Spriggs embarks on Ducati ASBK journey

Callum Spriggs
MEDIA RELEASE: Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) rookie Callum Spriggs will make his anticipated premier class debut at Phillip Island with DesmoSport Ducati this weekend, marking round one of the 2017 season.

Spriggs, 22, fills the seat vacated by European-bound Aruba.it Racing Junior Team signing Mike Jones, after finishing fourth in the Australian Supersport Championship last year. He will be mentored by triple Superbike World Champion Troy Bayliss and title-winning team co-owner Ben Henry.

Equipped with the factory-supported DesmoSport Ducati 1299 Panigale S, Spriggs was 12th fastest in opening practice at the 4.445km circuit today and will look to gain vital race mileage on the Superbike at the opening round, alongside round one of the Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK).

“I’m really excited to be here at Phillip Island for the first round and look forward to starting the season,” Spriggs said. “There’s a lot of interest in the Superbike class and the first round is good to get a feel for where you’re at, but I can’t wait to get on-track. I don’t want to rush into it, so the plan is to take it all in, learn as much as we can and see where we end up by the end of the weekend.”

For Bayliss, second year into co-owning the DesmoSport Ducati team, he’s carrying increased expectations as the season progresses. It will also be a special weekend as son Oli commences his full-time road racing career with Cube Racing in the Supersport 300 division.

“With Mike making the change and moving on over to Europe, we needed someone on the bike and Callum has been good on the 600 for a few years now,” Bayliss explained. “He’s always been toward the front of the field, so he deserves this opportunity, even though it is a big step. If you can win Supersport races, still being young, I think he can do really well on the Superbike. We don’t know yet how good he can be, but it’s an opportunity.

“We’re all working closely between myself, Ben and Chris [Jones], who is doing the suspension, and he’s just getting comfortable on the bike. I think we will be stronger as a team this year, with what we learned last season, and for Callum, he’s only going to get stronger. He’s a little bit nervous just yet, but when he has a race under his belt I can see him growing in confidence.”

Henry said it was a natural transition to welcome Spriggs into the DesmoSport Ducati squad: “We really rate Callum as a rider and he is really disciplined in his approach as well. There is a lot to learn and he will do that, but for now it’s a case of settling into the Superbike class and I think he will be a really good addition to the field. As his experience builds, the results will almost certainly come.”

The ASBK series will be contested over seven rounds in 2017, featuring live television on SBS from round two onwards, as well as an extensive livestreaming package. All rounds will feature a delayed telecast on SBS and Fox Sports across the season.

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