News 27 Jul 2015

Phillis gets WorldSBK call-up for end of season

Wagner secures another World Supersport seat.

Image: Andrew Gosling (tbgsport).

Image: Andrew Gosling (tbgsport).

The celebrated Phillis surname is returning to the Superbike World Championship, with news that 21-year-old Australian Alex Phillis — the son of early 1990s legend Rob Phillis — will compete in the final four rounds of the 2015 season for Grillini Kawasaki.

Phillis will replace Santiago Barragan in the Italian-based outfit, with the Spaniard departing the championship because of a “lack of motivation”. Phillis’ tenure will encompass rounds in Malaysia this weekend, before heading to Spain, France and Qatar.

“To be offered to ride the last four rounds of WSBK is privilege and a great opportunity for me,” said Albury-born Phillis. “I cannot wait to get started at Sepang and I am hoping that the last two years of riding the Kawasaki ZX-10R in the German Superstock 1000 title will hold me in good stead when I get down to business.

“I’ve already had a couple of one-off rides in world championship level competition, but to be able to compete for four straight rounds in WSBK is another thing again and against some unbelievably talented riders. They are all new circuits to me as well so I will be on a steep learning curve, but I am relishing the challenge.”

Phillis was recommended as the replacement for Barragan by the boss of the Team Lorini World Supersport team, who had the young Aussie racing for him in this year’s series opener at Phillip Island. Phillis finished 17th in that race, but impressed Livio Lorini with his maturity, easy manner and determination.

After the stint in Germany, Phillis is now back racing domestically and is running fifth in the Australian Supersport Championship on a Kawasaki ZX-6R, with a couple of podium finishes in the last WA round the season highlights.

The gregarious Rob Phillis finished third in the 1991 and 1992 WorldSBK titles on a Kawasaki ZX-7RR, and in 108 races overall scored four wins and 27 podiums.

Meanwhile, talented Queenslander Aiden Wagner will join the CIA Landlords Insurance Honda world supersport team for the Malaysian and Qatari rounds of the championship, with team manager Simon Buckmaster suggesting that some strong results could “lead to a full-time ride in 2016”.