ASBK Supersport contender on his rookie campaign four rounds in.
After his overseas endeavours didn’t pan out in 2018, Reid Battye made his way home and plotted his return to racing in the Motul Pirelli Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) for this year. Picking up support as Team Suzuki Ecstar Australia’s Supersport contender, the youthful talent has since made an impressive start in what is his rookie campaign.
Being thrown in the deep end at Phillip Island’s season-opener, having just one test day aboard the Suzuki GSX-R600 under his belt prior to kicking off the 2019 championship, Battye has quickly adapted his riding style to the larger capacity machine, having previously piloted Supersport 300 motorcycles.
With senior teammates Wayne Maxwell and Josh Waters – both multi-time ASBK champions – at his disposable, the New South Welshman has called upon their guidance and experience, with their advice going a long way in his strong showings throughout the opening four rounds.
“It’s great to be back racing in Australia,” Battye explained to CycleOnline.com.au. “Last year, coming back from overseas was pretty tough and I didn’t really know what I was going to do for 2019. To get the opportunity to race the Suzuki GSX-R600 for Team Ecstar Suzuki is pretty awesome. The first half of the season has gone really well so far – it’s my first year on the 600, so I think we’re going pretty good.
“To get on the 600, it’s a completely different animal – I love the bike and I love having more power. It suits my riding style pretty well, but I did have to manage my riding style in a way to suit a bigger bike. I’m learning, and I’m getting there – it’s great to have the likes of Wayne Maxwell and Josh Waters as my teammates.
“It’s great to have Josh and Wayne in my corner – to get advice off them during the race weekend really does help, and there are even little things that they help me out with along the way.”
It was only a matter of rounds before the Suzuki ace hit success, scoring his maiden podium of third overall at Wakefield Park’s second stop, while the result was backed up once again at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia, as he charged to another P3 result at the world-class facility.
Despite being unable to reach the box at Morgan Park, and his results on paper failing to show his true form, the round sits as a highlight for Battye, having been his most competitive of the year. Challenging for victory in both encounters, and leading a number of laps along the way, untimely errors and incidents ultimately saw him wind up eighth overall.
“Obviously at the start of the season at Phillip Island, we weren’t exactly there – it was one of my first times on a 600 there. To then move onto Wakefield Park and land on the podium at the second round was definitely pretty good and exceeded my expectations of what we could do straight away.
“I led the last couple of races at Morgan Park – Tom [Toparis] and I pulled away from the field, so to be mixing it up with Tom, who’s done a couple of years on a 600, in the first half of the season, I think we’re doing pretty good.”
The ASBK fires back into action next week at Winton in Victoria following a two-month break, which has only increased Battye’s eagerness to return to racing. With two podiums behind him and a competitive fight for victory at the previous round, the talented contender is eyeing off a win in the final three stops of the championship.
“I think Winton will suit the Suzuki pretty well – it’s nice and tight, so the GSXR should work pretty well around there. I haven’t ridden at Winton since 2017, so it’s been a couple of years, but I’m really looking forward to getting back there.
“The plan is to always be learning at every single round, but you know, this year, I want to win a race as well. Hopefully we can go out there and get a win.”
Battye currently sits fifth in the championship standings with 149 points to his name.