10 Minutes with Adrian Gorst

Now a key part of HRC's BSB effort,

The 43-year-old Kiwi has worked with some of the best in the business. Now a key part of HRC's BSB effort, he tells us why Scott Russell needed a kick up the arse

How did you start spannering bikes?

My dad had a bike shop, so I grew up around motorcycles. My dad said, "I don't want you working for me, go learn your trade and come back when you're trained." So I worked at Kawasaki in New Zealand and things started from there. One of my first jobs was working with Graeme Crosby -
in fact the very first thing I had to do was
run-in a Z1-R for him to race! I raced myself but I was a better mechanic than a racer.

When did you come to Europe?

In January 1986 I rolled up in London and eventually found myself working for Steve Parrish's Loctite Yamaha team, looking after Keith Huewen and then Terry Rymer. Terry was really good, despite being the wrong size for bike racing! We won a couple of World Superbike races in New Zealand in '89 and '90, and we also won the British title in '90. The four years with the team were good fun, there were always things getting blown up here and there. When Rob McElnea took over I realised I wanted to do more stuff on the world stage. Kawasaki had a one rider team with Rob Phillis and wanted to bring Aaron Slight to Europe, so I got the job of looking after Aaron.

You've been with Honda for 10 years. How did that happen?

Aaron got the call from Honda in '94 and
he asked me to go with him. I've been here ever since, apart from a year with Colin Edwards at Aprilia in MotoGP. Colin
persuaded me to work with him there by getting fans from his website to pester me with e-mails! In '04 I came back to BSB
to work with Kiyo and it felt like the right move. It's a good team to work for.

After years in World Superbike and MotoGP with Colin Edwards, was British Superbike a bit of a comedown?

Not at all. I knew it was strong from the WSB rounds we'd done before the Pirelli tyre rule. Facilities and safety at certain
circuits is a step down, but improvements are being made. Jonathan Palmer needs
a big 'thank you'. Practice sessions are shorter and I think this is one reason why British riders don't progress so well at world level. At world level we can change things and try it out so the rider can
understand it better. In BSB we're making changes between sessions with no time to try it out. But in some areas BSB leads.

Such as where?

Tyres. I'd say there's more development in BSB now than anywhere else, although you can't really compare the Michelin tyres used in MotoGP to those we use in BSB. The circuits are so different, speeds in BSB are way down, grip levels are down and bikes produce a fair bit less horsepower. If you took them to GP they wouldn't work.

With the factory input, does Honda get stick for not winning the BSB title?

Working for Honda, you're damned if you win and damned if you don't. People look at us expecting us to win. I try not to worry about it and just get on with my job.

People talk about just how 'factory' the HM Plant Fireblades are. Are they?

Yes, but as the bike develops we use more kit parts. For '04 the Fireblade was a new machine and Honda wanted a factory effort. Last year the level changed a bit, most of the stuff we used was kit chassis parts. We tested the factory swingarm and the kit swingarm back-to-back and they were half a second quicker with the kit part. These parts are the same as anyone can buy. The only thing we have that you can't buy in chassis terms are the forks.

And the engines?

We do schooling on the motors in Japan but look after them in the UK. They're not radical, just well put together. They're easy to get power out of and nowhere near as highly tuned as the VTR or the RC45s.

How different have the people you've worked with been?

I've worked with Keith Huewen, Terry Rymer, Aaron Slight and Colin Edwards, plus Daijiro Kato, Sete Gibernau and Alex Barros at the Suzuka Eight Hour. You have to understand each other and treat them differently. Colin you could say anything to, he'd take it constructively; with Aaron you'd need to think about what you were going to say so as not to upset him. Scott Russell would just need a kick up the arse. He'd need to do badly to get motivated
sometimes. All riders are different.

You've been singing Ryuichi Kiyonari's praises. What are his pros and cons?

He seems to be a bit of a slow learner. He doesn't learn a track until he's gone away and thought about it, but he's come on so much in the last year. He's won a lot of races and made some mistakes, but that's natural. The kid has the talent to go all the way. He's grown up in BSB, he knows the circuits, is learning the language and he's got a great sense of humour.

What scuppered your title chances in '05?

We won plenty of races but had five no-scores. That killed our effort. I've enjoyed it though. For me the most important thing is having done your best. The championship is a long-term goal and if you win races
the championship comes to you.