After a very chilly morning the sun had come out to warm the track and riders up ahead of the opening practice session getting underway at 1100 this morning at Wakefield Park. The ambient temperature might have only just been passing 15-degrees but in the sun it felt much warmer, and the track was already approaching 30-degrees. Come race day on Sunday we are expecting a top of around 20-degrees which means the track temperature will likely be somewhere in the mid 30s, or might touch 40, depending on the wind.
Many riders and teams were using the FP1 session to shake down a myriad of changes and new settings as they prepare for Sunday’s pair of 20 lap races.
BC Performance Kawasaki have some new electronic set-ups to test as they get to grips with the latest ZX-10RR. Some help in regards to settings had come from Japan since the Winton round but there is so little experience worldwide with the new model as yet which has the team really starting from square one. They were a second off the pace this morning.
NextGen BMW also have a new electronic set-up from Germany that they are familiarising themselves with this morning. New brake rotors were also being tested and the team continue to work on the swingarm angle of the M model S 1000 RR. Allerton was fourth quickest this morning with a 57.716, only a whisker behind Herfoss and Jones.
Troy Herfoss and the Penrite Honda squad were using FP1 to get more track time on the softer option Michelin front and for Troy to get a better feel for that tyre. The Michelin soft could be a real option for race day thus the need to get really acquainted with it before that judgement call is made on Sunday. Herfoss was third quickest this morning, 57.643.
Mike Jones spent the first half of the session getting back into the groove on the V4 R before the team then put in some different suspension settings that they had been prepared to test in the latter half of the session.His best of 57.636 came on his 21st of 24 laps that he completed during the session.
Wayne Maxwell was straight down to business and under the race lap record with a 57.198 by lap seven. Quicker than he managed here last year during qualifying and putting in plenty of 57s.Late in the session he put in a 57.215, followed by a 57.388 to underline his consistent pace.
Herfoss took pole here last year with a 57.331 but the qualifying lap record was set back in 2019 by Cru Halliday at 57.138.
Last season too Halliday showed some great speed, especially at the Phillip Island season opener where he was the only rider to challenge Maxwell for race wins. YRT have this season switched back to Dunlop rubber. They really struggled for grip at Winton and will be hoping for a change of fortunes here this weekend, we know Halliday is up to the job if the race package is fit enough for him to run up front. Early indications are that YRT should be more competitive this weekend with Halliday putting in a number of 57.8s in FP1.
Oli Bayliss continues to gain experience and was only a few tenths slower than DesmoSport Ducati team-mate Jones and continues to impress with his approach and speed.
Of course a lot of eyes are focused on the performance of Anthony West. We know Westy is fast and he proved it again here a few years ago when he was a last-minute replacement for Jamie Stauffer at Team Honda and immediately put the bike on the podium. While that bike had race winning pedigree and was a proven tool for the job, it is unclear how competitive the MotoGo Yamaha he is on this weekend will prove. Early signs are that their could be some problems as Westy only put in a couple of laps and was well down the charts after a rear brake locking issue saw him effectively lose the entire FP1 session.
A support class preview can be found further down the page along with their results from this morning. A full weekend schedule is also included at the bottom of the page for your convenience. The entry list can also be found on this page.
Wakefield Park Superbike FP1
Fans are in for a real treat this weekend, with the Wakefield Park ASBK round heating up with a full schedule of support classes, as the championship runs its second outing of the year.
The opening round of the MotorsportsTV Supersport Championship produced an epic dice between Tom Edwards and Broc Pearson, the two riders breaking the Winton lap record on multiple occasions as they duelled for the lead in the two races. Each of them notched up a victory, with Edwards’ single point advantage in the championship coming courtesy of his pole position effort in qualifying.
Max Stauffer was among the leading riders all weekend, while Scott Nicholson showed impressive pace in race one on his way to a top-three finish.
Of the rookie riders, John Lytras made a solid debut with eighth and sixth in the two races, and the Supersport 300 and R3 Cup graduate will only become faster and more confident as he gains experience.
At Winton, it was Carter Thompson who clean-swept the Dunlop Supersport 300 races to open up a sizeable championship lead. Thompson subsequently headed to Qatar where he competed in the opening round of the Asia Talent Cup and unfortunately, the border restrictions have prevented him and Tom Drane (third overall at Winton) from being able to attend Wakefield Park.
That means Ben Baker, second at Winton, will head to Wakefield Park in a strong championship position – his closest opposition looks likely to come from Reece Oughtred, Caleb Gilmore and Zack Johnson.
Returning from injury will be the very talented Angus Grenfell and Archie McDonald, both who will be desperate to claw back Championship points after they missed the Winton round.
Baker and Gilmore are also well-placed (second and third in the points behind Thompson) in the Yamaha Finance R3 Cup, while Cameron Dunker made a commendable progression from the Oceania Junior Cup to finish third in the final race at Winton and fourth overall for the round.
The bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup continues to provide an ideal learning environment for riders as young as 11 to experience road racing and at Winton, it was Cameron Swain who chalked up a trio of victories to head to Wakefield Park with a 21-point lead over Nate O’Neill, with Harrison Watts a further three points adrift.
The final category on the program at Wakefield Park will be the Horsell Australian Sidecars, featuring the F1 (1,000cc) and F2 (600cc) classes.
Brothers Corey and Danyon Turner were victorious in the F1 Class at Winton, smashing a 10-year lap record, while the F2 Class produced three different race winners; Bruce Collins/Peter De Angelis won the first race, before Darryl Rayner and Kathryn Warne prevailed in a wet race two. Patrick Clancy and Stephen Bonney notched up a DNF in the first race, but recovered to win the third race; the overall round was taken out by Rayner/Warne thanks to their consistency.
A bumper crowd is expected this weekend, so fans need to be quick to purchase their tickets online at www.asbk.com.au
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