ASBK Top Four Examined ahead of Wanneroo Raceway Round Four
With only days until round four of the 2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth WA, we examine the current top four riders in the ASBK Championship Standings.
This year saw the return of two factory teams to the ASBK series, Yamaha Racing Team and Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, and the development of a third factory team, DesmoSport Ducati, which sees defending 2015 Australian Superbike Champion Mike Jones battle it out on a Ducati 1299 Panigale S.
Not to mention stacking the Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance Superbikes grid, is two satellite Suzuki teams, brand supported racers and a varying total of 15-20 privateer racers that make up 25 Supreme Superbike machines on the grid at any given race.
Today, we look at the fundamental details, and the driving forces behind the current top four championship points leaders, to give you an idea on who may or may not claim the 29th Australian Superbike Championship title in 2016.
Glenn Allerton (Yamaha Racing Team)
After a quick start to the season with Yamaha Racing Team only confirming their ride at ASBK merely weeks before round one, the three factory supported Yamaha riders – Glenn Allerton, Wayne Maxwell and Cru Halliday had only a small amount of preparation before they clicked their gears and suited up for battle at round one of the 2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli at Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.
Allerton, who has already claimed the Australian Superbike Championship title three times in 2008, 2011 and most recently in 2014, the Yamaha Racing Team rider is competing on board a Yamaha R1 this year and is currently in contention for his fourth championship win.
Should Allerton take the 2016 Australian Superbike Championship title he will write his name into the ABSK history book as the only ASBK competitor to win four championship titles, bettering the count of the great Shawn Giles’ wins, who took consecutive title claims in 2000, 2001, and 2002.
Before exercising the control of his Yamaha R1 machine, Allerton had to come to grips with his Next Gen Motorsports BMW machine which he did successfully in 2011 taking the ASBK Championship title with 6 race wins and 12 podiums out of a possible 16 throughout the season and backing it up in 2014 before signing with Yamaha at the start of 2015.
This year so far Allerton has competed in 3 rounds, 7 races, has had 3 race wins and 6 podium finishes to his name. Allerton has had one DNF at round two at Wakefield Park where himself and his team mate Wayne Maxwell crashed on the same corner on consecutive laps, tampering with their race leads.
Round one at Phillip Island has been Allerton’s best round this season so far with 3 out of 3 possible race wins, the ASBK round one win, and the fastest race time for the weekend with a 1:33.005 lap time, just behind the current national lap record time held by team mate Wayne Maxwell (1:32.316).
The current championship points leader is only two points ahead of team mate and rival Wayne Maxwell, and throughout the first half of the season has consistently placed himself on the ASBK podium.
Allerton will now make the trek over to Western Australia to hopefully strengthen his lead against the rest of the Superbike field, on what can be described as one of his favourite tracks.
Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha Racing Team)
There is no denying that Wayne Maxwell throughout his motorcycle racing career, has had the most experience out on track, competing on a varying make of machines from the Factory Kawasaki and Suzuki teams, suiting up for Team Honda Racing with Jamie Stauffer, Troy Herfoss and Josh Hook before moving to Yamaha Racing Team with team mates Glenn Allerton and Cru Halliday, where he is currently competing on a Yamaha R1.
With one Australian Superbike title to his name, and an Australasian FX Superbike Championship the following year, there is no denying the fight in Maxwell to better his results and take the ASBK title for a second time. After his title win in 2013 with Suzuki, Maxwell has returned to the ASBK this year and is currently sitting second in the championship standings on 131 points heading into round four at Barbagallo Raceway in WA.
This year so far, Maxwell has won 3 out of 7 potential races, two of those wins determining his round three success at Sydney Motorsport Park. Out of the 7 potential races Maxwell has had 6 podium finishes and has started on pole for two out of the three rounds. Wakefield Park saw Maxwell finish with one DNF to his name so far this season.
Maxwell has overcome many milestones heading into the 2016 season, with a wedding and now a baby boy, learning the 2016 version of the R1, and crashing at Round 2, having to fix the bike without his personal mechanic on site.
