As ASBK Superbike competitors exited pitlane at 1550 this afternoon there was a band of rain approaching from the west. It still looked at least 20-minutes away from Tailem Bend on the radar, but it was coming…
There is also the slight chance of an early shower tomorrow, and with Q2 scheduled for 0940 Saturday morning, there would be numerous scenarios playing on the minds of the teams as they planned for this Q1 session.
Would it be best to come out of the blocks hard? Ensuring they could get a good time down ahead of any possible rain this afternoon, and just in case it was damp tomorrow morning..? That hypothesis surely had to be considered…
Troy Herfoss had topped practice, a 1m53.203 to the Penrite Honda man making him the fastest ever man around The Bend on a motorcycle. Would that time be beaten in Q1? Would we see our first 1m52sec lap..? We would seen get our answers…
Jamie Stauffer was the first man out on the circuit when pit-lane opened and his first flying lap was a 1m56.439. Five minutes later still none of the top eight competitors in practice had joined the circuit.
Mark Chiodo was the first rider to make a huge leap forward from his practice times, a 1m55.059 on the Team Suzuki rookie’s first flying lap, a full-second quicker than he had managed before around The Bend. He immediately backed it up with a 1m55.073 on his next lap.
Arthur Sissis then relegated Chiodo to second place after putting in a 1m54.939, that time 1.4-seconds quicker than the local rider managed this morning.
Bryan Staring then hit the circuit and immediately dropped in a 1m54.390, while Alex Phillis clocked a 1m54.419 for second place. A modest improvement on Staring’s practice time but a huge leap forward for Phillis.
The session was approaching the halfway mark and still the likes of Herfoss, Bayliss, Maxwell, Waters, Falzon and Allerton had yet to turn a wheel.. With nine tyres to use from and riders struggling with not only rear tyre wear, but also front tyre wear, when they did hit the track the aim would be to do a scorcher in the mimimum possible amount of laps.
Troy Bayliss then made his move. TB was marginally under at the first split but had to abort his first flying lap after running a little deep. He then bided his time and started looking for enough clear track to make a new one-lap attack. The Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition thundered across the stripe with 14-minutes remaining in the session to start a flyer. Bayliss was 0.347s under at the first split… 0.519s under at the second split… Then 1.139s under at the third split…At the line the end result was the first ever 1m52s lap of The Bend! A 1m52.686 had Troy Bayliss on provisional pole.
Now there was a flurry of action in pit-lane. Troy Herfoss was putting his gloves on as the Penrite Honda squad checked tyre pressues one last time before removing the tyre warmers.. There was 10 minutes to go…
Daniel Falzon and Wayne Maxwell were out first though. Falzon’s first flyer a 1m53.376, three-tenths better than he managed this morning but a far cry from TB.
Wayne Maxwell was two-tenths off Bayliss at the first split but made up a huge amount of time in the next sector be two-tenths quicker than Bayliss! At the third marker he was still under by 0.149s.. The suspense… There it is, a 1m52.620 from Maxwell to steal provisional pole from Bayliss.
But Maxwell was not done! At the first split the next time around he was four-tenths quicker! He maintained almost that buffer at the second split… The new benchmark a 1m52.374! Take that says #47!
Troy Herfoss was now out on track and put in a 1m53.008 on his first flying lap. He was on course to go quicker but the second half of the lap cost him some time. Next time around he was a tenth slower than Maxwell at the first two splits, two-tenths behind at the third split but at the line it was still good enough to bump Bayliss back to third. A 1m52.629 to Herfoss.
Josh Waters was now circulating. There was five minutes remaining. He put in a 1m53.226, good enough for fourth, then returned to the pits.
Daniel Falzon was in the pits gloves off. The top riders obviously deciding that was as much wear on their tyres as they wanted and not keen to turn any more laps than the minimum required to achieve a decent spot on the provisional grid.
Thus Wayne Maxwell is the new fastest man of The Bend and our provisional pole sitter.
