Troy Herfoss takes Yamaha Motor Finance ASBK Superpole at Morgan Park

ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Troy Herfoss - Image by Trevor Hedge
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Troy Herfoss – Image by Trevor Hedge
Crankt Protein Honda’s Troy Herfoss the first man to ever dip into the 73s at Morgan Park
Yamaha Motor Finance ASBK Qualifying Report – Morgan Park – Round Five

By Trevor Hedge

Daniel Falzon sat out the second qualifying session, resting comfortably on a very impressive 74.498 from the Q1 session, that was almost certain to secure him a place in the Top Six Superpole shootout later in the afternoon. That plan turned out to be the right one, as the JD Racing rider watched the session, whilst kitted up ready to go should some of his competitors broach the gap, and threaten to push him outside the top six. This also of course meant that Falzon would have less laps on his tyres, and take no risks with the JD Racing YZF-R1. After suffering major damage to one of his machines during recent testing at the Morgan Park circuit, the team were certainly in a risk averse frame of mind.

ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Daniel Falzon - Image by Keith Muir
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Daniel Falzon – Image by Keith Muir

The two men in front of Falzon in Q1, Troy Herfoss and Wayne Maxwell, did take to the track in QP2, but for different reasons.

Maxwell had wrecked his ‘A’ bike in the morning session, tumbling at turn ten, and thus needed to shake down his spare bike this afternoon. Putting ten laps down in Q2, between visits back to the pits for some fine adjustments from his long-time mechanic Warren Monson. Maxwell didn’t match his morning time, a 74.39 in Q1 compared to the 74.67 on his other bike on a warmer track this afternoon. But those laps were extremely valuable for him to get comfortable on his second machine, and make some small adjustments ahead of the Pirelli Superpole session.

ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Wayne Maxwell and Warren Monson - Image by Trevor Hedge
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Wayne Maxwell and Warren Monson – Image by Trevor Hedge

Troy Herfoss did go out in the second session, showing teammate Jamie Stauffer some lines that helped the Kurri Kurri man progress up the leaderboard, improving by over six-tenths of a second to finish the session second quickest, and fifth overall on combined times.

Cru Halliday’s improvement was more marginal, lowering his 74.78 Q1 time to a 74.626 in Q2. That was enough to give him the #1 spot on the Q2 timesheets, and promote him a position up the combined times leaderboard, fourth for the Camden based #65 Yamaha man after ranking fifth in the morning session.

ASBK 2016 - Morgan Park - Cru Halliday - Images by Keith Muir
ASBK 2016 – Morgan Park – Cru Halliday – Image by Keith Muir

It is fair to say that it has been a difficult weekend thus far for the DesmoSport Ducati squad. Electrical gremlins again plaguing the Italian machine, necessitating that traction control be turned off, and losing the team plenty of time over the course of the weekend. The experienced crew remained calm, but there was clearly a sense of urgency about the way they went about business in the Q2 session. Arriving in pitlane with a brand new Pirelli rear hoop, wrapped up in a generator powered tyre warmer, should Jones need it to secure a top six position. And need it they did, in the dying moments Jones rushed into the pits to get that new rear hoop and sneaked back inside the top six, after the chequered flag.

ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Mike Jones puts new rear Pirelli in during closing stages of QP2 - Image by Trevor Hedge
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Mike Jones puts new rear Pirelli in during closing stages of QP2 – Image by Trevor Hedge

That pleased not only the Ducati squad, but also some of the other top runners in the championship. It is fair to say that Herfoss and Maxwell would have been happy to see Glenn Allerton bumped out of the top six by Jones at the conclusion of QP2. Meaning that Allerton would miss Superpole, and will start from the third row of the grid.

Superpole

Q2 finished at 1506 this afternoon, and 39-minutes later Mike Jones was the first rider to take to the track when the ten-minute Superpole session got underway.

Jones only managed to complete one flying lap before the DesmoSport Ducati rolled to a stop before turn three. But that one flyer was good enough to have him in second place for almost the entire session, Wayne Maxwell only knocking him out of that second spot after the chequered flag signalled the end of the ten-minute Superpole session.

Herfoss was the man with the pace here this afternoon. He put in the first ever 73-second lap of Morgan Park with a 73.9, then backed it up later in the session with a 73.826 to further underline his pace at the Warwick circuit.

