Features 2 Jun 2015

Catching Up: Broc Parkes

Milwaukee Yamaha rider discusses opening part of BSB season.

The 2015 season has gotten off to a difficult start for longtime Australian international Broc Parkes, campaigning the brand new YZF-R1 with Milwaukee Yamaha in the British Superbike Championship. CycleOnline.com.au caught up with Parkes during a private Michelin test at Phillip Island today to speak about the season so far.

Source: Yamaha Racing.

Source: Yamaha Racing.

A few rounds into BSB now with Milwaukee Yamaha, you’ve shown speed at times but have had a lot of bad luck during the races. How have you found it so far?

To be honest I’ve had a pretty tough time so far. I haven’t had much luck, but I have show bits of speed here and there – it hasn’t really been a great start. At Donington I qualified eighth and it wasn’t too bad there, but in the race I had a problem with the handlebar end snapping off in the first race and then in the second I had quite good speed before I crashed out. Then we went to Brands, where I felt like I had turned the corner, but even though I wasn’t on the front guys in the races I thought I had not bad pace, but unfortunately the next race at Oulton was just a nightmare. We didn’t get a lot of track time, I got taken out in the first race and then my bike was destroyed for the second one. So I don’t think I’ve shown my true speed yet, but at the Snetterton test I started to understand the bike a bit more and got on with it a lot better.

You’re obviously experienced on the world stage, but a rookie in BSB, so what’s it been like learning the new tracks and the culture of it all?

I think the championship’s really good, they have really good organisation and the spectators are good with such a big following. The tracks are definitely a lot different to what I’m used to, especially Oulton for the first time. That would have to be the hardest thing, the tracks, and the depth of the field is so strong and they’re really good on those tracks. I’m the only rookie I think, so it takes a bit to learn. Coming from the GP on the Bridgestones to Pirelli has also taken a bit of time to get my head around.

Source: Yamaha Racing.

Source: Yamaha Racing.

Looking at the series from the outside, there’s the likes of Shane Byrne, your teammate Josh Brookes, plus guys such as Jason O’Halloran, so there’s a real diverse mixture of experience and talent in the field. It’s difficult to gauge how difficult it is from here, so how have you found that aspect of it?

Yeah, to be honest I’ve been too far toward the back, so I’ve been battling with different guys on track who I have no idea who they are. You don’t really know what to expect from some of them, but I have never really raced with many of them up until this year – pretty much everyone in the championship is new to me and I don’t know where their strong points are or aren’t. But even the guys back in the field, especially in the first laps, are very aggressive and sometimes it’s a little bit mad at the start of the races.

You’re teamed with Josh Brookes on the 2015 R1. How has it been in the early stages of development?

Josh has got on quite well with the bike straight away, where I haven’t quite found my way. I turned the corner a lot at the last test, but in general everything is so new, and we haven’t had that much stuff coming. It’s been a pretty stock R1, so considering that, I think that we’ve been really fast. Now the parts are starting to come we are making steps forward and I’m getting on with the bike a little bit more. I think, like I said, at Snetterton I made another step. Josh has been up the pointy-end, so it shows the bike’s got the pace and it’s only going to get better. The more we go on in the year, the stronger we’re going to get.