Features 31 Mar 2020

Fast Thoughts: Mike Jones

Checking in with the defending two-time ASBK champion.

After winning a second Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) last year with DesmoSport Ducati, Mike Jones has switched to the Panigale V4 R for 2020 and experienced a mixed showing at Phillip Island’s opening round with DNF-3-4 results for eighth overall. With coronavirus currently suspending competition, Motul supplied this check-in with the Queenslander.

Image: Russell Colvin.

The season so far…

We’ve moved to the new Ducati V4 R and, so far, the year’s started a little bit more conservative than we’d have liked. I’m still adapting to the bike and working through the process of finding the correct settings that work well for me. We’ve completed our first round at Phillip Island and we’ve certainly got room to improve – we’re working hard to achieve that for a next round.

Bike ergonomics…

We don’t modify a great deal on the bike, but there are some things we do in terms of positioning and ergonomics. We put on different footpegs to ensure enough ground clearance and better positioning. I also attach myself well to it with my knees and legs. We run some tank grip that allows me to lock onto the bike very well. We also modify the cover on the seat for a more grippy, textured covering so that the leather race suit sticks to the seat. These things help keep you in place and be looser and more relaxed on the handlebars. If you hang on to the bars too tight it’s detrimental to the way the motorbike handles.

Where it all began…

I started riding bikes before I could walk. At three I was riding a PeeWee 50 and I’m 26 now, so I’ve been riding for a long time. When I was 10, I started riding on the bitumen on mini-moto and then progressed through the different categories of racing. Starting that young was an influence from my father, as he’s always been passionate about motorbikes and wanted to get me riding. It’s something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since I got older.

Image: Russell Colvin.

The future…

Ultimately, I want to compete in the World Superbike Championship. I’ve done some overseas racing, in 2017 I raced in the European Superstock 1000 Championship and the Spanish Superbike Championship in 2018. Coming back to Australia and winning the ASBK was really good, but I want to reach my full potential and I have the ability to compete on the world stage. There’s more to racing than being able to ride the motorbike well – all the other pieces of the puzzle have to line up, so I want to work on achieving this.

Motul support…

They are a great partner to have on-board, especially with their high level of product. The Ducati is a performance bike and we’re trying to extract the most performance we can from it, so having a brand like Motul supporting the team is really important for us to achieve good results and our aim to win the championship. Some teams sponsored by other brands of oil actually use Motul in the engine, that’s how good it is.