Jones entered the Phillip Island round with a 29-point lead but with five races still to come, there was plenty of work to be done. He left with a 38-point lead despite facing some challenges himself over the weekend on the back of his 10-5-3 results.
“The on-track results don’t look great, but on paper to increase my lead has been awesome and gives me a good points buffer leading into the final round of racing this weekend,” Jones begins. “The conditions at Phillip Island were far from ideal and the first race was wet so that made it even more unpredictable.
“I certainly didn’t ride that first race well as I saw Wayne go down in turn two and my whole mindset changed. I went very conservative and rode like I had something to lose rather than something to gain. I didn’t want to fall as that was so easy to do and just get some points to increase my margin. It wasn’t pretty but I got the job done.
“Things were better in race two and three. Race two I was a bit passive in the opening laps and got shuffled back to ninth in the chaos. I got my head back in the game at about the halfway point and started to move forward and got to fifth, right on the back of third and fourth.
“The third race and I was more aggressive in the early stages and fought much harder for track position. I again saw Wayne go down, but this time I thought I would keep pushing and I got into a good battle with Bryan Staring. Things got close a few times, but it kept me focused and to finish third was a good result and a positive way to end the weekend,” Jones ends.
The weekend also proved to throw up some challenges for teammate, Cru Halliday. Halliday has shown good speed at the picturesque Phillip Island circuit and came into the weekend confident of a good showing. Things got off to a slow start in qualifying when his tyre strategy didn’t pay off and he was forced to start from P8 on the grid.
Race one saw Halliday moving forward in the wet conditions and looking for a top five finish. But ever the team player, he relinquished his position as the race went on to assist his teammate. Race two and the shackles were taken off and Halliday charged to a third-place finish and confident with a better start, he can go with the front runners.
Unfortunately, he never got to find that out as he went down in a multi-rider crash on lap four. He tried to continue but his bike was damaged, and he returned to pit lane. His 11-3-DNF weekend saw him finish ninth for the round and now sits eighth in the championship.
“It was a disappointing weekend as I had high expectations coming into this round. I raced well here at the Moto GP a month ago and while its not my favourite circuit, I have had done well here in the past.
“Most of the riders used up a couple of tyres in qualifying while I just stuck with the same rear. The pace was getting quicker, so I should have got a fresh tyre in at the end on got myself higher up the grid as P8 is a difficult place to start from.
“I felt my riding was good and in the dry I was able to get my way through the pack and finish third. I was starting to do the same in the final race but got tagged from behind going into turn four and went down.
“We still have one round to go, so its all or nothing to get back up the front and finish the year on a positive note,” Halliday signs off.
It’s a quick turn around for the ASBK teams as the head directly from Phillip Island across to The Bend in South Australia for this weekends’ final round of the championship. Jones needs to keep a cool head, as he has done in previous rounds, to secure Yamaha first premier ASBK championship in 15 years.
Round Six Results - Phillip Island
1st Josh Waters - 64
2nd Bryan Staring - 60
3rd Glenn Allerton - 50
4th Troy Herfoss - 47
5th Mike Jones - 45 (Yamaha Racing Team)
6th Arthur Sissis - 43
7th Jed Matcher - 40
8th Broc Pearson - 37
9th Cru Halliday - 28 (Yamaha Racing Team)
10th Senna Agius - 28
ASBK Championship Standings
1st Mike Jones - 287 (Yamaha R1M)
2nd Bryan Staring - 249
3rd Wayne Maxwell - 238
4th Troy Herfoss - 217
5th Glenn Allerton - 210
6th Josh Waters - 200
7th Arthur Sissis - 199 (Yamaha R1)
8th Cru Halliday - 189 (Yamaha R1M)
9th Daniel Falzon - 134 (Yamaha R1)
10th Anthony West - 126 (Yamaha R1)