Supersport champion reacquaints himself with premier class machine.
Reigning Australian Supersport champion Cru Halliday has commenced his return to the Superbike class with Yamaha Racing Team, sampling the YZF-R1M at Morgan Park this week for the first time in 14 months.
Completing 76 laps, the New South Welshman spent his time at the 2.967-kilometre Queensland venue reacquainting himself with the larger capacity machine, marking his first time out on track since appearing at Phillip Island’s ASBK finale in October 2018.
“It was a bit of a different experience and I haven’t ridden since Phillip Island in October last year,” Halliday explained to CycleOnline.com.au. “I haven’t ridden a superbike for 14 months now as well. It was at Morgan Park, which is a very physical track, and it’s hard to exactly say how I felt – I was excited and nervous at the same time.
“For me, I have an expectation to be quick on a superbike, but at the same time, I haven’t been on one for a long time. The first couple of laps were a bit of a shock – I sort of forgot how fast a superbike is. I was only there for one day, so it took a bit of time get used to it. It was good eye-opener, and I was glad to be on the bike before the first official test in February.”
Halliday revealed he slimmed down for his dominant campaign aboard the 600 last year, with his laps at Morgan Park reaffirming he’ll need to adjust his training regime in order to regain lost muscle, a crucial physical aspect of piloting the premier class motorcycle.
“For the 600 last year, I stripped five kilos and I’m still at that weight at the moment – it’s the lightest I’ve ever been,” he continued. “I did 76 laps yesterday, and that’s fair bit around Morgan Park in one day – I was definitely feeling it. I’m going to introduce more weight training and motocross riding now before round one to build myself up into race form. The superbike is a lot heavier than the 600, and it take a lot more muscle to throw it around.”
“I’m pretty confident I can put it up there this year. I don’t think the 600 knocked me back a peg, I think it opened my eyes up and actually matured me as a rider. I learned to race a lot smarter, and I don’t go into testing now chasing times – I go into a test looking at everything that’s wrong and where I can improve.”
The opening round of the Australian Superbike Championship is scheduled for 21-24 February at Phillip Island in Victoria, running in conjunction with the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) opener.