Circuit managers had forgotten to turn off the timers to the reticulation system, as a result the circuit was soaked. While the circuit would dry quickly enough, causing only a 35-minute delay to morrning proceedings, the real contention was the amount of pit bays that also had water sprayed throughout them. Some bikes had 50mm of water in their bellypan, others had the unpleasant ignominy of also finding their exhaust systems filled with water…
It was around 1215 when the premier Superbike category hit the circuit for the first time today and again it was Mike Jones that set the benchmark. Jones looked so smooth around the 2.41km seven-turn Barbagallo Raceway on his way to a 56.424 on the sixth of the 19-laps he completed, in a slightly shortened 30-minute session.
With a little over a minute to go in the session local rider Adam Chambers lost the front at turn one. The Kaneg Kawasaki rider was sixth fastest in the session, but was a bit sore and sorry for himself after a decent tumble through the deep sand trap. His ZX-10R in need of extensive repairs but the rider was treated at the circuit and should be able to make the grid for tomorrow’s two 16-lap races.
Despite not getting in many clean full laps during the session Daniel Falzon punted the JD Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 to a 56.950 ahead of Ben Henry (Cube Racing) and fellow Kawasaki riders Cameron Stronach and his older sibling, Ben.
The top ten in the second qualifying session, that got underway at 1510 in the afternoon, saw Jones on top again courtesy of the 56.424 he put in during QP1. The big improver was Daniel Falzon, who closed the gap down to virtually nothing with an impressive 56.456.
Ben Henry cut his teeth at Wanneroo Raceway and it showed on Friday, but some electrical gremlins struck the Kawasaki today which caused him a few little problems this morning. Those niggles became larger problems this afternoon. Henry only managing five laps in FP2, but still qualifying fifth overall thanks to his 56.981 in the morning session, good enough to stay clear of Cameron Stronach and Anthony McFadden (BMW).
Ben Stronach was sixth ahead of Adam Chambers, Ryan Hampton, Adam Senior and Ralph Mammoliti completed the top ten, all of which went through to the ten-minute Superpole session. The Superpole session essentially an extra ten-minute qualifying session with all the riders on track together.
At the head of the field Falzon and Jones traded fastest laps at the top of the order throughout the session, before spots of light rain started fallingwith two-minutes remaining in the 10-minute session. As riders returned to the pits to call it a day Jones was on top with a 56.068, besting Falzon’s 56.139.
Cameron Stronach (Kawasaki) rounded out the front row with a 56.865 while Anthony McFadden (BMW) will head row two alongside Ryan Hampton (BMW) and Ben Stronach (Kawasaki).
Ben Henry was again plagued with bike problems and failed to complete a flying lap in the Superpole session. Adam Chambers did not front for the Superpole session and thus was deemed to be tenth, with Henry demoted from his third in QP2, to ninth on the grid, due to his failure to set a time in the Superpole session.
Unlike Morgan Park, where Jones streeted the field, it seems he will have some real competition here this weekend with Falzon getting up to great speed on what is essentially a very standard YZF-R1, in comparison to Jones’ well developed ZX-10R. Both riders new to 2.41km circuit and finding it to their liking.
Local rider Livio Zampieri was in red hot form during Friday practice and went quicker again this morning before coming to grief exiting turn seven.Zampieri went down hard, unconscious, while his Kawasaki ended up around ten metres further up the straight before coming to a stop. Zampieri had been leading the session but at the re-start after his tumble Brayden Elliott quickly put his Suzuki on provisional pole with a 58.235.
Elliott’s morning time was good enough to stand atop the charts throughout QP2 and earn him pole position for Sunday’s two 16-lap races. Likewise the time Zampieri set in QP1 was good enough for second on the grid, despite the Italian born, Perth resident, not taking part in the session due to the knock he took in QP1. Zampieri was taken to Royal Perth Hospital for scans to confirm suspected broken ribs and check for any further injuries, it is extremely unlikely he will make the grid tomorrow.
Sam Lambert also relied on his QP1 time to take his position on the outside of the front row while Aaiden Coote fronts the second row alongside Alex Phillis and Thyron Van Vuuren.
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