Mike Jones ready to attack ASBK competition on home soil

Mike Jones wrapped up the 2015 ASBK Championship on a Cube Racing prepared Kawasaki ZX-10R ahead of JD Racing Yamaha’s Daniel Falzon. The remainder of Australian road racing’s elite were busy competing in the rival Swann Superbike series, but 2016 has seen the likes of Yamaha’s strong triumvirate of Wayne Maxwell, Glenn Allerton and Cru Halliday back in the Motorcycling Australia run series, alongside Team Honda’s talented duo consisting of Troy Herforss and Jamie Stauffer. Clearly, the game has stepped up a level for 2016.

Mike Jones crowned 2015 ASBK Champion at Symmons Plains
Mike Jones crowned 2015 ASBK Champion at Symmons Plains

A change of machinery to Ducati, with a new DesmoSport Ducati team morphing out of the existing Cube Racing framework thanks to the backing of Ducati legend Troy Bayliss, has also brought its own unique challenges for Jones in 2016.

Mike Jones and Troy Bayliss - Image by Russell Colvin
Mike Jones and Troy Bayliss – Image by Russell Colvin

Those early season disappointments were all forgotten at Barbagallo Raceway however, when Jones and the Ducati took out a hotly contested opening race at Wanneroo. Jones took third in the second Wanneroo bout, which allowed Wayne Maxwell to take the Wanneroo round victory by a single point over Jones.

ASBK 2016 - Round Four - Barbagallo Raceway, Wanneroo - Superbike Race One Podium - Mike Jones (1st) - Wayne Maxwell (2nd) - Glenn Allerton (3rd)
ASBK 2016 – Round Four – Barbagallo Raceway, Wanneroo – Superbike Race One Podium – Mike Jones (1st) – Wayne Maxwell (2nd) – Glenn Allerton (3rd)

Still, Wanneroo was a watershed day for Jones and the Ben Henry managed DesmoSport Ducati squad. This weekend Jones is on home soil, at the technical and bumpy 2.1km Morgan Park circuit situated two hours from Brisbane, which will host round five of the 2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul Pirelli.

Mike Jones

“It would be extremely important for me to get a win at Morgan Park, it obviously being my home round of the ASBK Championship this year and having my family and friends around supporting me over the weekend.

Mike Jones, Wayne Maxwell
Mike Jones, Wayne Maxwell

“It has been a big learning curve riding on the DesmoSport Ducati in comparison to last year. We have made a lot of progress and I am feeling quite comfortable on the bike now so that gives me a lot of confidence for this weekend.

Wayne Maxwell, Mike Jones, Glenn Allerton
Wayne Maxwell, Mike Jones, Glenn Allerton

“I think even though I am on new machinery I still have the home track advantage over the other guys. As a kid I have grown up racing this circuit and although I have done minimal Superbike laps I still know the track quite well.

Mike Jones congratulated by Ben Henry after smashing the Wanneroo lap record on his way to pole position at Barbagallo Raceway this afternoon - Image by Steve Thibou
Mike Jones congratulated by Ben Henry after smashing the Wanneroo lap record on his way to pole position at Barbagallo Raceway – Image by Steve Thibou

“Switching to the Ducati this year hasn’t been a hindrance, if anything for this track it is an advantage because of Ducati’s strengths and the way the engine works it should suit the twisty and narrow track well..

ASBK 2016 - Round Three - Sydney Motorsports Park - Race Two - Image by Keith Muir - Mike Jones leads Troy Herfoss
ASBK 2016 – Round Three – Sydney Motorsports Park – Race Two – Image by Keith Muir – Mike Jones leads Troy Herfoss

“This weekend is really just going to come down to pure determination I think. The guys I am riding against are equally as good and their equipment is equally as good as ours, so it’s just going to come down to who is more determined to win the race!.

ASBK 2016 - Round Three - Sydney Motorsports Park - Race One - Image by Keith Muir - Troy Herfoss leads Mike Jones and Jamie Stauffer
ASBK 2016 – Round Three – Sydney Motorsports Park – Race One – Image by Keith Muir – Troy Herfoss leads Mike Jones and Jamie Stauffer

“I think that I am certainly determined to win being a home track race,” he said.

Mike Jones - Image by Andrew Gosling
Mike Jones at Morgan Park in 2015 – Image by Andrew Gosling

This young gun isn’t resting there though, this weekend will also mark the start of the two round FIM Oceania Championship where Jones will represent Team Australian with Jon Daniels Racing’s Daniel Falzon to battle against the Kiwi representatives, in a bid to win the title for a second year in a row.

“To be able to represent my country at my home track is quite an achievement and I suppose to be representative for the FIM Oceania Championship, and it couldn’t be better for me to have the first round at my home circuit.

Mike Jones and Daniel Falzon will go head to head with New Zealand’s Sloan Frost and Ryan Hampton
Mike Jones and Daniel Falzon will go head to head with New Zealand’s Sloan Frost and Ryan Hampton

“The ultimate goal this year was to be able to back up an Australian Championship win again this season, although it’s looking a bit difficult due to a shocking round two of the ASBK.

Mike Jones and Cru Halliday tangle - ASBK 2016 - Wakefield Park - Image by Keith Muir
Mike Jones and Cru Halliday tangle – ASBK 2016 – Wakefield Park – Image by Keith Muir

“If I am racing here again in 2017 I’ll be looking to win another Australian Superbike Championship but if that is not the case and I was to race in Europe, then obviously I would have to re consider my goals.

Mike Jones - Image by Graeme Brown
Mike Jones – Image by Graeme Brown

“But always the overall goal is to be racing in the World Championship at some point in my career,” Jones concluded.

Mike Jones congratulated by Pirelli representative Dave Fuller after smashing the Wanneroo lap record on his way to pole position at Barbagallo Raceway this afternoon - Image by Keith Muir
Mike Jones congratulated by Pirelli representative Dave Fuller after smashing the Wanneroo lap record on his way to pole position at Barbagallo Raceway – Image by Keith Muir

Morgan Park Raceway is where the ASBK battle continues this weekend, August 5-7, the penultimate round of the 2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship.

ASBK Championship Standings after Round four
  1. Wayne Maxwell 176
  2. Glenn Allerton  171
  3. Troy Herfoss 158
  4. Mike Jones 137
  5. Ben Burke 114
  6. Cru Halliday 106
  7. Daniel Falzon  103
  8. Brayden Elliott 91
  9. Jamie Stauffer 84
  10. Matt Walters 73