The Honda pairing of Troy Herfoss and Bryan Staring were still shaking down their machines after both destroying their motorcycles at a test session here less than a fortnight ago.
Josh Hook busied himself getting accustomed to the Ducati Panigale R again,with a fella that knows how to ride one pretty fast himself twirling the spanners, Craig McMartin. New K-Tec Distributor Steve Mudford is working on the suspension set-up.
Wayne Maxwell really started getting down to business in FP3. Maxwell had left Darwin with a 22-point deficit but despite poor start at Morgan Park, the 34-year-old left the previous round in Queensland with a five-point series lead over defending champion Troy Herfoss.
The YRT #47 carries that advantage into Sydney Motorsports Park this weekend. Maxwell and Herfoss were teammates at Honda in 2014, that season Maxwell lifted the Australasian FX Superbike Championship, in that year the FX Series was undoubtedly the premier Superbike category in Australia. Since the factory teams rejoined the ASBK Championship in 2015, and Maxwell left Honda to join Yamaha, it was Herfoss that lifted the title in both 2015 and 2016. Maxwell hopes to ensure his mate from Goulburn does not do it to him again this year..
Maxwell topped Friday’s combined timesheets with a 1m30.681, but there is still plenty of pace yet to be had and times are sure to tumble further tomorrow.
“We didn’t come to the test with everyone the other week and I think because of that we are on the back foot a little bit. We are just trying some different tyre compounds and working out which one will be the best. We have seen this year at so many tracks it has been a massive tyre war, so that is an important thing for us to concentrate on. In saying that, it’s really hard to ignore the lap time which we are on at the time as your ego wants to take over. We have worked on some those issues and have worked on the setting of the bike and the Yamaha R1M is getting better and better.
“Tomorrow we will just go with the normal strategy. You have your three tyres for tomorrow and we’ll run that through and try and make sure we qualify on the front row. We seem to be in a pretty good position at moment to get the bike on the front row. We are a little bit away in terms of race pace, so we will work on some stuff there as well and hopefully that will put us in a good position come Sunday for the two races.”
Josh Waters won the Australian Superbike Championship in both 2009 and 2012 on PTR prepared Suzuki’s and showed in Darwin how strong that package can be. Tyre wear held him back at Morgan Park but Josh still scored an outright podium. Waters is looking strong here, he put two 1m30.7s in today during FP3, his best of 1m30.759 good enough for second quickest, the Suzuki man particularly quick through the final sector of the circuit.
Morgan Park pole man and race two winner Cru Halliday was third quickest today on his FP2 time, failing to improve in the final session.
“Today went okay. The CHR Yamaha team and I tried a couple of different tyres and worked on the rear suspension. We’ve come out the other end looking positive and are ready for qualifying tomorrow. We just need to decide on a race tyre, as we are not quite sure what to run at this stage. We’ll see what happens. We will use two different types of tyres in the two qualifying sessions tomorrow, from there we will decide what we will race with on Sunday. Overall though, it’s been a good first day.”
Daniel Falzon started season 2017 in dominant fashion with a perfect 76-point hail from the opening round at Phillip Island, but has only added another 95-points to that tally from the following four rounds. As we have seen from upsets in Darwin and Morgan Park, anything is still possible and Falzon is still most definitely in the hunt for the #1 plate. Only 22-points separates Falzon from series leader Wayne Maxwell, and the South Australian is showing good pace here this weekend. However, his quickest time today was set in FP2, the 23-year-old’s 1m31.165 best today good enough to rank him fourth on the charts.
Glenn Allerton’s arm is proving stronger than it was at Morgan Park, the Sydneysider continuing his return to form after that devastating arm injury at Wakefield Park early in the year. The 36-year-old is the current race lap record holder at SMP with a 1m30.366 recorded in 2016. The 36-year-old finished today fifth quickest with a 1m31.182.
“Today has been great! It’s good to be back in the battle again and near the top of the time sheet. It’s a really nice feeling to have where you can feel at the edge of the tyre, and more important that you can have some strength to manipulate that grip and make a lap time out of it! The Yamaha R1M feels really good at the moment, so I’m really positive right now. I know I can find a bit more time. So far it has been a really good start for the weekend and I am just really excited about what tomorrow and Sunday will bring and I can’t wait to get back out on track.
