As the world’s top superbike and supersport teams converge on Phillip Island today for the final, pre-season test prior to this weekend’s season kick off of the 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship, young Melburnian Alex Phillis is counting his lucky stars.
Phillis, the son of Aussie superbike legend Rob Phillis, was given a call up like no other over the weekend – offered a ride with the Italian Lorini Honda squad for the opening round of the Supersport World Championship, Swan round at the island this coming Sunday.
Just off a plane Saturdaynight from a skiing trip to Japan his mum gave him for his 21st birthday, Phillis arrived at the circuit early Sunday to meet his Lorini team and prepare for today’s test where he’ll be on track just after 9am.
The 21-year-old was not even born when his dad – a larger than life rider for Kawasaki in the ’80s and ’90s — rode in the first world superbike round at Phillip Island in 1990 and came up trumps in race two after a monumental dice with compatriots Peter Goddard and Malcolm Campbell.
A quarter of a century down the track, Alex, who lives in the outer Melbourne eastern suburb of Kilsyth, has been given the chance to compete at a world championship level after a road racing career which has spanned seven years on race tracks across Australia and Europe.
At Phillip Island, Alex will be joined by fellow class debutantes Glenn Scott, Aiden Wagner and Sam Lambert in the world supersport line-up. All will be at the track from today (Monday Feb 16) for the final pre-season two-day test.
The recently turned 21-year-old Phillis will replace Alessandro Nocco in the Team Lorini squad, riding a Honda CBR600RR alongside experienced Italian and three-time 250 GP winner Roberto Rolfo. The Italian team, based in Frosinone – a region not far from Rome – is owned and run by Livio Lorini.
Alex has recently returned home to Australia after a couple of seasons racing in the German IDM Superstock 1000 title.
“This is a brilliant birthday present!”
Said Phillis, who turned 21 on January 27.
“Like all riders, I’ve always wanted to compete at a world championship level, and I want to thank Team Lorini for giving me the chance to compete at Phillip Island. It’s an experienced team and they know how to get the job done, and Raffaele (De Rosa) was very competitive on the Honda in 2014.”
“I’ll start testing the CBR600RR at Phillip Island today. I’ll obviously be playing catch-up with the rest of the pack but I’ll just have to put that in the back of my mind and get down to business.
“At least I know the circuit well, and I’m looking forward to riding at Phillip Island again after a two-year absence.”
Alex’s dad couldn’t be happier with his son’s call-up.
“It’s horn that Alex is going to be riding in the world supersport race, he’s a good kid with an experienced head on his shoulders – unlike me at that age… – and he’ll give it his best shot.
“Racing against the best in the world is a strong test for anyone, but he’ll give it a good shot – I can’t wait to see him get out there.”
Said Rob, who still competes in the historic racing ranks.
After beginning his motorcycle racing career in the motocross ranks, Alex then moved onto junior road racing before finishing fourth in the 2011 Australian 125GP title, which included seven visits to the dais.
In 2013 and 2014 Alex rode a Kawasaki ZX-10R in the German IDM Superstock 1000 title, with a best overall finish of fourth in his first season.
Meanwhile, Scott (Honda) will begin his full-time world supersport campaign at Phillip Island, with Lambert (Triumph) and Wagner (Yamaha) making one-off appearances like Phillis.
The quartet will begin a two-day test alongside their world superbike colleagues at Phillip Island today (Monday, Feb 16), before round one officially kicks off on Friday, February 20.
Tickets For World Superbikes On Sale Now
For tickets and on-circuit camping for next weekend’s 2015 Superbike World Championship opener, Phillip Island Swann round are available on www.worldsbk.com.au or call the SBK toll free hotline on 1 300 728 007.
Buy now and save with an advance ticket$110* for a three-day pass purchased in advance, and $75* for a Sunday only pass. *Offer closes Wednesday Feb 18 at 2pm.
Children 15 and under free for gate entry and camping.
Free Fireworks And Festivities For A 25 Year Wolrd Superbike Celebration
Celebrating 25 years of world superbike racing at the island, Phillip Island circuit is staging FREE fireworks and festivities for everyone this Friday night. Gates open at 7pm Friday (Feb 20), with a host of motorcycling legends to entertain the crowd, stunt bikes and KidsZone action all culminating in FREE fireworks to light up Gardner Straight at 9pm. Friday night ‘s 25 year world superbike celebration at Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit – is free for everyone – ticket holder or not!