Daniel Falzon makes it a perfect score at Phillip Island with pole position and three victories
YMF ASBK 2017 – Round One – Phillip Island – Race Three Report
Daniel Falzon had enjoyed a dream start to his ASBK 2017 campaign, pole position, race one win, then again victorious in race two, a perfect haul of points for the young South Australian privateer. Thus Falzon went into the final of the opening round’s three races with a handy points advantage over Herfoss and Bugden.
Prime championship foes Maxwell, Allerton and Staring had all failed to finish one of the first two races, and were out to make amends in this bout so they can head to round two at Wakefield Park in a few weeks time with plenty of confidence.
Falzon got a great start on the Caterpillar backed YZF-R1 with Bryan Staring and Troy Herfoss negotiating Southern Loop for the first time in second and third positions as Josh Waters held sway in fourth place ahead of Robbie Bugden.
Staring looked to be holding his teammate up a little through the latter half of the opening lap, but both men were then completely trounced down the main straight by Josh Waters and Robbie Bugden, the Suzuki and Kawasaki machines sucking the paint off those Crankt Protein Honda machines down the chute.
As they started lap two it was Falzon holding sway to the tune of seven-tenths of a second, his Yamaha though having to push through clean air ,while his pursuers were enjoying the benefits of slipstream effects to varying levels depending on their position down the main straight each time.
Bugden and Waters went across the main straight side-by-side but Maxwell was on a charge, a 1m33.855 making the Yamaha man the fastest man on the circuit as he moved past Troy Herfoss to take fifth place.
Then the red flag came out to put a premature halt to the race after a rider went down hard exiting the Hayshed section of the circuit. Three laps of the scheduled 12-laps had been completed and riders returned to the grid as teams rushed out tyre warmers and generators.
The race would be restarted for another eight laps, with the final result to be decided on the cumulative race times across the two parts. At the end of the first part of the race, taken back a lap from the red flag, Falzon enjoyed a lead of 0.699 of a second from Josh Waters and Robbie Bugden, while Herfoss was a full-second behind, and Maxwell 1.6-seconds behind.
The second part of the bout nearly got underway at 1645 but then Beau Beaton waved his hands in the air with some problem, bringing out the yellow flag, but it was only a momentary delay before the lights went out and they were away.
This time around Falzon was swamped off the line and Robbie Bugden led the field through turn one ahead of Troy Herfoss and Josh Waters, while Bryan Staring gave chase and Falzon tussled with Wayne Maxwell.
Down the chute Falzon actually got the benefit of a tow from other riders for one of the first times this weekend, the result a 290km/h trap speed for the South Aussie, actually quicker than the leader on track Robbie Bugden, who was taking his turn to try and push through clean air, which resulted in a speed of only 284km/h for the Kawasaki man, very different to the 303km/h he recorded earlier.
Troy Herfoss led the field into turn one with six laps to run after getting a great run around the back of the circuit, Bugden nibbling away at the back of the Honda at every point as Falzon managed to squeeze past Josh Waters and push the Suzuki man back to fourth place, Falzon then got Bugden around the middle sections of the circuit, and was on the tail of race leader Herfoss.
Troy Herfoss then got out of the throttle, and looked down at his bike, seemingly investigating some sort of problem with the Crankt Protein Honda, a massive blow to his title defence after having to relinquish his lead to Falzon. He continued to circulate but seemed to have some sort of problem playing on his mind, and lost a whole swag of positions as a result. Investigation after the race saw that it was an onboard camera coming adrift that cost Herfoss his race lead, and perhaps as much as a dozen championship points… Herfoss was not to know that, and thus was cautious during the latter stages of the race as when the camera dislodged it went between his chain and sprockets, causing a momentarily loss of grip, and suggesting to Herfoss that perhaps he had chunked a tyre, and that it could pitch him down the road at any minute and, of course, that’s great for your confidence on a Superbike…
Daniel Falzon thus inherited the race lead, not only on cumulative time across the two parts but also on the track, and with four laps to run the 22-year-old enjoyed a small advantage over second placed Bugden. Wayne Maxwell then moved up to fourth place behind Bryan Staring.
Robbie Bugden squeezed past Falzon at turn one to take the race lead but the Yamaha man came right back at him to regain that on-track lead. Maxwell then gazumped Bugden at turn four with three laps to run.
Wayne Maxwell took Falzon down the main straight with two laps to go and maintained his advantage into turn one and around Southern Loop. Bugden then pushed Falzon back to third place through turn three as the leaders started to encounter lapped traffic.
Falzon regained the on-track lead at Lukey Heights and maintained sway through MG Hairpin to receive the last lap board first but Maxwell again quickly got the better of him to lead the field. Glenn Allerton had come from seemingly nowhere to then also squeeze past Falzon and push him back to third place.
Through MG Hairpin for the last time it was Maxwell, Allerton, Falzon with Bugden in tow. Maxwell crossed the line first ahead of Allerton while Bugden and Falzon crossed the line side by side.
On combined times though it was Falzon yet again that took the top step on the rostrum. Pole position and three race victories to the Yamaha privateer.
Well what a weekend to kick off ASBK 2017. Almost every one of the most fancied riders in the hunt for the 2017 Australian Superbike Championship suffered a DNF. Allerton, Maxwell, Staring, Waters all failing to finish a race, and that problem in the final encounter meaning Herfoss could take only eighth place.
That puts Daniel Falzon in the absolute box seat heading to round two at Wakefield Park, a 22-point lead over Robbie Bugden, and 31-points over defending champion Troy Herfoss, more than I am sure even he could have ever dreamed of.
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