Aside from a few races as part of a part-time campaign in 2018, Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) was heading into the Yamaha Finance Australia Round as a complete rookie. It was also his first time at the Phillip Island circuit. His previous MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship entries had come in 2018 with a best result of 13th place in Race 1 of the 2018 MOTUL Argentinian Round.
In Race 1, the 24-year-old finished in 15th place after qualifying in 11th, while he finished tenth for the Tissot Superpole Race and seventh in Race 2 – after being competitive in the lead battle, showing his potential in the opening round of the season. Finishing 15th in Race 1 doesn’t tell the full story either; he was running in the top ten in the early stages of the race before falling back. This is something he puts down to pushing too hard too early, showing Scheib is able to quickly understand where to improve.
Talking after his impressive weekend at Phillip Island, Scheib said: “In the first race, I went too fast in the first laps and then I lost the tyre totally, then I go off in a corner. So I was not able to finish a good race but the Superpole Race was much better to be in a group with Rinaldi and Haslam and I make a step for sure. Being in the leading group, I see how well they manage the tyres, that is the key I think to go fast. Because the final laps are so difficult to ride the bike, we had to already make an electronic step to prepare for this part of the race. Now we are going to try to work more for the race and try to be more competitive in Qatar and when we arrive in Europe, try to show my full potential. I think here it was okay, but I have a little bit more to give.”
Scheib’s performances would have raised eyebrows up and down the paddock as the rookie dazzled in the Australian sunshine, able to compete with the leading group in the second race. With Scheib believing he has more to give, his performances as the season goes along are definitely something to keep an eye on.
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