Features 21 Mar 2023

Five Questions: John Lytras

Reigning Supersport champion on racing an R1 and 2023 season.

Reigning Australian Supersport champion John Lytras had his first competitive taste of the Superbike class onboard a Yamaha R1 during round one of the 2023 Queensland Road Race Championship (QRRC) at Queensland Raceway. Gaining valuable experience on the litre-bike against a selection of top riders in the category, the 18-year-old now turns his attention to round two of the Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) at Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP) where he will continue his title Supersport title defence equipped with the R6. In this latest feature, CycleOnline caught up with the Caboolture-based rider to ask Five Questions regarding his time spent on the Superbike and his season so far onboard the 600.

Image: Russell Colvin.

How was your first weekend racing a Superbike at Queensland Raceway compared to competing on the R6?

It was pretty cool to be able to race a Superbike, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Bevan who gave me the bike to ride. It wasn’t my bike or anything, it was just a good guy who gave me a ride on it. It was awesome, he didn’t even want me to pay for crash damage if I broke it, he just said give me back what’s left. It’s pretty nuts when you think about it, he’s just a legend and really I just loved every minute of it. The bike was just a track day-spec bike, it wasn’t near ASBK-spec or anything like that. It had some Ohlins in it, the TTX stuff, just the same Ohlins that my R6 has pretty much. It was a solid bike and it was a lot of fun, power wasn’t really a big thing I noticed on it, they obviously go awesome but it was more just getting the bike to turn around the corner, that was a bit different to get around. I got back on the R6 during that weekend and it just felt like a little 300 – it just turned so easy. They are just a whole other ballgame, I felt like I was riding pretty hard and I only did a 1m10s, to do stuff like [Troy] Herfoss and those guys are doing is going to be a big learning curve. It definitely was a lot of fun.

Do you have any further rides on that Superbike planned? 

I think he might want me to ride a little bit more Queensland stuff on it, not quite sure yet. It’s still in my shed at the moment, he hasn’t come and grabbed it yet. Again, from him, he is just a legend, he drove down from Rockhampton to give it to me to ride just for a weekend, and he didn’t even ride himself. So we will just have to see, I might get some more time to ride it at some Queensland stuff, but at the moment we are just fully focused on this weekend and Sydney Motorsport Park ahead of us and will kind of forget about any Superbike stuff at the moment.

Image: Foremost Media.

Were you happy with the outcome of the first round of ASBK, all things considered with the fractured talus bone? 

My injury is pretty good now, there are no real issues with it. The first race was terrible, we actually worked out what happened… we ended up blowing up a bike in race one. We had a melted piston number one, and then number four was melting, we think that the tune wasn’t quite right for the day and everything, and we just cooked an engine. I was really low on power in race one, I could feel it, and it turned out it was. I think we could have gone a lot better in race one too, if we didn’t have that problem. Race two and three were pretty good for what the conditions were, and we made the most of them. Pretty happy with the weekend all up to be honest.

Do you feel you are in a much stronger position now than after the opening round last year, also having some difficulties there? 

Round one last year we were in 10th. In round one last year we had a fly-by-wire issue so my bike stopped in one race, and we also blew up a bike as well at round one last year. So Phillip Island hasn’t been the kindest to me, but it hasn’t been the worst to me either. It’s been up and down a bit, Phillip Island, it’s definitely not one of my strongest tracks and not one of the tracks that I am the best at. But look, we digest and get through it and it’s just one of those rounds that I just try and do my best at really.

What’s your approach to the second round of the Australian Supersport Championship this weekend at SMSP? 

It’s too early to think too much about the championship, it’s just get as many points and go one race at a time. The end goal is to win the championship again, but to be honest, every race meeting has got its own goal of trying to win as many races as possible and get on the podium as many times as we can throughout the weekend. They are the goals at this point, and it is just full focus on Sydney, nothing ahead, nothing behind us just full focus on Sydney.