-- Allerton blitzes opening day at
Points leader Glenn Allerton fired the first shots at Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway today with standout laps to top both practice and qualifying at round 4 of the Viking Group Australian Superbike Championships.
The lone Superbike-spec BMW S 1000 R pilot laid down 14 laps in both sessions and in this afternoon’s 20-minute qualifier became the only rider to dip into the 55-second bracket with a 55.869s lap.
Compared to four-wheel counterparts who share the track this weekend for the Trading Post Perth Challenge, Allerton's lap was close to a second quicker than V8 Supercar pacesetter Jamie Whincup managed a 56.676s effort.
The signs are ominous for his championship rivals who have so far had no answer to the 2008 champion’s blistering pace.
“I’m extremely excited to put the Procon Maxima BMW in P1 today, I’ve got my son Judd here watching on and that makes it extra special,” said Allerton. “We didn’t have too much time to make major changes in the sessions but everything we did pushed us further in the right direction and has us feeling confident about tomorrow.”
This weekend Allerton has changed his customary race number to #111 as a tribute to local rider Levi Di Candilo and hopes to be able to dedicate another round victory to him come Sunday.
The Team Honda pairing of Wayne Maxwell and Jamie Stauffer qualified second and third respectively, a solid result considering their disastrous outing in Darwin a fortnight ago.
Last-lap specialist Maxwell rattled off a 56.048s lap in the closing stages of this afternoon’s session and is hoping to make up more ground on Allerton in the QBE Superpole tomorrow.
“Obviously Darwin wasn’t ideal but to the team’s credit they have turned things around very quickly,” said Maxwell.
“We’ve got a number of new components on board and again it’s just a matter of working through these in the time we have available.
“A positive to come from today is that we were able to close the gap to Glenn between practice and qualifying. Now it’s time to get the job done!”
The 2006 round winner at Barbagallo Raceway, Jamie Stauffer too knows the importance of delivering this weekend as the season hits the half-way mark.
His 56.340s lap was also set late in the piece, with both Team Honda Superbikes benefiting from small setup changes over the course of the session.
“We’re really looking to redeem ourselves from a few weeks ago and it’s so far, so good for us,” said Stauffer.
“We’ll try a few things and give Superpole a real crack tomorrow morning while focusing on making the bikes good over the shorter race distance.”
Experienced Team Suzuki rider Robbie Bugden edged out hometown favourite, Cube Racing’s Ben Henry by just 0.004 seconds to qualify fourth.
Positions 2 and 3 in the points, Troy Herfoss and Ben Attard, will need to extract some extra pace tomorrow if they are to keep Allerton in their sights.
Team Suzuki’s Herfoss got his first glimpse of the 2.42km circuit this morning but there was little time for introductions.
He finished 5th in practice but on a slippery track this afternoon fell back to 8th.
Ben Attard fared slightly better, slotting his iStyle The Natural Aprilia Racing machine into sixth place.
Attard has showed the genuine race pace of the RSV4 at the opening three rounds and will be eager to work his way up the field and challenge for his second Superbike podium in as many rounds.
Splitting the pair on today’s timesheets was a familiar face to the ASBK, Daniel Stauffer.
Stauffer piloted Attard’s Aprilia for much of 2010 before concentrating on competing in New Zealand earlier this year.
He returns this weekend, and for the remainder of the season, on the DGS Ducati, and is eager to make his mark on the powerful Italian Superbike.
Team Suzuki’s Brodie Waters was the fastest of today’s Prostock competitors setting a 59.547s lap to head up the fifth row of the grid for the combined-class races.
Linden Magee slotted his BMW S 1000 RR into second place with Mark Gill close behind on his Honda CBR 1000RR.
The 25-rider field will take to the track at 8.15am (WST) tomorrow morning for their warm-up session before the top 8 qualifiers duke it out in the QBE Superpole at 10.15am. Race 1 will follow from 11.55am.
This weekend’s races will be televised on Channel 7 from 2.00pm on Saturday and 1.00pm on Sunday (Check local guides for variations).
Viking Group Australian Superbikes Qualifying
1. Glenn ALLERTON (NSW) / Procon Maxima BMW, BMW S 1000 RR, 55.869
2. Wayne MAXWELL (NSW) / Team Honda Racing, Honda CBR RR, 56.048
3. Jamie STAUFFER (NSW) / Team Honda Racing, Honda CBR RR, 56.340
4. Robert BUGDEN (QLD) / Team Mack Trucks Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R, 56.515
5. Ben HENRY (WA) / Cube Racing / Australian Outdoor Living, Suzuki GSX-R, 56.519
6. Ben ATTARD (QLD) / The i-Style Natural Aprilia Team, Aprilia RSV4, 56.755
7. Daniel STAUFFER (NSW) / DGS Ducati, Ducati 1198, 57.002
8. Troy HERFOSS (NSW) / Team Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R, 57.007
9. Craig COXHELL (VIC) / GAS Honda, Honda CBR RR, 57.057
10. Cole ODENDAAL (QLD) / GAS Honda Racing, Honda CBR RR, 57.687