Mike Jones smashes Morgan Park lap record on way to pole position
Yamaha Motorcycle Finance ASBK 2015 Round Two Morgan Park
By Trevor Hedge
ASBK Superbike QP2
Daniel Falzon did not take part in the final qualifying session this afternoon at Morgan Park Raceway. Instead, he relied on his QP1 time to promote him into the 10-minute Superpole session that took place shortly after the finish of the Superbike second qualifier. The reason for this strategy was that the JD Racing crew as yet do not have any spare rims for the new YZF-R1, and thus could not be certain of doing a tyre change in time for Superpole if they took part in QP2. It was also perhaps a wise strategy as only a few riders marginally improved from their morning time. Mike Jones only completed one flying lap in QP2 before pitting in readiness for Superpole.
The big mover in QP2 was EBR rider Chas Hern, who lopped a massive 1.2-seconds off his morning time to move past Ryan Hampton, James Mutton and Phil Lovett up into a provisional front row start heading towards Superpole.
Mike Jones went 8-tenths of a second under his own lap record on the fifth of his six laps completed in the 10-minute Superpole session. In fact, to underline his supremacy here this weekend Jones dipped into the 15s on three of his six laps to put the Pirelli shod ZX-10R on pole position.
Daniel Falzon completed seven lap, which included three laps in the 17s, his best a 1m17.089 on his third lap. The basically fresh out of the box YZF-R1 on Dunlop rubber was 1.721-seconds slower than Jones.
Chas Hern backed up his excellent QP2 speed with a 1m17.840 in Superpole, securing a front row start for the big booming EBR 1190 RX. Hern managed two laps in the 17s with his best a 17.830, 2.46-seconds slower than the polesitter.
Ben Henry recovered from a shocking start to the weekend and will head the second row of the grid alongside James Mutton and Phil Lovett.
New Zealander Ryan Hampton heads the third row alongside Joseph Salter and Adam Senior while Phil Czaj rounded out the top ten riders that had made it through to the Superpole session.
Pirelli ASBK Superpole (Top Ten Shootout)
Mike Jones 1m15.368
Daniel Falzon 1m17.089
Chas Hern 1m17.830
Ben Henry 1m18.269
James Mutton 1m18.310
Phil Lovett 1m18.313
Ryan Hampton 1m19.018
Joseph Salter 1m19.533
Adam Senior 1m19.793
Phil Czaj 1m19.921
ASBK Superbike QP1/QP2 Merged (Not Superpole)
Mike Jones 1m16.134 (Qp1)
Daniel Falzon 1m17.341 (QP1)
Phil Lovett 1m18.109
Chas Hern 1m18.513
James Mutton 1m18.910 (QP1)
Ryan Hampton 1m19.098
Ben Henry 1m19.586
Phil Czaj 1m20.210
Joseph Salter 1m20.345 (QP1)
Adam Senior 1m20.527
Andy Fisher 1m20.861
Ashley Fleming 1m20.945 (QP1)
Nick Marsh 1m23.334
Stephen Benjak 1m23.502
Tony Keogh 1m24.275 (QP1)
Ben Scott 1m24.286
The lack of depth in the ASBK field was clearly underlined here with more than a full-second between first and second, and yet another second back to Lovett in third. To underline his supremacy here this weekend Jones then went almost two-seconds quicker than the rest of the field in the ten-minute Superpole session.
And this on a relatively short track, albeit one that provisional pole-sitter Mike Jones is intimately associated with. The Queenslander, despite his still relatively young 21-years, a veteran of the Morgan Park circuit. No other rider has been remotely close to him this weekend, and no other Superbike rider has even got close to Aiden Wagner’s 600cc Supersport lap record, let alone Jones’ Superbike benchmark.
To be fair to Daniel Falzon, he is on a new, comparatively unprepared bike and has only a fraction of the circuit knowledge that Jones possesses around the three-kilometre circuit. Thus the recently turned 21-year-old Superbike debutant is fairly satisfied with his pace this weekend.
