ASBK Anecdotes with the Goose
Snapper Andrew Gosling recaps the recent ASBK Test at Phillip Island

Monday 30th of January marked the start of the 2017 Australian Superbike season with the first official test of the year taking place at the ever beautiful Phillip Island Circuit.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Troy and Oli Bayliss Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Troy and Oli Bayliss
Image: Andrew Gosling

After three days of perfect weather over the Phillip Island Classic weekend, Monday morning dawned overcast and threatening, the forecast was for 32-degrees and a reasonable chance of rain in the afternoon. It quickly became obvious that it was going to rain much earlier, and unfortunately is started almost as the first bikes went out on track.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Brandom Demmery Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Brandom Demmery
Image: Andrew Gosling

The feeling of the day was by far the most positive I have seen in many years. With there now, finally, being only one clear Australian Championship again for the first time since 2008. There is a real expectation that motorcycle racing at the highest level in Australia is finally back on track and heading in the right direction.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Ty Lynch Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Ty Lynch
Image: Andrew Gosling

The promise of free-to-air TV, as well as pay TV coverage and live streaming from all events, will hopefully help raise the profile of the sport in Australia.

A seven round championship is planned with six rounds currently confirmed and hopefully the one TBA round will be confirmed as Perth, hopefully ahead of the Championship kicking off as the support to World Superbikes in two weeks time.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Greg Farrell Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Greg Farrell
Image: Andrew Gosling

First out on track were the Supersport 300/R3 Cup/Moto 3 class bikes. Sadly, there were no Moto 3 bikes present, so it is going to be interesting to see how that class goes throughout the year, especially with some of the class stalwarts such as Brian Horton moving to other classes.

The most interesting thing about the first session was the appearance of Troy Bayliss, who went out to show his son, Oli, the way around Phillip Island.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Jonah Sita Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Jonah Sita
Image: Andrew Gosling

Broc Pearson, aboard a Yamaha R3, managed the fastest lap of the day with a 1:52:371 set in the final and driest session of the day. Was very hard to read anything into this class, as they seemed to get some of the worst of the weather conditions, along with not all bikes being up to their full specs, but there is a lot of good young talent present, as well as a number that weren’t at the test, thus I think it should be a very competitive class with a lot of really close racing…

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Greg Farrell Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Greg Farrell
Image: Andrew Gosling

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Bryan Staring Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Bryan Staring
Image: Andrew Gosling

Next out on track were the superbikes. 28 bikes were signed up for the test, with all the major manufacturers, except for Suzuki who are awaiting the new GSX-R1000, present with either factory or factory supported teams.

Yamaha easily had the lead in the number of bikes, with the 13 R1’s making up almost half of the bikes present.

The depth of talent in the Superbike class this year is at a level that we haven’t seen in many many years, getting into the top 10 is going to be an achievement.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Glenn Allerton Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Glenn Allerton
Image: Andrew Gosling

Fastest lap of the day went to Michael Blair, who had put in a soft compound tyre and produced a 1:33:197 on his final lap of the day. The top four places went to Yamaha’s with the factory bikes of Glenn Allerton and  Wayne Maxwell in second and fourth places, split by a very impressive Daniel Falzon.

The factory Honda of reigning ASBK Champion Troy Herfoss was fifth fastest, just over half a second of Blair’s lap time. It’s a bit of a shame that the new Hondas won’t be available until mid year but it is still going to be a brave person who writes them off, with the quality of riders and the quality of the team that Paul Free has behind him.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Daniel Falzon Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Daniel Falzon
Image: Andrew Gosling

Seventh place went to the returning Bryan Staring. The ex-champ was less than a second off the fastest time in his first ride back on an ASBK spec’ bike since he won the championship in 2011, and after spending the majority of 2016 recovering for serious injuries.

Other noteables making their debut in the Superbike class were Callum Spriggs on the ex Mike Jones Panigale and Troy Gunther on the Next Gen Motorsport run BMW, in 12th and 13th places they still have a way to go, but both performed well under the conditions, given their lack of experience with the bikes

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Callum Spriggs Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Callum Spriggs’ DesmoSport Ducati
Image: Andrew Gosling

Trying to pick a favourite for the for the Superbike championship this year is not easy, last years contenders, Herfoss, Maxwell and Allerton will for sure be up there again, but so will Staring and then add in Falzon,

Blair and Bugden could also win races throughout the season, thus it truly promises to be one of the best seasons ever.

Hopefully we will also see Josh Waters out there as well at some point, perhaps on a new GSX-R1000 when they arrive.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Kyle Buckley Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Kyle Buckley
Image: Andrew Gosling

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Jordan Carlsson Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Jordan Carlsson
Image: Andrew Gosling

The final class of the day was the Supersports, although they had the smallest number of bikes and 3.303 seconds covering the top 10 riders, compared to 1.757 for Superbikes and 2.991 for the Supersport 300’s there is still clearly a lot of talent in this class and with more track time and better conditions the racing will be close.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Tom Toparis Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Tom Toparis
Image: Andrew Gosling

My standout rider of the day comes for the Supersport class, Mark Chiodo has improved out of sight, he looked at one with the bike for the first time, not hanging off insanely far, and thus upsetting the bike balance on change of direction, which previously made him look as though he was on the verge of a crash most of the time. Now he is smooth and fast, his best lap time of 1:35.947 compares pretty well with the track record of 1:35.826, set by Shannon Johnson back in 2009 on a much higher spec’ machine than the Superport bikes we have now.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Sam Muldoon Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Sam Muldoon
Image: Andrew Gosling

Time spent in Mildura with the Waters boys has obviously helped Chiodo develop a new attitude towards his riding, and as long as he keeps that up he will be a serious threat for the championship. In fact, this is the only class where I am prepared to name a favourite, I think Mark can win it, as long as he keeps his head and keeps riding the way he did on Monday.

