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Aussie Wildcards On World Superbike Stage | Events

Wildcard Jones Scores First World Superbike Championship Points

Sat 27 Feb 2016

DesmoSport Ducati’s Mike Jones performed on the world stage today, as the first race of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian round of the 2016 World Superbike Championship was run and won at Phillip Island.

Australia’s very own Jones was on the pace as soon as his Ducati machine hit the track this morning, posting the eighth quickest lap time in WSBK free practice (1:31.913) before coming off his bike and crashing towards the conclusion of the session.

Thankfully, and with a fantastic team in his corner, Jones was able to get to his feet and was in good spirits ahead of World Superbike Superpole.

With a full schedule this weekend racing both the ASBK and WSBK, straight after his crash in the WSBK practice session, Jones was back on the bike racing in the Australian Superbike class, where he collected his first podium (2nd), before lining up for WSBK Superpole 1.

Jones was able to wrap up Superpole 1 in 11th position which after Superpole 2 gave Australia’s Superbike wildcard Jones 21st position on the grid.

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photo by Graeme Brown/2Snap

And when the first World Superbike race got underway, Jones wasted no time in his charge to make up positions, moving down to 18th position by only lap three.

By the halfway mark in the race, Ducati mounted Jones had managed to execute another pass, and move in to an impressive 17th position. And when the chequered flag flew, Jones crossed the line in an outstanding 14th, collecting his first ever World Superbike Championship points.

“I’m feeling pretty good after my first race in the World Superbike class, I would have liked to have gone better but overall the result is not too bad, and we’re really happy with how the DesmoSport Ducati team is working,” he said.

“My qualifying wasn’t ideal and I think to start from 21st on the grid that my finishing position is quite surprising.

“It’s really cool to have got my first World Superbike Championship points. To come here and in the first race, get in the points is awesome.

“I’m loving being out there in front of the Australian crowd – to have their support this weekend is fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier to have so much support.”

In the World Supersport category, Australia’s wildcard Ant West (Green Tea X50) shot to the top of the times in his third practice session this morning with a 1:34.652 lap time, slotting himself into fourth at the conclusion of free practice. Fellow World Supersport Wildcards Mitch Levy (Landbridge Racing) wrapped up the third free practice in 23rd (1:36.312) and Kane Burns (Burns Racing) who concluded the session in 25th respectively.

When World Supersport Superpole got underway Green Tea X50’s West put down a time which will see him being the first Australian on the grid tomorrow in 15th position. Fellow wildcard entrants Levy and Burns concluded Supersport Superpole in 24th, and 25th respectively.

The World Supersport class will compete in their only race for the weekend tomorrow, while the World Superbike class will have their final race for the weekend Sunday afternoon.

main image – Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Wildcard West Finishes On World Supersport Podium

Sun 28 February 2016

Australia’s wildcards had the opportunity to shine this weekend, and with a venue full of screaming Australian fans, there was plenty of incentive to put on the performance of a lifetime.

With a total of seven Australians including three wildcards, competing in the World Supersport category this weekend, Australia was well represented when the Supersport race got underway.

With wildcard Ant West (Green Tea X50) impressing in the warm up session this morning, all eyes were on the Aussie when bikes left the grid, making his way into seventh position after only one lap.

By the time the race had reached lap six, Queenslander West had amazingly made his way in to the race lead, leaving spectators hanging over the fence cheering, with the dream of seeing an Australian on the World Supersport podium.

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photo by Graeme Brown/2Snap

Despite West dropping back to third position behind American Patrick Jacobsen (Honda World Supersport Team) and MV Augusta’s Jules Cluzel for a short time, West made his way back in to the race lead by lap eight, using the home crowd to fuel his outstanding performance.

With a gruelling 18 laps to get through, West began to look more comfortable out in front, with himself and Cluzel pulling away from the group. And when Cluzel crashed on lap ten, it gave wildcard West, the opportunity to go head to head with world champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki).

As the race reached its closing stages, Sofuoglu had managed to stretch out a commanding race lead, and although the Turk had separated himself from the lead group, West maintained his second position.

By lap 14, drops of rain were falling in sector 1-2, and crowds watched on as Australia’s West rose to the occasion. Despite Sofuoglu’s teammate Krummenacher managing to get by West relegating the Aussie to third, West looked in no way to be easing up his charge to the front.

It was on lap 16 that the World Supersport race was turned upside down, when race leader Sofuoglu crashed hard, marking the end of the world champ’s Phillip Island campaign – So with Sofuoglu out, the door was left wide open for West to finish on the podium. With only a short distance separating him from new race leader Krummenacher, West commenced his chase for the Supersport top spot.

With one lap remaining, and West only losing positions down the straight, the Yamaha mounted rider fought hard to get maximum power out of his machine, and maintain second position.

But on the final race down the straight, West once again lost some speed, and was forced to settle for a marginal third spot on the podium, with the machine of Federico Caricasulo reeling him in to snatch away second just on the finish line.

An elated West spoke to the media after his outstanding World Supersport podium.

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Federico Caricasulo, Randy Krummenacher, Aussie Ant West – photo by Graeme Brown/2Snap

“I didn’t expect to even get close to where we were. The whole week had started out as a complete disaster and going into yesterday we were still trying to find our way,” a smiling West shared.

“We threw the team together last minute and we met each other for the first time on Monday – They have done great with what we’ve had to work with and we can’t expect more than that with this bike and what we have to go up against.

“It’s a big achievement for the guys, I think we have achieved what we were trying to do here. I’m looking for a ride for the rest of the year and its just another way to show that I’m still here and I’m still on a fight to win races. I’d like to go to the next World Supersport race if I can.

“It’s great to get off the bike and have that Australian support behind me. It has taken a lot of determination from the guys, and determination from myself.”

Fellow Australian Supersport wildcard Mitch Levy (Landbridge Racing) concluded the 18 lap race in an impressive 15th place, while Kane Burn’s (Burns Racing) failed to finish.

When the World Superbike category headed to the grid, DesmoSport Ducati’s Mike Jones had already secured himself an ASBK podium by the time he lined up as the Australian wildcard.

Despite starting at the rear of the grid this afternoon, Jones was determined to put on his best performance, and when racing got underway that’s exactly what the Ducati rider aimed to do.

By the time the race had reached the half way mark, Jones had maintained an impressive 14th position, and looked strong and comfortable sitting just inside the the World Superbike top 15.

However, disaster struck Ducati’s Jones, when he crashed soon after, marking the end of his Phillip Island World Superbike campaign.

Despite Jones’ crash, the 22 year old was able to walk away smiling, having still collected his first World Superbike Championship points in his debut race yesterday

Motorcycling Australia would like to congratulate all of the Australian wildcard’s and Australian competitors who have raced on the world stage at Phillip Island this weekend.