ASBK 2018 – Round Seven – Phillip Island
While the weather today across most of Australia is pretty crap this weekend, here at Phillip Island glorious sunshine is bathing the 4.45 kilometres of sensational blacktop that is the magnificent Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
First out this morning was the Supersport 300 class where times tumbled markedly from yesterday, as three riders undercut the existing lap record.
19-year-old Hunter Ford led the way with a sensational 1m47.696, more than a second under the existing lap record on his YRD supported YZF-R3. No single split really stood out for Ford, just that on that particular lap, he did his fastest split time at every split, which added up to that sensational time. Normally even on any best lap, a rider has done a segment of series of corners of the track better on a different lap, it is rare that it comes together perfectly where every split is a rider’s best, but that was how it came together for Ford today in order for him to set that 1m47.696 benchmark for the 300 Supersport class.
Next was yesterday’s pacesetter Oli Bayliss, the Cube Kawsaki crossing the stripe with a best of 1m48.422.
In the YZF-R3 Cup ranks though it was Locky Taylor top of the pops on a 1m48.910 while Ford was second on 1m49.442 ahead of Tom Bramich.
Aaron Morris again topped the Superbike Masters category by a clear margin and looks set to run away with the races on his Period 6 FZR1000 Yamaha. Today though Morris’ 1m38.470 was not as quick as the 1m38.084 he put down in free practice yesterday.
Cru Halliday again held sway at the top of the Supersport time-sheets with a clear buffer over second placed Tom Toparis. On current form it looks as though Halliday might be in a league of his own this weekend while Toparis is left to tussle with the returning Callum Spriggs and Max Croker while Nic Liminton made progress today after some machinery problems on Friday.
Liminton’s YZF-R6 developed an electrical problem yesterday that required a part from Melbourne, some lateral thinking was employed and it worked out the easiest and cheapest way of getting the component to Phillip Island in a timely fashion was by ordering an Uber to deliver it!
The big boys of Superbike hit the track just before 1100 and Troy Bayliss was on fire straight out of the box. On his firs flying lap TB set down a 1m32.856. Perhaps eager to get a time on the box before he has to shoot from here to attend tonight’s Supercross event he is promoting in Geelong, a busy day for Bayliss today!
It took another 15 minutes for anyone to knock Bayliss out of top spot and it was Wayne Maxwell, sometimes dubbed the ‘Pharoah of Phillip Island’, clocking a 1m32.644 on the fourth of his four laps in that first half of the session.
Josh Waters then dropped in a 1m32.542 to steal that provisional P1 on his third lap, then backed it up with a 1m32.657 shortly after. Meanwhile Bayliss had improved his best with a 1m32.702 and was sitting in P3.
Wayne Maxwell went back out with seven-minutes remaining in the session, a 1m32.856 his first flyer that time around before then cruising for a lap to find some clear air, then it was head down again to start another time attack lap but a slow middle section of the circuit cost him his chance to improve thus Maxwell ended the morning session in second place ahead of Bayliss.
Fourth quickest was newly crowned 2018 Australian Superbike Champion Troy Herfoss. A 1m33.003 good enough to put him just ahead of Daniel Falzon after the young South Australian made much progress today.
Glenn Allerton is making a successful return to injury, marginally quicker than yesterday his 1m33.211 places him sixth on the provisional grid ahead of Bryan Staring and Matt Walters.
Glenn Scott went down at turn six late in the session as he strived to improve his ninth place standing while Mitch Levy rounded out the top ten ahead of Mark Chiodo and Jamie Stauffer.
Ted Collins had gone out early in QP1 but did not complete a lap before a mechanical issue put him out of the session.
The second and final 30-minute qualifying session is scheduled to get underway just after 1500 this afternoon.
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