News 3 Feb 2023

Title-winner Jones shares thoughts on new SMSP surface

Progressive approach for YRT rider debuting Yamaha 2023 R1M.

Image: Russell Colvin.

The resurfacing of sections on the Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP) circuit was completed shortly before the Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) pre-season test, with reigning champion Mike Jones sharing his thoughts on the new asphalt.

Between turns five and six, plus nine to 12 is where the recent resurface took place, with the ASBK shakedown marking the first official outing of motorcycles on the freshly-laid bitumen.

At the recent test, Josh Waters (McMartin Racing Ducati) was able to post a new all-time ASBK best lap of 1m29.570s, and Harrison Voight (Yamaha) notched a blistering 1m32.138s in Supersport, indicative that the new surface changes are positive in terms of grip.

Last year’s title-winner Jones (Yamaha Racing Team) completed the two-day test third quickest with a 1m29.997s and shared his outlook on the changes to the surface.

“They resurfaced at turn five and all the way from the exit of turn nine until the last corner,  a few big sections of bitumen,” Jones explained to “I think that the surface felt quite good, the new asphalt felt like it had quite a lot of grip in it. Especially on-line, where the rubber had been laid down on-line like it was quite grippy, once you got offline a little bit then it was a little bit slippery.”

For Jones, the pre-season test marked his first outing on the 2023 Yamaha R1M, and his first time to Sydney Motorsport Park joined by the Yamaha Racing Team.

“A lot of the bike is the same bike from last year, it is a new model basically, there’s no major updates or anything like that,” Jones added. “More than anything I suppose, it was my first time there at Sydney Motorsport Park with the Yamaha Racing Team, so it was more just trying to find a setting for that. That was the main thing we worked through, getting comfortable around that circuit.

“Everywhere else we go to now, I have been to those circuits on the R1M last year, so theoretically we should have a pretty good setting to start with. We just worked through a bunch of different stuff from a chassis point of view and an electronics point of view, to see if we could find something I was comfortable with.

“Obviously, on that second day, I was able to get into the 1m29s and a few tenths off my teammate Cru [Halliday], so I think we are in a pretty good place finishing up the test and yeah, going into the first round with some confidence.”

The 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship commences in three weeks at Phillip Island, on 24-26 February, before returning to SMSP in a historic first race for ASBK under the lights, with round two between 24-25 March at the New South Wales venue.