“In terms of qualifying, we will have to play it by ear as its motor racing, anything can happen. I don’t believe I have what it takes to get pole position, but in saying that I’m not that far away. Sydney Motorsport Park is tough over a race distance – mentally, and it’s also tough to get the most of out the bike without burning the tyre up. So I’m just really looking forward to the two races on Sunday. It’s just good to be on a motorcycle and being able to ride in anger for once.”
Bryan Staring was the quickest of the Honda pairing today with a 1m31.692 good enough for sixth overall. Herfoss failed to improve on his FP2 time of 1m32.389 in the final session, putting the defending champion outside the top ten. Clearly they have much work to do tomorrow. Herfoss particularly struggled through the final sections of the circuit, from turn nine onwards.
Josh Hook was starting to look comfortable on the Ducati and finished the day seventh quickest with a 1m31.692. The 24-year-old looks like he may well be in contention for podiums come Sunday and is very quick through the first sector.
Michael Blair is traditionally very strong at Sydney Motorsports Park and after a disastrous previous two rounds the Blair Build Yamaha man is looking to get back in the points here this weekend. The task is looking very doable with strong progression through each session terminating in a best of 1m31.913 in FP3, ranking him eighth overall for the day, just ahead of Alex Phillis.
Robbie Bugden is one of very few men to have ever dipped into the 1m29s at Sydney Motorsport Park. Bugden’s 1m29.842, set on a GSX-R1000 in 2013, is the current qualifying lap record around the 3.93km Gardner Circuit layout, previously known as Eastern Creek International Raceway. Today though Bugden could only muster a 1m32.307 from the BCperformance Kawasaki to round out the top ten.
Cessnock Kawasaki’s Matt Walters ended Friday 12th quickest ahead of Morgan Park podium-getter and rising talent Corey Turner. The Ducati youngster a newcomer to the tricky Eastern Creek circuit, and obviously still getting comfortable.
“Today was a bit of a struggle, but in saying that we have a direction for tomorrow, which is the main thing. We know what’s wrong and we know what to fix, so hopefully that’s a step forward for DesmoSport Ducati team and I. Not only do I have limited time around Sydney Motorsport Park where I am still learning the track, I’m trying to set-up the bike as well. On top of that, my finger is still give me grief from the crash I had at Morgan Park, but I’m looking forward for tomorrow. I just want to do more laps around here and hopefully my finger gets a bit better as I do more laps. We’ll take it as it comes and see where we end up in qualifying tomorrow, so we’re looking forward to those sessions.”
YMI Superbike Friday Practice Combined Times
Wayne Maxwell – Yamaha 1m30.681
Josh Waters – Suzuki 1m30.759
Cru Halliday – Yamaha 1m31.076
Daniel Falzon – Yamaha 1m31.165
Glenn Allerton – Yamaha 1m31.182
Bryan Staring – Honda 1m31.482
Josh Hook – Ducati 1m31.692
Michael Blair – Yamaha 1m31.913
Alex Phillis – Yamaha 1m32.212
Robbie Bugden – Kawasaki 1m32.307
Troy Herfoss – Honda 1m32.389
Matt Walters – Kawasaki 1m32.413
Corey Turner – Ducati 1m32.444
Beau Beaton – Ducati 1m32.999
Matt Harding – Kawasaki 1m33.075
Lachlan Epis – BMW 1m33.254
Sloan Frost – Suzuki 1m33.639
Kyle Buckley – Kawasaki 1m33.694
Mitch Levy – Yamaha 1m33.939
Troy Guenther – BMW 1m34.227
Yamaha Motor Insurance Australian Superbike Championship Points Standings
Wayne Maxwell 193
Troy Herfoss 188
Robbie Bugden 172
Daniel Falzon 171
Josh Waters 169
Cru Halliday 154
Bryan Staring 131
Corey Turner 114
Mitch Levy 103
Beau Beaton 92
Repsol Gas Racing’s Mark Chiodo topped all three Supersport practice sessions today and was the only man to dip into the 1m34s, his fastest circuit a 1m34.647.
