Penrite Honda Racing press release:
The Penrite Honda Racing team is set for double-duty in this weekend’s opening round of the 2018 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) and Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria between 22-25 February.
Factory team rider Troy Herfoss, 31, will open his mission to regain the ASBK crown that he captured with Honda in 2016, after finishing third in the final standings last year. He and the team will also enter round one of WorldSBK as a wildcard after completing a successful official test at the world-famous 4.445km circuit earlier this week.
Herfoss was 16th on the time-sheets against the world’s best on his locally-developed CBR1000RR SP2, lodging a 1m32.297s lap-time that was just 1.699s outside of reigning world champion Jonathan Rea’s benchmark. Constant improvements throughout the pre-season have him confident he can make an impact in both series this weekend.
“The WorldSBK test was definitely exciting at first and then we experienced the realisation of just how fast they are,” explained Herfoss. “We put our heads down and got to work, so by day two it was trouble-free and I’m pretty happy with the direction we’ve found. We closed the gap to the front a lot over the course of the test and improved the lap-time in the final session, so things are looking positive and we are confident of a good showing.
“In terms of the ASBK, the pre-season has been really good for us as a new team and everything is coming together in time for round one. Every time I go out on the track I have been feeling more comfortable and the team has been working so hard to get us to this point. The Penrite Honda is working really well, I’m feeling good on the bike and am excited to get into the first round this weekend. It will be a lot of racing, but we are ready for it.”
Set for its first official appearance as Honda’s factory superbike team under the ownership of Altona-based ER Motorsports, Penrite Honda Racing team manager Shaun Clarke believes all the pieces are in place for a positive start to the year, both in ASBK and also in the one-off WorldSBK appearance.
“The final preparations are all going to plan,” Clarke commented. “It’s been a major effort getting to this point, forming a brand new team from scratch, however we are confident we can battle for wins in ASBK from the outset this weekend.
“I’m also sure we can be competitive in WorldSBK at the same time, so we are really looking forward to the weekend. We’re coming into this year with an end-goal in mind and it’s still early stages at the moment, but it’s coming together and everything is very, very positive heading into the season. There’s a lot of potential in the package we have for this year.”
ASBK free practice will begin at Phillip Island this afternoon, prior to the weekend’s trio of 12-lap national races, while WorldSBK officially gets underway on Friday and will host a 22-lap race each on Saturday and Sunday.