DESMOSPORT DUCATI SETS SIGHTS ON WAKEFIELD PARK ASBK WEEKEND
DesmoSport Ducati will converge on round two of the 2016 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) at Wakefield Park in New South Wales this weekend, marking the new-look factory team's second appearance with defending champion Mike Jones on board.
After completing double duties at Phillip Island's opening round in February, where he contested the Superbike World Championship event as a wildcard alongside the ASBK opener, 22-year-old Jones will benefit from focusing solely on the national championship on 25-27 March at the Goulburn-based venue.
Queensland talent Jones' competitive debut on the Pirelli tyres-equipped Ducati 1299 Panigale S was a positive one at the first ASBK round of six on the calendar, qualifying third on the grid and claiming 2-2-4 results across the three races. That resulted in second overall for the round and in the championship so far.
To signify the immediate potential of the Jones and DesmoSport Ducati combination at Phillip Island across the three spectacular 10-lap ASBK races, he crossed the line within four-tenths of a second of the victory on each occasion.
"I'm really excited and looking forward to round two of the ASBK competing with the DesmoSport Ducati team," Jones commented. "We had a good result at the first round and we're sitting second in the championship. There was a lot going on at Phillip Island with the WorldSBK wildcard, so for me this round could be even better because I can focus 100 percent on the ASBK.
"We had a test a week ago at Wakefield Park and the Ducati feels really good, so I think throughout the race weekend we will be able to get on the pace and be challenging for race wins. The 1299 Panigale S is well-suited to the tight, twisty and technical circuits, so I believe that will give us an advantage - it's very nimble and produces an incredible amount of torque."
With that positive test recently conducted at the tight and technical 2.2 kilometre Wakefield Park circuit earlier this month, the Troy Bayliss/Ben Henry-led DesmoSport Ducati outfit will enter round two with high hopes of further success.
"The Wakefield Park test was a positive one for us and our pace was really good," team co-owner/manager Henry explained. "Mike was really comfortable and he's confident for the weekend, so I'm certain we will have a strong event ahead. The team learnt a lot at Phillip Island during the WorldSBK races and we have made some changes because of that, so it's definitely a step forward.
"Although Phillip Island was our debut, it didn't exactly feel like that because we had been working away for so long prior to it. When I look back at that weekend and what we achieved, rolling out the Ducati for the first time, running two different bikes, two classes and one rider, I'm really proud of the team. Second in the ASBK championship provides a great platform to work from."
Fans will have the opportunity to meet Jones and view the DesmoSport Ducati transporter alongside the team's 1299 Panigale S racer and triple WorldSBK champion Bayliss' two-up experience bike this Thursday, 24 March, at Belmore Park in Goulburn for an ASBK pre-race street activation event from approximately 4:00pm to 6:00pm local time.
Practice for the DesmoSport Ducati team and Jones will commence at Wakefield Park on Friday, 25 March, before Superpole qualifying takes place on Saturday, 26 March. The pair of 16-lap ASBK championship races will be contested on Easter Sunday, 27 March. Visit www.asbk.com.au
for further information on the event.