Round 1 of the 2018 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) kicks off this weekend along side the opening round of the World Superbike Championship at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit and the Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia duo of Josh Waters & Markus Chiodo are fired up to battle it out against the best in Australia.
Team owner, Dale Brede: “We’re pretty excited coming into round 1. 2017 was a year to work with PTR (Phil Tainton Racing) and develop the bike, so to open the back of the transporter at the first round with the number 1 on the bike as well as an exciting young rider in Markus is pretty confidence inspiring. We’re right behind Josh, and today’s practice session just reinforces that we are able to keep moving forward from where we left off last season” said Dale.
Today’s practice session saw both riders work on settings developed during testing in January with Josh setting the pace (1:32.798) while Markus continues to get to terms with the new machine sitting 12th ahead of many riders with more superbike experience than the young Melbourne based racer.
Defending Champion, Josh Waters: “It’s a little surreal heading into the season with the number one plate” said Josh, “I was confident I would be competitive in 2017, but the bike was brand new so there was very few expectations on me or the team, so coming in this year as defending champion against a competitive field with the same team behind me, I know we can be at the front and now I’m looking forward to getting down to business in the first race”.
Superbike Rookie, Markus Chiodo: “It’s been an unbelievable roller coaster over these last months preparing to race against the fastest racers in Australia” an excited Chiodo said. “Its a big change going from supersport to superbike, not just in the obvious power difference but the difference in lines and corner speed. The entire team are right behind me and I can’t wait to line up for the first race on Saturday afternoon.
Photography: Andrew Gosling