Following his return to the Bennetts British Superbike Championship earlier this year, Jack Valentine has secured a position with Rizla Suzuki as the new team manager. He will replace Simon Buckmaster, whose departure announcement was released last week.
The popular Mancunian was heavily involved in Triumph's return to racing in British Supersport and is currently working as a team manager for Isilon MSS Discovery Kawasaki. The Rizla Suzuki job, which begins in November this year, presents the perfect opportunity for Jack.
He spoke exclusively to valmoto.com today:
1. Have you enjoyed your return to BSB this year?
Yes it's been great, like I've never been away. The professionalism in the paddock is fantastic and MCRCB are doing a brilliant job with the series. I've really enjoyed my time with the MSS team as well, but I've been working as a consultant on a week to week basis. The only disappointment has been the lack of improvements with some of the circuits.
2. What attracted you to Rizla Suzuki?
When Rizla Suzuki approached me, everything was right - they have the right budgets, infrastructure, long-term plans and bikes to win the championship and a good package for me. Everything was perfect, so although there were other offers that I was awaiting details for this was one that I couldn't turn down.
3. Are you already planning and putting aims in place for next year?
Yes, definitely. I'm aiming for the team to be challenging for the championship, for sure. There's no question that the bikes and team are capable of that.
4. Do you think you can add some excitement to the championship by providing a serious challenge to HM Plant Honda and Airwaves Ducati?
I'm not going to stick my neck on the line or start shouting about our capabilities. I'm just going to run a team the way I've always run a team and hope for the same level of success that I've enjoyed previously with various teams. I'm hoping that we can put together a strong winter testing programme and then come out with all guns firing.
5. You enjoyed a huge amount of support with Triumph Valmoto in British Supersport. Do you expect the same with Rizla Suzuki next year?
Yes I think we will. The team already has a huge fan base anyway through its website so I think we'll have a massive following for 2008. I'm sure that if we have the success that we hope for the fans will be encouraged to stick with us as well.
6. When does your role with Rizla Suzuki begin?
I won't start until November, when the season's finished. The current Team Manager Simon Buckmaster has done a good job and he'll complete the season for the team. I wouldn't want to steam in now with just one round to go and step on anybody's toes. I'm sure that Simon has given me a great base to build on with the team. 2007 has been a difficult season. Rizla Suzuki has had Chris Walker trying to adapt and re-learn the circuits after coming back from the world series and a rookie in Cal Crutchlow. Despite that they've done a fantastic job and I'm looking forward to building on that. We have a good selection of options for riders so I'll be able to have my input in that.