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Author: Helen Pask
Posted on: Monday, Mar 31 2008

Following that he drove to Le Mans for a two day World Endurance test before heading back to Silverstone for the KTM RC8 Superbike test.
Steve is to ride for the French World Endurance team GMT94 Yamaha in the 24-hour Le Mans race on April 19/20 and also the Bol D’Or 24 hour race on September 13/14 and with Australian rider Damien Cudlin moving to Phase One Yamaha it has just been confirmed that Plater will replace him in the Yamaha Austria World Endurance team to contest the remainder of the World Endurance rounds in 2008. He will ride alongside Igor Jerman (Slo) and Steve Martin (Aus) with the reserve rider being Olivier Four (Fra).
“The Snetterton test was a complete waste of time with the bad weather and temperature. I had planned on riding Sunday and Monday but both mornings when I looked out of the motorhome window all I saw was a snow covered paddock. It did clear by the afternoon and dry up but the temperature was too low for any form of testing!
“Consequently we have been unable to test the new 2008 R1 yet as we used the 2007 bikes at the Guadix test to find a base setting after switching from Dunlop to Pirelli tyres.”
Plater returned home to prepare for the long drive to Le Mans the following day. But the bad weather followed him across the channel, as although it was fine and sunny for the drive down to Le Mans, the forecast wasn’t looking good for the following day.
In chilly temperatures coupled with high winds and driving rain, the prospect of any serious testing was again in doubt.
“With the French Superbike championship starting over the weekend at Le Mans, Pirelli had only bought 17 inch wets with them leaving us with hardly any 16.5’s for the conditions. We circulated on some very hard compound wet tyres that just weren’t getting any temperature in them…. about 4-5 seconds a lap off the pace. So nothing was to be gained from further testing that day,” explained Plater.
“Day two was damp but the track dried out just after lunch so all three of us went out on slicks. We all lapped very fast, with me lapping only one tenth of a second slower than in qualifying last year. But just as I exited the pit-lane with new tyres the heavens opened again leaving the track too wet for any constructive testing for the rest of the day.”
Plater then headed back to the UK going straight to Silverstone for the KTM
RC8 Superbike launch where again he was greeted with wet conditions. But he was very impressed with the new RC8 and is looking forward to riding it in the dry on a road test.
Final preparations are underway for the opening round of the British Superbike championship at Brands Hatch at the weekend and Plater is optimistic of a good result.
“I feel very comfortable with the Brands Hatch GP circuit and tend to go well there. I have had numerous podium finishes in the past so am hoping I can bring two strong results home for AIM Yamaha.
The weekend begins with free practise and qualifying over Friday and Saturday prior to racing on Sunday. Leg one of the British Superbike championship over 20 laps of the GP circuit is due to start at 1.45pm on Sunday followed by the second race at 4.30pm. The British Eurosport 2 broadcast window is from 1.15pm – 5.15pm.

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