Mugga's ready to race

COOLANGATTA'S Karl Muggeridge hasn't ridden a motorcycle since November - hardly the ideal preparation for the opening round of the World Superbike Championship this weekend at Phillip Island.

It's not that Mugga hasn't been ready to ride, it's just that he hasn't had the bikes to ride.

Muggeridge joined the Celani Race Suzuki team at the end of last year, after a frustrating 2008 season marred by mechanical failures, poor equipment and preparation.

Signing with the Italian team had raised Mugga's hopes that would all be behind him. He was looking forward to riding with a factory team and getting on the new GSXR 1000.

But it seems things are still not going Mugga's way.

“I'm ready to go but I haven't had the bikes to ride and test,” Muggeridge said yesterday.

“Fortunately they have arrived in Melbourne from Europe and from what I understand the Suzuki factory team Alstare, who prepares the bikes, will have them ready to go.

“I hope so, because the first time I will be on them this year will be Friday morning for an hour practice and then in the afternoon for the first of the qualifying sessions.

“However, from what I have been told the preparation put into the bikes, which will be in full race trim after being worked on in Europe, will have us head and shoulders above where we were last year.

“It's not the best way to start the season, but I am excited about being a part of a new team and riding great bikes.”

Muggeridge will be hoping for a strong performance to start the season, but he admits Phillip Island has not been one of his better tracks.

“I've had pretty average results at the Island in the past, so I'm out to rectify that,” Muggeridge said.

“This is a real rider's track and one mistake can really put you back. It's not the most forgiving circuit.”

Apart from becoming familiar with his new machine - and let's face it, everyone else has a couple of months of “winter testing” under their belts -Muggeridge will be meeting with many members of his new Italian team for the first time this weekend as well.

“This weekend is shaping up to be one huge learning curve for all of us at Celani,” he said.

“Who knows, if we get the right result, we might have found a new way of approaching the races.

“I feel good about this season. After having so much go against me in the past, I feel like it's about time things started going right for a change.”

Things are going right for Muggeridge on the home front, with the racer becoming a father for the second time this month to baby Oliver.

Corser set to fire on new wheels

AUSTRALIAN veteran Troy Corser is confident he can provide World Superbike debutant BMW with a victory this season.

Revitalised by his selection to pioneer one of the world's most dominant motorsport players, Corser is aiming straight at the podium in this weekend's season-opening round at Phillip Island.

The 37-year-old from Wollongong will be mounting up for his sixth team in a star-studded 15-year career and he is more optimistic every time he tests the new machine.

The current Phillip Island lap record holder, Corser has worked diligently over the off-season to make the S1000 RR competitive but says it still has more to give.

Corser finished second in 2008 to compatriot Troy Bayliss, who has since retired.

He will ride onto a level field with all seven manufacturers - BMW, Aprilia, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Ducati - boasting at least one rider capable of taking the title, although Ducati, with 274 World Superbike victories, remains the frontrunner.

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