It was less than a second that separated Yamaha Racing Team’s Mike Jones from victory at round five of the Australian Superbike Championship, held at Morgan Park in Queensland, over the weekend.Jones went head to head with championship rival, Wayne Maxwell, in two enthralling 16 lap races with .6 of a second separating the pair over 32 laps.
To view the YRT bLU cRU round review: https://youtu.be/paU4iBBuPgc
Jones entered round five with a commanding 40 point lead in the championship but his mindset remained the same; continue to ride his best laps, take the wins win the present themselves and stay consistent every time on the track. He was able to do that and left Morgan Park with a 29-point lead with two rounds to go, but Jones is more than motivated ever to get back into the winners’ circle at the next round.
Jones parked his Yamaha YZF- R1M into P2 for race one after the rain affected Friday practice sessions but confident he had the package to win. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the jump from the start and was immediately relegated back to fourth on the opening lap. He quickly moved to third and then into second on lap five. By this stage, race leader Maxwell, had already pushed his lead to nearly three seconds leaving Jones with plenty of work to do.
Jones set off after Maxwell and began to reel him in. He shaved off a few tenths of a second each lap and when the final lap board came out, Jones was shadowing the Ducati and looking for a way past. Jones poked and prodded at every opportunity but was unable to find a way through and they flashed across the finish line with Maxwell ahead of Jones by just .195 of a second.
Race two and this time it was a four rider battle up the front with Jones getting a much better start and led from the opening lap. For the next 10 laps, all four riders swapped positions and it wasn’t until lap 11, that the pairing of Jones and Maxwell charged clear of the pack. Jones held the lead and this time it was Maxwell gaining ground. It came down to another final lap, all in charge and Maxwell was able to sneak up the inside of Jones in the final few turns to take a thrilling race victory as Jones was nearly ejected exiting the right hander.
“I stand here now a bit frustrated as I wanted to win here today and felt that I put myself in a position to do it, only to let it slip away a bit,” Jones says after the final race. “I’m not disappointed or disheartened as I gave it 100% all weekend and just came up a little short at the finish.
“Congrats to Wayne on some great racing and his victory this weekend.
“But it's back to work Monday and keep trying to improve. The team have been awesome all year and continue to work hard and produce a great bike. We have two rounds to go, and I am fully focused on riding well, giving myself the best opportunity to win races and finish the season strongly,” Jones offered.
For Cru Halliday, it was a tough weekend for him resulting in a seventh-place finish for the round with 11-6 finishes. Halliday was running in fourth place in the opening race before a fall nearing the midway point that saw him drop to the tail of the field. He picked up his bike and re-joined the race, managing to claw his way back to 11th at the finish.
For race two, he just couldn’t get a flow going and was in five rider battle from positions six through ten. He was able to find his way into sixth place with a handful of laps to go and remained there fighting off several riders on the way to the finish.
“I just struggled all weekend,” Halliday admitted. “From the very first lap I was fighting the bike, not linking the track together and it really didn’t improve much all weekend.
“I was able to qualify well for P3, but when I fell in race one, I just lost some confidence and couldn’t regain my feel or composure so race two wasn’t great.
“Thanks to the team for working hard all weekend and I owe them one. I will be better at Phillip Island,” Halliday confirms.
There is a break now in the ASBK calendar with the next event scheduled in the YRT program is the MotoGP event in October at Phillip Island, then followed by the ASBK round at Phillip Island a month later.
ASBK Results – Round Five
1st Wayne Maxwell – 51
2nd Mike Jones – 40 (Yamaha Racing Team)
3rd Bryan Staring – 34
4th Broc Pearson – 34
5th Troy Herfoss – 34
6th Glenn Allerton – 29
7th Cru Halliday – 25 (Yamaha Racing Team)
8th Arthur Sissis – 25
9th Lachlan Epis – 24
10th Jed Matcher – 23
ASBK Championship Standings
1st Mike Jones – 242 (Yamaha)
2nd Wayne Maxwell – 213
3rd Bryan Staring – 189
4th Troy Herfoss – 170
5th Cru Halliday – 161 (Yamaha)
6th Glenn Allerton – 160
7th Arthur Sissis – 156 (Yamaha)
8th Josh Waters – 136
9th Anthony West – 117 (Yamaha)
10th Daniel Falzon – 111 (Yamaha)