Easton on the Kawasaki ZX-10R and having Shane 'Shakey' Byrne as a team-mate
Stuart Easton has been the sole hope for Scotland in BSB since his friend and mentor Steve Hislop left us nearly ten years ago. Rat boy, as he’s known to friends, shone in the 125 and Supersport class and until his horrendous crash at the North West 200 last year was a serious contender for the 2011 BSB title. Many (including himself) thought his career may have been over but he astounded everyone by climbing back on the podium just a few rounds into the 2012 season. I caught up with him at this week’s Donington Park BSB test.
NM How is it all going here today?
SE It has been a good day generally even though my times are a bit off Shakey’s (team mate, Shane Byrne). That could be down to a few things. This is my first time back on the bike since my big crash in race two last time out at Brands and I also haven’t ridden at Donington since the chicane was altered. My fitness is good and the bike feels fine so I’m confident I can close the gap come race weekend.
NM You’ve been friends with Shakey for a long time but how do you work as team mates?
SE My only problem with Shakey is he’s too fast. We work well together and he is always forthcoming with information. Our bikes are set up similar but he runs harder front and rear springs. He is slightly heavier but also his riding style creates more weight transfer in both directions so his bike is set to deal with this.
NM Does the ZX10RR have any strengths or weaknesses compared to the opposition?
SE I’d say it lacks some bottom end grunt but that can sometimes help with tyre management later in the races. On the flip side it has strong top end power so it is swings and roundabouts depending on the circuit. We always get there but it can be tricky to find a good set up balance with the Kawasaki. Our bike seems quite sensitive to change so I often feel the other teams can get their bikes dialled in earlier.
NM Over the years Paul Bird has supported you through good times and bad. Do you have pictures?
SE (Laughs) Maybe he thinks I have some. Paul has always been a good friend and even when I haven’t been riding in his team he has sponsored me in other teams. I guess I do something right.
NM Delivering results and championships over the years has helped I would guess.
NM If you had to pick an Olympics discipline to compete in what would it be?
SE Don’t be daft
NM Favourite event to watch?
SE Anything involving Usain Bolt.
NM Favourite Olympian?
SE Sir Chris Hoy
NM Me too, machine! Thanks Stuart.
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