Steve Martin on ASBK rookies stepping into the breech

As the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) Official Test Day on January 30 crackles into life ahead of the hotly anticipated ASBK Round One on 24-26 February, where riders have re-shuffled classes and wild card entries, new bikes and new teams have been announced. 

This year’s Australian Superbike Championship is shaping up to be the biggest of them all, with plenty of rookie contenders heading in to the Superbike class, including last year’s Supersport Champion, Troy Guenther and hot 2016 Supersport contender, Callum Spriggs both stepping up to contest on the the full-litre bikes.

Steve Martin offers his opinion on how the rookies will fair in ASBK 2017

“Rookies could not have picked a tougher year to come up to the Australian Superbikes. They will have to battle through the fullest grid we have seen to date. It will be really tough going for them.” He started.

“Troy Guenther is coming through with a Championship winning team in Next Gen BMW Motorsports, which is an amazing thing for him to have. He is a quick learner and we saw that last year.

Troy Guenther and the Graffiti Alley Team celebrate victory in the 2016 Australian Supersport Championship
Troy Guenther and the Graffiti Alley Team celebrate victory in the 2016 Australian Supersport Championship

“Callum Spriggs will jump on that DesmoSport Ducati, which is definitely not going to be an easy move. It’s a completely different beast from that Kawasaki he rode last year, but he will adapt quickly and he has all the help anyone could ever wish to have with the Troy Bayliss’ team that is behind him.

Callum Spriggs got to throw a leg over the DesmoSport Ducati - Image by Steve Duggan SDpics
Callum Spriggs got to throw a leg over the DesmoSport Ducati – Image by Steve Duggan SDpics

“Both Guenther and Spriggs will have issues as they step up to the larger capacity bike category, but it’s probably a much bigger challenge for Spriggs, who is coming from an in-line four 600 Kawasaki. He will have to get used to a bike with a completely different power delivery, a bigger, torquier v-twin that doesn’t rev anywhere near as high as his old bike. So, he will have to make that adaptation. We know how good that Ducati is, we’ve seen it win before.

2016 Phillip Island Supersport, Callum Spriggs crowned Supersport Champion - Image Russel Colvin
2016 Phillip Island Supersport, Callum Spriggs crowned Phillip Island Supersport Champion – Image Russel Colvin

“This year, if you are a rookie, you will have to lay it all out on the line, because you can’t back off even a little bit and expect to finish in the top five. That’s just not going to happen. It’s going to be one of those years that even placing in the top ten will be a massive achievement for those guys. With the talent pool increasing and with Kawasaki BC Performance coming into competition, it is not going to be easy.

Robbie Bugden
Robbie Bugden

As racers of that caliber, Callum and Troy won’t want to hang around sitting in 10th position all year long and they will need to score points early on to remain competitive. I am hoping that each one of them will get up on the podium at some point through-out the year.” Martin surmised.

The not to be missed Australian Superbike Championship round one at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit will be run in conjunction with the World Superbike Championship on February 24th to 26th.