Dark clouds loomed over the 2.6 kilometre Mallala Motorsports Park as the single 18-minute qualifying session for the premier Superbike category got underway at 1605 this afternoon. Thankfully the rain stayed away, but the ambient temperature had dropped markedly from earlier in the day.
While the temperature had dropped, things certainly heated up on track with Wayne Maxwell sending a strong signal in regards to his title defence by putting down a 66.588 on the new Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R1M early in the session. The Sydney born, but Melbourne residing, defending Swann FX-ASC Champion then retired to the pits for a MuzzBuzz coffee and did not take to the track again, his early marker remained unbeaten.
In fact, most of the riders simply went out and put in a single fast lap before then sitting content for the remainder of the session. With a lot to lose but little to gain who could blame them as today’s session decides the grid for Saturday’s races, but the premier Sunday series grid is decided on cumulative points from Saturday’s three races. Add to that, that today’s qualifying is also done on a tyre that is part of their weekend allocation, the fewer laps they do on their race rubber the better, thus the reason for most of the top runners only doing one flying lap to decide their qualifying order for tomorrow.
Morning pacesetter, Troy Herfoss, put in a flyer on his third and final lap to be content with a 66.799 and second place on the grid ahead of teammate Jamie Stauffer.
After missing the Sydney Motorsports Park season opener as the result of injuries sustained during the domestic Superbike support events at the Phillip Island round of the Superbike World Championship,Kurri Kurri based Jamie Stauffer is making his start to the series at this round and will start from position three on the grid.
A fall at the final corner by Glenn Allerton, who had earlier topped the Friday practice sessions, spoiled the qualifying run for the 34-year-old three-time Australian Superbike Champion but his single flying lap was still good enough for fourth on the grid ahead of teammate Cru Halliday and leading Kawasaki rider Mike Jones.
Ben Burke qualified seventh with a 67.520 ahead of fellow Kawasaki riders Matt Walters and Sean Condon while Linden Magee rounded out the top ten on his Fireblade SP.
Troy Guenther (Kawasaki) confirmed his up and comer status by topping Supersport qualifying today with a very impressive 68.852 at Mallala Motorsports Park. Half-a-second ahead of second placed Brayden Elliott (Suzuki). Michael Blair (Yamaha) and Jay Presepio (Yamaha) round out the front row.
Callum Spriggs (Yamaha) qualified fifth on his return from injury while Luke Mitchell (Yamaha) was sixth and Kyle Buckley (Kawasaki) was the last man in the 69-second bracket in seventh place on the grid.
There was then quite a gap back to Michael Knight (Yamaha) in eighth ahead of Mitch Levy (Yamaha) with Cambridge Olivier (Yamaha) rounding out the top ten.
Guenther’s qualifying pace impressive in this field, and faster than the slower Superbike competitors, but still 1.4-seconds down on the Supersport lap record Jamie Stauffer set here back in 2009.
Pro Twins / Nakedbike / Formula Xtreme C&D
While Beau Beaton had totally dominated the practice session on the booming 1600cc Vincent a crash this afternoon saw the Coffs Harbour based rider miss the late afternoon qualifying session. In his absence Angus Reekie took pole position on the mighty KTM 1290 Superduke ahead of James Arnold on a Ducati 1199 Panigale.
FX Ninja 300 Cup and eFXC Qualifying
Danny Pottage took pole position for the eFXC electric motorcycle race tomorrow with a 79.326 ahead of Jason Morris who put down a 79.930 on the Varley machine.
Luke Burgess took pole position in the FX Ninja 300 category ahead of Ben White and Paul Fitzgerald.
Formula Oz Qualifying
Ben Henry took pole position honours ahead of round one dominator Paul Byrne for tomorrow’s three Formula Oz races. Henry more than two-seconds quicker than third placed qualifier Adam Christie, a local South Australian rider on a BMW S 1000 RR.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.