ASBK title winner adds Phillip Island Championship to his credit.
‘Mad Mike’ Jones last weekend clinched the Phillip Island Superbike Championship by taking a 3-3-1 result aboard the Australian Outdoor Living/Cube Racing Team machine at the Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. Jones, who went into the round nine points behind Troy Herfoss in the two-event series ended up winning the crown by three points over Herfoss, which sees him adding the title to his 2015 ASBK championship victory. CycleOnline.com.au caught up with the 21-year-old to find out how his weekend went on MotoGP weekend.
Michael, again congratulations on the win and the championship win on the weekend at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. From your point view, how was your weekend at the Island?
It was an absolute fantastic weekend for me. It definitely started out a bit steady as I qualified in seventh, which put me on the third row of the grid. I knew the races were going to be difficult because if the qualifying position, however I knew what I had to do to get to the front of the field in the races and I did just that. I got myself up the front and contested for the win. I’m really happy that I managed to finish inside the top three in the opening races and to win the last race, coming away with the round win and the Phillip Island Championship. It was just a great weekend and I really have to thank the whole Australian Outdoor Living/Cube Racing Team for all their efforts they put in.
In qualifying, why where you so down the field? Was it due to the weather that was thrown your way, as it was on and off during the day on the Friday?
Yeah, I suppose. The weather did change slightly from the practice to the qualifying session and it was slightly windy. On top of that, I wasn’t really in the zone and that was really the only reason why I didn’t qualify all that flash. There is no other reason really.
Having raced at Phillip Island a few weeks ago at the ASBK round, do you believe that helped you a little bit to get your bike ready and dialled in and ready for last weekend?
100 percent it did. Competing at Phillip Island a few weeks ago did help me to get used to the circuit and the bike set-up. It allowed us to show up to the Phillip Island Championship well-prepared and ready to go, so yeah, it was helpful. I was quite eager to get onto the track with all of the factory teams and riders. Obviously we missed that at the last round of the ASBK, so it was good to get out on the track with all them.
Did the round win on the weekend mean more to you because, compared to the ASBK series, there was such a lot of hard competition in terms of Yamaha and Honda’s factory teams to race against?
The meaning of winning the ASBK championship meant a lot to me, but to then back it up with the Phillip Island Championship with the best Australian riders and best Australian teams certainly consolidated my 2015 ASBK championship and proved that if they were there or not I was going to be a contender for the championship. It guess it also showed that I have the ability and the skills to run with those guys and beat them when things are going well.
So I’m guessing the round win and the championship win has given you a lot of confidence heading into this weekend’s penultimate round of the Swann Series at Winton Motor Raceway?
Yeah, we have been having a good string of results recently. On top of that I have been on a bike quite a lot; I have been riding and racing nearly every weekend, so I’m really looking forward to going to Winton. We have a lot of confidence with the results and I’m feeling comfortable on the bike with all the circuit time. I’m thinking we should have another good round this weekend.
In terms of Winton, what are your impressions of the circuit?
I like the layout at Winton, however the surface and quality of the circuit isn’t that flash. In saying that, it’s the same for everyone, so I’ll be giving it my all to beat the other guys. In terms of goals for this weekend, I’d be happy with a top five finish, but I’m aiming for the podium.
Mike as always, thanks for your time, and we’ll see you up north in a few days time.
No worries, thank you!