PRE-EVENT: Riders test their skills in the water ahead of season opener

By February 23, 2023 WorldSBK

PRE-EVENT: Riders test their skills in the water ahead of season opener

WorldSBK By February 23, 2023

Pre-season testing is complete, which can only mean one thing – The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is ready to excite and delight for a massive three-days at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. But before the lights can go out for the season to commence, a number of riders decided to take their skills to the water with the pro’s of Island Surfboards!

After spinning plenty of laps around the prestigious 4.45km circuit for pre-season testing, World Superbike riders Remy Gardner [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK], Garrett Gerloff [Bonovo Action BMW], Eric Granado [MIE Racing Honda Team], and Xavi Vierge [Team HRC] took to the water with World Supersport riders Oli Bayliss [D34G Racing], and Andrea Mantovani [Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team].

Making their way down to the well-known Island Surfboards shop at Smiths Beach, the professional racers were met with the professional surfers! All of the riders were in for a real treat as they were greeted by former world pro-surfer Glyndyn Ringrose [Ringa] and young surfing star, 10-year-old Scarlett Rennie, who were set to be their coaches for the evening.

After swapping their team gear out for wetsuits with each then getting sized up for a board, Ringa and Scarlett took the riders to the sand for their first professional surfing lesson. There was plenty of excitement and nervous laughs as they finally had their chance to surf in the water they often glaze at when heading along Gardner Straight at over 300km/hr.

Catching the first wave of the day and showing his true Australian culture was young Oli Bayliss, followed by Remy Gardner. But, it didn’t take long for young Scarlett Rennie to put the boys in their place with her shortboard, nailing the first big wave of the morning.

Needing a bit more of a helping hand was Xavi Vierge, who eventually found his way to winning our ‘Biggest Wipeout of the Day’ award. There was no questioning if the riders were enjoying their time out there, each coming in with a smile beaming from ear to ear.

Speaking with coach Ringa after the riders completed their surfing lesson, he said the competitiveness of them definitely came out.

“You can see that they were all challenging themselves to at least do what the other bloke what was doing, there was definitely a little bit of competitiveness. They were really quite good. They are sports people who have a lot of physical strength, so they all did extremely well. I was thinking we were just going to start in the white water but initially one paddled out the back and then next minute, they all paddled out there. They picked it up quickly, they were all catching unbroken waves, shooting off, wiping out, it was honestly just great to see.”

No stranger to catching waves in Australia and overseas was Aussie Remy Gardner, who managed himself the ‘Best Wave of the Day’ Award.

“It was a good way to stretch the arms out after two-days of testing, I had some good fun it was good to get out there and have a paddle.”

Gardner is ready for the lights to go out on his maiden World Superbike start, the first Aussie to do so as a full-time rider for seven long years.

“There is no better way to kick off my World Superbike campaign then being at home, so I am looking forward to the weekend. It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be a big learning experience for me, but like I’ve said, I am just going to take it step by step and enjoy the experience.” Gardner said.

Gardner is along the list of Rookies in World Superbikes, a list that has been named possibly one of the strongest ever. Joining the Rookie lineup in 2023 will be MIE Racing Honda Team rider Eric Granado, who said he is looking forward to racing at Phillip Island for the first time since Moto3 in 2014.

“Yeah it’s amazing, the track is just so nice and I am so happy to be here. My last time here was in Moto3 in 2014 so yes I am very excited to be here, get back on track and enjoy with the Australian fans. For me, this track is magic because you have the sea so close to the track and it is just so fast, so that is my favourite thing about this track. There are so many fast corners and it’s so flowing, it is just amazing for so many of us riders to enjoy.”

“This will be a difficult season, I am a Rookie in World Superbikes so for sure I need to learn a lot. With these guys on track in 2023 it will be an amazing season, and the goal is to always improve and learn from them and be the fastest I can possibly be. I hope I am in the top of the list of Rookie riders, but there are many fast riders coming into the Championship this year, so I just want to do my best and see what happens.”

This weekend, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship aren’t the only ones ready to get their season started, with Round 1 of the ASBK – Australian Superbike Championship eager to get underway with a jam-packed schedule throughout the weekend.

Finishing third in the 2022 Australian Supersport season, Apex Yamaha rider Tom Bramich was among the list of riders who joined in on the surfing event; a rider who also calls Phillip Island his second home. Bramich said it was good to get out on the water with the World Superbike boys ahead of a strong season start.

“It was awesome being out there with the World Superbike boys and a few Aussies with Remy and Oli, it was certainly a great way to start the weekend. I am really looking forward to Round 1, I think it will be a really competitive year in Supersport here in Australia, so this weekend we will be looking at getting the season off to a strong start and yeah, I am really looking forward to getting into the races and seeing where we are at. Testing is one thing, but coming into the races it’s completely different. I’m looking forward to it and I can’t wait.”

 

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