With a number of Aussies racing overseas currently, it's next to impossible to stay up to date with how they're going. Ed has you sorted in all two-wheeled disciplines...
With many Australians showcasing their skills abroad in a range of disciplines both on-track and off-road, our new column focuses on how they’re faring battling it out with the best in their chosen classes against the best riders in the world…
Jack Miller – MotoGP
With speculation rife that Jack Miller could be losing his factory Ducati ride at the end of the season, the Australian’s brilliant second at Le Mans went some way towards blunting those rumours. Handling the treacherous track conditions in France superbly and not pushing beyond the limit, Miller’s accomplished display was littered with upside as many of the big guns crashed out.
Bagging his second podium and third top five of the season, there’s no doubting Miller has the speed to run upfront. But with him already crashing out twice and getting a 14th this season, the popular Aussie knows he can’t afford any more unsatisfactory weekends if he’s to remain in the title hunt and keep his ride. Miller’s current teammate Francesco Bagnaia offered the Ducati hierarchy some food for thought on who he prefers as his stablemate, emphatically standing in support of Miller. “He‘s been criticised too much lately, and I’m very happy for him too,” he explained to Sky Sport Italia.
“Keep him and touch nothing now that there is this perfect harmony? I feel very, very good with him; we also work a lot together, and I don‘t think we can do it with other riders.”
Currently 40 points behind Fabio Quartararo in fifth in the standings, how he fares in the next month will be pivotal in not only deciding how his season goes but also where his future lies. Miller ranks highest in the championship among Ducati riders on the new GP22 bike.
Remy Gardner – MotoGP
Unable to get any sort of comfort on the bike and suffering a slew of crashes as a result, Remy Gardner’s finding things tough at present. Lacking in all areas and way off the blistering pace at the front, Gardner wasn’t shy in explaining the difficulties the KTM RC16’s throwing up, which have been exacerbated in the recent European rounds. “I’m not enjoying my life right now,” the MotoGP rookie asserted forcefully.
“Every week I have a new injury, the constant scrapes and burns are getting to me. Whenever I try to push, I end up in the gravel. I hope we get some updates for the bike soon.” Even if things are far from ideal for the reigning Moto2 champ, some encouragement can be extracted from his point scoring finishes at Qatar (15th in his MotoGP debut) and in Portugal (14th).
Joel Kelso – Moto3
Embarking on his first full campaign in Moto3, rookie Joel Kelso has shown some flashes of quality in what’s a highly competitive and combative class. Kicking things off with a solid 15th in Qatar, where he battled all race long for 12th, this offered him a good gauge of the level and pace required.
Really springing into life in Argentina, the teenager strikingly notched P5 in qualifying before crossing the line on race day in a credible 10th. When the series shuttled back to Europe, he marked this switch with his best effort yet by recording an accomplished ninth place at Portugal. His fortunes disappointingly took a turn in Jerez, however, with a nasty crash in morning warm up forcing him to withdraw from the last two rounds. But if all goes to plan, there’s every chance he’ll return to the fray this weekend at Mugello.
Oli Bayliss – World Supersport
Oli Bayliss’ debut effort in the World Supersport class couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start when he broke his right ankle in preseason testing. But since recovering, much reason for optimism has emerged, for he’s been getting better with every session aboard his Barni Racing Ducati.
After going 21-19 at Aragon in round one and 14-11 at Assen, round three at Estoril proved a massive step forward for him, as he went 12-6 to reward himself for all his hard work, determination and persistence. Moreover, how he held his own and battled in the top group in race two will have been a massive boost for him. Gaining vital experience running with the heavy hitters and handling the pace admirably, the fact he finished the race 4.7 seconds off first place underlined his outstanding effort.
In what’s set to be a learning year in the class for the 18-year-old, all the early signs have been extremely positive that he can continue to go from strength to strength as he further adapts to life at this high level.
Jason O’Halloran – British Superbike
Running comfortably inside the top 10 for the first two rounds of the BSB season while he and the team got the Yamaha R1 sorted, all that work paid off handsomely at Donington Park for Jason O’Halloran. Producing an absolute masterclass to go 2-1-1 to accompany his pole position in qualifying, there was no denying the ‘O Show’ was the fastest rider and a deserved winner at round three.
Now sitting second in the championship, the man who won more races than anyone else in 2021 appears destined for another title tilt this time around following his wizardry at the weekend.
Josh Brookes – British Superbike
Making a solid yet unspectacular start to his season, two time BSB champion Josh Brookes is yet to hit his usual lofty heights so far. Going 4-10-8 at Oulton Park at round two and 13-11-18 at a difficult round one, this left the 39-year-old back in 13th in the standings.
