News 25 Mar 2023

'Everything was in slow motion' says Jones after race one fire

Significant damage sustained to the YRT rider's primary race bike.

Image: Supplied.

Reigning Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) number one Mike Jones said it felt like ‘everything was in slow motion’ after his Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R1M caught fire in race one at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Completing the opening lap in sixth position, Jones worked his way to P3 by half-race distance, before disaster stuck with four laps remaining and he pulled his machine to a smoking halt at turn two with a mechanical fault.

Jones’ manufacturer-backed R1M caught fire soon after and the race was red-flagged a lap later, with the Queensland-based rider excluded from the final results for being the cause of the stoppage.

Notably, the YRT bike remained alight for an extended period, resulting in significant damage to Jones’ primary race bike. The fire was eventually attended to by marshals once the three-time champion had returned towards the paddock area, raising questions why it did take so long to extinguish.

“It wasn’t great – I mean for me everything was in slow motion,” Jones told “I realised that the bike was on fire, the marshal had come over, but they were without fire extinguishers and obviously they can see that the bike is on fire.

“I don’t know why they didn’t have fire extinguishers and why it had taken so long. I mean, it had been so long that the race had been red-flagged and I had actually left the bike and got myself back to the pit. I didn’t have a stopwatch there to know the amount of time for sure, but in as much time that there was, there was still nothing done with the bike.

“That is quite disappointing I suppose, because it’s your bike that you need to go racing on and from a team’s point of view, it is a big cost. Whereas if that were to have been dealt with immediately, the damage could have been severely reduced.”

According to ASBK sporting director Simon Maas, each marshal point at the Eastern Creek-based venue is equipped with a fire extinguisher, as are the mobile vehicles dispatched upon race direction, however, the safety of trackside marshals is also prioritised while the race is being stopped.

McMartin Racing Ducati rider Josh Waters was ultimately victorious in the opening race, leading YRT’s Cru Halliday, who was close in tow at the time of the red flag on lap 11. Race two is scheduled to take place tonight, with Jones currently 48 points from championship leader Waters.