Aaron Morris went oh so close to a 34 though with a 1m35.000 dead good enough for second place ahead of Tom Toparis, Sam Muldoon and Sam Condon while championship leader Ted Collins, who may well wrap up the Supersport Championship here this weekend, was sixth quickest today with a 1m35.624.
Motul Supersport Friday Combined Times
Mark Chiodo – Triumph 1m34.647
Aaron Morris – Yamaha 1m35.000
Tom Toparis – Kawasaki 1m35.031
Sam Muldoon – Kawasaki 1m35.034
Sam Condon – Yamaha 1m35.461
Ted Collins – Suzuki 1m35.624
Chris Quinn – Yamaha 1m35.685
Mason Coote – Yamaha 1m36.002
Hayden Spinks – Kawasaki 1m36.387
Jordan Carlsson – Yamaha 1m36.534
Nic Liminton – Yamaha 1m36.583
Cambridge Olivier – Yamaha 1m36.753
Grant Davis – Kawasaki 1m37.816
Mick Hefferan – Kawasaki 1m37.893
Jake Pruiti – Kawasaki 1m37.982
Patrick Li – Kawasaki 1m38.062
Aidan Hayes – Kawasaki 1m38.093
Rhys Belling – Yamaha 1m38.099
Thomas Bryden – Yamaha 1m38.156
Simon Rees – Kawasaki 1m38.455
Motul Supersport Championship Points Standings
Ted Collins 232
Mason Coote 164
Tom Toparis 156
Sam Condon 129.5
Nic Liminton 127
Jordan Carlsson 122.5
Chris Quinn 119.5
Sam Muldoon 108
Mark Chiodo 107.5
Cambridge Olivier 99
Hi-Tec Batteries Supersport 300 Friday Combined Practice Times
Fastest rider today in the Hi-Tec Batteries Supersport 300 class was Tom ‘E-Gun’ Edwards (Alpinestars, Yamaha YZF-R3), who was very impressive over the course of multiple practice sessions, his best time of 1:45.093 setting the standard overall for the ‘Over’ and ‘Up To’ categories of the class.
Finishing in second was, Oli Bayliss (Cube Racing, Kawasaki Ninja 300). A small margin of 0.125s separated Bayliss from the class leader Edwards. Bayliss was the fastest of the ‘Under 300’s’ class on his Kawasaki Ninja 300.
Slotting into the top three was last round’s Pirelli ‘Rider of the Round’ winner and rising star, Billy Van Eerde (KTM Australia, KTM RC 390) in third position on the timesheets.
‘Under 300’s Championship leader Reid Battye (BCperformance Junior Team, Kawasaki Ninja 300) and New South Welshman, Zac Levy (Puma RV’s, Yamaha YZF-R3) would complete the very competitive top five positions.
Arguably the most entertaining class on the grid, Qualifying and Race One for the Hi-Tec Batteries Supersport 300 class won’t be one to miss.
Qualifying One (Q1) of the 2017 Hi-Tec Batteries Supersport 300 Championship is scheduled for 1020 local time on Saturday, with Q2 due to take place at 1215. Race One for the class will also take place tomorrow at 1435.
Tom Edwards – Yamaha 1m45.093
Oli Bayliss – Kawasaki 1m45.218
Billy Van Eerde – KTM 1m45.396
Reid Battye – Kawasaki 1m45.682
Zac Levy – Yamaha 1m45.978
Jack Mahaffy – Yamaha 1m46.095
Yanni Shaw – Kawasaki 1m46.152
Brandon Demmery – Yamaha 1m46.396
Broc Pearson – Yamaha 1m46.432
Max Croker – KTM 1m46.505
Corey Briffa – Yamaha 1m47.062
Tom Bramich – Yamaha 1m47.070
Hunter Ford – Yamaha 1m47.175
Drew Sells – Kawasaki 1m47.499
Locky Taylor – Yamaha 1m47.650
Ben Bramich – Yamaha 1m47.794
Rogan Chandler – Yamaha 1m47.850
Jarred Brook – KTM 1m47.990
Jonah Sita – Yamaha 1m48.169
Tayla Relph – Yamaha 1m49.106
Hi-Tec Batteries Supersport Over 300 Championship Standings
Tom Bramich 214.5
Billy Van Eerde 210
Brandon Demmery 208
Zac Levy 207
Tom Edwards 206
Jack Mahaffy 203
Max Croker 173.5
Ben Bramich 161.5
Hunter Ford 156.5
Corey Briffa 144.5
Hi-Tec Batteries Supersport Under 300 Championship Standings
Reid Battye 310
Yanni Shaw 225
Drew Sells 223
Oli Bayliss 214
Laura Brown 176
Bronson Pickett 170.5
Scott Nicholson 169
Greg Farrell 152
Shelby Turner 128
Keegan Pickering 85
Yamaha Motor Finance R3 Cup Friday Combined Practice Times
YMF R3 Cup class competitors relished the fantastic conditions during practice sessions for Round 6 of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK) at Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP) today.
