Mike Jones has been named as the second Australian competitor in the MotoGP class at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2018. Jones will take up a ride for the Angel Nieto Ducati team, replacing Alvaro Bautista who is replacing the injured Jorge Lorenzo on the factory Ducati.
Jones has just nabbed fourth place in the Spanish Speed Superstock 1000 last weekend and heard the news that he scored the coveted spot on Sunday just before his final race. Coming off the high from Spain, Jones flew into Melbourne earlier this week, and arrived at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit only yesterday.
The 24-year-old was the 2015 Australian Superbike Champion, and in the following year entered both the World Superbike Championship and also the Australian MotoGP as a wildcard for the Avintia Ducati team. Jones returns to ‘The Island’ with his immemorable experience from 2016, where he nabbed a 15th place finish. Continuing this high, Jones announced in 2017 that he would be joining the Aruba.it Junior Team in the European Superstock 1000cc Championship, where he ended the season confirming his status as overall top rookie. Following this success, Jones scored a place with Team Speed Racing competing in the Spanish Speed Superstock 1000. Jones earnt his first podium earlier this year in the RFME Spanish Speed Championship at Aragon.
In preparing for this weekend and his second wildcard entry, Jones sat down with Motorcycling Australia (MA) and had this to say:
“I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity to work with the Angel Nieto Team! The fact that I get to race in a premiere class in front of my home crowd and be able to work with such a professional team in so exciting!” explained Jones.
“I’ve been fortunate to have a similar opportunity as a wildcard, back in 2016. So this time around I’m coming into the weekend a little bit more prepared and experienced. That being said, there’s no expectations for results because I’m here to ride the bike the best that I can. It helps me keep my cool that I’ve got family, friends, sponsors and supporters all around me this weekend, and the support you receive from the people closest to you is really important! But the support I’ve received from everyone on social media has been really motivating and a massive drive to represent Australia over the weekend!
Named as the second Australian to enter the MotoGP class of the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix next to Jack Miller, Jones explained that although he’s surrounded by international talent, he continues to remain focussed and patient.
“I definitely recognise that these riders around me on the track are some of the best in the world. But I don’t let this affect me, I just go out there and ride as best as I can. They’re a good gauge to see where I’m at and that helps me develop as a rider. In this situation I will purely focus on my riding and everything I have learnt up until now. My plan coming into this weekend is to try to adapt myself to the bike and understand how best it should be ridden,” noted Jones.
You can find the full 2018 track schedule courtesy of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation
Photos courtesy of Andrew Gosling – tbg sport