Aiden Wagner joins Yamaha Racing Team Australia for 2020
Aiden Wagner is now Yamaha Racing Team Australia's newest rider, replacing Daniel Falzon for the blue team's assault on the 2020 Australian Superbike title. The Queenslander will join Cru Halliday in a two-rider team, replacing Daniel Falzon who will join the list of riders looking for a ride next season.
“I’m excited and proud to have come to an arrangement with the Yamaha Racing Team and look forward to working with an experienced and professional race team to take my racing to the next level." said Wagner.
Wagner at 2019's ASBK season launch at Phillip Island, where he dazzled as a privateer. This year he'll step up to the factory team. (Pic: Yamaha Australia)
“Its great that the team is also based here in Queensland near me so I can build a good relationship with everyone and believe this will be the start of a long and successful relationship for both myself and YRT."
Wagner, who rejoined the ASBK championship as a Yamaha privateer at the beginning of 2019 after a testing couple of years in the World Supersport Championship, only competed in three races in 2019, yet still impressed the Yamaha bosses enough to secure the gig. After emerging victorious in two of Round 1's races at Phillip Island, Wagner was ruled out for the rest of the season after a horrific crash for Round 2 at Wakefield Park.
Wagner (28) leads the pack in his only ASBK outing for 2019 at Phillip Island during Round 1 (Pic: ASBK/tbg sport)
“I started the championship strongly in 2019 before I got injured, but I’m now back to full fitness and my body is in good shape, so now my goal is to carry that throughout the season and do my best to secure the Superbike championship for Yamaha and myself in 2020,” he said.
Returning to the YRT fold is 2019 fourth place-getter Cru Halliday. He was a picture of consistency, only one fall at the series' second visit to Phillip Island in Round 6 to blot his copybook. It was a great year that, whilst winless, showed Halliday's growing maturity in his return to the Superbike class.
Yamaha Racing Team's Cru Halliday ultimately fell short in 2019, and is expected to be a prime contender for the championship in 2020. (Pic: Yamaha Australia)
“It’s great to be back with the YRT crew and with the same bike and people that have been a big part of my racing in recent years,” Halliday said. “I have familiarity in everything around me and both the bike and myself has been developed to the point where I think winning the 2020 Superbike championship is a realistic and achievable goal.
“I gained valuable experience in 2019 and maybe the biggest thing is consistency and that every point is valuable. Mike (Jones, Desmosport Ducati) won the championship this year with an average third place finish across the season, so you need to be up the front in every race of every round to be in contention.
“We start racing again in February but I’m motivated and have already started training for a huge season ahead and can’t wait to be back on the grid and racing again."
Making way for Wagner after a difficult 2019, Daniel Falzon showed plenty enough pace to be running at the front, as evidenced by his pole position in last season's final round at Sydney Motorsports Park. But some bad luck, some DNFs, and even a bizarre mid-year incident when a Vietnamese hacker that took over Falzon's social media accounts ensured it's a season to forget for the likeable South Australian.
"YRT have today announced that I am not part of their plans for 2020, I have been aware of this for some weeks now," said Falzon in an Instagram post earlier today.
"I am disappointed in this season’s results. I feel we deserved more than the results reflected. We actually showed very fast pace and continuously achieved career best lap times. Unfortunately we also had multiple struggles through the season and because of many factors I wasn’t able to be as competitive as I know we can be, often resulting in DNF’s when it counted, and championship points suffered.
Daniel Falzon will depart Yamaha Racing Team (Pic: ASBK/tbg sport)
He's now looking for a ride for 2020, although his social media posts have suggested that he may be looking at other options. "I’m not yet sure what 2020 holds," he said. "I’m still passionate about racing and at 25 I feel I’m yet to even reach my true potential! But life is evolving for me and it may be time to consider my long-term plans as well as options on the table."
Official testing for the 2020 Australian Superbike Championship begins January 29-30 at Phillip Island, before returning for Round 1 as part of the World Superbike weekend Feb 27-Mar 1.