'Seeing what level he is at is a good base for us who want to go over.'
Australian Supersport Championship leader Olly Simpson welcomes the addition of two-time champion Tom Toparis at Phillip Island, looking to the positives of the international rider’s return at round six.
Following an overall victory last time out at Morgan Park, Simpson holds a 13-point lead ahead of Cameron Dunker (Yamaha), with Ty Lynch (Yamaha) third and a further four points back.
Toparis – who was third in the British Supersport Championship – serves as a great measuring stick, in terms of a level that is competing successfully overseas, but will not be in ASBK title contention due to missing the opening four rounds. Nonetheless, his proven speed and capability will likely play a part in how the championship unfolds.
“Yeah 100 percent, seeing what level he is at is a good base for us who want to go over there,” Simpson said to CycleOnline. “He did quite well in the BSB, got third in the championship and for us to be sort of close and up with him shows how strong our series is.
“Ideally I want to win the race and put him in second place to open up that gap in the points a bit more, give me that bit of breathing room before Tailem Bend. Even if he does win, it does minimise the points if I get second and the rivals get third and fourth. Either way, it’s a bonus I guess.”
Simpson topped the opening practice today in Supersport, with Toparis taking top spot honours in practice two as the pace continues to drop at ‘The Island’.
“I’ve done a couple of laps here during the break, so not too bad, pretty fresh in my mind still,” Simpson recalled. “The two practices, have been alright for me so far, I went P1 in the first one and P2 in the second one. Tom is definitely going to be the man to beat I think, he is looking really good. So yeah, we will keep our heads down and keep finding some stuff.”