his first taste aboard a Superbike machine for the first time in over a decade in December at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit during a public ride day.
The 1997 and 1998 title-winner, who is working towards at competing in a selection of next year’s ASBK rounds, was piloting a Suzuki GSX-R1000 prepared by Phil Tainton.
“I still feel like I can ride okay, but the fitness is the biggest problem right now,” said the 52-year-old, who has racked up a total of 44 starts in the Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) alongside a number of American and British championship starts.
“I’m having a bit of arm-pump, but mainly just fatigued. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to get freaked out, feel uncomfortable. Now I know that I do feel good on the bike and enjoying it, the next thing I’ll have to do is try and work on trying to find the time to get away from work so I’m able to train and improve my physical fitness. Overall however, I’ve had a ball and it feels great to be back on a Superbike.”
Craggill has explained that he will make up his mind if he will take part in any of the ASBK rounds after the official ASBK test, which takes place on 30-31 January. He wants to make sure his lap-times are up to scratch.
“I don’t want to put a number on it,” he continued. “I just want to get out there with some new tyres and see what I can do and make a decision from there. As I said, today I was pretty with what I did and surprised myself.
“The Suzuki GSX-R1000 is awesome. Phil has done a fantastic job, so hats off to him. On top of that, the new GSX-R has proven itself, which was also the reason why I went down this path. We went for the old-school retro look, as I would be the oldest rider out on the ASBK grid by a mile,” joked Craggily.
Craggill has made it clear that he is not making a full-on comeback to racing like triple world champion Troy Bayliss. If he does race in next year’s championship, it will be in a couple of races here and there throughout the 2018 ASBK series.
“I’m not doing a comeback like Troy to try win the championship. At this stage I don’t know how many rounds I’ll do – I want to take it easy and simply have some fun. It’s all about work/life balance. I just want to have a bit of fun and go back to what I really love, which is racing motorcycles,” concluded Craggill.