Round Three – The Bend
Josh Waters topped a 60-minute free practice session late this afternoon at South Australia’s The Bend Motorsport Park as riders prepare for this weekend’s triple header of 10-lap Australian Superbike races on the 18-turn, 4.945-kilometre ‘International Circuit’ layout.
A 1m52.695 was the opening benchmark set by Waters today on the Ecstar Suzuki GSX-R1000R on what could almost be called his new ‘home’ track. Mildura is still over 300-kilometres away from Tailem Bend but this is about as close as it gets to home for the 32-year-old.
Bryan Staring was second best today, two-tenths behind Waters on what is the longest circuit that Australian Superbike visits. Staring is pulling double duty this weekend as he is also racing for Team Kawasaki Thailand in the Asian Road Racing Championships Superbike class. The ARRC Superbikes will race two 12-lap races this weekend, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday, which makes for a busy schedule for the West Australian this weekend.
Wayne Maxwell was third quickest ahead of local favourite Daniel Falzon and DesmoSport Ducati’s Mike Jones.
Troy Herfoss turned few laps today and was almost two-seconds off the P1 pace of Waters and ranked sixth on the timesheets. No doubt that is not indicative of the pace we can expert from the defending champion this weekend as the Penrite Honda squad spent time today experimenting with different fork settings, and also had their schedule interrupted with a minor electronics issue.
Glenn Allerton was seventh ahead of championship leader Cru Halliday and local star Arthur Sissis while Matt Walters rounded out the top ten ahead of Mark Chiodo and Alex Phillis.
For reference the race lap record set on a green track here last April was a 1m52.939 set by Herfoss, but the pole record and circuit best lap went to Wayne Maxwell with a 1m52.175.
Nic Liminton topped proceedings in the Supersport category ahead of Broc Pearson, Tom Toparis and Oli Bayliss.
It was an Aussie 1-2 in Asia Superbike 1000 Championship practice with Broc Parkes besting Bryan Staring by a few thousandths of a second, 1m53.855 versus 1m53.859. Honda’s Zaqhwan Zadi was third quickest ahead of Yuki Ito.