Both Herfoss and Bayliss had put in blinding laps in qualifying on Saturday. A new 1m12.65s outright motorcycle lap record for Herfoss giving him pole position, and the important championship point that comes with that honour. Bayliss was only fractionally behind and while Josh Waters and Wayne Maxwell were not able to match the one-lap pace of the Troy boys, they had looked fast and consistent throughout qualifying which suggested their race pace might be up to scratch. Bryan Staring was in the middle of the second row but had thus far showed the pace of the top four. Daniel Falzon suffered a fall during qualifying and has not looked threatening. Sunday though was a new day…
Numerous crashes in the preceding support class races throughout the morning suggested that the slightly cooler track conditions present today are causing problems for some riders.
Cooler temperatures traditionally favour the Pirelli runners over the Dunlop shod riders, thus BCperformance Kawasaki’s Bryan Staring might have a struggle on his hands.
The opening 16-lap Superbike race of the fifth round of the Yamaha Motor Finance sponsored Australian Superbike Championship got underway in front of a pretty impressive crowd at Queensland’s Morgan Park today just after 1145.
Troy Herfoss got a great start from pole position but Suzuki’s Josh Waters looked to creep before the lights went out… when they finally did go out the front wheel of the GSX-R pawed the sky, but the reigning champion kept it under control and trailed Herfoss into turn one.
Troy Bayliss took second place off Waters at turn one on the next lap while Daniel Falzon and Corey Turner tussled over fourth place ahead of Wayne Maxwell, Mark Chiodo and Bryan Staring. Kyle Buckley went down and out of the race behind that battle.
Then early on lap three the red flag came out after Josh Cavenagh skittled through the gravel trap, his ZX-10R then wedged underneath the air-bags which presented a danger to other riders should they go down at the same position. Cavenagh walked away seemingly uninjured as the field regrouped on the grid and awaited a re-start. One rider thankful for that red flag would be Wayne Maxwell, the YRT man had a terrible start at that first attempt and was out to make amends when things got underway again.
A new race distance of 12-laps was then declared, four less than the originally scheduled length, something that would certainly help those struggling with tyre life, and potentially putting those that did have their tyre longevity dialled in at a relative disadvantage. Swings and roundabouts…
Troy Herfoss again got a good launch to lead the field towards turn one but Josh Waters slipped underneath him at turn two and made the Honda man stand it up and relinquish the position. Waters taking no prisoners here this morning!
Another rider quick to declare his intentions was Wayne Maxwell. The YRT man took Bayliss, Herfoss and then Waters in quick succession to move into the race lead. Maxwell and Bayliss then started to break away late on the opening lap, gapping Herfoss by a full-second by the stripe. So much happened on that opening lap that it was hard to keep up with!
Troy Bayliss took the race lead from Maxwell on lap three but behind them Herfoss had started to reel them in…. Waters coming along for the ride also.
Next time around and with clear air in front of him Bayliss started to stretch away from his pursuers. A 1m13.015 on lap four backed up with a 1m13.025 on the next circuit giving the three-time WSBK Champion a 1.5-second lead.
Troy Herfoss went underneath Maxwell to move up to second place as the YRT man started losing a lot of time. It was clear from here that it was going to a race between Troy and Troy from here on in for the race win, while Maxwell and Waters would have to battle for the final step on the rostrum.
Mid-race TB slowed his pace a little, and Herfoss managed to bridge that gap back down to under a second. Two laps later Herfoss was all over the back of Bayliss, the tyres on the Ducati were toasted. The Honda then simply shadowed the Ducati waiting for the right opportunity to make his move in his own time.
Herfoss made his first lunge entering the left-hander under the bridge but TB fended him off. The pair were about to start encountering lapped traffic, thus suddenly it was more important for Herfoss to try and take that lead.
Next lap around Herfoss did poke it under TB at that same left hander and this time made it stick, Bayliss nosed ahead again briefly at the next turn only for Herfoss to get him back again, Bayliss determined not to give up that position. Two laps to go…
Once in front Herfoss left the Ducati in his wake and went on to celebrate a clear victory with a mono across the line. He had been surprised at the early race pace of the other riders, and doubted they could maintain that sort of pace thus settled his way in and rode smart to try and ensure he had the most rubber left in the final laps.
Wayne Maxwell managed to hold off Waters to claim the final step on the podium five-seconds behind the race winner.
Daniel Falzon was the best of the rest, crossing the line in fifth, 14-seconds behind the winner, and 2.5-seconds ahead of Matt Walters.
Troy Bayliss indicated that he needs to refine his set-up for the second bout as his rear tyre went away too soon and he was really struggling over the last four laps.
For Herfoss that is his sixth win of the season thus far. His amazing consistency sees him now lead the race for the 2018 ASBK Championship by 37.5-points over second placed Wayne Maxwell.
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