Yamaha Racing Team’s Mike Jones is the 2022 Australia Superbike Champion (ASBK) after another impressive performance at the seventh and final round of the championship, held at The Bend circuit in South Australia.Jones entered the final round with a comfortable 38-point lead but was determined the finish the year as strongly as he started. He publicly stated his goal was to put his Yamaha R1M on pole and then win both races over the weekend to stamp his authority on 2022 championship. It was a lofty ambition, but Jones had shown he was more than capable of achieving it given his 2022 form on the Yamaha.
To view the YRT bLU cRU review of the weekend at The Bend: https://youtu.be/1QBDcwb21Hk
Jones immediately showed he was deadly serous about his ambitions when he parked his Yamaha on P1 after an intense final qualifying period that saw the top spot change hands several times in the last frantic minute of action. One box ticked, two to go.
Sunday dawned and clearly nervous, Jones needed nothing more than a solid top ten finish to secure his third ASBK Championship. The nerves stepped up another level when just two laps into the race, it was red flagged due to a downed rider and the field was restacked for a ten lap sprint.
His re-start was good and he was travelling well inside the top three but the top eight were all wheel to wheel and with it being the last event of the year, they all had nothing to lose, expect Jones. He quietly settled into a good pace and deliberately stayed out of any on track tussles. He was shuffled back to sixth spot and was more than happy to reel off laps on his way to the championship. His sixth place was more than enough to claim the championship with one race remaining.
Race two and the pressure was off. It wasn’t for points any more it was for pride. Again, his start was good and within a few laps, he hit the lead. But the chasing pack wasn’t ready to lay down just yet and the battle heated up quickly as first it was Senna Agius, then Wayne Maxwell and later Troy Herforss, who all took aim at Jones.
But with a few laps remaining it was time for one last effort for the new crowned champion. He snatched back the lead from Maxwell, put in two sensational laps to break the spirit of his competition and then when race one winner, Herfoss, went down, suddenly the round win came into play.
Jones took the race win and with his fist in the air claimed his fourth-round win of the season and put the finishing touches on a sensational championship run.
“I’m elated,” Jones announces from the podium. “I didn’t want just to win the championship, I wanted to do it the right way so after race one, it was time to send it. The team did a great job on the bike and as the laps went on, the better the bike felt.
“To see the guys climbing the pit wall as I went over the finish line was awesome as they got the chance to experience what I was feeling. We are a tight team and Dyllan, Joel and Kev work so hard.
“I didn’t even realise at that stage I had won the day. I knew a 1-6 would put me on the podium but I didn’t think it would get the win until I got back to the podium and the boys told me. So, I didn’t get the pole, 1-1 goal but I was pretty close and it feels amazing to win the championship, not just for myself, but for Yamaha.
“A huge thank you to everyone in the Yamaha Racing Team and the environment the team has created for me. When you change teams, you ae never sure how it’s going to pan out, but the team have been sensational and I hope they feel they are as much a part of this championship as me.
“My family who have continued to support and encourage me over the years, my partner Chrissie and so many others behind the scenes. This one just feels good,” Jones ends.
It was a weekend that just got away from Cru Halliday. From the moment his bike was unloaded from the truck on Friday morning, Halliday was fast. He was at the top or very near to it every time he hit the track and in fact, it was only in the last minute of qualifying that his teammate Jones and Moto GP regular, Jack Miller, dropped him back to third.
But he just wasn’t quite able to turn that pace into a podium position on Sunday. Let down by average starts in both races, Halliday finished the day with 8-6 results to claim fourth overall.
Left to play catch up in both races, Halliday matched the pace of the front runners but was left behind the eight ball with track position after being swamped at the start.
“I felt like I was riding good all weekend and the bike was in great shape, but I turned a front row grid position into a mid-pack start in both races and left to chase for the next 11 laps.
“With the field as fast as they are now, no one can afford to give anyone a head start, so I just made it too hard on myself.
“Congratulations to Mike on his championship and a great result for Yamaha. The team deserve that success as they continue to work so hard behind the scenes each and every week,” Halliday said.
That’s a wrap for the 2022 season and as soon as the truck returns to home based in Brisbane, the YRT crew will begin work on their 2023 campaign.
“Its been a massive year for the team and they can be extremely proud of their fantastic results in 2022,” says Yamaha Motorsport Manager, Scott Bishop.
“Its been a long time since YRT have won the ASBK Superbike division so this one not only means a lot to those within the team but also everyone at Yamaha Motor Australia.
“John, Kevin and Dyllan are the backbone of YRT and have made huge sacrifices to turn the team around and get themselves back on top. Mike has also been a massive boost coming to Yamaha and we congratulate everyone on their championship success and a job well done,” Bishop ends.
Round 7 – The Bend
1st Mike Jones – 41 (Yamaha)
2nd Wayne Maxwell – 38
3rd Arthur Sisiss – 32 (Yamaha)
4th Cru Halliday – 28 (Yamaha)
5th Anthony West – 28 (Yamaha)
6th Daniel Falzon – 25 (Yamaha)
7th Glenn Allerton – 25
8th Troy Herfoss – 25
9th Joel Kelso – 21
10th Seena Agius – 20
2022 ASBK Championship Standings
1st Mike Jones – 328 ( Yamaha Racing Team)
2nd Wayne Maxwell – 276
3rd Bryan Staring – 258
4th Troy Herfoss – 242
5th Glenn Allerton – 235
6th Arthur Sissis – 231
7th Josh Waters – 217
8th Cru Halliday – 217 (Yamaha Racing Team)
9th Daniel Falzon – 159
10th Anthony West – 154
1st Yamaha – 1636
2nd Ducati – 779
3rd BMW - 504