Josh Hook will race with Penrite Honda Racing at the season finale of the Australian Superbike Championship, to be held at Tailem Bend on December 3-5, and rode the ASBK spec’ Fireblade for the first time over the weekend at Wakefield Park, followed by a second day on the bike at Winton earlier this week.
Hook recently returned from competing in Europe in the World Endurance Championship for Factory Honda F.C.C. TSR, wrapping up his season with fourth overall in the Championship.
The 2018 World Endurance Champion and dual Le Mans 24 hour winner looks forward to racing in Australia again onboard the Honda Fireblade SP.
Josh Hook talks the Penrite Honda ASBK Fireblade
Trevor Hedge: You had a couple of hit-outs on the Penrite Honda over the past week, how’s it gone?
Josh Hook: “We went to Wakefield, and just finished a second day here at Winton. The bike’s a lot different to what I’m used to obviously – in World Endurance we’re on the factory bike, with TSR it’s a different chassis, wheels, swing-arm, tyres, suspension. It’s not comparable at all. So although it is the same model bike, it’s very different.”
Trev: That was going to be one of my first questions, you’re used to riding what is probably the trickest Fireblade in the universe.
Hook: “Yeah that’s right, so we basically used these two days just to get familiar with the bike and try and come across a base setting that we think is going to work for The Bend, but mainly for us to just start feeling comfortable on it. As I said, even the seating position is all different, without the different sub-frame and fuel tank and everything that I am accustomed to on the FIM EWC bike. The main objective was to get comfortable on the bike, and they did a great job, after the two days I feel quite comfortable on the bike. We stayed on it and that’s the main thing, got a good couple of days testing in and got through quite a lot of different things to test. So I feel good.”
Trev: Are you going to get to sling a leg over the bike again before The Bend?
Hook: “No mate, this is it. Final shake down for us, but feeling good anyway. We’ve got the bike roughly where we need it, but again another new track for me, I’ve never been to The Bend before, so that’s going to be just another hoop we’ve got to jump when we get there. But you know it’s definitely worth while doing these two days on the bike.”
Trev: Your good mate Jack Miller, have you got a bet on who beats who [at The Bend]? Is there some sheep stations to be won?
Trev: I do get jealous looking at your Instagram when you’re out there fishing on the boat all the time, you look like you’ve got a good set-up.
Hook: “For sure we wanna beat each other, he’s pretty handy on the bike, as we both know. It’ll be interesting to see, he’s got the MotoGP testing laws, so he won’t be on a full spec’ Australian Superbike, but nonetheless I think he’ll be competitive.”
Trev: He won’t be far off, just missing the full race spec’ ECU, so a few electronic smarts not up to ASBK standard for the Ducati, but it’ll certainly be interesting.
Hook: “The way that the ASBK rules are there’s basically nothing you can do to the bike anyway, I’ve seen Stock 1000 championships with more things you can do to the bike.”
Trev: I’ve written that many times myself, and when I wrote about Jack’s ride I said the same thing. Another time, I’d like to get stuck into learning about your World Endurance bike with you, because like I said it is most likely the trickest Fireblade in the universe and the best thing Honda can make.
Hook: “Yeah basically something very similar to World Superbike now.”
Trev: I thought yours might be a bit tricker than WSBK?
Hook: “Well some of the parts that HRC make don’t really work with the Bridgestone tyres, so they’ve manufactured a few different parts to try and make it the best, and obviously World Superbike are on Pirelli. We’re on Bridgestone so there’s a big difference with two manufacturers of tyres. If there’s anything we need, or anything needs to be developed, TSR can manufacture that no dramas at all.”
Trev: What does your bum dyno say about the power difference, between ASBK and WSBK bike?
Hook: “I was quite surprised with the power of the ASBK bike, especially in the mid-range. I think we lack a little bit off the bottom, but the tracks I was riding at – Winton and Wakefield – you don’t have the straight that you can really wind the thing out, so it’s hard to say like that. But I was quite impressed with the power we did have through the mid-range, I thought it would be a lot slower, so that was good. Obviously in World Endurance we’ve got fuel consumption to worry about, so sometimes in the race we don’t actually have that fast of a bike, because we’ve got to get the most laps that we can out of a 24L tank, so fuel consumption does come into it and to lean off the bike that creates less power.”
Trev: Have you ridden on the Michelin tyres before?
Hook: “I haven’t mate, first time. But I would say they are closer to a Bridgestone than they would be for a Pirelli, so that’s good news for me. Quite a stiff construction type feeling I get from the Michelin, with a little bit of lack of feel in the front tyre, but I think that’s just due to the set-up we’ve got in the bike at the moment. We struggled a little bit there trying to get a bit of feedback from the front tyre. But overall I think that tyres can be very competitive and especially so over a long run, there’s no real drop which will be good for The Bend.”
Trev: Cool mate, enjoy your week fishing with Jack and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.
Hook: “No worries mate.”
The mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, will crown five 2021 ASBK Champions at South Australia’s The Bend Motorsport Park in what will be an epic Grand Finale, December 3-5.
Race fans can grab their tickets for the ASBK Grand Finale which are on sale now through Ticketek. More spectator information can also be found at www.thebend.com.au
Following the Grand Finale on Sunday, December 5, a family friendly and BBQ style ASBK presentation event will be held to celebrate and crown the 2021 ASBK Champions.
The ASBK Grand Finale will operate under a COVIDSafe Plan in accordance with SA Government regulations, and all interstate travellers, volunteers and race fans will be required to be double vaccinated for entry into South Australia.
For those fans who are unable to be trackside, you can catch all the fantastic action through ASBK TV partners SBS, FOXSPORTS Australia, Sky Sport NZ and via ASBK TV Live Stream. And of course, as we have been doing for over two decades, the best news coverage of the event will be brought to you right here on MCNews.com.au!
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