ASBK 2013 – Round Four/Five – Sydney Motorsports Park – Full Friday Report, Notes & Quotes by Phil Harlum
Sydney Motorsport Park has seen a blitzkrieg of fast times across all categories in the much awaited return of the ASBK to the western Sydney Venue.
In what is shaping up to be a weekend of excellent racing, two days of qualifying for the double header event – rounds four and five of the 2013 QBE ASBK – have seen quick times, heartbreak and quite a few personal best performances in all classes.
On Thursday local hero Glenn Allerton went within a whisker of breaking into the 1:29 second barrier, setting the fastest ever lap of the technical SMP layout with Suzuki star – and last round winner – Robbie Bugden right on his tail in the Superpole Shootout for grid positions in round four.
“I was on track for a 29 and got it lit up out of turn nine” explained Allerton yesterday afternoon. “That meant I was in the wrong gear and it cost me a few tenths by the end of the lap. If I had of got that right it would have been a 29.7 or 29.8 for sure”.
Allerton had looked strong over every session held to date but Superpole 3 held on Friday afternoon for grid positions for round five saw Team Suzuki rise the top of the timesheets. Wayne Maxwell was the first rider into the 29’s flashing across the line to record a 1:29.877 and head the timesheets. Shortly after team mate Bugden bettered that mark by .035 of a second to move into Pole position, Allerton was third with a 1:30.223, three tenths outside his impressive 30.078 of yesterday.
“Today we coughed up our first pole” said championship leader Allerton. “we’ve given the other guys a look at what it’s like at the front, but I’m not going to let them have it tomorrow”.
“We have been working on trying to get comfortable on the Suzuki” commented Team Suzuki’s Maxwell. “I’m comfortable do mid to low thirties but the pace has been superhot here today, to do a 29.8 and still not get pole, shows that. At least it was my team mate Robbie and to have Suzuki one two shows how hard everyone has been working to get the Suzuki back at the front.
“I’m stoked, we had a bit of catching up to do yesterday and I’d built some momentum going into yesterday’s Superpole and to miss pole by .011 was disappointing” said Robbie Bugden. “But we came back here this morning and continued that process of building and we went 29.8, to be honest I think there may even be a little bit more in that too, it feels great and let’s hope we can keep the momentum going and come out tomorrow with some race wins”.
With the point gained today Bugden draws level with team mate Maxwell in the overall championship standings, Allerton increased his lead over the now tied Suzuki team riders to fifteen points after his pole position performance in Thursday’s Superpole.
Rounding out the front row in both Superpole Shootouts was the still injured Jamie Stauffer from Team Honda. Stauffer is still recovering from the pelvic injury sustained in testing for the last round in Queensland but has also been busy competing in the Suzuka 8 Hour race last weekend. When asked what his fitness level was for this weekend Staffer rated himself a seven. Superpole 3 times of 1:30.6 on Thursday and 1:30.475 today indicate that the two time ASBK champ could be a big threat this weekend as his fitness – and confidence to push – grow.
Following his team mate home on both days was superbike rookie Josh Hook “I’m not over the moon, the result wasn’t that good and that lap time is not that great either. We’ve got a way to go with the bike and we are struggling here and there in the back section and that second sector is really long. Al the guys at Team Honda Racing are working hard on the bike to try and improve my lap time so hopefully we have a few thing planned for tomorrow and we’ll have to see how we go. I’ve never been real good at qualifying and I hope I can tag onto them in the race with not too much trouble.
Sixth on both days, but improving by .8 of a second today in an impressive display was leading privateer, Insure My Ride Team’s Superbike rookie and former 125GP Champion Glenn Scott. Scott has benefited this weekend from the help and from master rider trainer Bernie Hatton.
“Today was awesome” beamed Scott. “Yesterday as a massive learning curve for us and what we learnt yesterday we put into today. We have just been making small changes with my riding and the setup and we have found more tyre life and that second or so that we were looking for. Full credit to the team, all our sponsors, and also the ongoing assistance from Motologic. Tomorrow’s goal is to get a good start and run with the factory boys for as long as possible”.
Seventh on both days was the multiple Australian Enduro Champion and Finke Desert race winner Phil Lovett. Lovett was over the moon when he uncorked and 1:32.369 on Friday but then proceeded to obliterate that time with a super impressive 1:31.923 today.
