Features 18 Jan 2018

The Point: Local WorldSBK wildcards

Maxwell, Herfoss and Falzon on lining up at Phillip Island for 2018.

News broke this week that top Australian Superbike Championship contenders Wayne Maxwell, Troy Herfoss and Daniel Falzon will be lining up in Phillip Island’s opening round of the 2018 Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at Phillip Island between 23-25 February, brought to you by Yamaha Financial Services. It’s a fascinating prospect as the trio will be doing double-duty on the first weekend of action this year, but will be sure to go ‘all in’ when it counts across the round. CycleOnline.com.au compiled comments from all three to get their thoughts heading into what could possibly be the greatest challenge of their careers.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha Racing Team):
What a huge way to start the year! Being the combined round of WorldSBK and ASBK will see the team working overtime, but it’s an experience everyone is looking forward to and one where we can gain plenty of positives. The track time will prove invaluable for the myself and Daniel while the team gets to work side-by-side with other Yamaha teams and take in knowledge from their racing developments that we can put into use further down the track. Our bikes will be similar for each class, so adjusting shouldn’t be difficult and I can’t wait to line-up against some of the highest profile world-class riders on my home track.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Troy Herfoss (Honda):
Originally when we talked about doing a two-year deal we also talked about doing a wildcard in the second year. We all got a little bit excited really and have decided to do it this year. At the moment it hasn’t really sunk in as to what will actually be happening, but I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work. I sort of followed Mike Jones’ weekend in 2016 when he attempted to do the double-duties and he managed to get through it pretty well. He said it was tough, but I think it’s doable. The World Superbike format, the way it is having a race on Saturday and Sunday, will make it good. I honestly think it’s going to help me in both classes, as the bikes are going to be quite similar. Obviously I do a lot of work to make sure that I’m in good enough shape, so that’s not an issue at all and we have enough personnel around to make sure my bikes are in tip-top condition. A little bit of luck has to be on my side, but tyres and bikes are the same. I think it’s going to be a good challenge.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Daniel Falzon (Yamaha Racing Team):
I think doing the wildcard is a fantastic opportunity and one that I’m really honoured that Yamaha has offered Wayne and I. I think it will be a very difficult weekend with a lot of riding, however physically I feel more ready than ever and I believe the benefits of riding in WorldSBK will be great for our team if we can translate that back to ASBK, which is our goal. 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’m 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.