Something clicked for Cru this afternoon after struggling a little during the morning practice sessions, the Yamaha Racing Team made crucial set-up changes to the YZF-R1 that allowed the 27-year-old from Camden to fulfil his potential. A 1m30.449 Halliday’s best ever time around the 3.93km traditional Eastern Creek layout that is being used this weekend.
Wayne Maxwell will start from second place on the grid when tonight’s 12-lap race gets underway around 1845 this evening. The defending champion was happy with that, his eyes firmly focussed on tomorrow’s main game, where he is currently tied on points with Troy Herfoss.
Team Honda Racing’s Troy Herfoss had been fastest across the two practice sessions this morning, setting a 1m30.589 in FP2 but the AFX-SBK Series leader chose to settle for a front row start rather than risk too much wear on his tyre by trying to steal pole, which will be used tomorrow in the Swann Australasian Superbike races. Tonight there is a single 12-lap race to decide the lesser of the two series that will be decided this weekend, the main game is tomorrow, where there will be three 12-lap distances around the Sydney Motorsports Park circuit to decide who will be crowned the 2015 Swann Australasian Superbike Champion.
Herfoss and Maxwell both have 316 points apiece in the premier Swann Superbike competition while Herfoss enjoys a five-point lead over Maxwell in the less AFX-SBK Series that will be decided tonight.
Jamie Stauffer improved his pace this afternoon and also dipped into the 1m31s bracket to earn a front row start.
Glenn Allerton will head the second row alongside the Kawasaki triumvirate of Mike Jones, Matt Walters and Ben Burke.
In previous seasons riders have not really taken the AFX races, which are generally run on a Saturday while the main game takes place on the Sunday, but this season things have been different and the AFX series has been hotly contested. The reason for this has been a change to the qualifying format for the Swann Series, where now the grid positions are decided on the cumulative points score on the Saturday, rather than by a single lap time recorded at any time during the Saturday races. Which had led to riders pulling in and out of the pits during a race for set-up changes just to go out and try to set a single fastest lap to earn pole for Sunday. Under changes made to the rules for this season that can no longer happen, and it has made the AFX series a true spectacle, rather than the somewhat farcical display some riders had put on during the previous rule regimen. Thus a good result tonight is not only important for that series win but will also be hotly contested by all riders as they vie for a good grid position for tomorrow, and of course the single extra point that comes with earning that pole position could in fact be the deciding faster who is crowned Swann Australasian Superbike Champion tomorrow night here at Sydney Motorsports Park.
Fox Sports channel 501 will have racing at Sydney Motorsport Park live from 1700-2000 on Saturday 5th December, and live web streaming of all Saturday’s races can be viewed right here at www.MCNews.com.au from around 1030, Saturday morning.
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