News 15 Jan 2018

ASBK front-runners set for Phillip Island WorldSBK entries

Maxwell, Falzon and Herfoss in for Superbike grid as Toparis joins WorldSSP.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Three of the nation’s top Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) racers will enter Phillip Island’s opening round of the 2018 Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) between 23-25 February.

Yamaha Racing Team duo Wayne Maxwell and Daniel Falzon will line-up alongside Honda’s Troy Herfoss as high profile ‘wildcards’, taking on the world’s best at home in the Yamaha Financial Services round.

Current ASBK number two Maxwell, who was 2013 national champion, said it was a privilege to contest the round at Phillip Island – one of his strongest circuits on the schedule – and he’s eyeing a point-scoring result on what will be a YZF-R1M close to ASBK specification.

“The opportunity to represent Yamaha Racing Team amongst the WorldSBK field is a great boost for us,” 35-year-old Maxwell commented after being granted a one event entry, rather than a wildcard. “The team have always wanted to become involved in WorldSBK and now that opportunity has become a reality. In terms of our Yamaha YZF-R1 package, it should be pretty similar to ASBK-spec, with minor alterations to make it fit for WorldSBK completion.

“If we do have one advantage it is that we know Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit very well and it’s not out of the question that a top 15 or higher result may be possible if we put in a good performance. I cannot thank Yamaha Racing Team and all my sponsors enough for the opportunity. I’ve been training hard over the off-season and hopefully we can secure a positive result at Phillip Island in both WorldSBK and ASBK, it’s going to be a busy weekend!”

Maxwell’s new 23-year-old teammate Falzon – winner of last year’s ASBK opener on WorldSBK weekend – also looks forward to the experience: “The past several months have been exciting with the announcements that I have been signed as a factory rider for Yamaha Racing Team and that I will be wildcarding at the WorldSBK Australian round at Phillip Island.

“Of course, its always been a dream of mine to compete on the world stage and any experience we can gather from this opportunity will be valuable as we contest the 2018 ASBK season. I’ve very accustomed to the Yamaha YZF-R1 package after racing it for several seasons and the bike we are racing as a WorldSBK wildcard will be very similar to what we’ll be riding in ASBK.”

As for Herfoss, he is all but confirmed to be remaining with Honda in the ASBK for 2018 despite an announcement yet to come from the manufacturer outlining its plans since to closure of former factory organisation, Team Honda Racing. It’s understood the 30-year-old 2016 champion will form a single-rider team under the ownership of ex-racer Deon Coote, who fielded Josh Brookes as a wildcard last year.

“Riding in the WorldSBK championship is without a doubt what I have been striving for and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead,” Herfoss said. “Everyone within the team is really excited about the possibilities ahead and hopefully we can be somewhere in the mix for a positive result.

“The WorldSBK field is full of world class riders, but it will be a great opportunity to show what we are capable of. Of course, it was difficult to swallow, just missing out on the Australian Superbike title in 2017, but we are really confident that we can challenge this year once again and deliver a championship for Honda.”

Joining the trio of Superbike starters will be rising talent Tom Toparis, the Cube Racing rider due to compete in the Supersport World Championship (WorldSSP) opener aboard his ZX-6R. It will mark the third major international event for the 17-year-old from Goulburn after contesting the Moto3 World Championship rounds in Japan and Australia last season.

With the opening round of the ASBK to be hosted alongside the WorldSBK series at Phillip Island that weekend, all four domestic regulars are due for double-duty in what will be a stacked schedule to commence the new year.

Action kicks off Friday 23 February, with the season’s unveil debuting new rider line-ups and liveries in their first international practice sessions for the year. Saturday, 24 February, and Sunday, 25 February, are packed with qualifying and racing, WorldSBK races on both days.

Three-day general admission passes with free paddock access are priced at $120 and available at For a step up, purchase a Bar SBK pass at $260 and gain access to three undercover facilities or go for a VIP option in the fully-catered suites above pit-lane.

For further information on the 2018 Motul Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island, presented by Yamaha Finance, go to or call the Superbike Hotline 1300 728 007. All tickets are available at Ticketek.