The sixth round of the British Superbike at Mallory Park saw the return of regular podium finisher Chris Burns with the STP Superbike team on the MV Agusta.
The Newcastle rider was certainly missed from the grid at the previous round at Snetterton, which sparked numerous rumours about the teams future. Following a blown engine the week before he was forced to miss the round at the Norfolk circuit due to an going battle of receiving significant parts for the Italian machine.
Burns said: "It’s just a rumour, it’s purely a delivery issue nothing to do with the team. Other team’s in Europe have got the same problem and also it’s usually the response from people to assume it’s a financial issue whenever a rider misses a meeting."
The ex Motogp rider who has previously rode within the Superbike championship debuts full time this season with the team after riding for them last year in the National Superstock series. He has now stood on the podium in all of the six races that he has completed.
So far this season he has deservedly earned two first, second and third places trophies putting him fifth within the Cup championship. Even though John Laverty looks to have run away with the title Burns is only 18 points behind second place sitter Tom Tunstall and with six rounds still to go this is fully within his reach.
Burns unfortunately has suffered several DNFs due to a combination of crashes and technical problems. He said: "We have had a few reliability issues, but the bike is much better now and it’s coming together. I am enjoying developing the bike and also being with the team. There are still some issues with it not steering quite right, but it is very responsive to changes and we have definitely made progress on the setup."
Regarding his year so far and taking on the challenge of being the sole rider for the manufacturer he said: "The start of the year was pretty good, we have had problems with so slow delivery of parts, no fault of the teams. Riding the Agusta is a bit special as we are the only team on an MV, but that can also make it hard. There is no one else you can speak to regarding setup or gain advice, it’s just down to us. BSB is a difficult championship, it’s so fast and at the beginning of the year we also had no time to test and the first time out on the bike was at Brands."
"We are on a standard bike at the moment, it is very heavy and especially at a circuit like Mallory it isn’t great, but we hope to shift about 20 kilos of that with some new parts we are expecting. However it will never be down to what our competitors are as it is generally a heavy bike. We are also waiting for a new engine, I doubt we will have that by Oulton, but we should have it by Knockhill. I don’t enjoy running mid pack, but as we are on a stock bike that’s not too bad."
With the unpredicable events of racing Burns has had to alter his goals for the remainder of the season, he said: "At the beginning of the year it was to win the championship, but now it’s just to get as many wins and podiums as we can. Now Gary Mason has joined, it is good for the cup and it makes it more difficult. He’s on a good bike and he’s a decent rider, but I don’t see why we shouldn’t still be able to be up there and we just need to keep the pressure on."
Prior to situations out of his control Burns would have in no doubt been a serious contender for the title. For sure he will continue to obtain further podium finishes as the season progresses, but with the bike becoming a more solid package the future looks positive for both the rider and the team.