Features 1 Dec 2022

Top 10: Performances of the ASBK season

Breaking down a mix of standout rider moments from 2022.

The 2022 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship delivered its share of action, excitement and heartbreak along the way. With this year’s series now in the books, CycleOnline looks back at the Top 10 performances throughout the season.

Image: Foremost Media.

1. Tailem Bend win underlines Jones’ title:
There’s no question that Yamaha Racing Team’s Mike Jones was the deserving 2022 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike champion, underlining that with a commanding victory in race two at The Bend. With everyone eager to stand tall and end the season with a win, Jones ultimately overcame Jack Miller (Thriller Motorsports) and Wayne Maxwell (Boost Mobile Ducati with K-Tech) to take and retain the lead, dropping the hammer in the closing laps to set a blistering pace that ultimately pushed some key rivals into a mistake as he crossed the line to take victory by two seconds. While Jones won on multiple occasions, the final race in South Australia was certainly one of his most commanding as he showed exactly why he is the champion after clinching the title in the opening encounter.

2. Maxwell strikes in Jones’ backyard:
Following a frustrating fall in race three at Hidden Valley, Maxwell needed a strong result at Morgan Park – a local track for Jones – to keep the pressure on in the title race. He did exactly that, completing the weekend with pole and two race wins to bank a crucial, yet perfect 51 points from round five. Race two in particular was a thrilling bout, with Maxwell making a decisive move into the committed turn nine on the last lap, with Jones almost making a race-ending mistake on exit as he tried to retaliate. The number 47 ultimately took victory by half a second, and importantly reduced the deficit to Jones to 29 points entering the final two rounds.

3. Waters instantly impresses with Boost Ducati:
Stepping away from the Next Gen Motorsports team after round four of the season in Darwin, Josh Waters landed a highly sought-after ride with the Boost Mobile Ducati with K-Tech team for final the two rounds of 2022. Immediately impressing on the V4 R, Waters was dominant at the Australian MotoGP support races and carried that form into round six of ASBK at the venue, posting a new qualifying record of 1m31.286s on his way to pole position, later securing the overall at the penultimate stop on this year’s calendar. With teammate Maxwell now retired from the sport, Waters’ performance at ‘The Island’ certainly was an impressive cover letter to help secure him a place in the team next year.

4. Herfoss returns to the podium at Hidden Valley:
After a near career-ending crash at Hidden Valley a year ago, Troy Herfoss stepped back onto the podium at Darwin as he continued to rebuild at the fourth round of ASBK. It was in race two last season in the Top End where Herfoss fell between turns two and three and sustained multiple compound fractures and breaks in the lower half of his body, having to overcome complications in the recovery process. The multi-time Australian champion made notable progress towards the front of the field following round one at Phillip Island, with his progress highlighted by second overall at Hidden Valley in what marked a near fairy-tale return to the venue with a 2-4-3 scorecard. The number 17 would later go on and return to the top step in race one at The Bend, and both his victory at round seven and the result at Hidden Valley are certainly a testament to his grit, try and determination through testing times.

5. V4 R stint of Staring commences with Phillip Island success:
Approaching the season-opening races at Phillip Island, Maxwell was the clear favourite after holding a sizeable advantage ahead of the field through Friday and Saturday at round one. Fortunes changed however in race one, with DesmoSport Ducati’s Bryan Staring capitalising on a mistake from the number 47 to win in his first national outing on the V4 R, later finishing race two in second to secure the round win. While the Western Australian rider ultimately finished the championship a credible third, his 5.498s victory in first race of the season to open his stint with Ducati ranks up there in terms of noteworthy ASBK performances throughout the year.

Image: Foremost Media.

6. Teenage talent Agius adds SBK podium to impressive resume:
The breakout season of Senna Agius continued at The Bend, with the impressive teenager finishing P2 in race two in South Australia to complete his second weekend racing a superbike. Agius, 17, started the year by clean sweeping Supersport at Phillip Island’s opening round of the Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship, before returning to Europe to make his debut in the European Moto2 Championship – finishing second in the series. Penrite Honda Racing mounted, Agius qualified seventh at The Bend before his first race came to a premature end with a technical issue, later delivering a standout performance in the second encounter. Agius shot from the third row of the grid to P2 in the early stages, following Miller in hot pursuit for the first three laps, then was shuffled back to P6 in the mid part of the race. Delivering great pace when it counted, Agius clawed his way towards podium contention and ultimately kept his nose clean on the last lap to cross the line second, just 2.076s from champion Jones and ahead of some well-respected international and domestic talent.

7. Near-rostrum for Pearson in DesmoSport debut:
Superbike rookie of the year Broc Pearson made the most of the lifeline provided by DesmoSport Ducati and secured an impressive P4 overall at Morgan Park in his first ASBK round onboard the V4 R. The Queensland talent missed round four of the championship at Hidden Valley after parting ways with 727 Moto and had limited dry track time to adapt to the Ducati with the two-day unofficial test in July being heavily rain-affected, as was much of free practice in Warwick. From seventh on the grid, Pearson charged his way through to fourth in the opening bout and managed to finish ahead of teammate Staring. In race two, the 2021 Australian Supersport champion clawed his towards the leading quartet of  Maxwell,  Jones,  Herfoss and Staring, ultimately crossing the line in P4 once more, 5.2 seconds from the lead and less than a tenth from the podium – an impressive debut outing on the V4 R.

8. Supersport sweep of Voight in South Australia:
Returning home to compete at The Bend after a season in Europe on a Moto3, Harrison Voight delivered in Supersport to take pole and two commanding race wins. This year, the 16-year-old contested the JuniorGP World Championship with SIC58 Squadra Corse and the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup (RBRC), achieving a podium finish in race one at the Sachsenring. Voight tested a 600 earlier in the year and showed promise in the pre-season, before heading overseas for his 2022 European campaign. With the teenager making the step to Moto2 in the European Championship next year with the Yamaha Philippines Stylobike Racing Team, the timing and opportunity to race The Bend with the Thriller Motorsport squad was valuable seat time in preparation for 2023. At The Bend, Voight qualified on pole by over a second – the second session on Saturday notably wet, not allowing any riders, including the number 29, the chance to improve – and won both races on Sunday by a commanding margin.

9. Lytras bounces back for Morgan Park race two:
2022 was a breakout year for Queensland’s John Lyrtas in Supersport, the 18-year-old taking his first national Supersport pole position, race win, overall and ultimately championship. However, a standout performance from the Yamaha rider was race two at Morgan Park. It was heartbreak for Lytras in race one at the Southern Downs venue, having a technical issue while leading that ruled him out of contention. The number 308 didn’t dwell on his misfortune, however, leading every lap in the second encounter at round five to ultimately win by 6.199s, running consistently in the mid 1m15s bracket to do so. While the race one misfortune ruled Lytras out of overall contention, race two at Morgan Park has to rank highly in his performances throughout the 2022 season.

10. Duel champion Dunker gets the job done at round seven:
At the conclusion of proceedings at The Bend, Cameron Dunker (Yamaha) well and truly established himself as the benchmark in this year’s support categories, winning both the Supersport 300 and Yamaha R3 Cup. He claimed both championships in style, able to set fast laps without a tow in South Australia and ultimately used his sheer pace to end the season with an overall victory in both classes. Regardless of the step he chooses for next season, Dunker will be one to watch.