The first round of the 2015 Australian Superbike Championship was held in conjunction with the Australian round of the World Superbike Championship. This round was Daniel's debut into the premier Superbike class after competing on 600cc machines for the last 4 years.
Before the weekend had even begun, the JD Racing Team were invited to present our team and race bikes to Caterpillar dealer, William Adams. The presentation went very well with many Capterillar employees and customers attending to meet the team.
Our initial intention for this round was to run Daniel Falzon in the Superbike class, and also Nic Liminton and Mark Chiodo in the Supersport class. Unfortunately, Nic was not allowed to enter due to being one month too young, and Mark fractured his ankle in a testing session the week prior. At this time, fellow South Australian, Hudson Pitt, was seeking a ride due to destroying his race bike in a recent crash, and therefore, the decision was made to bring Hudson into the team for the round.
Arriving at the track, we were able to test out our new pit walling for the first time.
During qualifying, Daniel became part of another riders crash who he was following closely into Turn 1. The rider came together with another rider which resulted in a rogue belly pan flying into the air only to be collected by Daniel's shoulder and windscreen as he came through. Although it left him with quite a bruise, it wouldn't affect his performance.
Daniel qualified in 5th position, which would put him side-by-side on the grid with Factory Honda rider, Josh Hook. The JD Racing team were extremely happy with this position given Daniel's short time on the 1000cc machine.
Race 1 on Saturday caught many riders out who were not expecting the low levels of grip experienced on the hot track surface. Sean Condon crashed on the exit of MG Corner which caused a red flag with another crash at Turn 2. The restart saw Jamie Stauffer have a spectacular high-side over the top of Lukey Heights on the opening lap. The race was red flagged once again and postponed to the following morning. The JD Racing Team wishes the best to Sean, Jamie, and other riders who went down in their recovery.
Daniel is interviewed by Fox Sports multiple times over the weekend. Motorcycling Australia's announcement on the Saturday that all races in the series will be broadcast on TV was a great addition to a great event.
In the restart of Race 1 the following morning, Daniel manages to secure 5th position in his first race ever in the Superbike class.
We had higher hopes for Race 2 in the afternoon as we knew that the Dunlop tyres we were running would show their true performance towards the end of this race which was 4 laps longer than Race 1. Our thoughts were confirmed as Daniel, who sat in 5th place on lap 4, closed a 2 second gap between himself and Linden Magee sitting in 4th place. On lap 7, Daniel managed to pass Linden and sat right on the back of Mike Jones in 3rd place. Unfortunately, his braking into Turn 4 became unstuck and he went down. Daniel managed to rejoin in 12th place and finish in 8th which was the best outcome of the Turn 4 accident.
Daniel's lap time in Race 2 was only 0.155 seconds behind that of the leading Factory Honda machine which shows that he has the pace to compete strongly in the Superbike class.
Troy Corser came by after the racing was over to test the JDR Superbike out for size. In contrast to a MotoGP event, the WSBK riders are always happy to just hang around for a chat.
Daniel sits in 6th place in the Superbike class which is a good result considering the crash in race 2. The JD Racing Team are confident heading forward in the championship. Now to prepare for next round at Morgan Park Raceway in April.
A special shout out to Hudson Pitt who rode with the JDR Team for this round. Hudson finished the round in 10th place securing 20 valuable points in his championship endeavour.