MotoMatters were fortunate to recently get a chance to fire some questions at Peter Hickman, who is riding for GBmoto racing this year. Dave Porter set the questions and Peter was very glad to offer his insight and opinions on a few matters to do with racing -
MM: Peter, congratulations on racing with GBmoto Racing for 2013 in BSB. I know there is a wait till Round 1 at Brands in early April so wondered what your first impressions were of your new team.
PH: Thanks! I'm really happy to be riding with GBMoto. The team are absolutely fantastic and I couldn't wish for anything more. I've brought my old faithful mechanic Dazza (@dazzaj308) with me and I'll be back working with Tim Allen who I last worked with in 2011 with Tyco Honda, so it's all looking really good.
MM: With testing being limited to only 12 days this year and foreign trips excluded what chance have you had to get used to the team and the bike so far. Do you feel this is enough time to become familiar with the bike.
PH: Well the good news is, although 12 days is not a massive amount of time, it is the same for everyone. I'm not too fussed about the abroad testing, apart from it being a good giggle and bonding with the team in a relaxed environment. In fact when I first signed with the team they were planning on quite an extensive Spanish testing programme and I asked them to cut it down to just 3 days away as I would prefer to spend the cash on testing on the circuits that I am going to race on back here in the UK.
MM: Everyone seems to mention gym, expensive bicycles and Motocross as well as copious amounts of Nandos as part of their training routines! Is this the same for you or do you have a different approach to being race fit.
PH: Well there's no Nandos for me! Too much spicy stuff all over it! Haha! To be honest I do a bit of all sorts. I have been doing more and more in the gym as we approach the season but I'm not a big fan of it, I do it because I have to. I much prefer to train by doing sports such as squash etc... Motocross is mega but I haven't got a bike so I don't get out much. I've got myself a road cycle, not mega flash but a good one that does the job and I enjoy doing a bit with my team mate Linny as we live fairly close, he's a demon on it though so I'm always on a catch up!
MM: Sponsorship seems to be a very difficult experience this year for everyone in all levels of racing with quite a few teams and riders deciding to take a year out for 2013. How do you manage to keep racing.
PH: Very difficult! And I'm thankful for all my sponsors that I have and who have helped me in the past. I definitely wouldn't be here without them. I do also work, I have to, unfortunately the racing doesn't pay for me to live. I am trying to stop working so much though as I need to concentrate fully on racing. Turning up to a race at 4 o'clock on a Thursday morning after starting at 6am the day before is not the best preparation for a BSB weekend! But obviously I need sponsors to be able to do this, so this is my aim for 2013, become 100% professional.
MM: Everyone is trying to limit costs and with the spec ECU in place in BSB now do you feel this really will help level the playing field or does the team with the deepest pockets still have an advantage.
PH: The same will always apply, the teams with the deepest pockets will always be better off. It's just the way it is, they'll have more resources to be able to find more solutions etc etc.... I think the organisers have done a good job in trying to make it more even, there is only so much you can do and not everyone will always be happy. I think how it is now is great.
MM: You had a chance to wildcard at Donington last year for FIXI Crescent Suzuki. Did you feel the bike was massively different from the BSB machinery you are used to.
PH: Definitely! They had so much on that thing! Especially as now in BSB we have limited electronics. To jump on it straight off was always going to be hard but I really enjoyed the weekend. The bike was just awesome, it did everything I asked of it and more. With more time on it I know I could have been right up the front of the pack.
MM: The one recent rule change that has caused the most debate seems to be the introduction of the Showdown rules. It is understandable to make the series go down to the wire in some ways, but what are your thoughts on this approach as someone it directly affects.
PH: It's a hard one, like you say I can totally see why it has been brought in and it has worked as far as making the championship exciting, going down to the last race etc... Personally though I would prefer the original championship strategy. I don't like the idea that, as in the last 2 seasons, the guy with the most points over a full season didn't actually win the championship. Bit harsh!!!!
MM: In other racing, what series do you enjoy watching and do you have a tip for WSBK, Moto2 and Moto GP
PH: I love all bike racing! I'm a bit disappointed with MotoGP in recent seasons though, but I still watch it. I'm hoping Rossi is going to get his flare back this year and get things going again, it's good for all bike sport in general. WSBK has been really good the last few seasons, exciting to watch and unpredictable. Moto2 has been much the same, such close racing gets me on the edge of my seat all the time! I get more nervous watching than I ever do sat on the grid or doing it myself! My tips for success this year are, E Laverty for WSBK, Rossi in GP, and Moto2 I have no idea! Haha you'd be a brave man to bet on Moto2!
MM: It would be unfair to not also ask who you see as the ones to watch this year in BSB.
PH: Haha! BSB is so close! There's gonna be the usual suspects at the front, Shakey, Brookes etc... but I'm sure there's going to be lots of surprises too, few newcomers could mix it up a bit which is great.
MM: And finally what target have you set yourself for 2013, or is it take it one race at a time. Do you have a routine pre-race that you find helps.
PH: I want to be at the front, winning races. And I genuinely believe that with GBMoto and the crew I have behind me and the bike under me that it is possible. I am realistic however, and so far in my career I have only had one podium in BSB so it would be silly for me to say I can go and win every race. I'm looking at the championship as a whole and believe that by the time round 9 comes along I will be in that top 6.
You can follow Hicky through the year @peterhickman60
and also http://www.peter-hickman.co.uk/