Steve Martin Calls It A Day With DFX Following further discussions with DFX Honda team boss Daniele Carli yesterday, Steve Martin has decided it is not possible to find a workable solution to continue racing with the Italian squad for the ...
Steve Martin Calls It A Day With DFX
Following further discussions with DFX Honda team boss Daniele Carli yesterday, Steve Martin has decided it is not possible to find a workable solution to continue racing with the Italian squad for the remainder of the season.
"I've based my decision on the fact that this whole situation has now become unworkable," Steve explained. "I want to race competitively and safely, and you can't do that when the plans change continually with which races you'll be riding at, at every race weekend you have different people working on your bikes - some qualified to do so and some not - totally different set-ups, components and systems on each bike, different engines in each bike, different swing arms, no money, development or pre-race preparations going into your bikes and just continually starting from scratch every Friday of a race weekend, with a lottery of how the bikes and team are going to be."
Steve was initially informed two months ago that the DFX Honda team was experiencing financial difficulties and was unable to run two riders for the remainder of the season. As team-mate Michel Fabrizio is a Honda Europe funded rider, this meant it would be Steve's ride in the 2007 World Superbike Championship in jeopardy.
Further discussions then revealed that sufficient funds could be made available to run Steve at the third round of the WSBK Championship at Donington, and also the following three races at Valencia, Assen and Monza, on a race by race basis.
Whilst this solution was not ideal, it at least provided the experienced and gutsy Aussie rider with consistency until the season's mid point and also allowed time for additional team funding to be secured.
"But the goalposts were then changed again three weeks after that when the team notified me that they now didn't want to allocate money to running me at Assen, but only at the three remaining Italian rounds at Monza, Misano and Vallelunga," Steve continued.
"This left me with a difficult decision as to the best way forward - either stay with DFX for the spread out three Italian races and compromise a potential full time ride for the rest of the season, or leave and chance not riding at all.
"When Kev (Curtain) asked me to stand in for him on the Yamaha in the World Supersport Championship at Assen it was a good and timely opportunity. I could have continued on the Yamaha at the following round at Monza, but thought I should try and do the right thing by everyone - my chief mechanic as the last remaining member of my bike crew, the DFX team and also to continue to fulfil my contractual obligations and agreements that I had made with the team - and get back on the DFX Honda again at Monza."
Despite having made some good progress with system and component development on the Honda CBR1000 machine during recent testing, these improvements have never come to fruition with being installed in Steve's race bikes due to lack of funds.
This, coupled with Steve not being favoured with attending all of the team's testing days, has understandably created both frustration and ongoing bike performance challenges for the Aussie. And further demonstrating that the team are not serious about running Steve competitively, is him having to sit out a two day test this week at the new and revised Misano circuit - a round where DFX expected Steve to race the Honda.
Steve explained, "My contract states that both riders in the team must be provided with exactly the same machinery, parts, systems and technical treatment. But this hasn't been the case by a long way for the most part of the season to date, so I've been fighting an uphill battle going into every race to even try and make the bike competitive against my team-mate, let alone the rest of the field.
"As a rider, and to be competitive, you need to be able to concentrate and focus on training, riding and developing a bike and I've done my best to do this with DFX in what has been a difficult and unsettling situation over the last few months.
"But to continue riding the Honda with DFX for the two remaining Italian rounds would just be making up numbers on the grid and there's no point or benefit in that for anyone. Doing one race here and one race there, and on an undeveloped bike won't enable me to compete competitively to the best of may ability or, allow me the opportunity to look at other options of an alternative ride for the remainder of the season, which is what I now intend to do," Steve concluded.
Based at his European home in Switzerland, Steve will now be pursuing potential avenues for an alternative place in the motorcycle racing arena for 2007 and will be present at the next round of the WSBK Championship at Silverstone (UK) on 25/26/27 May.