GBmoto Racing Kawasaki endured a tough road racing debut at the North West 200 yesterday after retiring from the Superbike and Superstock events.
The week had started well for the team with their rider, Gary Johnson, continuing to develop the ZX-10R machine through Tuesday and Thursday, before qualifying second for the superbike race.
Johnson made a good start to Saturday’s superbike race and he was able to run with the leading group for the first couple of laps.
Unfortunately a fault in the tilt switch on lap three led to his bike cutting out on a number of occasions, forcing him to retire at the end of the lap.
The weather continued to play havoc with the event and there was a short rain shower before the start of the second Superstock race. Race one had already been postponed and then cancelled due to a number of red flags.
Starting from 13th, Johnson again made a positive start to the second Superstock race and climbed up to eighth midway through the first lap.
Technical problems would strike once more though and Johnson was again forced to retire from the race, this time due to issues with the clutch.
The weather became even worse after the conclusion of the Superstock race and race organisers decided that it would be too dangerous for the final Superbike race to take place.
Looking back over the event, Johnson said: “It’s been a bit of a tough event, on one hand we’ve learnt loads with both the Superbike and Superstock machines and have really been able to improve both bikes but on the other, the results unfortunately don’t reflect that due to two minor problems which forced us out.
“Overall I’m happy with the two machines, we were running up there in the Superbike race before a small fault with a sensor meant the bike kept cutting out, whilst we never got to show our true potential in the Superstock race as the clutch fried! It’s been a great test bed and we know what areas we need to improve or work on ahead of the TT.”
Team principal, Mark Smith-Halvorsen, knows that despite their technical problems his team have gained valuable data and experience from their time at the event.
He said: “It’s been good to get our Road Racing campaign underway, and the North West 200 is a fantastic event, however it’s disappointing that our results don’t reflect the progress we’ve made. We have been able to confirm that both the Superbike and Superstock machines are competitive and the synergy between Gary and his crew is looking very good.
“It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get as many competitive laps as we would have liked, and after a huge amount of preparation and effort, the team are naturally disappointed to not get any results. That said, we know what we’re capable of and have ironed out some small problems so can head to the Isle of Man ready to challenge for top results!”