Troy Bayliss underlined his competitiveness for ASBK 2019 by dropping in a 1m32.478 late in the opening practice session yesterday afternoon, but this morning at Phillip Island Aiden Wagner went under that marker not once, but twice.
Wagner had been in control of the session with a 1m32.450, but that didn’t stop the Queenslander from lowering the benchmark again with a 32.320 on his final flying lap to really signal his determination to dominate ASBK Superbike on his return to competitive racing in this country.
The ASBK Superbike pole record stands at 1m32.096 and was set by Wayne Maxwell here last October on a YRT Yamaha YZF-R1M. The current race lap record belongs to Troy Bayliss, also set in October 2018, with a 1m32.194 on the DesmoSport Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition.
This mornings session was an expensive one for DesmoSport Ducati. Troy Bayliss made a mess of his 1299 Panigale R Final Edition at turn four. He was baulked by another rider on entry and went down, it was a big enough tumble for TB to be taken to the medical centre for checks. He has been cleared to race with his main ailment at this stage a painfully sore left hand and a broken finger. Bayliss was thus 13th in this session but remains second fastest on combined times.
Josh Waters in this session also underlined he is ready for battle. Wayne Maxwell has joined the team this year, and perhaps somewhat unfairly to Waters, it is Maxwell that seems to be the recognised title favourite heading in to season 2019. But this morning it was Josh with the upper hand, a 1m32.659 plays 1m32.788. Many will say yeah well there is nothing in it, but too many forget just how much of a mental game that top level Superbike racing is, and every little chip at your opposition adds up..
After a somewhat disastrous week for the Penrite Honda squad with no end of problems experienced trying to sort the machine they have prepared for their World Superbike wildcard, it was feared their eyes might have been taken off the more important ball, that being the start of their ASBK Title defence here this weekend. Finally some clear air for Herfoss and the squad this morning though with a 1m32.970 confirming their place in the game.
Cru Halliday was fifth quickest this morning, a 1m33.089 certainly competitive for the YRT rider who makes a return to Superbike competition this year after winning the Supersport Championship for the team last year.
Bryan Staring was the quickest Kawasaki this morning ahead of Mike Jones. Glenn Allerton was eighth on the NextGen BMW ahead of Daniel Falzon, the South Australian struggled to find any clear track in that session and frustrated by traffic. Ted Collins rounded out the top ten ahead of Matt Walters, the Cessnock Kawasaki rider the final pilot in the 1m33s.
ASBK Superbike Weekend Schedule
Superbike competitors will be out on track at 1340 this afternoon in a last-minute change to the schedule that has seen ASBK Superbike competitors now split into two groups, this has come about as a result of slower riders causing problems in this morning’s practice session. Thus there will be two sessions, one for Group A and one for Group B, with the make up of the groups decided by officials. Each group will have a ten-minute session, Group B at 1340 and Group A at 1355. This has pushed Supersport 600 qualifying back to 1415. The Supersport 300 category will qualify at 1655 later this afternoon.
The opening Kawasaki sponsored ASBK Superbike race of season 2019 is slated to get underway at 1130 on Saturday morning with the second 12-lap bout scheduled for 1615 Saturday 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.
In the Supersport ranks it was Tom Toparis setting the pace. The Goulburn youngster did not take part in Thursday’s session as he has had plenty of track time this week during his preparations for a World Supersport wildcard appearance this weekend. Toparis’ time a 1m35.422, streets ahead of the best of the rest with was headed by Nic Liminton from Callum Spriggs and Supersport debutante Oli Bayliss.
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