April 1, 2017
After FP2 at Donington Park, I caught up with British Superbike star Tommy Bridewell as he moves to the GR Motorsport Team WD40 outfit for the 2017 season. We discussed electrical glitches, his adaptation to the new Kawasaki and other riders and rivalries. Tommy hopes to be in the fight for a top six position come the end of the season and who’d bet against the Wiltshireman doing it, as he is one of the most flexible and versatile riders in the paddock.
How is the initial feeling with the Kawasaki, having been riding other bikes for the past few seasons?
The feeling with the bike is OK. We’ve just unfortunately come across a little electrical glitch, which has held us back massively today. We still have work to do; it’s all about understanding the way the electronics work on the bike. I have no issues with the chassis, it’s just trying to get our heads on top of the electronics and then we’ll be alright.
Do you find it difficult to adapt to new teams?
I’m quite a flexible person. I’ve rode for quite a lot of teams, it doesn’t really bother me. As long as the bike is built to the standard I expect then I know I can do well on it. It’s about learning how the team work and going from there.
How has it been fitting into the team?
It’s been very good. They’re very welcoming and very friendly. Everyone has the same target and the same end goal so we are all driven in working towards that point.
Can you match or beat the two podiums last year on the Suzuki?
Christ yes. If I finish the season with only having two podiums then I should be very disappointed for definite. We have a few glitches to get on top of but once they’re sorted then we should be able to progress to the next level and be stronger.
Has not making the showdown last season motivated you to come back stronger in 2017?
Yes, definitely. That is the goal as always. It is disappointing when you don’t make it but like you say, you focus on this season coming and fight harder than ever. I feel we got the best out of the Suzuki last season. We excelled on lap times and in results, going better than it had gone for a long time. I was happy with the way it went but with a new challenge and a new bike, we hit the reset button and move on.
Where do you see yourself at the end of the year?
I 100% see myself in the top six but as I sit here now, we have got work to do to find our feet to understand the electronics and understand the bike a bit better. Once we have got on top of that then we will be day-and-night different. It won’t be the same bike. It’s about understanding the finer details to get the best out of the whole package. We have an issue that we would have easily ironed out in testing but that was a washout here. It’s just been a lack of testing which has made it hard for us.
Will you perform well in the races even with these issues?
As the bike is now, then no. I’m riding at a level where I’m about to crash and I’m not fast so once we fix the problem that we have then I can see myself being a totally different rider tomorrow. Get on top of it overnight, start again Saturday.
Are there any riders you particularly dislike or have issues with, having seen in the past you’ve had fallouts with riders?
If I’m honest, I don’t have time of day for any other riders in the paddock. There’s not many I’m really fond of; I’m just here to do a job, not to gel my hair or try and look pretty and talk the usual bollocks like the others, so we will keep our head down and do our own thing and be there come race day.
Will you win a race in 2017?
Without a shadow of a doubt – 100%.
Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko