Desmosport Ducati’s Mike Jones has won the 2019 Australian Superbike Championship after surviving a thrilling battle with outgoing title-holder Troy Herfoss in the finale at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Having crashed last time out at Phillip Island, Jones won both races in Western Sydney and needed to, given Herfoss finished second in each.
Jones qualified only seventh but picked up three spots on the opening lap of Race 1 due to a strong start, as fellow championship contender Wayne Maxwell (Suzuki) took the initial lead.
Maxwell and Daniel Falzon (Yamaha) duelled for top spot before Jones passed the former to move into first position on Lap 5.
Jones went on to win by 0.3s and go half a point clear of Herfoss (Honda), who had got by Maxwell for second, at the top of the standings.
Maxwell staved off Bryan Staring (Kawasaki) for third position by 0.014s, while Cru Halliday (Yamaha) and Josh Waters (Suzuki) formally dropped out of championship contention by finishing fifth and ninth respectively.
Race 2 began in similar circumstances with Maxwell leading and Jones vaulting from seventh to third on Lap 1.
Jones and Herfoss quickly cleared Maxwell and waged an entertaining battle amongst themselves at the head of the field.
With not just the race but also the championship on the line for those two protagonists, the lead had changed three times on the last lap alone when Herfoss fired his final shot at Turn 9.
However, he ran wide and Jones was able to scamper away to a one-second victory.
“The Desmosport Ducati team worked so hard for this – a big, special thank you to the team, all its supporters and all my supporters,” said Jones.
“It was incredible going into these two races – we knew we had to win both races.
“I came into the weekend with the goal of taking pole and winning both races. We didn’t get pole and that hurt a lot – I blame myself for that.
“Going into the two races, I knew there was a lot of pressure coming from behind, but I did the best I could and we got the job done.
“In that last race, when I was out in front I was trying my hardest – I wanted to make a gap and get away; I wasn’t looking after the tyre, I was just going as hard as I could.
“When Troy came past me, I thought I was in a bit of trouble and panicked slightly. But I said to myself ‘I’m not going to lose this championship’ and all my focus was on catching and passing him.”
A gracious Herfoss commented, “You always go to the track to win, but I say to myself ‘if I’ve done my best and left everything out there, I’ve done everything possible’ and I did that today.
“Mike rode a very smart race, he used his package to his advantage and I used mine to my advantage – he was just a bit better than me today.
“I’m so proud of my team for how they’ve worked – they kept their cool under pressure. The last five years, I’ve been in the title fight every year, and hopefully it’s the same next year.”
Halliday, Maxwell, and Jamie Stauffer (Ducati) rounded out the top five in Race 2.
Results: Race 1, Sydney Motorsport Park (Top 10)
|1||46||Mike JONES||Desmosport Ducati||Ducati FE||13||19:48.712|
|2||1||Troy HERFOSS||Penrite Honda Racing||Honda CBR SP||13||19:49.053|
|3||47||Wayne MAXWELL||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki GSXR||13||19:53.687|
|4||67||Bryan STARING||Kawasaki BCperformance||Kawasaki ZX10RR||13||19:53.701|
|5||65||Cru HALLIDAY||Yamaha Racing Team||Yamaha YZF-R1||13||19:54.056|
|6||27||Jamie STAUFFER||McMartin Racing||Ducati V4R||13||20:06.229|
|7||30||Mark CHIODO||Penrite Honda Racing||Honda CBR SP||13||20:07.708|
|8||14||Glenn ALLERTON||NextGen Motorsports||BMW S RR||13||20:11.696|
|9||21||Josh WATERS||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki GSXR||13||20:12.263|
|10||92||Damon REES||Carl Cox M-sport||Honda CBR SP||13||20:13.531|
Results: Race 2, Sydney Motorsport Park (Top 10)
|1||46||Mike JONES||Desmosport Ducati||Ducati FE||13||19:54.385|
|2||1||Troy HERFOSS||Penrite Honda Racing||Honda CBR SP||13||19:55.435|
|3||65||Cru HALLIDAY||Yamaha Racing Team||Yamaha YZF-R1||13||20:02.504|
|4||47||Wayne MAXWELL||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki GSXR||13||20:03.178|
|5||27||Jamie STAUFFER||McMartin Racing||Ducati V4R||13||20:05.615|
|6||30||Mark CHIODO||Penrite Honda Racing||Honda CBR SP||13||20:10.680|
|7||12||Matt WALTERS||Kawasaki Aust.||Kawasaki ZX10RR||13||20:10.885|
|8||14||Glenn ALLERTON||NextGen Motorsports||BMW S RR||13||20:11.531|
|9||21||Josh WATERS||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki GSXR||13||20:12.638|
|10||92||Damon REES||Carl Cox M-sport||Honda CBR SP||13||20:14.705|
Championship points (Top 10)