Have you ever wondered what it takes to be an ASBK champ and at the top of your riding game? Mike Jones details what helps him to succeed, his early beginnings, 2020 ambitions and much more... Images: Mike Jones Racing, TDJ Media, TBGSport.
Motul-backed Australian Superbike Championship rider “Mad Mike” Jones has been riding bikes since the age of three. Twenty-three years later, he’s all set to defend his ASBK title on board the DemoSport Ducati V4R.
Mike, you were 2015 and 2019 ASBK champion. Does that give you a buzz?
Mike – It’s a very exciting feeling. We put so much hard work into it, both myself and the team, so it’s fantastic to win this award and get the recognition for a goal we set out to achieve at the beginning of the season.
How’s 2020 shaping up?
Mike – We’ve moved to the new Ducati V4R (last year I was on a twin cylinder bike). So far, the year’s started a little bit more conservative than we’d have liked. I’m still adapting to the bike and working through the process of finding the correct settings that work well for me. We’ve completed our first round at Phillip Island and we’ve certainly got room to improve. We’re working hard to achieve that for a next round.
What does it take to become race fit?
Mike – Being a top-level Australian superbike rider, I’m classed as an athlete. So human performance is a key part of success. I work heavily on my fitness, nutrition and mental state to try and best prepare myself for racing. Obviously the most important thing is my skill and ability on the bike but it’s also helpful to work on my fitness. I like to road cycle and mountain bike and mix that up with running and gym work. Another key aspect is clean eating. Trying to stay away from refined foods and eating whole foods. When your body is performing at its peak you feel good on the motorbike and the results come. So, it’s definitely worthwhile.
How important is ergonomics and body positioning on the bike?
Mike – We don’t modify a great deal on the bike, but there are some things we do in terms of positioning and ergonomics. We put on different foot pegs to ensure enough ground clearance and better positioning. I also attach myself well to it with my knees and legs. We run some tank grip that allows me to lock onto the bike very well. We also modify the cover on the seat for a more grippy, textured covering so that the leather race suit sticks to the seat. These things help keep you in place and be looser and more relaxed on the handlebars. If you hang on to the bars too tight it’s detrimental to the way the motorbike handles.
How did you get into bikes?
Mike – I started riding bikes before I could walk. At three I was riding a Peewee50. And I’m 26 now, so I’ve been riding for a long time. When I was 10, I started riding on the bitumen on mini moto and then progressed through the different categories of racing. Starting that young was an influence from my father. He’s always been passionate about motorbikes and wanted to get me riding. It’s something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since I got older.
Having a partner onboard like Motul, what impact does it make?
Mike – They are a great partner to have onboard, especially with their high level of product. The Ducati is a performance bike and we’re trying to extract the most performance we can from it, so having a brand like Motul supporting the team is really important for us to achieve good results and our aim to win the championship. Some teams sponsored by other brands of oil actually use Motul in the engine. That’s how good it is.
What’s next for you, Mike?
Mike – Ultimately, I want to compete in the World Superbike Championship. I’ve done some overseas racing. In 2017, I raced in the European Superstock 1000 Championship and the Spanish Superbike Championship in 2018. Coming back to Australia and winning the ASBK was really good. But I want to reach my full potential and I have the ability to compete on the world stage. But there’s more to racing than being able to ride the motorbike well. All the other pieces of the puzzle have to line up. I want to work on achieving this.