LAVILLA AND VENT AXIA VK HONDA SET FOR WORLD SUPERBIKES
The 2008 World Superbike Championship gets underway in Qatar next weekend (February 23rd) with the Paul Bird Motorsport Team set to make an historic transition to the series.
After thirteen years of racing in the various British Championships, the decision was made to move to World Superbikes at the end of last season and expectations are high for the only British team racing in the series.
Entrusted with the task of success is Spanish rider Gregorio Lavilla who returns to the World stage after a four year absence, during which time he won the British Superbike Championship in 2005, and the 34 year old from Tarragona will be the sole rider aboard the Phil Borley-prepared Honda Fireblade with backing from UK ventilation experts Vent Axia and Kick Energy Drink, part of the Global Brands company which owns such products as VK Vodka Kick.
Testing has gone well over the winter and Lavilla will make his debut at the Middle Eastern track, as well as the following weekends race in Australia , on board the 2007 bikes prior to the new models being unveiled at the first European race in Valencia in early April.
Team owner Paul Bird has fond memories pertaining to the last time his team raced in World Superbikes, which was at Brands Hatch in 2003, when Shane 'Shakey' Byrne won both races as a wild card on the MonsterMob Ducati but five years on, the prospect is a lot more challenging.
I am looking forward to the challenge and am very excited to be back in World Superbikes. We still have lots to learn what with many new circuits and the new tyres, and also racing a four cylinder bike after three years on a twin so it will be tough. Also, there are at least fifteen factory-supported riders out there, all of whom will be very fast so we have to be realistic about our chances, especially early in the season but I feel that I have been riding well in testing and will be trying my best as always.
We know its not going to be easy and we will learn an awful lot in the first couple of races, Im sure. But I have every confidence in both the team and Greg, thats why I signed him to race for us, and we hope to be in a position to challenge for podiums as the season progresses. Were not here to make the numbers up, we never have been, and reverting back to the one rider team is our key to success.