Michael Blair on pole for Swann Superbikes in QLD

Superbike competitors had four x 14-minute practice sessions today ahead of the 15-minute qualifying session at 1535 that decided the grid for tomorrow’s three Ipone FX-Superbike nine-lap races. That three by nine-lap race schedule for Superbike will be repeated again on Sunday in the Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship.

Robbie Bugden was the fastest man at Queensland Raceway today, but the local man’s 69.62 came in the opening practice session this morning, while Blair saved his best for last to take pole position in the qualifying session.

Robert Bugden

“We have been working on a few different things, trialling some different settings, we are in a pretty good position, we have a good package in the BCperformance SA Kawasaki, let’s go racing tomorrow and see how we fare. This place always seems to drop a little bit of pace later in the afternoon, so not going to read too much in to qualifying, but we will have a bit of a chat about and I think we can get the bike a little better again.”

Robbie Bugden - Image by Keith Muir
Robbie Bugden – Image by Keith Muir

Michael Blair set the qualifying pace in warmer and windier conditions this afternoon on the Ipone / Blairbuild Yamaha YZF-R1. Blair was the only man in the 69s this afternoon, setting his 69.914 on the ninth of his nine laps.

Michael Blair

“First pole position on the Superbike so pretty excited, but it is not over yet, the boys will come out hard in the races tomorrow. Bike is working really well, gelled with it at this track so just keep moving forward and trying a few little tweaks to try and get a few more tenths out of it.”

Michael Blair - Image by Keith Muir
Michael Blair – Image by Keith Muir

The control tyre this weekend is Dunlop’s KR133, a tyre with more longevity than outright grip than the tyre used here in 2015. Last year Cru Halliday set the qualifying pace at 68.685, while the race benchmark last year was 68.33 recorded by Glenn Allerton.

Mitch Levy took pole position in the Supersport category ahead of Kyle Buckley and Jordan Carlsson.

Mitch Levy - Image by Keith Muir
Mitch Levy – Image by Keith Muir

In the Ninja 300 Cup it was local youngster Broc Pearson by half-a-second over Tom Toparis who made it a Cube Racing 1-2. Pearson is new to the Ninja ranks as the 15-year-old has been competing in the Asia Dream Cup CBR250 based series. Toparis is a few months older, but the Goulburn 16-year-old has only just taken up motorcycle racing this year. Both youngsters have recently benefitted from some coaching by 2015 Swann Superbike Champion Troy Herfoss. Pearson was only three-tenths off Paul Young’s race lap record set last year.

Broc Pearson - Image by Keith Muir
Broc Pearson – Image by Keith Muir

Craig McMartin topped the Pro Twins / Nakedbike session on his return to the racetrack on the Ducati Panigale R. Beau Beaton was second quickest on the Irving Vincent 1600.

Simon Galloway headed the Formula Oz qualifying session ahead of Lucas Vitale.

Sunny conditions are forecast all weekend with cool mornings graduating into afternoon temperatures in the low 20-degree celsius band.

Superbike Qualifying
  1. Michael Blair 69.914
  2. Robbie Bugden 70.002
  3. Ben Burke 70.033
  4. Beau Beaton 70.544
  5. Matt Walters 70.654
  6. Paul Byrne 70.655
  7. Craig McMartin 70.878
  8. Brad Swallow 71.245
  9. Liam Wilkinson 71.361
  10. Jack Baker 73.561
Supersport Qualifying
  1. Mitch Levy 72.958
  2. Kyle Buckley 73.300
  3. Jordan Carlsson 74.220
  4. Ryan Masri 74.985
  5. Anthony Quinn 75.089
  6. Sam Muldoon 75.182
  7. Hayden Spinks 76.550
  8. Phillip Burke 77.399
  9. Keith Feely 79.721
  10. Bernie Russell 81.088
FX Ninja 300 Qualifying
  1. Broc Pearson 84.801
  2. Tom Toparis 85.346
  3. Sam Condon 85.915
  4. Jimmy Broadbent 86.666
  5. Ryan Sellen 87.155
  6. Pat Condon 87.222
  7. Jack Dawes 87.714
  8. Riki Lanyon 88.196
  9. Douglas Bloomer 88.487
  10. Lewis Wright 88.865
FX Pro Twins / Nakedbike Qualifying
  1. Craig McMartin 71.421
  2. Beau Beaton 72.766
  3. Michael McMillan 73.235
  4. Heath Griffin 74.64
  5. Adrian Pierpoint 75.830
Formula Oz Qualifying
  1. Simon Galloway 71.883
  2. Lucas Vitale 72.816
  3. Mitch Levy 73.114
  4. Brett Kitchin 73.471
  5. Damian Sutton 73.575