But without Team Honda, and Team Yamaha, and their, arguably, fastest six riders in the country, in regards to depth of field, this weekend resembles more of a club day than a national championship event. And that’s not to take anything away from Jones, the Kawasaki rider would be a serioust threat around Morgan Park against any level of competition. The Queenslander regularly runs towards the front in the rival Swann Australasian FX Superbike Championship, and won a race in the FX Superbike season finale at Sydney Motorsports Park last November.
When we spoke to Jones he was unsure as to what other rounds of the ASBK series he might contest, as his focus is on the FX Superbike series. Conversely, Daniel Falzon is focussing on the ASBK Championship in what is his debut year on the big-bore machinery. Falzon mentioned that he might, perhaps, test his mettle in the rival competition when the FX Series heads to his homestate of South Australia in five weeks time. Which is just before the ASBK Series heads across the Nullarbor to Wanneroo Raceway the following weekend, May 22-24.
Provisional polesitter Brayden Elliott only completed a handful of laps in Supersport Qp2, just as he had in QP1. It was all the Tumut based Suzuki rider needed to secure pole, which he did on his QP1 time of 1m17.351.
Troy Guenther put in 15 laps in the second qualifying session and did improve his time by more than half-a-second but it was not enough to push Elliott off pole.
Rounding out the front row will be Perth’s Thryon Van Vuuren while Kane Burns heads the second row.
On qualifying form it looks likely that the battle for the podium positions will see Brayden Elliott, Troy Guenther and Thyron Van Vuuren as the chief combatants. Their qualifying pace significantly faster than those riders on the second row.
The Supersport contest looks likely to provide the most exciting race here this weekend. Not only that, the entire Supersport front row displayed enough pace here today to actually make the outside front row of the Superbike grid…
ASBK Supersport Qualifying Merged
Brayden Elliott 1m17.351 (Qp1)
Troy Guenther 1m17.569
Thyron Van Vuuren 1m17.830
Kane Burns 1m17.840
Chris Quinn 1m18.140 (QP1)
Sam Lambert 1m18.549
Alex Phillis 1m18.660
Brenton Hyde 1m18.889 (QP1)
Nicholas Liminton 1m18.978 (QP1)
Anthony Quinn 1m19.280
Aaiden Coote 1m19.434
Harrison Cox 1m20.322
James Parker 1m20.400 (QP1)
Cam Russell 1m20.887
Steven Haslam 1m22.511 (QP1)
Chris McMillan 1m23.046
Mark Chiodo 1m23.661
Shane Irwin 1m24.345
Cameron Webster 1m24.657
Honda Moto3 / 125 GP
The opening qualifying session for Moto3 / 125GP saw a continued dominance of the top-three leaders from Friday’s practice sessions.
Callum Barker (K1 Racing) again was the fastest rider in the class, clocking a 1:22.625 – slightly slower than his best time in practice session number three yesterday.
Victorian rider Matt Barton (ETS Race Fuels) proved that he will be very stiff competition at Morgan Park – his 1:22.845 handing him second spot for the session.
Barker’s K1 Racing teammate Brian Houghton claimed third for the session, just .102 of a second behind Barton, while Queenslanders Benjamin Leonard and Locky Taylor rounded out the top-five.
The second Moto3 / 125GP got off to a slow start as an early red flag was produced with Daniel Wilson and Sarah Fairbrother crashing at the opening turn.
When the session recommenced, it was again Barker who lead the way with the local rider breaking the 1:22-mark with a 1:21.772.
Leonard grabbed the second fastest time of the session with a slightly quicker time than Barton, while Houghton has to settle for fourth and Tayla Relph coming in fifth.
It left Barker to start from the font of the grid with Leonard and Barton on the front row as well, with Houghton, Taylor and Relph qualifying on the second row.
Action continues tomorrow
The ASBK Sunday schedule starts with the 250/300 Production category race two at 0930 with the first Superbike bout set down for 1135.
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