News 9 Oct 2017

Turner clinches Rookie of the Year despite double DNF

Troubles strike DesmoSport Ducati newcomer in difficult season finale.

Image: Keith Muir.

Queensland revelation Corey Turner managed to hold on for the Shark Helmets Rookie of the Year honours despite lodging a pair of non-finishes at Phillip Island.

Turner, 19, has been on a tear since joining DesmoSport Ducati prior to Morgan Park, sealing the status of top rookie regardless a disastrous end to the season on Sunday.

The teenager qualified 12th in Saturday’s session, but suffered a bizarre crash during the warm-up lap for race one, which resulted in him being forced to run back to the pits and make the switch to what was initially slated to be his wet bike.

It meant he would start at the rear and with his second bike not set-up for the conditions, Turner called it time in the opening laps, returning to pit lane and shifting his attention onto race two. The team repaired the number one bike between races, however a cracked steering damper bracket – a result of the crash – gave way, which saw Turner experience further difficulties and ultimately record another DNF result.

“I was following Alex Phillis and Jed Metcher on the sighting lap and I think I just got unlucky,” Turner explained. “I came up to turn 11, I wasn’t hard on the gas or hard on the brakes – nothing – it just stepped out on the rear in the mixed conditions. I thought I saved it, I still had my hands on the bars, but at the last minute I got a tank-slapper and it spat me off.

“I picked the bike back up and it didn’t look bad at all, but the actual throttle handle had broken off, so I couldn’t ride it back to the pits. It was a marathon, but I ran back to the pits incase the boys had a wet bike ready, which they did. They threw some slicks on it but the front warmer had only been on for about five minutes, so they told me to take it easy.

“I went out on that, but obviously we had it set-up for the wet, so it was just too hard to ride and I was last anyway, so we called it a day on that one. We were really looking forward to race two, the boys got my number one bike going again. I had a really good first lap and made up a few positions. I think a couple of laps in the steering damper bracket was cracked from the crash and it finally let go.

“With the wind out there, it was just too much and I was rolling off down the straights. There were a few other things that I think were damaged from the crash in race one, so it was a pretty disastrous weekend for us and I’m devastated for the boys – they worked so hard. I think we just scraped in for Rookie of the Year, so at least we’re walking away with that! Thank you to everybody for the support.”

Turner completed his maiden season in the premier class as top of the rookies for 2017, claiming ninth in the final championship standings overall.