-- ASBK heads to P.I. for WSBK
No less than seven manufacturers will make up the exciting grid for this weekend’s opening round of the Honda Australian Prostock Championship and the QBE Australian Superbike Championship’s highly-anticipated ‘WSBK Cup’.
The picturesque Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit is the setting for what will be a closely-contested competition – it marks the first point-scoring opportunity for the Prostock class and is an important measure of momentum and form for Superbike riders, despite being a non-championship event.
With the factory Honda pairing of Jamie Stauffer and Josh Hook and Next Gen Motorsport BMW’s Glenn Allerton handed WSBK wildcard entries, the door has been left ajar for new Suzuki signing Wayne Maxwell to make his mark.
In the off-season, Maxwell made the move to the vacated seat of Josh Waters who has claimed a coveted ride in British Superbike and World Endurance competition.
Few can deny Maxwell’s dominance at his home circuit, and he is determined to prove a point this weekend despite the event’s non-championship status.
“This weekend’s going to be a great chance to learn more about the bike and see what it’s like in race trim, I’ve had a chance to do some testing but nothing compares to an actual race situation,” said Maxwell.
“For much of the time I’ve been in the ASBK Phil Tainton and Suzuki have been my main Championship rivals and everything just fell into place to make the change and go racing as part of their team.
“I’ve been runner-up quite a few times so this could be the breath of fresh air I need to go one better.
“I’ll be watching the guys who have wildcards in the World Superbikes very closely, their progress will be a good indication of how well they’re adapting to the Pirelli tyre.”
The Superbike category will see a host of familiar faces, including Linden Magee, Glenn Scott and Chas Hern, stepping up from other classes to lay down the challenge.
Prostock competitors will be fighting for both position and points when the lights go out on the weekend’s two 12-lap races.
New BMW signing Ben Nicolson is hopeful of opening his campaign with a healthy pointscore.
“The move from Kawasaki to BMW has been a big one – last year it was just myself and my Dad and now I’m on board with one of the biggest and most professional teams in the paddock,” said Nicolson.
“The bike is coming on strong but the real test will be getting up to speed for a good qualifying position and then putting in two solid races.
“I’ve never really had my best results at Phillip Island so this is a good opportunity to turn things around.”
33 bikes will be on the grid for the combined Superbike/WSBK Cup and Prostock races which will play out in front of a huge international crowd, both trackside and on television.
Action from the QBE Australian Superbike Championships will be broadcast live on SPEED TV as part of the channel’s comprehensive coverage of the event, giving the series extensive reach and exposure to an enthusiastic audience.
-- Talent-packed Supersport field set for Phillip Island opener
The depth of talent within the all-new Motul Australian Supersport Championship will be on show to the world when the 600cc class contests its first races under new rules at Phillip Island this weekend.
The amalgamation of the Superstock and Supersport classes will provide riders with greater competition on an even playing field – the formula for a season of sensational racing.
2012 Superstock Champion Daniel Falzon is eager to make his presence felt in the new class, and hopes continuity in the off-season will serve him well on the Caterpillar EPS Yamaha YZF-R6.
“We’re heading into 2013 all guns blazing, there was obviously a bit of preparation to get the bikes into the required spec but has all gone pretty smoothly and we’re ready for whatever the first round throws at us,” said Falzon.
“I’ve been putting as much work into my personal fitness as I can – I really don’t know how we’ll measure up against what is an extremely fast field so I’ve left nothing to chance.
“Like every rider I love Phillip Island and I love the buzz of being there with the World Superbikes.
“For me it’s a track that has great personal significance – I won my first ASBK race there and my first junior title, so it’s a very positive place.”
A new year brings new possibilities for Racer’s Edge Performance Suzuki GSXR rider Mitch Levy, who is looking forward to opening his account on a high note at the rider-favourite Phillip Island circuit.
“We’ve had a few track days out at Eastern Creek and the bike is working really well, I can’t wait to test it out at the new surface at Phillip Island,” said Levy.
“It’s going to be a big class this year and it’s tough to tell exactly where we’ll be at, this will be a good chance to see how fast we are compared to the other guys.
“Phillip Island is a personal favourite for me, as I’m sure it is with other riders.
“The key is to come away with good consistent points and get our Championship off to a strong start.”
A field of 34 have confirmed their entries for the season opener this weekend, each eager to reap the benefits of racing in conjunction with the World Superbike Championship.
Riders will take to the track for a pair of free practice sessions before qualifying on Friday and contesting a 10-lap race on Saturday and Sunday.
-- Schedule & Entry List (PDF)
- ASBK 2012 -
RND 1 - PHILLIP ISLAND
RND 2 - HIDDEN VALLEY
RND 3 - MAXWELL WINS WA
RND 4 -
MAXWELL SWEEPS P.I.
RND 5 - STAUFFER IN QLD
RND 6 - MAXWELL DOUBLES P.I.
RND 7 - WATERS ASBK CHAMP
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