News 28 Mar 2023

‘The mentality shouldn’t really change’ – Jones

Focus on returning to the top step after disappointing Sydney.

Image: Foremost Media.

Despite a disappointing weekend in Sydney for reigning Mi-Bike Australian Superbike (ASBK) champion Mike Jones, the Yamaha Racing Team rider has indicated ‘the mentality shouldn’t really change’ as he looks to rebound in the upcoming rounds.

Jones started his title defence with P2 overall at Phillip Island and delivered solid form in Sydney to line up second on the grid, just 0.049s from teammate Cru Halliday on pole.

The first lap in race one saw Jones drop outside the top five, but from there he was able to steadily make his way forward to third and stretch out a comfortable buffer in the bronze position.

Disaster struck, however, on lap 10 when a mechanical issue forced him out of the race, with his primary race bike ultimately catching and remaining on fire for an extended period. In what was looking like a near-certain third-place finish before the issue, Jones was excluded from the results as the cause of the red flag.

“I think that the mentality shouldn’t really change, the best place to be in is when you are going to a round and challenging for pole and both race wins,” Jones said to “That obviously going to remain the goal for me.

“Looking at it from a championship perspective, we have given up a heap of points but as we have seen from this weekend, luck just changes things dramatically and it swings in roundabouts, you just never know what is going to happen, just got to keep charging and give it one hundred percent every single time you turn up.”

Race two started on slicks in patchy conditions before rain meant it was re-started on a track that was declared wet. Only having one bike after the race one incident, there wasn’t enough time for the settings to be completely changed to suit the conditions and P10 was the best that Jones could salvage.

“Racing under lights was exciting and cool to be a part of, but it’s worse from a rider’s point of view to have to deal with changing track conditions, especially when you are starting on a bike that has slicks in it, set up to go really fast in the dry then you start to get some showers and it slowly starts to become wet,” Jones added. “Then you ride in a period when you’ve got a half dry, half wet track. That’s just really, really tricky.

“Yeah, look for me, once the race was red-flagged and we had that stoppage and we were waiting for the restart, it’s a really, really short turnaround – I think it’s three to four, maybe five minutes.

“Obviously after the incident in the first race, we lost a bike, so I only had the one motorcycle and it was set up for the dry, to be able to change it and turn it into a wet bike in the space of a few minutes was impossible.

“We were very fortunate to be able to get the bike in a position that it was rideable in the wet conditions to be able to salvage some points. We only just made it out there for the start of the race, but like I said, the main thing was to just get some points.”

Following the round two disappointment, Jones is eighth in the championship standings, 62 points from leader Josh Waters (McMartin Racing Ducati). The series now moves to Queensland Raceway for round three on 28-30 April, a venue where Jones dominated last year with pole position and two race wins.