We can predict that despite their strive for individual results, Yamaha Racing Team will be putting their ducks in a row to make sure that all three of the factory supported rider’s end up on the finishing championship podium, seeking ultimate domination.
Troy Herfoss (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team)
After competing sporadically in the ASBK last year as they instead focussed their efforts on the rival Swann Australasian Superbike Championship, the Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, has experienced plenty of success so far this season at the ASBK, with Herfoss mounting the Honda CBR1000RR SP for another year, since joining Team Honda Racing in 2014 alongside team mate Jamie Stauffer.
Herfoss is decorated in achievements competing on anything that has two wheels it seems, with success in Dirt Track, Supermoto and even cycling to name a few. Herfoss is no foreigner to competition both nationally and internationally, the motivation of winning running thick in his blood.
With a successful round two under his belt, where he took home track glory at Wakefield Park, Herfoss concluded the weekend winning race one and placing fourth in race two, leading him to secure the round victory.
With the success of his round two win, and his varying podium positions throughout the season so far he has placed himself third in the current championship standings on 125 points – hypothetically only one race win away from overtaking Allerton in the championship standings.
At the halfway point of the season so far, Herfoss has been on the podium three times, has successfully taken a round win and snatched one of the three possible pole position starts, with Wakefield Park being his best round to date.
Herfoss has had the most inconsistent ride this year in comparison to his fellow competitors, but has still managed to battle through varying issues to prove his dominance in this years’ Championship, making a statement that he is not to be underestimated.
We all know the red Crankt Protein Honda machine has the capabilities of battling for the Championship but is it going to be enough come the end of the year to knock the Yamaha’s off their game?
Mike Jones (DesmoSport Ducati Racing Team)
Last year, Mike Jones at only 21-years-old was victorious in claiming the 2015 Australian Superbike Championship, locking down the title at round four, Symmons Plains in Tasmania, and establishing an unassailable 60-point championship lead heading into the final round at Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, on board a Kawasaki ZX-10R under the Australian Outdoor Living – Cube Racing Team banner.
Jones finished the 2015 ASBK season with a total of 10 out of 10 possible podium finishes, with six of those being race wins. Out of five potential pole positions, three of them throughout the season were occupied by Jones with only Crankt Protein Honda’s Jamie Stauffer and Troy Herfoss able to challenge the young lad at the last round in Phillip Island.
Ben Henry, former ASBK competitor (you will remember his face from The Ultimate Rider series with Daryl Beattie and Bernie Hatton), in conjunction with ABSK ambassador and three-time world champion Troy Bayliss, as well as their ties with the manufacturer Ducati, have developed the DesmoSport Ducati Factory Team with Jones mounting a Ducati 1299 Panigale S in the 2016 season.
Jones is currently competing in his second consecutive Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli. In past years, Jones won the Superstock 600 ASBK title at just 17 years old (2011), the same year Glenn Allerton won the ASBK Superbike title. 2011 also marked the year Jones took the lap record in the Superstock 600 class with a 1:38.354 lap time at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, which still remains.
This year, Jones is currently sitting fourth in the championship on 93 points, 40 points behind the current leader Glenn Allerton. So far this season Jones has completed four out of the 6 possible races, with 2 DNF’s in the same weekend at Wakefield Park, but still managing four podium finishes to his name.
With the determination of Mike Jones, and with such a young rich future ahead of him, we are excited to see the development of this racer throughout the rest of the season, you never know he might redeem himself and take the ASBK title twice!
Well now that each rider has been dissected, round four is sure to divide the grid even more as the ASBK competitors will battle it out at round four of the 2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli at Barbagallo Raceway in Western Australia on the 3-5 June, 2016
ASBK 2016 – Championship Standings
Glenn Allerton 133
Wayne Maxwell 130
Troy Herfoss 125
Mike Jones 93
Ben Burke 85
Cru Halliday 77
Daniel Falzon 70
2016 ASBK 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
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