Cru Haliday secured his fourth place standing on the grid with a 74.448 ahead of Daniel Falzon. The South Australian will line up fifth on the grid while Jamie Stauffer rounds out the front row.

ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Jamie Stauffer - Image by Keith Muir
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Jamie Stauffer – Image by Keith Muir

Cleary Herfoss has significant pace here this weekend. He actually caught Jamie on his final hot lap and was perhaps even slowed a little by his teammate, as going by the splits that 73.8 could likely have even ended up a 73.7, or perhaps even a 73.6…

Likewise, we are yet to witness the true outright potential of Maxwell or Jones. The Championship leader still adapting his spare bike to himself, and conversely, also adapting himself to the spare YZF-R1.

Ducati’s man has also not been able to put all his cards on the table and declare his hand. To have put down the time he has, with the frustrations they have faced throughout this weekend, is deeply impressive.

Thus, I am of the belief that, despite Herfoss’ stellar speed showcased here today, the Crankt Protein Honda man will not have it all his own way in tomorrow’s two 19-lap bouts. Maxwell and Jones are going to be right on his tail throughout.

Herfoss did secure one important victory here today with that Superpole win. A point for Superpole edging him closer to championship leader Maxwell, and the rider currently holding down second place in the title hunt, Glenn Allerton. Come the final round at Winton early in October, that point could be the different between a #1 plate and a #2 plate… 

ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Troy Herfoss - Image by Keith Muir
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Troy Herfoss – Image by Keith Muir

Last year in the rival Swann Australasian Superbike Championship it went down to the wire between Herfoss and Maxwell, with the Honda man coming out on top by a single point… Could we see a similar scenario unfold again at the 2016 Yamaha Motor Finance ASBK Championship decider, with this time it being a three-way affair with Glenn Allerton also in that mix…? Mike Jones is a little out of the title hunt at this stage of the game, but should the top three have a distastrous round here, or at Winton, the Queenslander right back in the running for that #1 plate. 

We will have a much clearer picture of how the 2016 ASBK championship finale might shake up after tomorrow’s two races, but early indications are that we are heading for a cracker.

Yamaha Motor Finance ASBK Superpole – Morgan Park 2016
  1. Troy Herfoss 73.826
  2. Wayne Maxwell 74.157
  3. Mike Jones 74.211
  4. Cru Halliday 74.448
  5. Daniel Falzon 74.481
  6. Jamie Stauffer 74.802
Yamaha Motor Finance ASBK Grid – Morgan Park 2016
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Superpole Results
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Superpole Results
2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship
ASBK Championship Standings after Round four
  1. Wayne Maxwell 176
  2. Glenn Allerton  171
  3. Troy Herfoss 158
  4. Mike Jones 137
  5. Ben Burke 114
  6. Cru Halliday 106
  7. Daniel Falzon  103
  8. Brayden Elliott 91
  9. Jamie Stauffer 84
  10. Matt Walters 73
Support Class Reports by Motorcycling Australia
Motul Supersport Qualifying
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Supersport Pole Position - Luke Mitchell - Image by Keith Muir
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Supersport Pole Position – Luke Mitchell – Image by Keith Muir

After a drama packed practice for Motul Supersport competitors yesterday, where JNL Racing’s Luke Mitchell and Banham WA Racing’s Sam Clarke went head to head for the fastest lap times, when bikes hit the track for Qualifying today it was a familiar sight with the pair out in front.

After only 15 minutes on track in the first qualifying session, Clarke emerged as the early man to beat, bettering his time from practice yesterday and recording a new qualifying best lap on his second lap with a 1:16.852, leaving the rest of the competitors to chase his tail.

Current World Supersport rider Lachlan Epis who is racing the ASBK for the first time this weekend, wowed the crowds with his lightening fast time in Qualifying 1 (Q1) this morning, setting a 1:16.911, only .059 seconds behind Clarke’s new record. Mitchell was also once again fast in the first qualifying, but marginally off the pace, wrapping up the 25-minute session with the third fastest qualifying time – a 1:17.003.

The remaining riders who all steered their machines to top five times in Q1, was Cube Racing’s Callum Spriggs, and Graffiti Alley Racing’s Troy Guenther who set times of 1:17.081 and 1:17.259 respectively.

With a Pirelli Superpole award up for grabs, in the second qualifying session riders well and truly went all out in a final charge to drive down the lap times.

