Team USA’s Jason Pridmore said he felt “great” today while riding at the picturesque Phillip Island ahead of the start of the 26th running of the International Island Classic, which officially gets under tomorrow.
Today saw the 49-year-old just ‘rolling around’, as he wanted to take care of his Yamaha FJ1200 machine.
In his second year racing at the iconic event, Pridmore explained that he learnt some stuff last year, which certainly has helped him for this year. Before making the trip down under, Pridmore did some testing, but ironically he has gone back to the settings which he had in 2018.
“Maybe we just found a nice setup last year. I believe there are some other places where we are improving,” Pridmore explained to Bikesportnews.com at the track.
“We have changed the chassis a little bit and made it to where I can actually feel some weight transfer, which I couldn’t feel last year. That has made it a little bit better,” added Pridmore.
The only real problem for the former AMA 750 Supersport and Formula Xtreme champion today was the fact that there were so many people on the track. That’s why Pridmore wanted to be safe and make sure he got through the day and his bikes were in one piece. From here on, the Californian rider can head into tomorrow with a positive frame of mind.
Heading into tomorrow, does Pridmore believe that he has a bike underneath him that can deliver him a lap time that can give him a solid starting position? Pridmore’s reply was… “I do.
“I have been very much just trying to get myself enjoying it around this circuit. We are trying a different gearing than what we had last year. So today was all about just feeling how the bike felt with the changes we have made and putting sectors together, not necessary a full lap.”
Pridmore believes that a lot of the fast guys who were riding today were also riding cautious as there were a lot of riders out on track.
Last year Pridmore qualified in seventh with a 1’38.424, which didn’t really matter so much. In saying that, Pridmore would definitely like to be further up than what he was last year. The main thing is, Pridmore has cured his starting issues from 2018. That’s the biggest thing. Pridmore already knows right now that his starts will be a lot better.
“We had a significant issues last year, which was because of me, which was funny. However, I believe it will be better for us heading into the races on Saturday and Sunday. So, if we can be a bit further up the front in qualifying that would be great.”
When asked, what he would be happy with in terms of a qualifying result, Pridmore said that the first two rows would be great.
“It’s nice to be able to run a lap time, but I saw what the leading riders did last year, which were low 37s in qualifying. In saying that, you had to run in the 37s in the races, which I managed to do that in all three of the races which I was in. However, it were the starts which killed me last year.”
If the pace is anywhere near where it was last year, Pridmore feels pretty confident that he can at least go with the guys at the beginning of the races and simply have fun.
“My big racing days are well and truly behind me. It’s all about having fun and being a part of the International Island Classic. I’m treating it for what it is. If I can get up there and mix it with the front-running riders and have a bit of fun, that’s what we’ll do.”