Tommy Edwards (Alpinestars, Yamaha YZF-R3) was a class act by topping Friday Practice for the YMF R3 Cup. Edwards set the fastest lap in FP3.
Although Edwards was fastest in the final session of the day, with his quickest lap time of the YMF R3 Cup class being a 1:45.448, the speedster crashed out on Turn 4 (uninjured) with approximately five minutes left.
Also impressing was Broc Pearson (Yamaha, YZF-R3) while Jack Mahaffy (Eastern Security Doors, Yamaha YZF-R3), rounded out the top three with a best of 1:45.914 around the circuit.
Hunter Ford (Ford Brothers Racing, Yamaha YZF-R3) followed closely behind young Locky Taylor (LTR Racing, Yamaha YZF-R3) with his time of 1:47.679.
Tom Edwards 1m45.448
Broc Pearson 1m45.835
Jack Mahaffy 1m45.914
Hunter Ford 1m47.252
Locky Taylor 1m47.679
Corey Briffa 1m47.977
Ben Bramich 1m48.924
Jonah Sita 1m49.675
Tayla Relph 1m49.718
Troy Ryan 1m51.468
Yamaha Motor Finance R3 Cup Championship Standings
Jack Mahaffy 176
Tom Edwards 174
Hunter Ford 138
Ben Bramich 132
Boyd Hocking 123
Jack Passfield 120
Tayla Relph 118
Corey Briffa 103
Locky Taylor 90
Dan Thomas 80
Moto3 / 125 GP Friday Practice Combined Times
The Moto 3 / 125GP class completed their practice sessions today, as part of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK). The riders were eager to set themselves up for a strong weekend ahead. Joel Kelso (JDS Moto, Honda NSF250R), was the fastest rider of the day.
Joel Kelso – Moto3 1m40.744
Dylan Whiteside – Moto2 1m42.030
Dallas Skeer – Moto3 1m45.680
Scott Topping – 125 1m49.600
Taran Ocean – 125 1m50.019
Travis Hall – Moto3 1m50.163
Ross Taylor – Moto3 1m51.059
David Doughty – 125 1m52.496
Dave Manson – 125 1m53.675
Jeremy Huddletone – 125 1m54.751
The APW Motorcycles Round of the 2017 Australian F1 & F2 Sidecar Championship was off to a flying start this morning at Sydney Motorsport Park in New South Wales. The 2017 Australian F1 & F2 Sidecar Championship is run in conjunction with several key Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK) rounds in 2017, and this is its fourth running this year.
The stand out duo for Friday practice of the APW Motorcycles Round 4 of the 2017 Australian Sidecar Championship, of the 13 teams on track was Dave Boughen / Lok O’Kane (Sidefx F1 Suzuki LCR) from Queensland, their time being a 1:44.450.
Second fastest was the dynamic duo, Jero Joyce / Corey Blackman (Rick Hanger Racing F1 Kawasaki RHR) with a 1:46.153 and third was the seasoned team of Mick Alton / Chrissie Clancy (J & C Contracting, Suzuki LCR), managing a best of 1:47.778.
Qualifying One (Q1) of the 2017 Australian Sidecar Championship APW Motorcycles Round is scheduled for 10:45 AM local time on Saturday, with the first eight lap race due to take place at 1610.
Top 5 Provisional Australian Sidecar Championship Times
F1 Dave BOUGHEN / Lok O’KANE (Sidefx F1 Suzuki LCR) 1:44.450
F1 Jero JOYCE / Corey BLACKMAN (Rick Hanger Racing F1 Kawasaki RHR) 1:46.153
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