Tyco Suzuki team manager Philip Neill said he would have been ‘surprised’ if Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix hat-trick hero Guy Martin had moved to a different manufacturer for 2014.
The 31-year-old had been at the centre of speculation over his future plans until Neill moved swiftly to end the rumours last week, re-signing road racing’s biggest star for a fourth successive season on the eve of the Dundrod meeting.
And how Martin responded, retaining his UGP Superbike title in the big-money feature race and wrapping up a premier class brace with another sensational win the second encounter.
It was an encouraging end to the main international road racing season for Martin, who opened his account on Saturday with victory in the first Supersport race on the GSX-R600.
Neill told the News Letter: “It was a good way to seal the deal. We could’ve dragged things on for a few more weeks but usually talks with Guy are fairly simple and we just sat down last week and I said ‘look, there’s a lot of chat going around about this and that so what do you think?’
“Guy said I’m happy if you’re happy and that was it. Usually when you do something at such short notice you wouldn’t put it out on the Friday evening before a race, but we felt it was right to do that because there was speculation out there and even some of the riders were saying that Guy was riding for his job.
“There wasn’t any pressure on Guy, but I wanted to make sure that from the outside looking in, there was no pressure on him either.
“I wouldn’t say I was confident Guy would stay with us next year because that might come across as being a bit cocky, but I would’ve been surprised it he’d wanted to go somewhere else,” added the TAS Racing team principal.
“That’s not boasting in any way, it’s just that our relationship is so good. I can honestly say that we have never had a fall-out with Guy or even anything remotely like a fall out.”
Neill admitted he was aware that Martin had other offers on the table but in the end a new deal with the Lincolnshire rider was struck with the minimum of fanfare.
“He and I did talk a while back about four or five weeks ago and he told me then that a few people had approached him. We talked briefly about it and I did say to him that if he came back and told me he thought there was something better out there then we wouldn’t fall out,” said Neill.
“For us as a team it’s very important that if a rider is going to be here for a season that he wants to be here. We don’t go about things by saying ‘we’ll make you the biggest offer or we’ll give you a two-year contract’ because none of that works. Either the rider wants to be in the team or he doesn’t.
“In the end it was simple and Guy said ‘I’m happy if you want me’ and I told him ‘of course we want you’. We shook hands and that was it. It never sounded to me like Guy had any intentions of going anywhere else to be honest.”