ASBK Superbike QP1
Wayne Maxwell – Yamaha 1m52.374
Troy Herfoss – Honda 1m52.629
Troy Bayliss – Ducati 1m52.686
Josh Waters – Suzuki 1m53.226
Daniel Falzon – Yamaha 1m53.376
Bryan Staring – Kawasaki 1m54.390
Alex Phillis – Suzuki 1m54.419
Glenn Allerton – BMW 1m54.421
Arthur Sissis – Suzuki 1m54.538
Mitch Rees – Honda 1m54.807
Mark Chiodo – Suzuki 1m55.059
Kyle Buckley – Kawasaki 1m55.223
Matt Walters – Kawasaki 1m55.341
Jamie Stauffer – Ducati 1m55.616
Ted Collins – BMW 1m55.846
Mitch Levy – Yamaha 1m56.001
Brad Swallow – Kawasaki 1m56.189
Sam Lambert – Kawasaki 1m56.704
Mason Coote – Kawasaki 1m56.906
Willy Strugnell – Kawasaki 1m57.642
Aaiden Coote – Kawasaki 1m57.670
Lucas Vitale – Kawasaki 1m57.787
Adam Christie – Suzuki 1m58.162
Trent Gibson – Suzuki 1m58.185
Ben Stronach – Yamaha 1m58.866
Tom Bramich tops 300 Supersport
The first of the qualifying sessions today was for the 300 Supersport class and it was Tom Bramich that headed a brace of Yamaha YZF-R3 machines at the head of the field.
The young Victorian beat Zac Levy and Hunter Ford out provisional pole but there is less than half-a-second separating the top seven. Seth Crump was the leading KTM in sixth and Oli Bayliss the first Kawasaki in seventh.
300 Supersport QP1
Tom Bramich – Yamaha 2m11.445
Zac Levy – Yamaha 2m11.471
Hunter Ford – Yamaha 2m11.585
Locky Taylor – Yamaha 2m11.625
Olly Simpson – Yamaha 2m11.685
Seth Crump – KTM 2m11.767
Oli Bayliss – Kawasaki 2m11.807
Tayla Relph – Yamaha 2m12.118
Ben Bramich – KTM 2m12.570
Ben Baker – Kawasaki 2m13.110
Harry Khouri – Yamaha 2m13.613
Bronson Pickett – Yamaha 2m13.796
Mitch Kuhne – Yamaha 2m13.879
Travis Hall – Yamaha 2m14.367
Brandon Demmery – Yamaha 2m14.458
Jarred Brook – KTM 2m14.639
Mitchell Simpson – Yamaha 2m14.891
Zane Ford – Yamaha 2m15.548
Max Stauffer – Yamaha 2m15.606
Dan Thomas – Yamaha 2m15.860
Troy Ryan – Yamaha 2m15.918
John Lytras – Yamaha 2m16.147
Peter Nerlich – Kawasaki 2m18.094
Jake Brett – Yamaha 2m18.639
James Wensemius – Yamaha 2m19.386
Keegan Pickering – Yamaha 2m19.557
Ned Faulkhead – Kawasaki 2m19.592
Stephany Kapilwai-James – Kawasaki 2m19.836
Hunter Penhallurick – KTM 2m21.342
Jack Cousens – Yamaha 2m24.495
Austin Barnes – Kawasaki 2m26.512
Cru Halliday has been untouchable in 600cc Supersport during free practice and that trend looks likely to continue this afternoon in Q1. The YRT rider had 2.4-seconds over his closest competitor this morning and was quicker than all but the top nine Superbikes!
There it is! Cru clocked a 1m56.693 on his first flying lap followed by a 1m56.157 on his next.
His pursuers though had made progress towards him. Toparis had dropped almost a full-second off his previous best and Broc Pearson was half-a-second up on his morning pace. The gap from Toparis to Halliday still significant at 1.4-seconds, but a second closer than it had been this morning.
After putting in that 56.1 Halliday was happy enough to call it quits and save his tyres. Tom Toparis went out again later in the session though and so did Broc Pearson.
It was Pearson that was the big improver, a 1m57.385 to the young Queenslander, a huge step forward.
Local rider John Hunt was not done either. He was fourth for most of the session on 1m58.416 but in the dying minutes improved again to 1m58.142, not enough to move him past Toparis but very impressive for a non championship regular. Actually that’s probably somewhat of an understatement.
Toparis then went back out with a few minutes remaining in the session. The Goulburn youngster was on a mission! Only just behind Halliday’s best at the first and second splits! He lost a bit more ground in the third sector but still crossed the stripe much faster than he had managed before, his first 1m56s lap will be a huge boost to his confidence heading towards tomorrow. This weekend had not been smooth sailing for Toparis with a few stumbles but he will sleep much better tonight after that ripper 1m56.810s lap.
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