Round One – Phillip Island
Superbike Race One
After dominating qualifying privateer Queenslander Aiden Wagner lined up on pole position for the 2019 ASBK season opener alongside Factory YRT riders Cru Halliday and Daniel Falzon in what was an all-Yamaha front row to kick off the new season of competition.
Troy Bayliss had been very fast during the weekend but a big tumble yesterday had seen the Ducati man break a finger, and also break a Ducati…. He was on the second row alongside the Suzuki duo of Josh Waters and Wayne Maxwell.
They are away!
Daniel Falzon got a great run off the line to lead Bayliss through turn one for the first time with Wayne Maxwell third at Southern Loop ahead of Glenn Allerton and Cru Halliday.
Falzon maintained the lead through to turn four as Bayliss wrested a buckling Ducati 1299 V-Twin behind him. TB took the inside line to MG Hairpin and with it took the lead, a very wide entry to turn 12 did not seem to slow the big Ducati down one iota as he went on to stretch away from the field down the chute. Maxwell slipped past Falzon before turn one, and the South Australian was then swamped by Halliday, Staring and Wagner.
Troy Bayliss ran very wide at turn four, leaving the gate wide open and swinging in the breeze, Wayne Maxwell and Cru Halliday needed no second invitations and slipped past the three-time World Superbike Champ with ease. Things were still close, very close, only a second covering the top six with 10 laps to run in the 12 lap race.
Aiden Wagner then got Bayliss and Halliday to move up to second place, and then was on race leader Maxwell… Wagner got Maxwell on the entry to Southern Loop with nine laps to run. Bayliss was in third place, Halliday fourth, Staring fifth and Waters sixth.
Wagner was riding hard, the tail of his privateer Yamaha wagging through 12, then running into turn one very hot, he looked to be leaving nothing on the table. Behind him Maxwell was looking smooth and composed. Bayliss was still right there in third place, but was now looking more settled, playing a waiting game…
Troy Bayliss goes down!
Troy Bayliss was right with Maxwell and Wagner but tipped off the Ducati at turn one. He walked away looking none the worse for wear, he even had time to punch the ground in frustration as he slid along the tarmac… Along with the bike destruction earlier in the weekend this round was taking its toll on the race team budget already.
By half race distance the rear Pirelli of Wagner’s Yamaha was really starting to move around. Maxwell was still watching on from second place, Cru Halliday in third, that top trio had all dropped into the 1m32s, and joining them in that bracket and on track on the next lap was Bryan Staring and Josh Waters.
Wayne Maxwell took the lead on the run to turn one with four laps to run but Wagner got him straight back at Southern Loop. Wagner then very deep and sideways at turn four though allowed Maxwell an easy way back through to the lead. Wagner again takes the lead back at Siberia though and pastes Pirelli through Hayshed to maintain his advantage.
Bryan Staring had managed to ease away a little from Halliday and Waters to start closing on that leading duo. On the next lap though Halliday and Waters responded and got back to within striking distance of the Kawasaki man.
Maxwell was piling the pressure on Wagner, but giving him plenty of room at the same time, letting him know he was there, and forcing the much more luridly sideways Wagner to use all of that rear tyre in order to maintain his advantage.
At the last lap board a single second covered Wagner, Maxwell, Staring, Halliday and Waters. Wagner maintained his advantage throughout the first half of the lap, through Siberia, Hayshed, MG, and still led Maxwell through turn 11, a big moment though at the end of turn 11 forced Wagner to get out of the throttle, that was costly and allowed Maxwell through to claim victory in what was an absolutely brilliant opening stanza for ASBK Superbike season 2019.
Wayne Maxwell takes first blood
Aiden Wagner a sensational second place and Bryan Staring clearly showing that himself and his Dunlop shod Kawasaki are also most definitely in the main game for ASBK 2019.
Cru Halliday was strong throughout, and along with Josh Waters, will be somewhat frustrated to miss the podium, however the pair still card good points from the season opener.
Daniel Falzon was a few seconds further back in sixth place but with a hefty advantage over seventh placed Glenn Allerton and eighth placed Mike Jones.
A very disappointing start to Troy Herfoss’ ASBK Title defence with ninth place. More importantly, the Penrite Honda man was never in the leading group at any stage of the race. Their so far troubled venture with the WorldSBK wildcard entry perhaps taking their eye off the ball in the main game somewhat.
Matt Walters rounded out the top ten in a highly creditable performance for the Cessnock Kawasaki rider ahead of young guns Ted Collins and Max Croker. The lap-times of that trio around 1.5-seconds off the pace of the leaders, but still an encouraging start to the season for them. Collins now has some experience under his belt and will now be expected to be a regular top ten rider.
The second 12-lap bout is scheduled for 1615 this afternoon, immediately after the opening 22-lap World Superbike race. The third 12-lapper will get underway after the World Superbike and Supersport warm-up sessions on Sunday morning at 1030.
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