Kawasaki British Supersport Championship - 2005
Kawasaki welcomed the arrival of experienced Spaniard Pere Riba to the 2004 British Supersport Championship and the former World Supersport winner didn't disappoint in his debut season aboard the ZX-6RR.
Riba qualified in the top 10 in all but one of the 13 rounds and started from the front row seven times as he quickly adapted to the schedule of racing on demanding British circuits for the MSS Discovery team.
His consistency, coupled with the ever-improving package of a new team, new machine and Pirelli tyres ensured Riba remained a front-runner in the middleweight sports production machine class.
"I knew the challenge we all faced and I believe we handled the situation very well for our first year together," reports Riba. "We arrived at every circuit with little or no data I was new to the tracks, the ZX-6RR was a new and exciting package and it was my first year with the team."
He continues: "We soon realised that we were very close to the front of what is a very competitive series and by the third round at Snetterton I was finishing on the podium and could easily have won that race."
Riba completed 11 of the 13 races, every time inside the top 10 and the Barcelona rider scooped podium finishes at Snetterton and Brands Hatch.
Quickly labelled "Spanish Pete" by his fun-loving MSS Discovery team, Riba's professionalism was quick to rub off on the new-for-2004 combination of MSS team leader Nick Morgan and Discovery racing's Stuart Simmonds.
MSS Discovery was launched in 2004 with Morgan's technical expertise and knowledge of Kawasaki machinery coupled with Simmonds' ability to market, promote and create a more commercially viable project.
Morgan recalls: "I'd taken the MSS team about as far as I could in respect of extracting value and needed Stuart's support in those increasingly important commercial areas. My time was devoted to the new ZX-6RR although the standard machine was just about ready to race in its standard form.
"That was another reason for Pere wanting to race with us, he'd seen the potential of the Kawasaki in World Supersport in 2003 and was intent on racing the machine in '04."
Riba's consistency was quickly in evidence and as he scooped top four finishes in the first three races two at circuits he had raced on before and the third at the ultra-fast Snetterton in Norfolk where the ZX-6RR stunned the opposition with its top speed performance.
Simmonds comments: "We knew what we were getting with Pere Riba and we also knew he would take time to learn some of the more demanding and unique British tracks but his display at the World Supersport round at Silverstone confirmed our beliefs."
Riba took on the world's best in June, qualifying in third place and taking seventh in the race. His methodical manner throughout 2004 was matched by a new-found technical and professional approach from the new MSS Discovery team.
Morgan concludes: "Pere's approach to racing, his commitment and mental strength are all attributes which we just had to continue working with and we're all looking to improve on his debut fourth place in the series when we move into 2005."