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Revolving Racer – Bryan Staring | Columns | Gassit Garage

The first question everyone is asking is if this bike feels anything like the Ninjas I raced previously overseas. It is practically the same machine, so I expected it would be very similar, but the different tyre and suspension package gives our ASBK bike a different character. This year we will be racing on Dunlop rubber and running K-Tech suspension, so there are some new things to adapt to.

All things considered, I have a pretty good idea of how to get the Ninja operating well, and so does the team. I know the ZX-10R’s strengths and weaknesses, so that background knowledge saves both the team and I a whole lot of time when it comes to figuring out problems. I wouldn’t say it’s like putting on an old glove, but there is a familiar feeling.

The first test at Phillip Island couldn’t have been more positive. We took in so much information over the two days and as we gathered more information about the bike, tyres and suspension, we made changes and saw a reward in the lap times.

Sometimes it can be difficult at a test, or a race weekend, to be so positive where you’re continually making progress. I feel like we had all those positives because the team was so organised and were able to cater to the changes I was requesting. It was a lot of hard work by the whole team, but it certainly makes me feel good for the year ahead.

The other thing I have been working on for some time has been taking place off the track. Over the last couple of years I’ve been thinking about what happens in my life outside of racing, so I decided to take a course that would let me gain entry to university (if I passed, that is!) which consisted of years 11 and 12, plus a few health science subjects. It was a full-time study load and I hadn’t been in a classroom for 13 years. It was difficult to get my head around calculating anything — let alone subjects like chemistry!

I finished school in year 10 and I was pretty confident I was going to be world champion by the time I was 18, and I’d have millions by the time I was 30! Fast forward, and now I will be starting university in a few week’s time.

It’s a big change and I’m not sure exactly where this is going to take me, but I do know that it will open a lot more doors. It’s something I wish I had thought of earlier in my racing career and something I would recommend to younger riders.

Since I moved back to Australia after racing in Europe, I’ve based myself in my hometown of Perth and, apart from study, my time is spent preparing for races.

My weekly routine is something I really, really enjoy. It’s usually spent cycling (probably more than I should), I spend six to eight hours in the gym each week, with some motocross thrown in there as well.

You always hear this, but with all the changes on the ASBK grid this season, us more experienced racers need to be on the ball more than ever. There are some younger guys coming through that really want to give us older guys a bit of a rev-up. We’re not going to lose our jobs until they beat us, so they have to step up.

Also, I think having Troy Bayliss on the grid is a great thing for the championship. Anyone who writes him off after one test is crazy – I’ve looked at the splits and he is already competitive. In fact, the only surprise I can see from the first test is just how deep the field is as a whole.

There are so many people capable of winning, it just depends on who can squeeze the most out of themselves and their bike on the day.