While the times had looked tight on Friday, no rider had put in more quick laps than Wayne Maxwell. The Boost Mobile Ducati rider looked to be reeling off low 66s at will. He did five laps under 66.5 in FP1 and another seven in FP2.
The second quickest rider on Friday, young Oli Bayliss, only managed two laps under 66.5, third placed man Mike Jones did three as did Troy Herfoss. Maxwell certainly hit the ground running in Darwin but it would be interesting to see what his competitors had found in themselves and their motorcycle overnight.
Glenn Allerton was enjoying the new BMW M 1000 RR which the NextGen crew had turned from a road bike picked up a dealership late Wednesday afternoon into a race bike while at the track. We take a look at the new M 1000 RR here.
Daniel Falzon was the quickest Yamaha on Friday in P6 while Bryan Staring led the Kawasaki charge in P7.
Who would be the rider to upset the Ducati 1-2-3 stranglehold on Friday? Many riders also might be searching for a two down the long main straight.
In a departure from the normal qualifying procedure all riders had to take part in QP1 in order to earn their positions in QP2, rather than that top dozen beind taken from the quickest 12 in Free Practice. Track temperatures were almost 20-degrees cooler than they had experienced in Friday afternoon’s FP2.
Wayne Maxwell put in a 65.799 on his first flying lap. The first 65 of the weekend and just outside the qualifying lap record set here by Troy Bayliss here in 2018 at 65.601s.
Mike Jones then went P2 on 66.010s and young DesmoSport Ducati team-mate Oli Bayliss P3 on 66.324s. Glenn Allerton was P4 and South Australian privateers Arthur Sissis and Daniel Falzon P5 and P6 halfway through the 20-minute session.
Troy Herfoss did not join the session unil that halfway point and then cruised a couple of laps to find some clear air before putting his head down to set a 66.152s with just over seven-minutes remaining in the session.
Most of those riders then seemed pretty content to sit on that with their transfer spot to Q2 secured. ASBK competitors have to use rubber from their race tyre allocation during qualifying so riders generally don’t put in many more laps than they have to in order to preserve the rubber for the races.
Maxwell though did head back out late in the session though and was under at the second split, pasting Pirelli around the circuit on his way to lowering the benchmark a fraction further, 65.796s the new marker. Not content with that though he then went through the first and second splits quicker again on the next lap before crossing the stripe to lower it again to 65.682s.
A big high-side from Mark Chiodo a couple of minutes before the end of the session left his crew with some work to do but he would not be taking place in Q2 after finishing the session down in 19th place. Cru Halliday also rolled to a stop late in the session on the YRT machine and will start from P13 later this afternoon while team-mate Aiden Wagner is even further back in P16.
Honda CBR RR
BMW S RR
BMW S RR
BMW S RR
There was only a short five-minute break before the top 12 were allowed back on track for Q2.
Mike Jones and Oli Bayliss were the first out of pit-lane ahead of Daniel Falzon but the top nine were all on track in no time.
Wayne Maxwell again quickly to the top of the charts, a 65.690s but seconds later Mike Jones joined him in that 65 bracket with a 65.711s. Maxwell backed up his 65.690 though with a new outright ASBK Superbike qualifying lap record, 65.507 the new Hidden Valley benchmark and fastest ever motorcycle lap of the 2.9-kiklometre circuit.
Daniel Falzon then dropped in 66.016 to join that duo on the provisional front row. The JD Racing privateer outfit back on track after a lengthy break from competition and showing great speed.
With five-minutes remaining it was Maxwell from Jones, Falzon, Herfoss and Allerton. That top five all left the pits and went back out on track. Mike Jones had to abort an attempt after running in too deep.
Oli Bayliss then joined Maxwell and Jones in the 55s, a 65.815s to the youngster which he then immediately backed that up with a 65.527! Only two-hundredths of the new lap record set by Maxwell only minutes earlier. Jones then crossed the stripe on 65.555s. Herfoss then joined the 65s party with a 65.645 to go P4.
Maxwell then smashed out a 65.181s. Smashing the lap record and again underlining his dominance of proceedings and taking that important championship point for pole.
Mike Jones crashed late in the session after losing the front. He had to get some hand injuries checked out and was taken off to hospital for further investigation.
Glenn Allerton then made it a five-way party in the 65s, a 65.821s on the new M 1000 RR putting him in P5 ahead of Daniel Falzon while Bryan Staring will head row three in P7.
An amazing qualifying session.
Anthony West made some significant steps forward today. Finally getting in the 66s in Q1 with a 66.995s before then dropping six-tenths off that to end Q2 in eighth place on 66.396s. Arthur Sissis also on that third row in P9.
Lachlan Epis will start from P10 ahead of Josh Waters and Matt Walters.
Wayne Maxwell has set the pace in every session this weekend and he did 5 x 65s in that final qualifying session. On that form he looks very hard to beat.
Will the DesmoSport Ducati duo find some more to take him on over the 16-lap race distance?
Has Herfoss been foxing somewhat? The Penrite Honda man only made one real attempt at a lap-time in Q2 and that was a 65.645s, so the pace is there…
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