By only lap five of the final session, Yamaha mounted Mitchell began to put the foot down, setting the quickest time, which he then topped again the lap directly after with a 1:16.493.

And thankfully for the JNL Racing rider, the top of the time sheets is exactly where he stayed. Mitchell’s lap seeing him walk away with a new qualifying lap record, and his first Pirelli Superpole award for 2016 at the conclusion of the 25-minute session.

Despite Clarke’s every effort to better Mitchell’s lightening fast speed, lap 13 in Q2 marked the Supersport Championship leader’s quickest – a 1:16.730, awarding him second position on the grid.

Guenther improved on his time from this morning’s session in Qualifying 2, wrapping up the 25 minutes with the third fastest lap time on track, being a 1:16.760. Epis was unable to match his time from this morning’s session in Q2, and neither was Spriggs, the pair both snatching up fourth and fifth positions on the grid when times were combined.

Yamaha’s Chris Quinn, Ted Collins (Next Gen Motorsport Suzuki), Repsol Triumph’s Mark Chiodo, Ben Blyth (Race Centre) and Robbie Menzies (Kawasaki) all recorded qualifying times inside the Motul Supersport top ten.

JNL Racing’s Luke Mitchell spoke directly after collecting his first Pirelli Superpole award for 2016.

“After yesterday it’s pretty cool to get pole position! Dad and Mum drove home to Yamba to pick up our spare Yamaha YZF-R6 machine and didn’t get back to Warwrick till the early hours of this morning,” explained Mitchell.

“Marty [Dowd] rebuilt the bike this morning, so it’s a fantastic way to repay them all back by delivering them a pole position. I think we are in good shape for the two races tomorrow.

“It’s hard to tell though as everyone steps it up a notch come race time. I’m just really looking forward for tomorrow now.”

Akrapovic Production
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Tom Toparis - Image by Keith Muir
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Tom Toparis – Image by Keith Muir

With practice yesterday under their belts, the Up to 300cc and Over 300cc Akrapovic Production class headed out for two qualifying sessions this morning – Kawasaki Up to 300cc rider Tom Toparis who has only been road racing for 6 months, found incredible speed on track during the first session, setting a new best lap on lap ten (1:26.309), shocking the ASBK field. In Qualifying 2, Toparis once again was unmatchable, setting the fastest time and securing pole position for when racing kicked off this afternoon.

A huge grid of 22 Akrapovic Production class riders lined up for their first race of the weekend after lunch time today, and it was Up to 300cc rider Toparis who showcased incredible skill, launching in to the early race lead. But Toparis was not getting away without a fight, and after only three laps, Sam Condon was well within striking distance.

Just back from the lead pair was Over 300cc riders Callum Alderson and Brandon Demmery who were also locked in to their own battle for third position. But it was Yamaha’s Alderson who was able to break away and close in on Condon’s rear wheel, eventually making the pass for second on lap five.

As race one reached it’s closing stages, the running order saw Toparis remain out in front, Condon had snatched back second position from Alderson, followed by Demmery, Race Centre’s Drew Sells and Ford Brother’s Racing’s Hunter Ford.

With only one lap left in race one and Toparis with a two second lead, the battle for second position had the crowd on the edge of their seats – Condon and Alderson ensuring the results went down to the wire.

But when the chequered flag flew, it was Toparis who had reason to celebrate, taking his first ever Up to 300cc Production class race win, followed by Condon who edged out Over 300cc rider Alderson to take second. Alderson eventually wrapped up the race in third but with the Over 300cc win and a new lap record, followed by Demmery who collected fourth in the race but second in the Over 300cc standings.

Race Centre’s Sells (3rd in Up to 300cc), and Ford Brother’s Racing’s Ford (3rd in Over 300cc) wrapped up race one in fifth and sixth places respectively.

Honda Moto3/125 GP
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Tom Edwards - Image by Keith Muir
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Tom Edwards – Image by Keith Muir

There was action in the Honda Moto3/125 GP class from the moment bikes hit the track for qualifying this morning, but it was a familiar sight with Championship points leader Brian Houghton finding new speed late in the session, setting a lap time of 1:22.495, which local girl Tayla Relph was unable to match. And in the second qualifying session, Houghton went better again, dropping his lap time by nearly a whole second to 1:21.546, to record a new best qualifying record and secure pole position for Race 1. Relph was second quickest on track, her time from this morning seeing her awarded with second position on the grid (1:22.591), followed by Graeme Boyd Motorcycle’s Tommy Edwards who wrapped up qualifying as the third fastest rider on track.

