News 1 Dec 2009

ASBK: Johnson reports on final Australian Supersport round


Event: Final Round 7 Australian SBK Supersport Championship
Date: 27th – 29th November
Venue: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Phillip Island
Weather: Rain, wind, cool, sun, wind, hot

Qualification: Pole

Race Results:                    Overall Championship Results:
Race 1: 13th                       1st: B Staring Yamaha R6 (Factory)
Race 2: 2nd                        2nd: J Stauffer Yamaha R6 (Factory)
3rd: B Attard Kawasaki ZX6 (Factory)
4th: Shannon Johnson Honda CBR600RR (Privateer) Winner Privateer Championship
5th: T Herfoss Suzuki GSXR (Factory)

Rider Report:

We didn’t quite get the result we set out to achieve this weekend. We did achieve what we set out to do when we started our campaign back at round three of the championship though, we set out to prove that a privately owned run and engineered team with no factory backing can; with the right people beat the factories and give hope to the many current privateers and for the many more to follow.

The weather was typical Phillip Island, but not for this time of the year. Friday morning practice was wet and Friday afternoon was extremely hot and humid, meaning the few things we wanted to test had to be crammed into one session.

For Saturday’s qualification session our plan was to go out early do as little laps as possible while trying to post a fast time, then sit back and wait to see if someone could beat it. On my second lap I posted a time that put us on the top of the time sheets, one that was good enough to keep us there. It was quite fun watching everyone else burn up their tyres trying to beat our time, the best part was that for the race we basically had a brand new tyre. For the second qualifying session I got geared up and ready to go back out if someone took pole from us.

For the second race in a row we ended up on pole and the very important point that goes with it, a great achievement by our private ESG team. The point’s gap was now 11 to third.

Sunday morning the weather looked great, until the wind changed. Then we had a torrential down pour not long before the start of our race. As the team prepared our wet bike the rain stopped but the circuit was still completely wet. On the sighting lap and warm up lap there was plenty of spray still.
I got a decent jump from the start then exiting turn one changing direction into turn two I experienced a small issue with the steering of the bike, as the race wore on the circuit dried the issue became much worse until the point where all I could do was circulate to finish the race and collect as many points as possible.

We all discussed what had happened and as a team we took it in our stride and put all our focus and effort into winning the final race of the year.

Again I got away ok and was in the front group after only a lap Jamie and I had cleared out by over one second, lap by lap we swapped the lead and rode clear of everyone. After half race distance the red flag came out for a fallen rider with a six second lead over third the second part of the race was going to be a two man race.

In the restart I made a terrible start entering turn one I was in about seventh or eighth place, as part two was only a four lap sprint I didn’t have time to waste and had one thing in mind. Getting to the front!
By the time I got to second I was almost 2 seconds down on the leader, I figured I owe it to my team and sponsors to throw it out there and lay it all on the line for two laps. I set my fastest ever laps around the circuit and the fastest Supersport lap times of the weekend almost 0.700 faster than anyone else.

In the end we came up 0.007 short of the race win, I did absolutely everything I could.

Finally we ended up fourth in the championship after missing the first two rounds of the championship and giving away six months worth of testing to only end up 10 points from an outright championship podium is a true testament to the amazing people involved with the Evolution Sports Group. A team that I’m very fortunate and proud to be a part of, not just this year but for a number of years to come.

The team really did give me everything I needed to achieve top results each and every time I went out for a race and I can’t thank them all enough.

I also can’t thank all my sponsors, supporters, fans, and my beautiful family for their amazing support in a year that really did give me the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.

A year I won’t forget for many reasons, most of all for good ones.

In the coming week I will inform you of my exact plans for 2010, I can tell you I’m very excited about it.