It’s set to be a world superbike island scorcher, when the globe’s leading production bike riders launch the 2016 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship this coming weekend, February 26-28, at Australia’s motorcycle mecca, the thrilling Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.
The season’s stellar supers’ line-up debuts for 2016 at the island’s Yamaha Finance round led by world champion Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and pre-season pacesetter Tom Sykes, Ducati’s Chaz Davies and Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli, all race-ready to deliver another island scorcher.
Australia is well represented with the Super-Josh’s joining the world superbike fray, Taree’s Josh Hook with Grillini Kawasaki and Sydney’s Josh Brookes moving on from his British Superbike title winning year in 2015 to launch a full scale effort in world supers with Milwaukee BMW this season.
Racing as an Aussie wild card in world superbike aboard a Ducati will be Australian superbike champion, Brisbane’s Mike Jones, heading the new DesmoSport Ducati team, the brainchild of three-time world superbike champ, veteran Troy Bayliss.
Added to the mix is a tonne of international talent moving to world supers with former MotoGP champ, Nicky Hayden joining the production bike chase on a Honda, BMW’s new recruit, Bavarian whiz-kid, Markus Reiterberger and MotoGP riders from 2015: Czech rider Karel Abraham on the BMW and and San Marino resident Alex de Angelis on the Aprilia.
In the supporting world supersport class, Turkey’s Kenan Sofuoglu heads the field, with seven Australians on the grid including the Sunshine Coast’s Aiden Wagner (MV Agusta), Central Coast’s Glenn Scott (Honda) and the youngest rider ever to contest the world supersport championship, 16 year old Lachlan Epis (Kawasaki) from Sydney.
A total of ten Australians will race in world superbike and world supersport, the biggest local contingent at the island in years.
World renown as speed-heaven, Victoria’s Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, boasts the DNA for producing the fastest, closest road racing on the planet and world superbikes always delivers. The island track holds the record for the closest finishes in world superbike history and the fastest average speed of any WorldSBK circuit on the calendar.
RACE WEEKEND SCHEDULE AND TICKETING
World superbike weekend (Friday to Sunday) features three days of back to back racing and qualifying from the two-wheel kings of world superbike and world supersport; plus four national classes with packed grids of Australian superbike, supersport, Moto3 and historic competitors.
In a format change for 2016, world superbikes will race over two days, with the first of their two 22-lap races on Saturday at 3pm and the second battle on Sunday at 3pm. World supersport will still race Sunday at 1.30pm in a 21 lap race.
Pre-purchase tickets at www.ticketek.com.au before Wednesday February 24 at 4pm for the best deal. Pre purchase price for the 2016 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship, Yamaha Finance round, Phillip Island are $115* for a three-day pass, $80* for a Sunday only pass, while kids 15 and under are free**. Gate prices are a little more.
* Advance ticket prices only, delivery and processing fees may apply.
**Children must be accompanied by a paying adult
PHILLIP ISLAND – FASTEST, CLOSEST RACING ON THE PLANET
Phillip Island repeatedly delivers fast and furious action, with the racing mecca boasting two of the three closest finishes in WSBK history. The tightest was in 2010 when Briton Leon Haslam scampered home by just 0.0004 seconds over Italy’s Michel Fabrizio.
Haslam obviously has a knack of getting the job done in tight finishes, because he did it again, this time outlasting Rea, in race one last February. The gap was a mere 0.010 seconds.
The third closest finish in WSBK history was at Phillip Island in 1999, when Australia’s Troy Corser defeated Carl Fogarty by 0.005 seconds.
Not only does Phillip Island regularly produce cliff-hanger finishes, but with speeds reached of over 320 km/h at the end of Gardner Straight, the track holds the record for the fastest average speed on the WSBK calendar – a mark held by Spaniard Carlos Checa with a sizzling average speed of 177.725 km/h on the Australia’s 4.445 km island circuit.