Plater, from Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire qualified in 13th place for a fourth row start to Sundays two races and said: “I am disappointed really, as I was aiming for the third row. I got caught up in traffic on my first qualifying tyre but went a lot quicker on the second tyre although not quite quick enough to move to the third row, which is a shame. But on saying that it is better to start from the outside of the fourth row than the inside of row three and the good thing is that I am the top Yamaha on the grid.”
With less than a second covering the top 14 riders the scene was set for some close and exciting racing around the short and tricky 1.1986-mile Indy circuit and when race one got underway at noon there was an air of anticipation amongst the huge crown that had gathered to watch the season finale.
Plater got away to a good start and immediately moved into 12th place. His progress was halted by the pace car on lap 10 but when the car left the track he gained ground and went past fellow Yamaha rider Tommy Hill to claim 10th position.
He made tracks towards Simon Andrews, reeling him in at a fast rate of knots and the pair crossed the finish line as one. But Andrews won the battle by a tyre tread to take ninth place with Steve claiming 10th.
“Dunlop had a bit of a safety issue with tyres this weekend and decided to recall all the tyres we were intending to use in the races. It was the same for the whole paddock but the problem was that I had to go out in race one on a tyre I hadn’t used all weekend and it wasn’t on the warmers for long so I had to wait for three laps before I could push it. So all in all I was quite happy with the result really. The tyre issue wasn’t such a big deal, its better to be safe than sorry.”
Race two saw Steve hold his 13th position until the race was red flagged after an oil spillage.
The re-start was to be run over 20 laps and as proceedings got underway Plater moved forward to 12th place becoming embroiled in a battle with James Haydon and Michael Rutter. Although he got the better of Rutter he came back at him and regained 10th on the last lap leaving Steve to cross the finish line in 11th position.
“I got a good start and got in a rhythm but it’s so hard to pass anyone on the Indy circuit. It was easy to run at the same pace but to make a pass is another story.
“At the restart I entered into a race long battle with all the Kawasaki riders, Scott Smart, Michael Rutter and James Haydon and did pass Rutter a couple of times. I passed him again on the last lap going into Clearways but he managed to get on the throttle a bit earlier than me and beat me to the line.
“But it was good to be the top Yamaha home again and also to have moved up a place in the points.”
Steve ends his season in an overall position of 15th, although not as high up the order as hoped but is acceptable after spending much of the season on development work with the AIM Yamaha.
Steve is due to race the Macau Grand Prix in November but a week prior to that he is to ride for the Phase One Endurance team as part of a three man team to contest the final round of the World Endurance championship in Qatar where his teammates will be Glen Richards and Warwick Nowland.
Steve’s regular World Endurance team Kawasaki France with whom he has sealed the runner up spot in the series, has decided not to contest the final round leaving Steve free to ride in the eight-hour event for the Phase One Yamaha team on November 10.
Following that he will travel directly to Macau to contest the Macau Grand Prix, which he won for AIM Yamaha in 2006.