Interviews 11 Jan 2018

Fast Thoughts: Josh Brookes

British Superbike Championship number two on his move to McAms Yamaha.

It was finally confirmed last night that Josh Brookes will be joining the factory-supported McAMS Yamaha team for the 2018 British Superbike Championship, looking to go one better than his runner-up result of last season. Brookes, now 34, is eager to regain the title that he claimed in 2015 aboard an official YZF-R1 and this year appears to be an ideal opportunity to get that number one plate back once and for all. spoke to him while back home enjoying the off-season at his home in Bringelly this week.

Image: Supplied.

Signing with the McAMS Yamaha team…

I’m excited, as it opens up a whole load of more opportunities with that team having the official tag with the Yamaha support, so whatever development the World Superbike guys have done at the end of last year, which appeared to be some good steps forward, that information will be available to us. Then obviously carrying on from when I was sort of last in the official role with Yamaha in 2015 we made some good progress with their support, so to sort of merge with a more of an official team and some extra special parts – more than a private team would normally have – should be a bit of a boost to my results.

Staying aboard an R1, but within a new organisation…

Hopefully not too much changes for me. I’m keeping Stewart Winton as my crew chief. The reason why Yamaha reached out and asked me to come and join their official team, which is the McAMS Yamaha team was because they could see that I was getting the highest Yamaha results on a privateer bike, so they wanted to get me on the official bike. It would look better if the best results were on their official bikes. I can understand their motivation to try and get the results back in-house and it suits me too. Now I have the best support to get better results than what I was already getting last year.

The experience gained last year with the smaller Anvil Hire Yamaha crew…

I never get complacent, but certainly riding for a private team makes you recognise the vales of having that little bit of extra support from an official team – a few more test days during the year, extra budget, so you can try new parts and just having the access to those couple of extra bits and pieces. Each year Yamaha have refined the fuel tank position, seat height and exhaust systems. Things like that, which are evolving through the year, not just having one to start the season and that’s pretty much what you have got all year. As the year goes on, the new ways are discovered to make the bike perform better or just feel more comfortable to ride for the race distance or to conserve the tyre longer. They’re all a massive help, especially when you’re looking for tenths when it’s so tight at the front of BSB. One of things that already springs to mind is the swing-arm, which the official bike has got. In 2015 and last year I was just riding on the standard production-based swing-arm, which comes with the bike from standard, so I think we did a really good job to make the bike work on that set-up. However when you are racing against bikes and teams that are extending every adjustable part of the bike to its maximum, if you are not doing the same thing by using the more refined racing swing-arm and stuff like that, the more variable linkages and suspension set-up which you can achieve with those, you are always going to be left behind a little bit. You might be able to find other areas to bridge the gap because you’re not wasting time or making as many changes during a race weekend, but ultimately your performance has a ceiling. You can’t reach to higher performance levels because you don’t have the equipment, so that’s the first thing that stands out to me. Hopefully that swing-arm should add something to what I haven’t had before and the reports are from the team last year and also World Superbike is that it’s a good step forward. There are a number of people who have mentioned riders have felt a lot more improved with the racing swing-arms, so I have that to look forward to.

Image: Supplied.

Upcoming test schedule…

From the 28th of February to the 4th of March is already confirmed, where we are testing in Spain. Then there will be more testing closer to the first round in the UK.

World championship aspirations versus remaining in the UK…

I mean that idea and that dream of making your career bigger and better is something that will never die. Even when you are long-retired, I think you will always have that idea or that feeling of wanting to make something better or to achieve more. Unless you tick off every goal that you set for yourself, I think you’ll always have that feeling of wanting more and wanting to achieve more, so the World Superbike thing is always going to be a desire. I wasn’t really expecting to go to World Superbikes in 2016, it was just the opportunity that came up and it looked like before the season a good opportunity. As it turned out, it wasn’t what it seemed and I didn’t do as I would have liked to do. I don’t really hold high hopes in trying to put myself in that situation again. The British championship has been great to me, I have a huge following over there, the UK fans, the teams and everyone is familiar with me and my riding and they treat me like I’m meant to be there, so I have no real desire. Unless something dramatic changes, I have no desires to move anywhere else. I can make a career out of it here in the UK, so I’ll continue to do that.