Wayne Maxwell takes pole for ASBK season opener
ASBK 2016 – Round One – Phillip Island – Qualifying
By Trevor Hedge
Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell took pole position for the 2016 ASBK season opener this afternoon at Phillip Island after what was a tense shootout for the front row ahead of tomorrow’s opening ten-lap encounter.
Only four-tenths of a second covers the quickest five ASBK men but it will be Maxwell that will lead them away tomorrow ahead of 2015 Swann Australasian Superbike Champion Troy Herfoss.
It now seems certain that the Yamaha versus Honda war will be waged all year within the ASBK ranks, as it appears that Yamaha Racing Team have now also elected to join Honda in coming back to the Motorcycling Australia backed series. Both brands factory backed team have spent recent seasons doing battle in the rival Swann Australasian Superbike Series but with the promise of Troy Bayliss Events taking over ASBK in 2017, it appears that both Honda and Yamaha have decided to return to the M.A. fold for season 2016, in what looks set to be a re-building year towards a different era that is set to begin in 2017.
While everyone is certainly looking to the future this weekend is instead about the here and now, and the first battle of what is sure to be a hard fought war across five rounds in six states.
Thus Maxwell will be buoyed by taking first blood and the first championship point, the 33-year-old is the only rider in the field to have won both an ASBK Championship and an FX/Australasian Championship, and he is keen to add another title to his tally in season 2016.
“To claim the first pole of the 2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship it fantastic for myself and the guys at Team Yamaha.
“At the start there was a lot of traffic around. When I came in at the red flag I noticed Troy (Herfoss) was just in front of me, we made a small change to the bike and went back out – luckily I was able to get a bit of a clear lap and was just be able to pip Troy for the first pole position of the year.
“I am really happy to start off the year competitive. It’s pretty difficult to come to this race track with no testing, not having ridden the race bike since December last year, and to come here and claim pole is pretty cool.”
The man that beat Maxwell to the 2015 Swann Australasian Title in what had been a scintillating battle that went all the way down to the wire at nail biting Sydney Motorspotrs Park twilight finale last December, was Troy Herfoss.
The Team Honda Racing outfit is sporting a new look this year due to new backing from Crankt Protein but the rider line-up is unchanged and while Herfoss will start from second on the grid in his quest to add an ASBK Title to the 2015 FX/Australasian Championship Trophy from last year, his teammate Jamie Stauffer, a two-time Australian Superbike Champion, will start from fourth on the grid.
“I’m really happy we are finally back into the swing of things, I’ve been a little bit antsy through the down time and we were cautious through testing but it’s race weekend now and I’m stoked we are starting from P2 for the three races.
“First race of the year is always intense so it’s important to start from the front row. As always a big Thankyou to the Crankt Honda Racing Team for giving me the best bike possible”
Splitting the Team Honda pairing is Mike Jones onboard the new Troy Bayliss backed Desmosport Ducati. Jones is pulling double duty this weekend, also competing as a wildcard in the WorldSBK races (Friday WorldSBK Results Here), swapping between two different specification bikes during the day for each class.
Glenn Allerton, another rider with multiple ASBK Titles under his belt, qualified fifth, four-tenths ahead of Daniel Falzon and Cru Halliday.
“The qualifying session was really difficult for me to find some clear track, thus I felt like I wasn’t able to get the most out of myself and the bike. But in saying that I’m very confident in my setup and the bike and I am in a good position for the race.”
Daniel Falzon was the last man in the 1m33s, a 1m33.944 to the young South Australian who with that time relegated Cru Halliday to seventh.
2015 Australian Supersport Champion Brayden Elliott has joined the Superbike ranks for season 2016 and celebrated his first Superbike qualifying session with an impressive eighth quickest time ahead of Kawasaki’s Ben Burke and Robbie Bugden.
Ben Burke was the fastest Kawasaki ASBK rider today at Phillip Island.
ASBK 2016 – Round One – Phillip Island – Superbike Qualifying Results
- Wayne Maxwell – Yamaha 1m33.102
- Troy Herfoss – Honda 1m33.198
- Mike Jones – Ducati 1m33.288
- Jamie Stauffer – Honda 1m33.313
- Glenn Allerton – Yamaha 1m33.565
- Daniel Falzon – Yamaha 1m33.944
- Cru Halliday – Yamaha 1m34.009
- Brayden Elliott – Suzuki 1m34.441
- Ben Burke – Kawasaki 1m34.633
- Robbie Bugden – Kawasaki 1m34.690
- Michael Blair – Yamaha 1m34.748
- Matt Walters – Kawasaki 1m35.105
- Adam Christie – Yamaha 1m36.023
- John Hunt – Kawasaki 1m36.851
- Sloan Frost – Suzuki 1m36.927
- Trent Gibson – Yamaha 1m36.942
- Ryan Hampton – Suzuki 1m37.933
- Adam Senior – Honda 1m38.632
- Phil Czaj – Aprilia 1m39.210
- Caillin Simcock-Bailey – Aprilia 1m39.397
17-year-old Troy Guenther set the pace in Supersport, the young Queenslander taking pole position ahead of Mark Chiodo on a Triumph Daytona 675. Kyle Buckley rounds out the front row ahead of Darwin’s Sam Clarke.
