Jack Valentine is Crescent Suzuki's long-standing BSB Team Manager, who is now in charge of John Hopkins and Leon Camier's 2012 World Superbike Championship assaults in the Yoshimura-backed squad.
Normally, at this time of the year, people are winding down their work, but here at Crescent Suzuki we're still flat out. Some parts have arrived and our team are busy getting the bikes ready to go to Australia next year. While that might seem a long way off, in reality the bikes have to be ready, crated up and shipped on February 6th, so it's not that much time to get everything done.
The first official test is on February 20th, but we're going to take part in some private tests the week before, so that means we have to get everything ready for these tests, as well as the official tests and then the race weekend itself. It's a matter of organisation and logistics, but we have a great bunch of guys and a lot of experience, so I'm sure we'll manage OK.
John Hopkins was over recently and I'm happy to say that he looked good and his finger is coming along very well. He's got good movement in the joint to the hand and now he's working on getting the knuckle and first part of the finger to move as it should. His doctor seems happy with the progress and everything is on course ok for Australia. For Phillip Island we are making his bike with more-or-less the same set-up as his BSB bike, so he'll be able to jump straight on it and feel at home immediately. After that he'll get on working with all the new stuff as usual. He is already very pumped up about next year and can't wait to get on the bike again.
Leon Camier tested the bike at Portimao recently so has begun the work already. He wants to fit the bike and has given us some ideas of the shape of the petrol tank so that he can tuck his knees in as much as possible. He wants to get the best possible, streamlined position on the bike and be tucked-in as much as he can.
Our co-operation with Yoshimura has already started: They're working very hard and are as excited as we are about the season ahead. We are expecting two engines from them in mid-January and once we get them, we'll build the bikes, put them on our dyno and test them before shipping them to Australia. It's going to be a bit tight, but we'll manage ok.
I'm really happy with how things are progressing. We've got the riders we want, the team we want; and we're all looking forward to the challenge next year.