In QP1 the YRT #47 put in a 1m20.388, fractionally slower than his Friday best of 1m20.351, but still good enough to take provisional pole ahead of ASBK Championship leader Troy Herfoss. The Honda man setting a best of 1m20.568 on the fifth of his six laps.
The big improver on Saturday morning was BCperformance Kawasaki’s Bryan Staring. The West Australian was sixth quickest on Friday on a best of 1m21.577 but lopped almost a full-second off that marker this morning to finish QP1 in third place on the back of a 1m20.753.
Josh Waters put in a best of 1m20.826 in QP1 to be fourth quickest ahead of Troy Bayliss (1m20.890) and Daniel Falzon (1m21.072). Mark Chiodo (1m21.521) was seventh ahead of fellow Suzuki rider Alex Phillis (1m21.685), while Jamie Stauffer slotted Craig McMartin’s Ducati Panigale R into ninth spot. Arthur Sissis rounded out the provisional top ten ahead of Ted Collins and Matt Walters.
YMI Superbike Final Quaifying got underway on schedule at 1500 this afternoon.
Josh Waters was the first of the front runners to improve their standing in QP2, the defending champion dropping in a 1m20.553 on his fourth lap to move up to second on combined times.
Troy Bayliss moved up the order to fourth after wrestling the DesmoSport Ducati to a 1m20.613. Bayliss then improved to a 1m20.485 to push Waters back to third place, he then went faster again, a 1m20.425.
With ten minutes left in the session Herfoss was still to record a fast lap, and had only made three laps of the circuit before returning to the pits.
With seven-minutes remaining Herfoss then shot to the top of the charts with a 1m20.160. Maxwell instantly responded, 0.132 under at the first split, a slender 0.051 over at the second, but just failed to knock Herfoss from top spot, a 1m20.278 that time around to the YRT man.
Bayliss then improved again, a 1m20.333, but both Maxwell and Herfoss were again on flyers, both under their previous best through the first two splits, but marginally outside the third sector benchmark and then failing to improve.
Four minutes to run and Maxwell was still pumping out fast laps in succession, under again at the second split but losing a lot of time on the third and again failing to better that 1m20.278 he set on his seventh lap.
Both Maxwell and Herfoss determined to claim that single but important championship point for pole. With two minutes to go it was still Herfoss on top…
When the chequered flag came out Josh Waters was on his final flier… But despite a determined effort the Suzuki failed to improve and will head the second row.
Troy Herfoss takes that championship point to extend his series lead over Maxwell to 45.5-points. The pole lap a 1m20.160 to Maxwell’s 20.278. TB very much in the game and starting from the front row after clocking plenty of quick times, the best of which was a 1m20.333.
Bryan Staring was fifth quickest to make it five different manufacturers in the top five grid positions for tomorrow’s 2 x 16-lap bouts.
Arthur Sissis was a brilliant sixth quickest, the South Australian recently operating with some assistance under the Penrite Honda tent and obviously finding the change to his liking.
Daniel Falzon heads the third row alongside Mark Chiodo and Jamie Stauffer while Ted Collins rounded out the top ten ahead of Alex Phillis, Kyle Buckley and Matt Walters.
The first of tomorrow’s two YMI Superbike races is scheduled to get underway at 1110 with the second contest slated for 1345. If after the second of those 16-lap bouts Herfoss has earned six more points from the Winton round than Maxwell, he could be crowned 2018 ASBK Champion with a round still remaining. But this is motorcycle racing, anything can happen, and probably will! Tune in to Fox or SBS tomorrow to watch it all unfold live or get out to Winton and be part of the atmosphere yourself.
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