Features 18 Jul 2023

Debrief: 2023 ASBK Rd5 Morgan Park

Overall winners Herfoss and Simpson recall fifth round in Queensland.

Penrite Honda Racing’s Troy Herfoss stormed to a third round win in a row with a double victory at the fifth stop of the 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) at Morgan Park, while Olly Simpson (Yamaha) took his first career Supersport overall win. CycleOnline caught up with both riders after the races for this Debrief feature.


Image: Foremost Media.

Troy, two race victories and the championship lead. That must be a pretty good feeling.

It’s a crazy feeling. When you’re chasing after something you don’t really think about it, you just stay head down bum up. After race one, it was a bit of a surprise to take the lead. I was hoping that I could sneak out of here maybe on par or a few points up if everything went well. But, to be 14 points up is really, really good. But we need to be, we got our butt kicked at Phillip Island last year. This year it’s going to be different from my end at Phillip Island, like if Josh [Waters] continues this form it’s going to be hard to bridge that gap. I think we can be solid at Phillip Island, it’s just going to be hard to bridge the gap to Josh. But yeah, this weekend, far out, when I saw the 1m12.0s on my board in qualifying, it wasn’t really something I’d thought about in my mind when I was getting ready for the session. I maybe didn’t show enough respect in my preparation to the fact that [Mike] Jones might go half a second quicker like that was an impressive time. That sort of rattled me a little bit, then I did get the most out of myself, but when I went to bed last night I was definitely losing a bit of sleep over that. But, we fired up today. He had faster lap speed than me in race two But, it’s an interesting track, you can’t go full gas, the body won’t let you. I don’t know what happened there, but I was doing some good lap, then Mike just come flying across and I straight away thought to myself, ‘I’m definitely not going to break him,’ so I just sat up and had a breather the next lap, but he put his head down again, then we slowed up a lot for a few laps. I have to imagine he would’ve been sucking them in, he had to have been. I think he got to the point where he knew I wasn’t going. The difference in race two today, he had me on the ropes, I didn’t make a pass to win the race, he just lost the rear a little on the way into turn nine and I snuck underneath him. By no means do I leave here thinking I’ve got Jonesy covered, far out.

The timesheets don’t lie and you’ve been able to come out on top in those outings. In that final race, you mentioned Jones having that moment into turn nine. It looked like you were setting something for turn 10. Was that something that was on your mind?

All weekend I’d been slower in the last sector. I was thinking to myself that turn 10 was my spot. It was actually the chicane, luckily I picked up on what he was doing there just carrying the throttle through a little further. It looked like he wasn’t as aggressive in the chicane as me but he was just getting a little more rolling speed than I was and a little less spin up the hill. I picked up on that and I felt that I got that last sector cleaned up. But yeah, I felt I could follow him into turn 10. When he went in tight I knew I wanted to drive and drive it in underneath him and take us both wide.

You mention Josh Waters being quite strong earlier in the year at Phillip Island and that’s where we’re going next. What can you do in the build-up to that round to try and bridge the deficit to him at that circuit?

We’ve done the work now. The bike is different. We’ve got a different set-up chassis wise and electronically I’m learning more about it. The team know more of what I like and I’ve got more trust in it, so there’s no doubt if I roll out in the morning at Phillip Island, by the end of tomorrow I’d be going faster. I know I’m going to be better, it’s just a big gap. So, I’m not confident in saying that I’m going to bridge the gap to Josh, I just know I’ll be better at that track. What he did at the start of the year was darn impressive though.


Image: Foremost Media.

Olly, a huge result for you this weekend. You’re the championship leader. Talk us through your day.

Yeah, it was really good. I couldn’t have asked for a better day here. It’s definitely not a track that’s one of my favourites. So, I’m glad to get a few race wins and finally get that monkey off my back and get my first overall.

It must’ve been a long time since you’ve been here to Morgan Park. You didn’t test here earlier in the year, so when was the last time you actually rode at this circuit?

Yeah, it would’ve been back in the 150 days I reckon. So, a good 12-13 years ago. I didn’t do any testing, so it was always going to be difficult for me, so to get the overall win here is a big thing for me.

You started from P7. Talk us through that cause that’s impressive to win from there. You’ve always been a fast starter, did that sort of set you up for those races?

P7 wasn’t the ideal setup. But, I’ve always been good on those first few laps and always been pretty good at my starts. So just the combination of those two things got me to the front early on and I was able to find a rhythm and get through to the front.

You haven’t really been doing any testing prior to the rounds. But, coming into Phillip Island and The Bend, it must feel good to be entering those tracks that you like after getting a round win at a track that’s not necessarily your favourite?

Yeah, 100 percent. You hit the nail on the head there. Phillip Island, we did laps there at the beginning of the year, so we’ve got a bike setup already for that, so I can just do my thing there. Then Tailem Bend, it’s my home track, I’ve done millions of laps around that place. So, definitely glad to be finishing on those two tracks, that’s for sure.