2019 ASBK Champion Mike Jones kicks off title defence
Defending Australian Superbike Champion, Mike Jones, is feeling confident and ready to fire for this weekend’s first round of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
The Queenslander aboard his DesmoSport Ducati V4R, believes he has struck the right combination following a successful test last month at Phillip Island and is ready to defend his championship title.
“After the test I feel really confident heading into the race weekend. We were able to have good pace at the test, and now for me I’m preparing myself mentally to be able to come out on the race weekend and be firing straight away. I know everyone is amped up for the first round and ready to go.”
It is the overall package of the new Ducati that has Mike excited.
“It feels like a completely different bike, but it’s probably been the most rider friendly bike I’ve ever ridden so that was a real positive, and it’s just been finding the right settings.”
Despite being “very happy” with the pace of the bike at the Official ASBK Test last month, Mike admits to keeping an eye on what Wayne Maxwell – also on the same model machine and who broke the Superbike lap record at the test – is doing.
“He did reel off a few quick laps, but as we saw last year it is not the be all and end all. Race pace is the most important thing and I feel like we got that at the test and something we are quite strong with.”
Mike feels his biggest competition this year could come from 2018 ASBK Champion, Penrite Honda’s Troy Herfoss, who he battled for the championship win in the last race at Sydney Motosport Park in 2019.
“I believe it is going to be Troy Herfoss again, purely because of who he is as a person, and the drive and motivation that he has got. In my opinion that is what you need to be able to win, he’s going to be the strongest guy through the year again.”
It’s not only Australian superbike riders who want to upset the champ this weekend, but 4-time American Superbike Champion, Josh Hayes, will also be aiming to cause a few upsets when he joins the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship at the Island, which Mike thinks is fantastic for the championship.
“I think it’s really exciting for ASBK for someone of his calibre wanting to race with us at Phillip island and I think it’s the perfect place for him to come and do it. All the riders are eager and keen to go racing so it should make for a really competitive first round and having Josh in the field will be really cool just to have another gauge of where the ASBK is. “I personally feel it (ASBK) is at a really high level.
“Having the first round of ASBK alongside WorldSBK is important because the motorbikes are based on the same type of production bikes. It’s a real asset for the riders and fans to see the world level and domestic level guys go racing on the same weekend.”
The 2019 ASBK Champion wants a big crowd at the Island this weekend.
“We all share the same passion and it brings everyone together, come down and watch. It will be a weekend of a lifetime with World Superbikes and ASBK on the same weekend with incredible action from both championships. But I know particularly here in Oz, the racing is fierce and it’s going to be close, so come and have some fun and get involved.”
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