The Graffiti Alley Yamaha R6 felt great today, giving me great confidence to push for pole position. We are very happy to grab the first ‘pole point’ of the year, and are feeling good for the race tomorrow. A big thank you to my team for their continued hard work.”
ASBK 2016 – Round One – Phillip Island – Supersport Qualifying Results
- Troy Guenther – Yamaha 1m37.569
- Mark Chiodo – Triumph 1m37.872
- Kyle Buckley – Kawasaki 1m38.039
- Sam Clarke – Kawasaki 1m38.090
- Callum Spriggs – Kawasaki 1m38.178
- Robbie Menzies – Kawasaki 1m38.588
- Chris Quinn – Yamaha 1m38.598
- Luke Mitchell – Yamaha 1m38.965
- Ryan Taylor – Yamaha 1m39.083
- Nic Liminton – Yamaha 1m39.210
Historics Period 5/6
The Historic Superbikes of Period 5/6 were the final category to qualify this afternoon, with Dean Oughtred, taking pole position (1:41.709) improving on his lap time from this morning’s practice session. However Oughtred’s pole wasn’t won without pressure – Marty Craggill finishing in second with a 1:42.219 lap, while Craig Ditchburn concluded the final qualifying session of the day in third (1:42.489).
ASBK 2016 – Round One – Phillip Island – Historics Period 5/6 Qualifying Results
- Dean Oughtred – Suzuki GSX-R1100 1m41.709
- Marty Craggill – Yamaha TZ750 1m42.219
- Craig Ditchburn – Yamaha TZ750 1m42.489
- Murray Clark – Suzuki GSX-R1183 1m42.720
- Scott Webster – Moto Martin Suzuki 1200 1m44.571
In the Moto 3/125GP category, Suus Customs Matt Barton swept through the field pulling together an impressive lap time of 1:44.844 walking away from the session with pole position. Locky Taylor was just shy of Barton’s pace, finishing in second with a best session time of 1:45.168. Brian Houghton, fastest in both practice sessions yesterday and today, finished qualifying with a 1:45.442 lap, and secured third position on the Moto 3/125GP grid for tomorrow.
ASBK 2016 – Round One – Phillip Island – Moto3/125GP Qualifying Results
- Matt Barton – Honda 1m44.844
- Locky Taylor – Honda 1m45.168
- Brian Houghton – Honda 1m45.442
- Tayla Relph – Honda 1m45.646
- Lachlan Kavney – Honda 1m45.994
ASBK Race Schedule
All classes will have a 15 minute qualifying session this afternoon to decide the grids for the weekend’s racing.
The opening support race of the weekend will be tomorrow morning around 0855 when the Historic machines hit the track for their first six lap race. They are immediately followed by a ten-lap race for the combined Moto3/125GP category.
Australian Superbike competitors have their first ten lap bout schedule for 1115 Saturday morning, just before the first WorldSBK Superpole session of season 2016.
Australian Supersport hits the track for their opening ten-lap battle at around 1500 Saturday afternoon, immediately following the opening WorldSBK race for season 2016. The WorldSBK Championship this year sees one race held on Saturday and race two held on Sunday, in a break from the traditional two race on Sunday format.
Late on Saturday the Historic bikes and Moto3/125 both have their second races and it is again these two classes that open proceedings on Sunday morning, with Moto3/125 race three scheduled for 0825 Sunday morning.
The second of the Australian Superbike bouts is scheduled for 0920 Sunday, followed by Australian Supersport race two at 1000.
The third and final Australian Superbike race of the weekend will take place at 1150 Sunday, immediately before the World Supersport race.
Australian Supersport then closes out the WorldSBK weekend at 1610 on Sunday, right after the second World Superbike race.
This weekend is the opening round of the 2016 Australian Superbike Championship. The series heads across the border to NSW for rounds two and three before crossing the Nullarbor for round four on the first weekend in June. Queensland’s Morgan Park hosts round five on the first weekend in August while the season finale will be staged at Winton on the first weekend in October.
ASBK 2016 Calendar
- Round 1 Phillip Island GP Circuit, WSBK, Vic 25-28 February
- Round 2 Wakefield Park Raceway, NSW 25-27 March
- Round 3 Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW 16-17 April
- Round 4 Barbagallo Raceway, WA 3-5 June
- Round 5 Morgan Park Raceway, QLD 6-7 August
- Round 6 Winton Motor Raceway, Vic 30 September – 2 October