Phillip Island: Wayne Gardner preview

Wayne Gardner continues hectic schedule at world superbikes Last weekend Wayne Gardner made his racing debut for Stone Brothers Racing in a Caltex Havoline Ford in the opening round of the V8 Supercar Series on the streets of Adelaide. This ...

Wayne Gardner continues hectic schedule at world superbikes

Last weekend Wayne Gardner made his racing debut for Stone Brothers Racing in a Caltex Havoline Ford in the opening round of the V8 Supercar Series on the streets of Adelaide.

This weekend Gardner will again be at a racetrack, but this time he will have his manager's hat on looking after young Australian rider Broc Parkes in the second round of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island.

Gardner, the 1987 world 500cc motorcycle world champion, and his own former career manager Harris Barnett secured Parkes a last-minute ride in this year's championship with the NCR Ducati team with the help of Parmalat Australia.

The youngster rode in the opening round of the world series in Valencia Spain a fortnight ago and secured a single championship point in race one before a worsening flu ruled him out of race two.

"It all happened pretty quickly, but we managed to secure support from Parmalat Australia and keep Broc on a bike where he belongs," said Gardner. "Broc (Parkes) really impressed some important people last season and that has certainly helped us in getting all our ducks in a row for this year. "I believe he has a huge future ahead of him and if he continues to handle himself the way he did last year I can see him being one of the most recognised and popular riders in World Championship motorcycle racing."

Gardner will drive a handful of V8 Supercar races for SBR this year in between his GT 500 commitments with a works Toyota team in Japan.

His commitments to that series begins at the TI Circuit in Aida on April 13-14 before he returns home to Sydney for another run in his Caltex Havoline Falcon at Eastern Creek on April 27-28.

But before then, Gardner wants to get Parkes through this weekend successfully.

"It is certainly going to be a busy year, but this weekend we only have one thing on our minds," said Gardner. "I will be at Phillip Island to help Broc with his sponsorship commitments and basically be his on-track adviser."

Parkes is looking forward to adding dramatically to his points tally on his favourite circuit of the season this weekend.

"It was not a great way to start the year," said Parkes of his opening race in Spain. "On Thursday before the first round, I started to feel a bit off colour, but didn't really think anything of it. By Friday afternoon it was a different story and I had major flu symptoms. "I did the best I could, but had to settle for qualifying 18th and try to get some rest as soon as possible. "I was so tired and just couldn't keep the lap times together so drifted back to 15th after being 10th at the second corner and had to settle for a single championship point. "The doctors checked me out and ruled me unfit for race two."

Parkes says he has a bit to prove this weekend in front of Gardner and his home crowd.

"I know I can go a lot quicker and am looking forward to proving it on my home track," said Parkes. "With Wayne there to help me with the bike set up and good track knowledge I'm pretty confident of a good result."

Parkes will be based in Bologna in Italy this season, where Stefano Caracchi's Team Ducati NCR is headquartered.

The team has more than thirty years of experience in motorcycle racing and has welcomed Parkes as one of the family.

* Network Ten will televise a package of the Phillip Island round on Sunday night after Sports Tonight. There will also be a live cross to the circuit during the season debut of RPM on Sunday from 1.30pm (Eastern Daylight Saving Time).

-rpm-

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Broc Parkes , Wayne Gardner , Phillip Island