From 22nd to 24th February 2019, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit will host one again the inaugural 2019 World Superbike round as well as the season opener of Australian Superbike Championship. A very long list of riders is expected to contest the first ASBK races in 2019, as the main motorcycle racing championship in Australia has risen again thanks to the commitment of MA (Motorcycling Australia). Since the duel with Australasian Superbike/Formula Xtreme is over, ASBK has become the only reference two-wheel series in the country and the field includes machines by Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati, Kawasaki and BMW.
Of course, the man to beat is 2018 Champion Troy Herfoss, racing once again on the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 prepared by Team Honda Racing (currently known as Penrite Honda). Herfoss will have as his team-mate young star Mark Chiodo, stepping up from Supersport class. Suzuki will instead count on three riders, as former ASBK champions Josh Waters and Wayne Maxwell (the latter rejoining Suzuki after four seasons on a Yamaha) will share the box with Alex Phillis, the best privateer of 2018 season.
Since Maxwell has escaped to Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Yamaha Australia will be represented by Cru Halliday (back in the top class after some time in Supersport) and Daniel Falzon. Furthermore, Kawasaki Motors Australia will continue supporting BCperformance and give factory ZX-10RR machines to former MotoGP and World Superbike contestant Bryan Staring and former World Supersport rider Lachlan Epis, while a private made-in-Akashi motorcycle will be ridden by Matt Walters (Swann Insurance/Kawasaki Connection). For what concerns BMW, Next Gen Motorsports and Glenn Allerton haven’t decided yet whether to stay in ASBK, move to new Asian ASB1000 Championship or contest both series, as their plans depend on sponsorship.
Dulcis in fundo, ASBK fans will enjoy once again the great riding by Troy Bayliss. Last year the WorldSBK legend surprised at his comeback to races by scoring wins at Hidden Valley and Phillip Island and despite turning 50 very soon, he’ll be part of 2019 fight on brand new Ducati Panigale V4. Curious fact: Bayliss’ Ducati will wear #32 instead of Troy’s historic #21, since the latter race number has gone to Josh Waters…
Translated by Alessandro Palma