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2022 NW200: Hillier 'in a good place' after Yamaha swap

After more than a decade with Kawasaki, it’s been a case of ‘so far, so good’ at the North West 200 for Rich OMG Yamaha rider James Hillier.

Fifth and seventh quickest respectively in the Supersport and Superbike classes and 11th in the Superstock, where conditions were ‘a bit sketchy in places’, the Hampshire man has adapted to life on the R1 and R6 Yamahas with ease.
“Yeah, we’re in a good place and in the ballpark with all the bikes,” Hillier said at the conclusion of Thursday’s qualifying sessions. “Obviously, the races will be a better gauge of where we are but I feel that we’re in a strong position and, perhaps, stronger than where I thought we’d be so early on.”
“The Honda’s quick but we’re a match for everything else out on track and there’s definitely more to come, both from me and the bikes. With such a long gap, I’ve been trying to ease my way back in and get the brain re-adjusted to the speeds.”
After such a long spell with one manufacturer, Hillier’s quickly got used to the Yamaha and is more than happy with performance.
“The R6 feels pretty similar to the Kawasaki Supersport machine but I’ve got a really good feeling with the big bike and the connection with the engine is really good. The R1 obviously has different characteristics to the other bikes but there’s nothing wrong with the speed and the top end and acceleration are both very good.”
"It's such a great feeling to be back at the North West 200 and on the roads in general and I don’t think the qualifying sessions reflect our true pace. There were a few spots of rain out on the course in both the Supersport and Superstock sessions so I backed right off.

"Like I say, the races will be the ultimate test and I'm just really looking forward to getting out there and racing now.”


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