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Latest News By October 27, 2016 February 3rd, 2020

Barton Steps Up At The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix

The buzz of the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2016 lit up Phillip Island  over the weekend, 21 -23 of October as Aussie fans flocked to support their Home Grown Hero’s

Four Australians competed across the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes. The premier MotoGP class featured full time season rider, Queenslander Jack Miller and Mike Jones appearing as a rider replacement for Hector Barbera with the Avintia Ducati Team.

The Moto2 class featured championship regular Remy Gardner of Central Coast NSW, and son of 1987 world champion Wayne Gardner. Whilst in Moto3, Victorian young gun, Matt Barton was flying the Aussie flag with his second successive wildcard ride in the class at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

The opening practice sessions on Friday saw to be difficult as the Phillip Island weather didn’t hold back, turning treacherous leading to Free Practice 2 to be postponed. The Aussie riders’ shone across all classes but none were happier than Barton who finished Friday 30th fastest out of the 35 Moto3 field.

“The Suus Honda team and I are stoked to finish where we finished today. This morning we had to run in our brand new motor that was on built yesterday (Thursday) it’s not ideal not to have any engine development but everything got held up in customs for 2 weeks so we have had no time to really development anything in the motor. But straight out the box it feels good and I have a really good feeling with the bike in the wet. Although now I am eager to see how we stack up to these guys in the dry.”

Said Matt.

Saturday was understandably difficult day as clouds loomed over the seaside circuit all day, intermittent sun attempted to dry the track surface however recurring light showers proved the day to be difficult for all classes.

Free practice 3 didn’t go to plan for Barton, after losing the rear at turn 10 in the patchy conditions. Matt got the bike back to the pits to rejoin the session to have a battery failure causing another slip off at turn 4 on the wet track thus ending his session.

“The track was really difficult because it was drying, it meant you had to push in some parts but be more careful in others. The first crash was just a case of too much lean angle and inconsistent track surface but the bike is not damaged so all is good there. Hopefully for qualifying the weather will be a little more consistent”

Said Matt.

Matt’s wishes for consistent conditions were dashed when coming out of pit lane for the 40 minute session. The dry track was quickly soaked with a heavy down pour witch made the first lap of the session a slow paddle back to the pits to change to a wet weather set up with some riders falling victim to the combination of a wet track and brand new dry tires. Tires were changed only for the sun to dry the track for the final 10 minutes of the session that was short lived after Matt suffered a catastrophic engine failure meaning he would finish the session with 1 dry lap and in 34th position.

“Qualifying was probably one of the most up and down sessions I have ever been in. literally just as we left pit lane the clouds just dropped everything they had onto us. Thankfully we were able to make it back to the pits safely and change to the wets. Then we only got 2 or 3 laps back out there then had to come in because the track was dry again, so I worked the Suus Honda team hard in the first part of that session. The session obviously didn’t end how we wanted it to but we will put our other motor in and try to pick something up in the hopefully dry warm up session tomorrow.”

Said Matt.

Sunday played host to what would be one of the most epic Moto3 races of the season, full of carnage and close passing. The first attempt of the 25 lap race was red flagged after 5 laps after a crash involving 5 riders at turn 10. Meaning Barton would restart the race from position 23 on the grid.

The race re-start saw South-African Brad Binder and Italian Andrea Locotelli pull away out front early leaving the rest of the field to fight for the final place on the podium witch went to Spain’s Aaron Canet. Barton would eventually finish in position 20 a step forward on 2015’s Mechanical DNF.

“I’m really happy to finish in P20. Obviously it would’ve been great to actually be fighting for that position or a higher one but P20 is good and I’m looking forward to improving on that next year! This GP has been another incredible experience for me and the Suus Honda team and has definitely been another opportunity to learn. I gained a lot of confidence on Friday being 30th fastest in the wet even though our bike was so far down on speed. So I know as a rider I’m not that far off where we need to be to compete against these guys. I want to thank the Suus Honda team for their hard work in the lead up to the event and all our sponsors and I look forward to coming back and seeing what we are capable of next year. Hopefully with a KTM.”

Concluded Matt.

Image credit: Pat Pmith
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