Burning Rubber

Former GP star Chris Burns is set to make his return to the Metzeler Racetec National Superstock Championship at Knockhill later this month.

Former GP star Chris Burns is set to make his return to the Metzeler Racetec National Superstock Championship at Knockhill later this month.

The Geordie race-ace has been drafted in to help Team STP develop their new MV Agusta machines after both of their riders suffered broken wrists in separate crashes earlier this year.

Keen to continue development work on the new machine, team chiefs called upon "Chimp" - who had just about ruled out any chance of returning to the sport - to help continue the work on the Agusta F4 312R.

After taking to the track at Donington Park a fortnight ago, the 28-year-old got his second taste of the machine last week at a Mallory Park test day, setting a series of quick lap times and bolstering the outfit's progress with the bike.

And his feedback and bike knowledge impressed team bosses so much that they asked him to race the bike at the Scottish round of the championship at the end of the month.

"I love the bike. It still needs a bit more work on it but you can see and feel that it's one that has a hell of a lot of potential," he revealed to Burning Rubber last night.

"The team aren't doing the Irish round at Mondello next week but they're really keen for me to do Knockhill, which is great.

"I was always really strong around there, but it's a fair few years since I've raced there, so it will be an interesting weekend if nothing else.

"The bike has the potential to be a frontrunner, there's no doubt about that, and I'd love to think that I could turn up and give the lads who are already out there up front in the championship something to worry about."

Burns, of Newcastle, shot to international fame when he spent two tough seasons in MotoGP aboard the problem-dogged WCM. Since then, he has struggled to rebuild his career, and has dipped in and out of racing.

But he is well remembered in the British paddock for his Superstock days when, aboard the Roundstone Suzuki, he was denied a title at the very last round when he suffered a puncture on his outlap, despite racking up an impressive haul of five victories over the season.

"To be honest, Superstock was always where I was at my best," he admits. "I held the lap record at Knockhill for several years. It was only last season when it was finally beaten, which was a bit of a gutter for me.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back onto the Superstock grid. I'd thought my racing days were over and I was really starting to miss it all.

"Getting the chance to get back on a bike, especially one I can help to develop, is the break I needed."

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