Australian Alex Phillis is adding a true international flavour to this weekend's opening round of the New Zealand Superbike Championships, in Christchurch.

The 21-year-old from Albury, in New South Wales, is contesting the Supersport class at Mike Pero Motorsport Park aboard an Italian-built MV Agusta, one of motorcycling most iconic brands.

The three cylinder 675cc machine is entered by Wanaka-based Helicraft Racing, run by long-time enthusiast and former racer Rod Price, and supported by Christchurch company Mahi Capital.

Phillis has already successfully contested two shakedown meetings on the MV F3 and goes into this weekend with confidence.


"We haven't had so many laps testing on the MV at this point but it proved to have awesome potential from the start," he said.

"The bike is to easy to manoeuvre and has such smooth power delivery compared with bikes I've ridden in the past.

"I can't wait to get out and lay down laps in NZSBK."

The MV ride comes after Phillis spent the back-end of the 2015 year racing a Kawasaki ZX10 for an Italian team in the World Superbike Championship (WSBK).

By his own admission, it was a steep learning curve after several seasons racing in Germany.

"It was a very difficult stint for me in WSBK," Phillis said.

"The language barrier was a much harder thing than past years racing in Germany.

"Also I was riding a much more technically advanced machine than in the past, and we were a bit slow in working towards a comfortable setting with the bike.

However, Phillis is also quick to point to the positives of the experience.

"The steps I learned in my short WSBK stint really helped me get a grip of the MV fast.

"We started working in a positive direction straight away.

"It's still early days but I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can do with the F3 and hopefully pull out some top results!"

Team owner Price, a close friend of Phillis' father Robbie, one of Australia's most successful superbike riders, has also assembled a hugely experienced pit crew, which includes international race engineer Dave "Radar" Cullen and Phil Purdue.