Round One – Phillip Island
Superbike Race Two
Wayne Maxwell narrowly got the better of Aiden Wagner at the final juncture of race one after the privateer had virtually led from start to finish. Troy Bayliss had been in that mix before tipping off at turn one, while Bryan Staring had got the better of Falzon, Halliday and Waters to claim the final step on the rostrum.
The riders and the teams would have all learned some lessons in that opening 12-lap bout, and then set about applying some tweaks to their machines. While the riders tweaked their own brain spaces ahead of the second of three 12-lap races that make up the opening round of ASBK 2019.
On the warm-up lap Troy Bayliss felt that the discomfort in his hand was going to make racing this bout dangerous for himself and the other riders, so he elected to park the DesmoSport Ducati for this one and watch from the sidelines. He broke a finger on his left hand on Friday, and suffered injuries to the middle finger on his right during this morning’s crash. He is booked in for surgery on Tuesday. TB and DesmoSport Ducati have put so much work in during the pre-season and will be gutted to walk away from here with no points.
Daniel Falzon again got a great launch off the line but it was Josh Waters that led the field through turn one from Troy Herfoss as they negotiated Southern Loop for the first time. At turn four Herfoss got in a little deep and lost a number of positions as Aiden Wagner moved up to second place behind Waters. Through turn 12 for the first time it was Waters, Wagner, Falzon, Maxwell, Herfoss, Jones and Halliday.
Aiden Wagner moved past Waters to take the lead as they entered turn two early on the second lap and immediately put the hammer down to try and get away from the pursuing pack. A big moment coming on to the main straight next time around though allowed Wayne Maxwell and Josh Waters to slip past Wagner and make it a Suzuki 1-2 up front. Daniel Falzon was right on the tail of that trio as Cru Halliday also then joined the party to make that top five fight a very close affair.
Wagner was back in the lead on the next lap but then got in way too hot at turn four, the two Suzuki riders somewhat baulked each other mid-turn also which robbed them of their chance to take advantage of Wagner’s mistake.
Wagner made almost exactly the same mistake on the next lap, and actually came together with Cru Halliday and nearly fell off his machine, but somehow gripped it hard enough to recover. Halliday had fared worse in the clash, losing a couple of positions and valuable track position.
Daniel Falzon had been in the hunt but fell unhurt at turn ten at half race distance.
At the halfway mark of the race it was Maxwell from Wagner and Waters, that trio in close company, while Halliday tried to regain the ground he lost in that brush with Wagner. Halliday had actually set the fastest lap of the race in that first half, a 1m32.669, and had been the only man to dip into the 32s, but he had work to do in order to get back in touch with the leading trio in the closing laps.
Halliday did that work though and with 2.5 laps to go got the better of Waters on the run through MG Hairpin to move up to third place and maintained that position through 11 and 12 and right through to turn one to start the penultimate lap. Nothing separated the top four, they were all in with a chance of stealing victory. Lapped traffic though, and a lot of it, baulked them late on that lap, they negotiated it safely to start the final lap with Wagner leading from Maxwell, Halliday and Waters.
Wagner had the rear of his privateer Yamaha break away though which allowed Maxwell through as they negotiated the back of the circuit.
Wagner then went up the inside of Maxwell as they neogotiated turn 12, the pair touched, sending Maxwell tumbling through the kitty litter, and was then seen tearing off his glove and looking at his hand as he ran to the pit wall and to safety.
Thus a somewhat controversial win and early championship lead goes to Aiden Wagner from Cru Halliday and Josh Waters.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.