The 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship season opener was held in Australia at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on February 25th – 27th.
2016 WSBK round 1 Overview.
For BMW Motorrad Motorsport, a new chapter opened this season with a new team, Milwaukee BMW from Great Britain racing the renowned BMW S 1000 RR in the WSBK.
It was Milwaukee BMW’s World Superbike Championship debut at Phillip Island.
The team has previously competed in the British Superbike Championship (BSB), winning the BSB riders’ title with Australian Josh Brookes last season.
Josh Brookes has made several appearances in the Word Supersport Series before, and will now contend his first full season in the series on the RR. His teammate on the other Milwaukee BMW S 1000 RR is the former MotoGP rider Karel Abraham, who also debuts in the WSBK this year. The team constantly progressed over the round one weekend and finished its first ever WSBK round
with two top ten finishes and points for both riders in both races.
Sydney-born Josh Brookes has been racing professionally for over 10 years both domestically and internationally. In 2004, Josh won the World Supersport round at Phillip Island as a wild card and later moved to Europe to pursue his international racing career. Josh is popularly known for racing in the British Superbikes and has also competed in the Isle of Man TT Race and was the fastest-ever new comer with a lap time of 127.726 mph in 2013.
Josh Brookes made an appearance at the BMW Motorrad stand in the AMCN Expo Shed during the weekend at Phillip Island in between his racing and press conferences to sign autographs for fans!
We were lucky enough to have a quick chat to Josh and discuss his transition into a new team, a new bike and new competition!
Q1. How hard was the transition to move overseas to race professionally?
I first moved away ten years ago, it was a big culture change transitioning from Australia to Europe. I was faced with language, food and lifestyle changes, I had to adapt my everyday life and it took a while to settle in. Every year I miss home like crazy but it’s the desire to race and the competition that keeps me going. I always love coming back to Australia especially for the summer. In my down time when I am not racing, I love to Jet ski and cycle.
Q2. You were a top contender for British Superbikes for many years, how did it feel to win the title?
It was a great feeling winning the British Superbike Championship last year, it was a celebration of my hard work and dedication throughout the years. Unlike winning a raffle which takes you by surprise, winning the British Superbikes was not a surprise to me. When you put so many years of effort and work in, when you finally win, you’ve finally achieved what you have set out to do, it’s kind of hard to explain the feeling of it.
Q3. How well has the whole team transitioned to BMW?
The team has gone perfectly. It’s a very small difference to racing in the British Championship to the World Championship. The team and everyone changing from Championship and brand hasn’t been such a big problem but each bike is individual and it takes a little time to work out the best way to set the bike up. Each rider is individual as well so it’s important that the support team get the bike in a way that I feel most comfortable to race it at the highest level.
Q4. What challenges do you face as a new team and brand bike?
The challenges for the team are the logistics and travelling to multiple countries. This round here in Australia, everything is brought over in flight cases where at European rounds they have their own trucks and transportation vehicles where every last bolt, screw and tool that they need is all there. In the Asia Pacific rounds one of the challenges the team faces it that they can only bring the bare essentials.
The team have limited motorcycle parts and tools around and if a crash occurs it makes it harder to repair the bike, where obviously when we are in the British Championship all the parts are in Britain so we don’t have any fly aways and all the stuff they need is there. The logistics is far easier!
Another challenge is adjusting to the changes and working together as a team. I have raced a World Championship before and I know what to expect. I think a lot of the guys in the team have done international racing before too, but just as one collective team this is our first year in. I think everyone has enough experience and that most people have done it at different times before, we just have to adapt to this year and what changes this time around.
Q5. Do you have dreams of racing MotoGP one day?
Yes, I’ve always had a dream of racing MotoGP one day. In fact the dream started when it was 2 strokes and 500 Grand Prix bikes and then that is all long gone now and we are in 4 stroke era and it’s all MotoGP bikes now. It’s strange, sometimes you shouldn’t meet your heroes or maybe you shouldn’t achieve your dreams, because it seems like sometimes MotoGP isn’t all it has cracked up to be. So I just have to enjoy what I am doing at the moment as much as I can .
Q6. Do you have a favourite to win this year’s MotoGP?
I felt a bit sorry for Valentino Rossi last year, so maybe it would be nice to finally reverse the ways and go back to winning again. I think that would be the fairy tale ending that everyone wants to see.
We wish Josh Brookes the best of luck for the rest of the season!