Second at Phillip Island test adds to confidence of former champion.
Posting the second-quickest lap-time was a strong way for Bryan Staring to officially begin his time at Kawasaki BCperformance during the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) test at Phillip Island this week, continuing to reacclimatise to the Ninja ZX-10R.
Staring, who was ASBK champion in 2010, has switched from Honda to Kawasaki over the silly season to replace the retiring Robbie Bugden and already he is displaying the type of progress that should see him firmly in the fight for the 2018 title.
Directly following his premier class championship in Australia, Staring jetted off the embark on an international career that included three victories in the European-based Superstock 1000 series aboard ZX-10R machinery and it is that experience that he will lean upon in a bid to deliver BCperformance its first ASBK crown this year. His stint overseas also included a single season in MotoGP, riding an uncompetitive CRT entry with the Gresini Honda team during 2013.
The Phillip Island test saw Staring gradually gain strength on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, lowering his lap-time and topping the charts until a late flyer from Next Gen Motorsports BMW’s Glenn Allerton bumped the Western Australian to second on combined times as the final chequered flag of the eight sessions flew. It was an important shakedown to further evaluate his Kawasaki, Dunlop Tyres and K-Tech Suspension package.
“Although I’ve spent so much time on the ZX-10R, I’m riding in a different country to what I know with this particular bike,” Staring told CycleOnline.com.au this week. “It’s a different team obviously, different suspension and a different tyre compared to the past. I wasn’t sure if it would be like putting an old glove back on or not, but the test went really well and the end result was really good.
“The major positive for me was that we just kept improving the bike, kept learning more and more, so my confidence was growing. In the end we put a tyre in to do a bit of a run and it was another step of confidence for me. The whole package is really good and the lap-time was pretty good as well! All in all, that was about as strong as we could have hoped to be.”
Staring entered last year as part of the factory Crankt Protein Honda Racing team with minimal race milage completed the year prior due to injuries, however by the end of the season he proved he was a legitimate threat at the front of the field. Now, together with Kawasaki BCperformance, he is hoping to factor in the true race for the championship once again in 2018.
“What nobody took into account going into the season last year was that in 2016 I did probably three races, spent most of the season injured and I had a terrible year before that,” he added. “There were a lot of things that didn’t work in my favour over the course of the year as well. I didn’t start with the confidence needed, but even though everything’s changed as far as the team goes, at least I have taken the confidence I built toward the end of last year with me.
“I’m riding at the level I know I can ride at now and that’s important. When you consider how fresh everything is at the moment, it’s all pretty positive going into round one. We just need to keep our heads down and continue to improve the bike in the areas we know that we can. The important thing is to keep our sights on the long-term goal and the short-term will look after itself.”