Life as a Yamaha rider for James Hillier at the Isle of Man TT Races started with a solid seventh place in Saturday’s RST Superbike race, the Rich OMG Yamaha man well in contention for a top four finish in the six-lap encounter.
After 11 years with Kawasaki, TT2022 was always going to present a new challenge for Hillier, and for the team in their debut appearance at the event, but having worked their way diligently through practice week, he got close to the 130mph mark in the race.
Fifth on the opening lap, after lapping at 129.817mph, he maintained the position as he came into the first pit stop at the end of lap two and after Lee Johnston went out, it was a four-way fight for fourth between James, Ian Hutchinson, John McGuinness and fellow Yamaha rider Jamie Coward.
Ultimately, the other three riders had a little bit more pace in the closing stages and whilst seventh was a satisfying result, Hillier, as expected, wants more.
“It’s always nice to get the first race out the way,” he said. “I ended up seventh which is a bit frustrating as I don’t come here to finish seventh, but it was still enjoyable. It was great for the team to finish their first TT race, that’s a challenge in itself.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the circuit so busy, it was incredible to see all the fans. Seventh place gives us something to work on and I feel alright and there are some areas where can try some changes to the bike for the next race.”
“We’ll keep pressing on and there’s definitely the potential there for a podium. It didn’t quite work out today so we’ll keep trying and see how the rest of the week goes.”