Features 11 Aug 2022

Profiled: Taiyo Aksu

R3 charger on breakout 2022 season and first ASBK victory.

Yamaha-mounted Taiyo Aksu has been a standout performer in the Supersport 300 and R3 Cup categories within the 2022 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), overcoming setbacks to achieve podium finishes at each round. Most recently, he secured a commanding Supersport 300 overall victory at Morgan Park and features in our latest Profiled piece.

Last year was Aksu’s first full season in ASBK and at the final round of the series in Tailem Bend he began to demonstrate front-running potential. Fast-forward to round one of the 2022 series at Phillip Island, in February, and the number 91 landed on the overall Supersport 300 rostrum for the first time with P3 for the weekend. He was also second overall in the R3 Cup.

“The first round at Phillip Island was a big confidence boost, we had that breakthrough,” Aksu explained. “I qualified P10 in Supersport 300, but I knew what I had to do to get on the podium, and I was really happy I was able to get that done. After that, I just had to put all of the pieces together to be able to get a win.”

Aksu again showed great pace and racecraft at round two in Queensland Raceway, recovering from the back of the grid in the first Supersport 300 race to impressively lead and ultimately cross the line in third.

Image: Foremost Media.

“That was a real emotional weekend, the emotions were just up and down,” he added. “I was happy, then I was sad after the penalty [in qualifying], but I was able to rebound and podium – I was in tears on the in lap.

“I was going down the back straight on the in lap and everybody was patting me on the back, I was crying. I remember coming into the pitlane, going to parc ferme and I saw mum and dad and Chris [Jones], they were all clapping, dad was crying. Emotions were just through the roof.”

Unfortunately, the Queensland teenager tasted the highs and lows of motorsport that weekend and crashed on Sunday in a racing incident that resulted in soft-tissue damage in his arm and valuable points lost in each category.

Not at 100 percent fitness for round three, Aksu again was able to land to finish inside the top three for Supersport 300 in Goulburn, millimetres away from a win when he finished just .009s behind victor Cameron Dunker in the second bout.

“Wakefield was a really odd weekend. Going into it I was really nervous, I didn’t know how my arm was – I knew it wasn’t 100 percent, like it would still hurt when I pulled the clutch in. I was confident it would get me through the weekend, but I wasn’t really expecting to do as well as I did there.

“I kind of proved to myself what I could do, because the first two rounds we were at, they were really high-speed circuits where it’s not very technical, it’s not very… they are still hard tracks but they don’t show much rider fitness, at least in Supersport 300 and the R3 Cup. A track like Wakefield is non-stop cornering, it really separates the men from the boys, so I was really happy I could do that well there.”

Image: Foremost Media.

It all clicked for the R3 rider at Morgan Park, setting a blistering 1m23.327s lap in qualifying to secure a maiden Supersport 300 pole position by half a second. He then went on to win multiple races across both classes at the Southern Downs circuit.

“Morgan Park everything just… I’m still buzzing about it. That was one of my favourite weekends, everything just clicked, everything was working for me.

“With such a long mid-season break, I got the chance to do a lot of training and do a lot of work with XXX Rated Race Suspension to fine-tune the handling. After that, everything was working for me, I went out in qualifying and went pole by half a second, which was another big confidence boost. Then winning the first two races, after that I knew I could do it and just tried to keep repeating it throughout the weekend.

“The fact a lot of people I knew were there, a lot of people I knew from local rounds, it made it really special, and really surreal.”

Continuing to recover points in each championship, Aksu sits third in the Supersport 300 standings and fifth in the R3 Cup with two rounds remaining.