Tom Toparis to kick off 2019 with WSS Wildcard at PI
Australia’s Tom Toparis has set some lofty goals for the 2019 season, including kicking off the year with a World Supersport wildcard ride at the Phillip Island WorldSBK round on February 22-24, while also competing the opening ASBK round in the Supersport class.
Last year’s wildcard appearance in the same event and class and 15th place result is being treated as a warm up for the 2019 ‘main event’ as the 18-year-old from Goulburn in NSW sets out to wow the world and bring some some WSS points.
“I didn’t really have a major goal ahead of the 2018 event,” said Toparis, who’s the current Aussie Supersport No.2. “In 2019, armed with my new Yamaha, I am certainly aiming at scoring at least a point, or even points, and I want to get my lap times down into the 1:34 bracket.”
Toparis has switched from Kawasaki to Yamaha machinery in 2019 and as well as the YZF-R6 he’ll be riding in the Aussie title, a bespoke machine is being prepared for his one-off ride in the 18-lap WorldSSP race on February 24.
“I’ll be racing with the Landbridge Transport team, and they are the same outfit that ran Aiden Wagner and Mitch Levy in WorldSSP,” said Toparis, who’s an apprentice builder. “Sam Costanzo is putting together the R6, and I’m confident that with the work we’re putting in with the suspension, engine and data logging, we won’t be at too much of a disadvantage compared to the internationals.
“We’ve also got a great data technician, Adrian Monti, joining us so that’s going to be a great help. That all said, I also want some familiarity with the WorldSSP machine: I don’t want it to feel much different to my local bike, which I am already very comfortable on.”
Toparis will ride his WorldSSP Yamaha at the official two-day test at Phillip Island on February 18-19. There he’ll be joined by the championship top brass such as 2018 Phillip Island winner Lucas Mahias, Jules Cluzel, Randy Krummenacher, Federico Caricasulo and Raffaele de Rosa, as well as new faces such as Hector Barbera and Isaac Vinales.
“I really love the thrill and challenge of world championship competition,” continued Toparis, who also has Moto3 wildcards to his name. “It helps me to become more race-hardened, and Phillip Island is also one of my best circuits – so why not try and take advantage of that.”
Like fellow Goulburn native Troy Herfoss in WorldSBK, Toparis will be the only Aussie competing in WorldSSP – and he’ll also start his 2019 domestic Supersport campaign at Phillip Island as well.
With 13 races across the race weekend including the Australian supports, the schedule launches a new and expanded WorldSBK formula: two 22-lap races at 3:00pm on Saturday and Sunday, and a 10-lap no-holds-barred sprint at midday on Sunday. World Supersport races Sunday in an 18-lap showdown, with Australian Superbike, Supersport and Production 300 completing the bill with races across Saturday and Sunday.
WorldSBK Phillip Island 2019 tickets available now!
A three-day general admission pass with FREE Paddock access for World Superbikes is just $120*, secured in advance, or $230* when you add on-circuit camping to your purchase.
Take the hassle out of organising your camping equipment and hire a pre-pitched tent. Go to www.worldsbk.com.au/tracksidecampground for more information.
If you feel like splashing out, step up to a Bar SBK ticket at $265 (with camping $375) and enjoy undercover facilities at Doohan Corner, Siberia and Lukey Heights.
World Supers is free for kids 15 and under**, and there’s no charge to bring your bike and drive the circuit service roads to your fave viewing post. For all ticket and racing information, visit www.worldsbk.com.au or Ticketek.
*Subject to booking fee; ** When accompanied by a full-paying adult.