When bikes lined up for race one this afternoon, it was a disappointing start to racing for Sarah Fairbrother who was unable to take part due to a bike problem on the grid, but when bikes did launch off in to turn one, it was Edwards who snatched up the early race lead. However, it wasn’t long before Edwards had a fight on his hands, Houghton making up plenty of ground to make the pass and become the new race leader by the end of lap one.

Despite Houghton’s attempts to break away, Edwards was not prepared to let the experienced rider out of his sights, while local Relph was just off the pace back in third position, followed by local youngster Locky Taylor in fourth

As race once reached it’s closing stages, spectators were treated to a battle for the lead, and before long Edward’s had taken control of race one, leaving Houghton to chase his tail.

And from there, that was the order that they finished in. Edwards collecting the first Honda Moto 3/125 GP race victory from Houghton in second, followed by Relph and Taylor who wrapped up race one in third and fourth places respectively.

YMF R3 Cup
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Callum Alderson - Image by Keith Muir
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Callum Alderson – Image by Keith Muir

When the Yamaha Motor Finance R3 Cup class headed out for their first qualifying session this morning, despite only being a cool 14 degrees, it took no time at all for front runner Callum Alderson (YRD) to warm himself up, setting the fastest time on his final lap of the session with a 1:27.655, nearly a full second quicker than his closest competitor Puma RV Motorsport’s Zac Levy (1:28.617). Despite a crash in the second qualifying session, Alderson remained unstoppable breaking in to the 1:26’s with a 1:26.922 on lap seven, seeing him awarded with pole position for race one. Levy was close but again unable to match Alderson’s speed, wrapping up the final session second quickest on track with a 1:27.664.

When race one got underway for the YMF R3 Cup riders this afternoon it took no time at all for second fastest qualifier Levy to pick up the race lead, however after only one lap it was Alderson who led the way from Ford Brothers Racing’s Hunter Ford and Stay Upright Yamaha rider Jack Passfield – Levy dropping back to ninth position.

By the three lap mark in race one, both Alderson and Ford began to separate themselves from the pack, Ford also beginning to apply the pressure on Alderson for the lead, and by the time the pair headed in to turn one on lap five, Ford looked ready to make his move.

With four laps to go, Alderson and Ford’s gap on the remainder of the field had stretched out to nearly seven seconds, Passfield continuing to hold down third place from Aidan Hayes in fourth, while Levy had made his way back to fifth position.

In the closing stages of race one, Alderson received somewhat of a reprieve, with Ford beginning to drop off the pace slightly settling in to second position.

And when the chequered flag was raised, that was exactly how the positions stayed, YRD’s Alderson collecting the race one win, while Ford crossed the line in second position followed by Passfield in third.

Fourth place in race one was collected by Hayes, while Michael King finished in fifth position. Unfortunately for early race leader Levy a mechanical issue forced him to DNF race one.

Ricondi Club Challenge Formula 3 & 4
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park - Anthony Carroll - Image by Keith Muir
ASBK 2016 -Morgan Park – Anthony Carroll – Image by Keith Muir

After showing impressive speed during the Club Challenge practice session yesterday, Honda VFR 400 rider Anthony Carroll was nearly a whole two seconds quicker during the classes’ qualifying session this morning (1:26.605) while Sam Condon, who is racing both the Production and Club Challenge classes this weekend was second quickest in Q1 (1:27.917). Simon Dickson aboard his Honda CBR 250 recorded the third fastest time on track this morning with a 1:27.974, followed by Leigh Holmes and Reid Battye.

When race one kicked off for the Club Challenge class late this afternoon, fastest qualifier Carroll wasted no time in getting to the race lead, and after only one lap had stretched out his gap on second placed Dickson to nearly three seconds.

And it was there that Carroll stayed for the entire race – no other rider able to catch him throughout the eight lap journey.

Despite Dickson holding second position for the majority of the race, the Honda mounted rider dropped back a position in the later stages, allowing Holmes to slot up in to second position.

So when the chequered flag flew, it was Carroll who secured the race one victory, followed by Holmes in second, while Dickson wrapped up the Club Challenge rider’s first outing in third.