Features 27 Feb 2024

Debrief: 2024 ASBK Rd1 Phillip Island

Overall winners Waters and Nahlous recall first round in Victoria.

McMartin Racing’s Josh Waters once again started his 2024 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) off with a bang, dominating the opening round at Phillip Island on his way to the overall win, while Yamaha-mounted Jonathan Nahlous followed suit in the Supersport category with three race wins and a perfect scorecard. CycleOnline caught up with both riders after the races for this Debrief feature.


Image: Foremost Media.

Josh Waters, you got the overall win here at Phillip Island for the first round of the 2024 season. A great way to start the season.

Yeah 100 percent, perfect way to start the season. I know the year is going to be tough, but yeah a great way to start. Now we can just work towards round two at Sydney Motorsport Park.

You won those races in very different fashion, but which race felt the best for you across the weekend?

I felt good in the final race, but race two I was in a battle. I got carved up a bit, so to come back and not give in, that was a good feeling.

Last year you started so strong as well, so is there much you can take from what you learned last year from starting well again here?

100 percent. On my bad days, I just need to make them not as bad. We learned a lot last year, and I think on those tighter tracks we can try and be stronger.

Would you say you’re back to 100 percent health and fitness now?

My wrist still hurts and stuff. But, it’s like two or three months better than when I was here last time. So, I feel like I was able to ride a lot better. I did my PB, then I was I was able to do a few 30’s in that race when the conditions weren’t perfect. So yeah, it was good.

W e spoke about it earlier in the weekend, but just quickly. The new track surface and being able to do those lap times must be a bit of a thrill, but then also you’ve got to manage the tyre life.

It’s great for your ego when you see the dash and you’re like, ‘far out,’ but then yeah, the tyres wear a lot faster and it’s another thing that can play into it. We were very fortunate that it didn’t affect us as much as some of my rivals. That’s why I know at round two I need to bring my best.


Image: Foremost Media.

The start to the season couldn’t have gone much better for you with the overall and a dominant performance. What was that feeling like for you at Phillip Island?

Like you said, it couldn’t have been much better. We went into the weekend expecting and hoping for a top-five, so to take away the win like that, and pole position and three race wins, like that was unbelievable. Obviosuly a really great way to start the year. Hopefully we can keep that momentum going to Eastern Creek.

There we a lot of highlights over the weekend, but was there any one in particular that you sort of look back on and think that was a pretty special moment or achievement?

It’s hard to choose. I guess pole position and the qualifying lap record, then the three race wins with the race lap record and taking over the overall 600 lap record. That was pretty awesome for me and it shows that we’ve been working hard as a team and it’s finally showing.

It seems like, even through the pre-season that you kind of made some steps forward. So where do you think that improvement comes from in 2024?

We’ve been working really hard, we made a change and got a new suspension guy. He’s been helping us out since Morgan Park last year, we’ve been just chipping away and also with Wayne Maxwell. He’s been helping us out since Hartwell, just before this round. Those two both played a massive part in my development.

Now that you’ve got this win, you’ve got the points lead. Sydney is coming up, there’s been a lot of racing there in the off-season with the Summer Night Series. I guess the next race can’t come soon enough for you to keep the momentum going so you can see where you stand at a variety of tracks as the season goes on.

Exactly, whilst my confidence is high, I can’t wait. We’ve got more practice, more training before Eastern Creek, obviosuly not at that track because of the three week rule. But yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how we go at the differnet variety of tracks. But I’m sure we’ll work hard and take everything one step at a time and how it comes at us.