Thanks to Jamie Stauffer and young Hooky for giving me a bit of a tow around and showing me how you do it” joked Lovett. “I just chased them around and felt comfortable behind Jamie…..but a 31.9, I was going to give the road bikes away at a flat 1:40, that was eighteen months ago and I am really wrapped in a 31.9 so I guess the only way to go now is a 30”
Rounding out the second row of the grid for Saturday’s round four is Racers Edge Performance Suzuki’s Beau Beaton who, along with the team, made a miscalculation in their pit stop strategy today and will start Sundays round five races from tenth.
Chas Hern on the CM Racing Suzuki bounced back from a difficult Thursday to record the eighth fastest time today.
The Supersport Category will see Queenslander Callum Spriggs start from Pole position for Saturdays round four with Daniel Falzon recording an impressive 1:33.1 to improve the pole mark by .4 of a second in Fridays Superpole.
Spriggs looked to have some bike issues in the third Superpole session and was busy with an engine swap after experiencing troubles late in Superpole 3 as he pushed to improve from fifth position but was unable to do so.
“On Thursday we were pretty confident and I pushed hard in both Superpole one and two but it wasn’t enough yesterday” explained Championship leader Falzon. “I haven’t won a Superpole yet so I wanted it pretty bad today, but to record a 1:33.1, well I couldn’t be happier. We have learnt a lot over the last two days and our Dunlop’s are working fantastic.”
Saturday’s Supersport races will see Aaron Morris, back at the sharp end start from third and last round’s pole man Chris Quinn round out the front row, all four Yamaha YZF-R6 mounted.
Sundays round five Supersport races will see last round victor move onto the front row in third with Morris back to fourth. Spriggs will start from fifth after his engine dramas whilst fellow Queenslander Aiden Wagner will start from second behind Falzon after improving by 1.2 seconds from Thursday’s time that secured him seventh.
In the Prostock class the previous best lap was completely obliterated by Championship leader Matty Walters on the Kawasaki Connection / Rover Coaches Kawasaki ZX-10R. Pat Medcalf’s previous best lap set in 2009 of 1:34.864 was lowered by over three seconds to 1:31.529. Walters was unable to match his Thursday time on Friday with a slight headwind but was once again able to hold off the challenge of fellow Kawasaki rider Dustin “Mr Excitement” Goldsmith.
“Its been unreal” said an elated Walters. “The bike has been set up really good we haven’t had any dramas and the bikes been helping me to some good lap times. My fitness has improved over the last few weeks which has helped, so if all the stars align we should come away with some race wins this weekend and extend the championship lead”.
“I got help up and bit on my good lap on both days” lamented Goldsmith. “Still second is not bad and we’ll concentrate on getting good starts and making the right tyre choices”.
Flying Phil Lovett was third on his ZX-10R Ninja and Bikebiz Kawasaki’s Sean Condon fourth on both occasions. The second row of the grid for both rounds will feature some V-Twin power, with former Supermoto star Angus Reekie (6-6) on his KTM RC8R and multiple Pro Twin Champion Craig McMartin (5-8) on his Ducati 1199 Panigale. Ben Nicholson who came into this double header round in second place is riding in considerable discomfort after breaking several bones in his wrist only four weeks ago, Nicholson will start from positions 10 & 12 on the Next Gen Motorsport BMW S1000RR.
Brandon Demmery and Luke Burgess will start from pole for rounds four and five respectively with rising star Tom Bramich third on both days. Jack Baker rounds out the front row for round four with Sophie Lovett surging onto the front row for round five.
The Moto3/125GP Category will see the same riders start from the front row, in identical order for both rounds, the pace currently being set by Lawson Walters on his immaculate KTM. Max Croker will start from second on the only 125GP machine on the front row with Lachlan Kavney third and young Queenslander Callum Barker fourth.
AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP at Sydney Motorsport Park. Rd 5. Superpole Times:
1. Robert BUGDEN (Suzuki) 1:29.842,
2. Wayne MAXWELL (Suzuki) 1:29.877,
3. Glenn ALLERTON (BMW) 1:30.223,
4. Jamie STAUFFER (Honda) 1:30.475
5. Josh HOOK (Honda) 1:31.288,
6. Glenn SCOTT (Honda) 1:31.358,
7. Phil LOVETT (Kawasaki) 1:31.923,
8. Chas HERN (Suzuki) 1:32.920,
9. Sloan FROST (NZ) 1:32.923,
10. Beau BEATON (Suzuki) 1:33.401,
11. Ben HENRY (Suzuki) 1:33.672,
12. Linden MAGEE (BMW) 1:34.001,
13. Adam SENIOR (Honda) 1:35.545
1. Daniel FALZON (Yamaha) 1:33.160,
2. Aiden WAGNER (Yamaha) 1:33.795,
3. Michael BLAIR (Yamaha) 1:33.932,
4. Aaron MORRIS (Yamaha) 1:34.357,
5. Callum SPRIGGS (Yamaha) 1:34.385,
6. Kyle BUCKLEY (Yamaha) 1:34.973,
7. Ryan TAYLOR (Yamaha) 1:35.058,
8. Aaron GOBERT (Kawasaki) 1:35.403,
9. Chris QUINN (Yamaha) 1:35.498,
10. Mason COOTE (Yamaha) 1:36.244,
11. Luke BURGESS (Kawasaki) 1:36.664,
12. Michael LOCKART (Kawasaki) 1:37.107,
13. Thomas BRYDEN (Yamaha) 1:39.303
QBE Australian Superbike Championship Championship Standings
1. Glenn ALLERTON (NSW), 95
2. Wayne MAXWELL (VIC) , 80
3. Robert BUGDEN (QLD), 80
4. Josh HOOK (NSW) , 67
5. Jamie STAUFFER (NSW), 66
6. Glenn SCOTT (NSW), 54
7. Beau BEATON (NSW) , 49
8. Linden MAGEE (QLD), 43
9. Phil LOVETT (NSW), 38
10. Ben HENRY (QLD), 34
Motul Supersport Championship Standings
1. Daniel FALZON (SA), 80pts
2. Ryan TAYLOR (VIC), 72pts
3. Chris QUINN (NSW) , 71pts
4. Michael BLAIR (NSW), 65pts
5. Aaron MORRIS (NSW), 57pts
6. Callum SPRIGGS (QLD) , 53pts
7. Aiden WAGNER (QLD), 52pts
8. Alastair HOOGENBOEZEM (NZ), 45pts
9. Luke BURGESS (QLD), 44pts
10. Brendan CLARKE (QLD), 43pts
— Team Honda Report
Rounds 4 and 5 of the Australian Superbike Championship are underway at Sydney Motorsport Park with practice and qualifying having taken place over the last 2 days. #27 Jamie Stauffer starts all 4 races this weekend on the front row in P4 with his fastest lap time recorded in today’s Superpole, a 1:30.475 sec. #34 Josh Hook will start from P5 on the grid, his fastest lap time being 1:31.279 sec.
Team Honda Racing will be looking to some slight setting changes tonight to improve lap times in readiness for the weekend’s racing.
Team Principal, Paul Free is optimistic about the weekend ahead, saying “we have tried a lot of different settings and ideas over the last two days, trying to get the best out of our Honda CBR1000s. The circuit is quite bumpy since we last raced here in 2009. We were chasing a direction with the bikes to try and handle the bumps better and improve the feeling for the riders, but what we learnt was we just really need more acceleration grip from the bikes. I’m confident going into tomorrow’s races that both riders will improve with the changes we are making overnight.”
Hook: “It has been a few years since the Australian Superbike Championship has been to Eastern Creek and it’s really good to be here, it’s an awesome circuit. Thursday and Friday we had practice and qualifying for this weekend’s racing. I’m still getting used to the Superbike around this circuit, it is not easy to get the speed I’d like around here as we are having a lot of problems with wheel-standing and a few things which makes it difficult, but we are slowly getting there. I will start from 5th on the grid for both races on Sunday. It is all going well and the team is working extremely hard to help me improve my lap times. Once we move forward with the bike setting I’ll be right in the mix so I’m looking forward to the next 2 days of racing.”
Stauffer: “This weekend has been pretty good so far, we are a little bit behind the front of the field, but the bike is feeling better every time I go out. Everyone is improving with more time on the track so we need to make a jump forward with some setting changes overnight and get back in there with the front guys. The mechanics are working hard as am I and I believe we will see better lap times tomorrow. I’m looking forward to racing again at Sydney Motorsport Park!”