Penrite Honda Racing press release:
Penrite Honda Racing’s Troy Herfoss delivered a relentless effort while completing double-duties at Phillip Island this weekend, taking part in both the opening round of the 2019 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) and Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK), while teammate Mark Chiodo also made his debut with the factory outfit.
Reigning champion Herfoss, who is wearing the number one on his CBR1000RR SP Fireblade this year, faced an enduring round to commence his title defence, qualifying eighth before going on to conclude the weekend with a 9-6-7 scorecard for sixth overall in the domestic series.
“It was a very trying weekend, but I feel really good about how it ended,” Herfoss explained. “In race three, Wayne [Maxwell] and I were able to close the gap to the leaders. My body felt good, I didn’t have the outright pace, but I was able to repeat my best lap-time almost every lap to hang onto the back of that bunch.
“It’s a long championship with seven rounds and I feel really good on the bike. There were some things happening there in the last race that make me feel good heading onto the next round, so we will take confidence from that and move onto Wakefield Park – I’ve had a lot of good results there in the past!”
Piloting a vastly different CBR1000RR SP in WorldSBK trim, Herfoss experienced difficulties adapting to the upgraded package, ultimately forced to retire from races one and two, while finishing the all-new Superpole race on Sunday morning in 16th position.
“You always dream of racing WorldSBK, so if the opportunity comes up it’s hard to say no,” the 32-year-old Gold Coast resident added. “In hindsight, we were underprepared and we were riding in a very hard and classy field. I don’t regret trying, I just wish I could’ve represented the Australian Superbike Championship a bit better on the world stage, but thanks to all who made it happen.”
Penrite Honda Racing newcomer Chiodo continued to develop himself in the premier class of ASBK at what is his home circuit on the schedule, making steps towards a comfortable setting with his CBR1000RR SP. His respectable 15-12-12 scorecard granted him 14th overall, right there in the thick of the mid-pack while challenging for the top 10 at times across the round.
“From the test we improved a lot,” said Chiodo. “We improved every session and it’s starting to feel like my bike now. My results weren’t the best, but everyone was going so quick! The second race was the best I had ridden, but I ran off the track, and in the final one I ran off in the first turn, but managed to come through the field. I think at the second round I’ll be in a good position.”
Penrite Honda Racing team manager Shaun Clarke accepted it was difficult event, not only taking on double-duties across both championships, but also fielding a second rider for the first time within the ER Motorsport operation. Despite that, he’s optimistic by the developments made towards the end of the round.
“It was a tough weekend to find our exact setting with Troy,” Clarke commented. “Riding both bikes probably confused things, but I think towards the end of the round we found some direction, which is going to help considerably moving into Wakefield Park. We definitely made big strides in the last two races.
“I think we got ahead of ourselves in WorldSBK this weekend, which we were using a very different bike in. You get given the opportunity to represent Australia on the grid in the world championship as a wildcard, so we wanted to keep pushing and persisting, but it just never really clicked unfortunately.
“Mark is definitely moving forwards and we’re happy with his consistency especially. He stayed on the bike, which is a big plus at this point of his career, and he can only build his confidence from here. He’s getting quite comfortable in the setting now and we’ll be ready for round two as a team, so we look forward it.”
The Penrite Honda Racing team will now head to Wakefield Park in New South Wales on 22-24 March for round two of the ASBK season. Follow Team Honda Racing on Facebook, as well as @teamhondaracing on Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.