–  ASBK gets underway at Phillip Island
–  By Trevor Hedge

Wayne Maxwell was the first man to dip into 1m33s bracket today at Phillip Island, suggesting his move to Team Suzuki for season 2013 is not going to slow the Phillip Island specialist down. Maxwell set his 1m33.945 halfway through the 30-minute session, a full two-seconds faster at that point than next quickest rider Linden Magee (Dynotech Maxima BMW), the Queenslander stepping up to the Superbike category this year and helping bolster the Superbike field. Quinn_300x250p

Team Honda’s Josh Hook and Jamie Stauffer absent from their domestic duties due to WSBK being a non-points scoring weekend for the premier category, the pair instead taking on the world in World Supersport and Superbike.

Previous Team Honda incumbent, Wayne Maxwell, whittled his way down to a 33.846 before the chequered flag signalled an end to the day’s proceedings.

Magee hustled the BMW around in a 35.034 to finish the opening SBK session in second place, Linden the sole BMW entrant in the ASBK category this weekend due to Glenn Allerton’s wildcard entry in the World Superbike class.

Chas Hern, mounted on a PTR prepared Suzuki GSX-R1000 in Superbike this year, recorded a 35.552, half-a-second ahead of Cube Racing’s Ben Henry (36.03) and Beau Beaton (36.09), that trio all GSX-R mounted this season.

Glenn Scott debuted his Insuremyride Honda Fireblade with sixth place in opening practice, six-tenths ahead of top ProStock runner Matt Walters, the Kawasaki pilot putting in a 36.90 to ease Phil Lovett out of top spot in the category.

Once upon a time ProStock would have been called the supporting act for Superbike but with ProStock numbers more than double that of the Superbike class, p it should perhaps be seen as the other way around in season 2013…?

Or should – as promoter IEG has been consistently pushing for  only to be continually rebuffed and frustrated by the controlling body and other interests – the premier class should have moved to ProStock specification rules across the board…? Continually trying to keep the Superbike category alive on life support, while it parasitically sucks the life out of the series as a whole, seems total madness….?

The Supersport category this year has been incorporated with the Superstock category, but the technical rules now allow for more extensive (expensive) modifications than Superstock has previously allowed, thus the category is now perhaps closer to Supersport, a category that has been struggling for numbers in recent seasons, not just in Australia but around the world, rather than the seemingly more successful and less modified Superstock category machines.

Chris Quinn headed the Supersport field with a 1m39.565, just pipping Aaron Morris for top spot (39.65).

Michael Blair (39.73) and Callum Spriggs (40.25) completed the all-Yamaha top four ahead of Kawasaki’s Michael Lockart (40.47).

Sixth and seventh places also went to Yamaha men, Daniel Falzon (40.53) and Aiden Wagner (40.57).

New Zealand’s Alistair Hoogenboezem was the top Suzuki rider (40.73) ahead of Aaron Gobert (40.89) and Alex Phillis (41.29), both Kawasaki mounted and rounding out the Supersport top ten. Mackay Kawasaki’s Luke Burgess suffered from electrical gremlins in the opening session and will surely move up the order tomorrow.

The booming Historics category saw Beau Beaton sneak the delectable Irving Vincent ahead of the recently all-conquering Shawn Giles on the TBR/D&D Springwood Suzuki Katana. Beaton’s 36.461 narrowly eclipsing the 38.491 of Giles, setting up what could be a fantastic battle to thrill Phillip Island this weekend.

The fact that the Historic machines hold perhaps even more interest for spectators while stationary in the pits, compared to their also very impressive on track exploits, is a big reason for the success of the burgeoning Period 5 and Period 6 Historic categories.

It seems clear that the battle for the win will see Giles and Beaton go head-to-head, but the battle for the final spot on the podium will see the CB 1150 R mounted Michael Dibb (43.67) battle with GSX Suzuki mounted Laurie Fyffe (47.78), Moto Martin Suzuki pilot Scott Webster (49.15), Kawasaki Z runner Albert Tehennepe (50.37) and quickest two-stroke pilot Michael Teniswood (50.69) all try to put their boots on the rostrum.

A full schedule and entry list for the weekend can be downloaded from the link below. Stay tuned to http://www.mcnews.com.aufor all the action from Phillip Island this weekend.