Goulburn’s Tom Toparis had a somewhat difficult two days of testing at Morgan Park Raceway over the last two days, ahead of next weekend’s fifth round of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK).
The Trinity Catholic College student, who currently sits in second place in the Australian Supersport Championship, 25-points behind Yamaha Racing Team’s Cru Halliday, admitted to the Goulburn Post that he knew he would have been in a bit of trouble with the bike setup at the tight and twisty circuit. This is because the previous two rounds of the ASBK series has been to The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia and Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway, which basically have no bumps at all, compared to Morgan Park which is like a motocross circuit on the tar.
“Morgan Park was even rougher than what I expected,” said the 18-year-old, who has five race wins to his name in the Australian Supersport category.
“The Cube Racing team have completely changed my bike to suit the Morgan Park layout. We are sort of fast, but in saying that it’s not 100% up to scratch, just yet,” explained Toparis.
Toparis, who racked up his 25th Supersport race start in the ASBK series in race two at Darwin last time out, managed to get a good lap time out of the bike around the 2.967km circuit, but he was having to work for it, as his bike was not handling the way Toparis wanted it to.
“We are just struggling with the bike at the moment, compared to a lot of the other riders. There are a few positives out of this test, as I’m a lot faster than what I was last year,” said Toparis.
Toparis is not sugar coating anything and understands that it will be a tough ask to beat Halliday next weekend.
“Cru is riding extremely well right now. So it will be difficult to get one up on him. In saying that, the Cube Racing team and I will be giving it our best shot that’s for sure.”
Toparis told the Goulburn Post that he is even praying for some rain at next weekend’s third last round of the championship, as it will even out the playing field and hopefully play into his hands.
“It would be pretty scary if it did rain at Morgan Park, but would hopefully put most of us on an equal platform to fight for a few race wins.”
Overall Toparis left the two day test not the happiest, but he and his Queensland based team are trying their hardest.
“Marty [Dowd] and I are trying really hard and we are making improvements with the bike. However, I’m on the edge and just not smooth on the bike, which is not how I want to ride the bike. Riding the way I am right now just won’t be good for the tyres as well. There is a bit of work to do between now and next weekend,” admitted Toparis, who finished twelfth overall at Morgan Park last year after finishing with a second in race one, but was forced out in race two due to a slipping clutch.
Not only was Toparis battling with bike setup issues, he also had an injury to his left index finger, which was annoying him. Toparis was just riding the best that he could without having to use the clutch as much, but expressed that it was very difficult.
In the three practice sessions at the fifth round, Toparis and the team will be working hard on getting the bike to handle better over the bumps, as the circuit has got a lot rougher since last year.
The real issue is that Morgan Park is not the hardest track on the colander. The penultimate round at Victoria’s Winton Motor Raceway will be even harder as the surface is even worse, as it destroys tyres.
Toparis is trying to re adjust his riding style to get the weight away from the rear tyre, without sacrificing too much rear grip to be able to get long jeopardy out of the rear tyre.
“We’re in a bit of a pickle at the moment, but I think it’s achievable to go well here. As I said, it will take a bit to beat Cru here next weekend, as he is riding really well. We’ll do what we can do and just see what happens,” concluded Toparis.
Round five of the Australian Superbike Championship takes place from 17-19 August. For more information, head to www.asbk.com.au
Australian Supersport Championship – after 4 rounds (Top 10):
- 1st Cru Halliday Yamaha 238
- 2nd Tom Toparis Kawasaki 213
- 3rd Damon Rees Honda 143
- 4th Max Croker Suzuki 141
- 5th Zack Johnson Yamaha 137
- 6th Giuseppe Scarcella Kawasaki 117
- 7th Rhys Belling Yamaha 113
- 8th Dallas Skeer Suzuki 107
- 9th Broc Pearson Yamaha 103
- 10th Scott Nicholson Suzuki 90