YMF ASBK 2017 – Round One – Phillip Island – Race Two Report
Daniel Falzon had enjoyed a dream start to ASBK season 2o17, pole position followed by a hard fought race one win, saw Falzon and his privateer South Australian crew jubilant, and deservedly so. A swap to the spare machine for today though, after some small engine gremlins that they could not chase down in their #1 machine, made the Caterpillar backed squad take the precautionary step of switching to the #2 bike today. Swapping the suspension from the #1 bike into the #2 bike ahead of today’s initial 12-lap bout.
Wayne Maxwell’s season had a disastrous start on Saturday, the Yamaha Racing Team man had got caught up with some other riders which ended up with him on the ground. He remounted to try and salvage some points, but a broken footpeg saw him only able to climb his way back up to 17th place by the chequered flag.
Maxwell’s YRT teammate Glenn Allerton was frustrated by not being able to get the better of Falzon and was charged up to make amends for that today.
Bryan Staring had enjoyed a great debut on the Crankt Protein Honda to round out the podium just ahead of teammate, and defending champion, Troy Herfoss.
Josh Waters was performing very strongly in Saturday’s race, as was Matt Walters. But both men’s charge was halted by holed radiators from shrapnle thrown up from another riding coming on to the main straight.
Today, however, was a new day!
A terrible start to the day though for Glenn Allerton! The three-time ASBK Champ down on the ground only seconds after the race started, his YRT YZF-R1M looked very secondhand indeed and clearly the Sydneysider would take no more part in this bout. It was a strange crash in turn one, the grip just looking to disappear from the front end of his Dunlop shod Yamaha and Allerton low-siding off the circuit, lucky not to be clipped by any other riders and, likewise, other riders lucky that the sliding YZF-R1M didn’t take them out. Chas Hern was also an early faller on the MV Agusta F4 RC.
Up front though it was again Daniel Falzon from Bryan Staring and Troy Herfoss, while Beau Beaton had make a brilliant start on the Ducati and was right in that mix.
Wayne Maxwell then dispensed with Beau Beaton, as did Josh Waters, and it was Maxwell the fastest man on the first flying lap, a 1m33.695 to the #47 Yamaha. Maxwell was again the fastest man on lap three, clawing back ground on the trio in front of him.
Maxwell eclipsed Herfoss through turn three to move up to third place. Half a lap later Bryan Staring and the Fireblade slid off into the kitty litter, handing Maxwell another position, the YRT man up to second place with race leader Falzon in his sights. Staring’s rear Pirelli gave up halfway through turn 11, just sliding gently out from under the Western Australian and then keeping on going, luckily not transitioning into a flick over the bars highside, a fate that befell Jamie Stauffer on the same bike more than once here at Phillip Island between turns 11 and 12.
The gap with eight laps to run was 1.1-seconds, so Maxwell had his work cut out for him. That pair displayed enough pace to leave third placed Herfoss in their wake. The Honda man then started to come under attack from a rearguard action mounted by a charging Robbie Bugden and Josh Waters.
Maxwell put in a 1m33.56, then backed it up with a 1m33.262 to draw level with Falzon. The official Yamaha entrant up against the YZF-R1 mounted privateer, around 10km/h difference between the two at the speed trap in favour of Maxwell. The position of the speed trap had been the subject of hot debate between the top men yesterday, with many adamant that the speed trap was actually in the braking area for most riders.
Falzon’s machine did have some sort of engine issue yesterday though that saw him down on power, and it forced the family based crew to swap the suspension over into his spare bike for this race, and this engine was proving stronger than his #1 bike.
Falzon and Maxwell started to lap riders as the race entered its second half, Falzon perhaps coming off marginally better in that first encounter with the lapped traffic.
Robbie Bugden got the better of Herfoss to take third place and looked to have the speed to break away from the Crankt Protein Honda.
Had Maxwell toasted his rear Dunlop in closing on Falzon?
Did Falzon have better rear tyre longevity from the rear Pirelli bag on his Caterpillar backed machine?
The answer to that question was on show over the next couple of laps as Maxwell’s lap-times drifted back into the 1m34s, while Falzon put in his fastest lap of the race on lap eight. That 1m33.66 almost half-a-second behind Maxwell’s earlier best, but thanks to his pole position and solid early laps Falzon had the game won over the long distance.
Troy Herfoss had redoubled his efforts to not let Bugden take that final step on the podium without a fight, the pair swapping places numberous times on the penultimate lap. Bugden’s BCperformance ZX-10R clocked at 303km/h through the traps to take top speed honours in race two. Falzon was clocked at 282, Herfoss 290 and Maxwell 293. The fact that Falzon is pushing clean air every lap out front, while the others gain benefits from slipstreams also has to be taken in to account when looking at those comparative top speed numbers.
Josh Waters was in a fairly lonely fifth place with a very handy advantage over Cru Halliday and Michael Blair. The speed of the new Suzuki confirmed already after it registered 299km/h down the chute, and the Mildura man recording the second fastest lap of the race, am33.637 on lap three better than all but Maxwell’s early 33.262.
Ashley Manuel fell on the exit of MG Hairpin as the leaders started the final lap, a stricken machine in the middle of the circuit on the crest as you exit MG Hairpin, just before tipping into turn 11, posed an unacceptable risk to those on track. But the leaders arrived before any red flag was produced. The red flag was produced just before Falzon received the chequered flag, so the results were taken back a lap, but that did not affect the podium outcomes.
Luckily, the leaders managed to avoid that machine, and it did not decide the winner of the race. Falzon had enough of a margin and rear tyre to keep Maxwell at bay without the red flag, and he retained his composure to make it two-from-two in a fantastic display of maturity from the 22-year-old.
Maxwell a strong second place but clearly lacking in rear grip late in the race. Bugden managed to hold out Troy Herfoss to put his BCperformance Kawasaki on the podium.
With Allerton and Staring scoring no points from this one, and Maxwell scoring no points yesterday, Falzon is enjoying a dream start to ASBK 2017 in a fashion that he could have never hoped for in his wildest dreams. A perfect score while his foes rue their misfortunes.
Defending champion Herfoss will be unhappy with his pace but can take some comfort from the fact that he has put good points on the board in both races, albeit not as many points as the Honda man would have liked. Still, after race two Herfoss was joint second on points with Robbie Bugden, while Falzon, by our calculations, enjoyed a 17-point buffer at the top of the table.
There is still one more race to be staged this weekend before round one is done and dusted, another 12-lap encounter scheduled to commence at 1610 this afternoon, shortly after the 22-lap World Superbike race.
YMF ASBK 2017 – Round One – Phillip Island – Race Two Results
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.