AFTER his gruelling return to the MCE Insurance British Superbike paddock, Stuart Easton admits he is relieved to have reached the end of the season in one piece after round 12 at Brands Hatch.
The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider signed off with three finishes in the points, crossing the line in fifth, seventh and 12th at Brands Hatch to finish tenth overall in the championship standings.
While teammate Shane Byrne recorded three back-to-back victories at Brands, enough to earn a third career BSB title, Easton had slightly different reasons to be happy seeing the chequered flag fall for the final time of the season.
The 29-year-old was fortunate to make the grid at all in 2012 after a near-fatal crash at last year’s North West 200 and struggled with fitness as a result, missing two rounds mid-season due to an operation before suffering a further setback with a crash at Oulton Park in July.
The hectic BSB schedule has seen five rounds and eleven races come and go in just under two months, leaving Easton relieved to finally have some time to return to full fitness.
“My body is still teething from those injuries I suffered last year,” said Easton. “Add on top of that the niggles from this year and I feel a bit beaten up in truth. I was lucky to make the season, so to finish in the top ten in the championship is something to be proud of but there’s a lot I need to build on physically.
“I’ve got the winter now to do that and I can work properly on my fitness without having to worry about constantly racing, and hopefully come back stronger next year.
“It takes a long time to recover from big injuries, you can ask anyone around the paddock and they’ll say the same thing, and I didn’t get a proper time to rest up so I’m looking forward to that.”
Easton played a key role in the first race for Byrne, holding title contenders Josh Brookes and Tommy Hill at bay while his teammate carved out a lead at the front of the field.
Though his future with Paul Bird’s team is far from certain, Easton believes he gave a good account of himself at Brands Hatch, and admits attentions will soon turn to adding to his three BSB race wins in 2013.
He said: “Whoever I’m riding for next year I think I’ll be in much better shape for challenging for podiums and wins. I think finishing tenth despite my injuries should hold me in good stead when looking for teams.”
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