News 10 Jan 2023

Champion Jones to race with number one in 2023

YRT rider to commence pre-season this weekend at SMSP.

Image: Foremost Media.

Reigning Mi-Bike Australian Superbike champion Mike Jones has opted to race with the number one in 2023, the Queensland-based rider preparing for his assault on a record fourth ASBK premier class title.

The revelation comes as no real surprise, with Jones using number one following his previous ASBK title success in 2015 and 2019, notably his prior efforts to defend the title taking place onboard Ducati machinery.

“Definitely going to run the number one plate for 2023,” Jones said to CycleOnline. It’s been a long time since Yamaha has been able to run the number one on a superbike, and it’s been a few years since my last championship win.

“I know that there is a different take on it by different people and some people like to stick to their usual racing number, but for me, my idea is that you’ve earned that number one place, there was a lot of hard work and effort to achieve that result and get the number one, so I think it is a reward for all of the effort to be able to run the number one in the coming ASBK championship.”

In 2023 Jones will not only have the chance to compete for a record-breaking ASBK fourth title, but also the opportunity to successfully defend his championship – a feat he has been unable to achieve on previous attempts.

“It’s certainly exciting, going into this 2023 season, having all of those things available is a good motivator,” Jones added. “You always go there to win, but to have those added extra things on top just adds that little bit extra motivation and can put the icing on the cake.

“Definitely the goal for me is to challenge for the championship, it is going to be interesting to see how it all pans out and see how strong our competition is. For sure it will be nice to… I dream that I will be able to win the championship again this year.”

Each time Jones has been crowned ASBK champion to date, it has been on a different manufacturer – 2015 Cube Racing (Kawasaki), 2019 DesmoSport Ducati and 2022 with Yamaha Racing Team (YRT). After an immensely successful first season with YRT in the premier class, Jones naturally enters the upcoming campaign as a favourite.

With the 2023 championship edging closer, the R1 rider commences his pre-season this weekend at the St George Summer Night Series races at Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP) where he will also debut the number one in blue.

“It’s a great chance for me to get back on the Yamaha R1M, and get that first touch with the bike again this year,” he continued. “It’s great to get back on the bike and get that first feeling with the bike this year, just to get your eye back in really.

“Our first round is obviously towards the end of February at Phillip Island, but it is always good to get back in the seat, get comfortable and like I said just to get your eye in.

“It will be great to head down to Eastern Creek, additionally, it’s good for me to get the chance to ride under lights at night time, because I don’t believe I have really raced, not a superbike anyways, under lights.

“There are some other riders that are Sydney-based and are getting some track time in under the lights, so I want to be able to get down there and just get a feel for that environment and what it is like to ride at nighttime.”

The 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship season officially commences at SMSP with the pre-season test on 1-2 February. Round one takes place on 24-26 February at Phillip Island, before the second round is to be held under the lights at the Sydney venue on 24-25 March.