2020 mi-bike Australian Superbike Championship
Round One – Phillip Island
Superbike Timed Practice Results
With Chris Plumridge and TH
Difficult conditions in Timed Practice have left some of the ASBK stars out of an automatic top 10 qualifying spot as the opening round of the 2020 mi-bike Insurance Australian Superbike Championship got underway this morning at Phillip Island.
The Timed Practice session took place on a drying track after overnight rain. The difficult conditions scrambling the form guide as we head into this afternoon’s qualifying sessions.
Wayne Maxwell, Mike Jones, Troy Herfoss, and Aiden Wagner were some of the big names to finish outside the top nine fastest of the session, meaning they will have to bank on claiming one of the three bump-up spots in Q1 to secure a top 10 grid position. This means at least one of them will mist out on the Q2 session, and thus will be starting tomorrow’s opening 12-lap encounter from the fifth row of the grid…
For some the extra time gained from having to run Q1 was done on a somewhat tactical basis, but with so many of the front runners now vying for those final three places it is a move that could misfire quite drastically, as we could see one of the ASBK championship contenders having to start all three races this weekend from the fifth row of the grid…
“It sounds funny, but yeah, it sort of was (in the plan). The rules say you can use an unmarked wet weather tyre, but you can’t use one of your allocated ‘stickers’ (brand-new tyres), for the race weekend on the slick tyre. We’ve taken a bit of a gamble and stayed out on the wet weather tyres, and worst-case scenario it’s wet in Q1, and I’ve got to go in a wet session to get through to Q2, which means I use an unmarked tyre anyway, best case I go out, get a lap in in Q1 and waste a set of ‘stickers’ getting the bike set up for the race. Talk to me in five hours it may kick me in the butt, but we get an extra session on everyone to aim for a better race set-up.”
“It wasn’t in the plan, but actually we weren’t too worried, with the limited track time here at World Superbikes it’s probably a benefit for us to go through Q1, because we’ll understand the track conditions and the wind, and make a few little adjustments to the bike in that 10-minute break after Q1 and hopefully land in Q2. It’s a tough ask though, there’s four good guys that have got to go through so one of the top five or six in the championship is going to be starting 13th tomorrow.”
Falzon tops Timed Practice
Daniel Falzon (CAT Yamaha) was fastest in the session with a 1:40.040, ahead of Suzuki-mounted Jed Metcher (Metcher Motorsports, 1:40.207) and Bryan Staring (Kawasaki BCperformance, 1:40.517.
Times in the early part of the session were mostly meaningless as riders found their feet and trod carefully around the circuit. After 10 minutes it was Wayne Maxwell on top, his 1:43.980 a long way off the expected pace but still over a second faster than Aiden Wagner (YRT) in second (1:45.171).
With five minutes to go nobody had managed to eclipse Maxwell’s time, although Bryan Staring (BCperformance Kawasaki) had parked himself in second spot (1:44.678).
At the other end of the magical top nine, Cru Halliday was sitting on the bubble in ninth fastest, with Matt Walters, Josh Waters, and Glenn Scott still unable to secure an automatic Q2 spot.
With three minutes to go America’s Josh Hayes was first to crack into the 1:41’s, the visitor taking the pace up a notch (1:41.915) before Bryan Staring claimed the top spot with a minute and a half to go before the chequered (1:41.810).
Inside the final minute and Jones, Herfoss and Halliday were still in the drop zone outside the top 9.
As the chequered flag was readied the field unleashed a flurry of quick times that jumbled the leaderboard, leaving Falzon, Metcher, Staring, and Hayes (1:40.528) at the top and Jones, Herfoss, Maxwell and Wagner all out in the cold.
Round 1 of the 2020 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship continues this weekend (March 1), from Phillip Island as part of the Motul FIM World Superbike weekend. ASBK Superbike Qualifying for the Kawasaki Superbike class begins at 1300 this afternoon.
ASBK Timed Practice
Top 9 straight to Q2
Remainder to contest Q1 – Top 3 go to Q2
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