Features 24 Aug 2022

Q&A: How ASBK is unfolding

Dissecting the 2022 season after five rounds of the championship.

The 2022 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike season has delivered its share of excitement and plot developments, with things heating up as the series enters the final races. In this edition of Q&A, CycleOnline answers some of the key questions five rounds into this year’s championship.

Image: Foremost Media.

Q: Who is in the frame for the Superbike title?

A: Two riders, Yamaha Racing Team’s Mike Jones and Wayne Maxwell (Boost Mobile Racing with K-tech). Thanks to his raw speed and consistency, Jones left round four at Hidden Valley with a comfortable 40-point buffer ahead of the number 47, putting Maxwell in a make-or-break situation come Morgan Park. The three-time Australian Superbike responded to the pressure in the best possible way, taking pole and two race wins in what some would call Jones’ backyard, to reduce the deficit to 29. With five races remaining – three at Phillip Island and two at The Bend, the 53-point gap to third-placed Bryan Staring (DesmoSport Ducati) faces to the top likely makes the championship of reach of the West Australian, especially considering Jones and Maxwell have won all but one of the races contested to date this season.

Q: Will we see Broc Pearson back on the Desmosport Ducati V4 R?

A: Broc Pearson delivered a breakout weekend at Morgan Park in the Mi-Bike ASBK premier class, scoring his best results of the season on debut with Desmosport Ducati to land fourth overall, tied with third. In what was a lifeline provided by the team owned by Troy Bayliss and Ben Henry, an initial test turned into an opportunity to compete on a V4 R at round five, which begs the question of whether that will now turn into something more. While nothing has been officially announced, it would not be surprising to see last year’s Australian Supersport champion continue throughout the season with the outfit, especially considering what he was able to achieve with only a handful of laps on the bike.

Q: Why did Broc Parkes not race at Morgan Park with 727 Moto?

A: Ahead of his expected return with the 727 Moto team, former international Broc Parkes had the goal of achieving a top 10 finish at Morgan Park then in the last two rounds being more competitive and fighting inside the top five. However, Parkes was struck with coronavirus ahead of Morgan Park, preventing him from attending. He also had spent very little time on the bike in the last 12 months and had limited dry track time in the build-up to Morgan Park. He confirmed his plan is still to compete in the final rounds with both himself and the team working on a testing schedule ahead of Phillip Island.

Image: Foremost Media.

Q: Who is the favourite for the Supersport championship?

A: Looking through the lens of most race wins, John Lytras, however, Ty Lynch has been more consistent throughout the 2022 season. In fairness to Lytras, his inconsistency has been caused by technical issues, which plagued him during race two at Phillip Island and more recently in the opening encounter at Morgan Park – while leading. Lynch has taken a progressive approach to the 2022 season, making steps forward throughout the year and claimed a career-first superport victory in race one at the Southern Downs circuit. Entering the final two rounds of the series, Lytras holds a six-point advantage ahead of the number 85, with four race wins to Lynch’s one. The next round at Phillip Island will be pivotal in determining the swing of momentum for the championship, with both riders relatively evenly matched, lap-time wise, when the series visited the venue at the start of the year for its opener. Despite Lynch’s progressing form, the fact Lytras has been able to maintain that slight step ahead throughout the season makes him the favourite. It can’t be discounted that the ASBK finals are held at The Bend, South Australia – a track Lynch has had the opportunity to test at throughout the season, and he will sure to capitalise on the slightest mistake from the number 308.

Q. What has happened to Josh Waters?

A: Multiple Australian champion Josh Waters was given an opportunity to continue racing for 2022 by the Maxima BMW team after his campaign last year was brought to a premature end when  Kawasaki BCperformance confirmed it would not compete at The Bend. He came out of the gates strong at Phillip Island to finish fourth overall on debut with the M 1000 RR, and then landed on the overall rostrum at Queensland Raceway with P3. However, he has been unable to match that form since and there was evident tension between himself and the team at Hidden Valley. When announcing his absence from Morgan Park, he provided no direct reasoning and has been unable to be contacted for comment. It is unclear if he will return with the outfit for the remaining rounds.

Q: Have there been any recent standout performances?

A: Outside of the recent race winners and Pearson mentioned above, Lachlan Epis delivered a strong showing in the first race at Morgan Park. The BMW Alliance Racing rider launched to the holeshot from P4 on the grid before he ran off the track at turn 10 on the first lap following a hard, but clean pass from Maxwell. Rejoining in P13, he showed solid pace to work his way back up to seventh by the end of the outing. In the first Supersport bout in Warwick, Jake Farnsworth scored a breakthrough podium finish in third after running P2 for several laps.