Mike Jones to challenge for the 2019 ASBK Championship
After a strong result at Wakefield Park for the second round of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), 25-year-old Queenslander Mike Jones has earned himself a full-time ride with DesmoSport Ducati.
With a strong existing relationship, obvious talent and commitment, and living in close proximity to the team, Mike Jones is a logical choice for the DesmoSport Ducati team, owned by Ben Henry and Troy Bayliss, in order to keep their championship hopes alive. Jones has moved to third in the ASBK championship standing, just 13-points behind current series leader Cru Halliday after two of seven rounds.
“In some ways it was difficult, and in others, it was a very simple decision to make for Troy and me. We race at the highest level, and it’s our aim to win the 2019 Australian Superbike Championship. With Troy missing two rounds against so many racers capable of winning, our best chance to achieve our goal is to continue working with Mike. The work he did with us in testing and at round two made the bike even better to ride, and so, after some long conversations, Mike has been offered Troy’s race bike for the rest of the season. Troy, once he’s able to ride again, will now focus on setting up the V4R with us, while Mike gives the ASBK championship his full attention.”
“Three weeks ago, Ben asked if I could help set up Troy’s bike during testing while he was injured, which led to me racing for the team at round two. At the airport on Monday, while travelling home from the event, Ben and Troy offered me to race the rest of the season for them! Although I was planning to compete in the Spanish Superbike Championship this season, I’m very excited about this last-minute opportunity to be on-board with DesmoSport Ducati against one of the toughest fields of superbike racers in years. The team is the strongest it’s ever been, and the bike is significantly different to the Ducatis I raced in 2016 and 2017, which gives me the strong belief we can win races, and challenge for the championship. I’m highly motivated and really looking forward to putting in the maximum effort with the team to achieve these goals.”
Does this mean Troy Bayliss will not be back racing this season?
“It’s an interesting position for me to be in right now. I want to win, and those who know me, know that I will do whatever it takes to ensure I can win. As a team owner, that means putting the best person on the bike for the season, and right now that’s Mike. I know that I can win races in the ASBK this year, but I don’t believe I can win the title after missing two rounds against such a strong field of racers. That’s not to say you won’t see me line up on the grid again this year, but Mike is our title contender. I’m 100% behind him and believe that we have the team and equipment to win.”