Hoping to breathe life into his season, his recent podium finish at the famous Irish street race, the North West 200, and solid 13-6-8 at Donington, might just be the catalyst he needs to return to the upper echelons where he belongs.
David Anthony – AMA Superbike MotoAmerica
Getting off to an encouraging start to his MotoAmerica season at Texas by virtue of an eighth in race one and an 11th in race two, Anthony left the opening round content. Next up was Atlanta and Virginia for the ADR Motorsports man, with a 9-DNF in the former and an 11-11 at the latter displaying his solid consistency.
Mitch Evans – MXGP
After missing the entire 2021 MXGP season with a troublesome wrist injury, it’s been terrific to see Team Honda HRC’s Mitch Evans back at the races.
While progress has been steady as he gets back to full fitness and regains his confidence, there’s been many glimpses that he’ll be back to his best in the near future. Catching the eye with a third in the qualifying race at Trentino, an eighth in Argentina and a ninth in the tricky conditions at Maggiora, this has provided tangible evidence he’s on the right path. Stating he should be back at a level resembling his best 10 rounds in, expect his trajectory to trend upwards as we approach this milestone.
Jed Beaton – MXGP
Although Jed Beaton hit the ground running in his MXGP debut by recording a brilliant sixth overall at Matterley Basin, he’s found life much more difficult thereafter, with a shoulder injury at round two in Mantova scuppering his campaign. Struggling with the pain, the Tasmanian valiantly battled to 13th in Argentina and a pair of 15th places in Portugal and Trentino before deciding to take time off to heal up.
Missing the last three GPs at Kegums, Maggiora and Sardegna, hopefully the F&H Kawasaki pilot’s ready for a return to action in Spain this weekend so he can get his debut crusade in the premier class back on track.
Jett Lawrence – AMA Supercross
What a series it was for young Honda HRC hotshot Jett Lawrence, as he claimed the 250 East Supercross title in dominant fashion to go with his 2021 AMA 250 Motocross championship. Joining elite company in the form of James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael and Ryan Villopoto to hold both indoor and outdoor crowns at 18, this serves as a testament to what a tremendous talent he is.
Clearly the fastest rider in the class, the gifted Queenslander rode with maturity, confidence and style on his way to winning four races to finish a whopping 34 points ahead of RJ Hampshire despite missing the final round.
Hunter Lawrence – AMA Supercross
Falling just short of making it a clean sweep for the Lawrence brothers in the 250s, Hunter was forced to settle for second in the 250 West standings, a measly 10 points behind Christian Craig.
Winning four races and standing on the podium at every round bar one when he suffered a DNF, Hunter showcased he has what it takes to duke it out for titles. Considering he now has two runner ups in 250 Supercross and finished third in 250 Motocross last term, the 22-year-old appears destined for glory sooner rather than later. A Lawrence brother claimed a podium at 16 of the 17 races.
Geran Stapleton and Jy Roberts – AMA Supercross
Another couple of Aussies that deserve mention are Geran Stapleton and Jy Roberts, who proved their SX skills, with Stapleton propelling himself into an impressive four main events and the late arriving Roberts making one.
Jay Wilson – Japanese Motocross
Jay Wilson continued his unbeaten start in the 250 IA2 division in Japan by winning round two at the Kanto track. After qualifying fastest, Wilson made it a perfect weekend on race day. Suffering early adversity in both motos due to getting terrible starts, he quickly got his head down and flexed his muscles to come out victorious again by going 1-1.
Extending his winning streak to five races on his Yamaha following his win in the opening round triple challenge format, the 27-year-old’s certainly going to be tough to stop in his quest for the title.
Wil Ruprecht – EnduroGP
Sitting pretty atop the FIM EnduroGP world championship at the completion of two rounds, Aussie Wil Ruprecht’s enjoyed a sensational start to his season. Backing up his fantastic 3-4 from the opening round with a sensational 1-1 in Portugal, Ruprecht’s handled the rugged terrain with aplomb so far.
Max Fricke – Speedway GP
Max Fricke roared into life at the FIM Speedway GP of Poland by producing a magnificent display in front of a packed house in Warsaw to claim a special victory.
Showing the die-hard Polish supporters why he’s such a formidable racer, the Victorian dynamo incredibly achieved the rare feat of winning a GP event despite not competing in Poland’s top flight (as he followed Zielona Gora down when they were relegated). Having scored just two points in round one, Fricke’s remarkable triumph now propels him right back into contention with the frontrunners in the championship hunt.
Editor’s Note: If you are reading this article on any website other than BikeReview.com.au, please report it to BikeReview via our contact page, as it has been stolen or re-published without authority.