WSBK 2016: Two Days To Go! | Events
With two days to go until the opening round of the World Superbike Championship
we get to know the two Aussie riders in the World Superbike category and look at the roads which have landed the two Joshes a spot in the world championship.
Josh Brookes was born in Sydney in 1983 and exploded onto the world stage 21 years later when he won the Australian round of the 2004 World Supersport Championship as a wildcard.
Despite notching up 35 race starts in the World Superbike Championship, 2016 will be Brookes’ first full season in the series. A swag of bad luck, visa complications and fractured teams meant both Brookes’ 2006 and 2007 attempts were thwarted, but a switch to the World Supersport category the following year saw his hard work pay off with a third-place finish in the title.
From there it was off to the British Superbikes Championship (BSB). In all of his six seasons in BSB, Brookesy had been there or thereabouts. Desperate to make a mark among the talented field his early days in the championship were marred by controversial crashes, but his worst championship finish since 2009 was a fifth place in 2011, before finally winning the highly competitive series in 2015.
Brookes on grid before winning the 2004 WSS race as a wildcard
He made waves in the notoriously difficult Isle of Man TT over six races across the 2013 and 2014 events, recording a 127.726mph average to finish 10th in his first-ever TT and become the fastest-ever newcomer over the mountain. The next year he’d record his best-ever TT finish of sixth in the Superbike race.
Now, with seven BSB seasons under his belt, half a dozen TTs, an older head on his enormously talented shoulders and his familiar, title-winning team by his side, 2016 could very well see Josh Brookes become only Australia’s third World Superbike Champion.
Born in 1993, Josh Hook’s introduction to international racing came when he was selected to join the Red Bull Rookies Cup ranks in 2009 when was 16 years old. Two years in the MotoGP feeder class with a best finish of 12th place, as well as an 18th in the 2010 Australian 125cc Grand Prix as a wildcard, Josh retuned to Australia the following year to compete in the domestic 125cc GP championship, which he won.
He stepped up the Australian Supersport Championship in 2012 with Team Honda Racing and finished second at his first attempt at the title. Staying within the Honda ranks, he contested the Australian Superbike Championship in 2013 and 2014 and finished both seasons in fifth place, but it was 2015 which, like his WSBK compatriot, will be remembered as one of the best years of his racing career.
He contested the competitive All Japan Road Race Championship to finish fifth overall with the TSR Honda team, the same team the young Aussie raced the iconic Suzuka 8 Hour endurance racewith.
Josh Hook talking tactics with Kevin Schwantz, Red Bull Rookies Cup
It was at this gruelling event, against some incredibly tough competition in the likes of MotoGP regulars Casey Stoner, Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith, even 1993 500cc world champ Kevin Schwantz, that Josh Hook joined a long and illustrious list of Aussies to stand on the Suzuka 8 Hour podium.
He and teammates Dominique Aegerter and Kyle Smith rode a strong and level-headed race to finish the event in second place.
His memorable moments of 2015 didn’t end there, either. He was drafted in to the last four rounds of the Moto2 World Championship to replace injured rider and Suzuka teammate Dominique Aegerter and, while he failed to score any world championship points, he gained experience and insight needed to give his 2016 World Superbike campaign the best shot possible.
Stop Press: Josh Hook In Doubt For Weekend’s World Superbike Opener, Phillip Island
Young Josh Hook fell during testing and is in doubt to race at this weekend’s WSBK after dislocating, and fracturing, his shoulder. With further medical tests due today a determined Hook hopes to return to the circuit Thursday to get clearance from the CMO to race this weekend.
Watch Josh video prior to the fall and for further updates. A smiling Josh Hook nursing his dislocated and fractured shoulder, Phillip Island, 23 Feb.