2017 ASBK Test - Phillip Island, January - Ryan Taylor Image: Andrew Gosling
2017 ASBK Test – Phillip Island, January – Ryan Taylor
Image: Andrew Gosling

Because of the weather it is very hard to draw any real conclusions from the test, none of the teams were able to get through their programs so we will have to wait until the first round kicks of in a couple of weeks as a support to the World Superbike round.  What we can say for sure is that it is going to be one of the most competitive and hard fought seasons in many years, with anything up to 15 riders battling for the top ten, and at least half of those being able to fight for the win.

A classic season awaits….

2017 Phillip Island ASBK Test – Supersport 300/Y3 Cup/Moto3 combined times
  1. #14 Broc PEARSON (QLD) Yamaha R3 321 1:52.371
  2. #33 Reid BATTYE (NSW) Kawasaki ER 300 1:52.385
  3. #71 Tom EDWARDS (QLD) Kawasaki ER 300 1:53.632
  4. #37 Jack MAHAFFY (VIC) Yamaha R3 321 1:54.079
  5. #1 Brandon DEMMERY (NSW) Yamaha R3 321 1:54.174
  6. #93 Drew SELLS (VIC) Kawasaki ER 300 1:54.448
  7. #39 Scott NICHOLSON (VIC) Kawasaki ER 300 1:54.495
  8. #85 Ty LYNCH (SA) Yamaha R3 321 1:54.737
  9. #333 Yannis SHAW (NSW) Kawasaki ER 300 1:55.300
  10. #355 Laura BROWN (NSW) Kawasaki ER 300 1:55.362
  11. #86 Oli BAYLISS (NSW) Kawasaki ER 300 1:55.812
  12. #151 Locky TAYLOR (QLD) Kawasaki ER 300 1:56.092
  13. #88 Luke SANDERS (VIC) Kawasaki ER 300 1:58.120
  14. #21 Troy BAYLISS (NSW) Kawasaki ER 300 1:59.379
  15. #15 Bronson PICKETT (WA) Kawasaki ER 300 2:00.837
  16. #65 Jonah SITA (WA) Yamaha R3 321 2:01.245
  17. #70 Troy RYAN () Kawasaki ER 300 2:01.355
  18. #81 Matthew CARTELLONE (QLD) Kawasaki ER 300 2:02.465
  19. #337 Greg FARRELL (NSW) Kawasaki ER 300 2:03.564
  20. #133 Grace POUTCH (WA) Kawasaki ER 300 2:03.777
2017 Phillip Island ASBK Test – Supersport combined times
  1. #12 Mark CHIODO (VIC) Triumph 675R 1:35.947
  2. #183 Lachlan EPIS (NSW) Kawasaki ZX6R 1:36.204
  3. #53 Mason COOTE (VIC) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:37.727
  4. #52 Ryan TAYLOR (VIC) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:37.732
  5. #70 Sam MULDOON (NSW) Kawasaki ZX6R 1:37.993
  6. #27 Nic LIMINTON (SA) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:38.438
  7. #64 Sam CONDON (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:38.601
  8. #82 Chris QUINN (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:38.602
  9. #5 Ted COLLINS (VIC) Suzuki GSX-R 1:38.875
  10. #7 Tom TOPARIS (NSW) Kawasaki ZX6R 1:39.077
  11. #81 Cambridge OLIVIER (ACT) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:39.309
  12. #45 Jordan CARLSSON (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:39.832
  13. #58 Callum ALDERSON (VIC) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:40.424
  14. #29 Patrick LI (VIC) Kawasaki ZX6R 1:40.961
  15. #71 Lincoln GILDING (QLD) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:43.968
  16. #22 Matt EDWARDS (QLD) Triumph 675R 1:44.263
  17. #56 Jimmy BROADBENT (NSW) Kawasaki ZX6R 1:45.417
  18. #24 Jack DAWES (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:45.731
  19. #46 Aidan HAYES (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:45.748
  20. #54 Brendan WILSON (VIC) Yamaha YZF-R6 1:59.638
2017 Phillip Island ASBK Test – Superbikes combined times
  1. #178 Michael BLAIR (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:33.197
  2. #14 Glenn ALLERTON (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:33.409
  3. #25 Daniel FALZON (SA) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:33.630
  4. #47 Wayne MAXWELL (VIC) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:33.662
  5. #1 Troy HERFOSS (NSW) Honda CBR RR 1:33.877
  6. #24 Robbie BUGDEN (QLD) Kawasaki ZX10R 1:33.942
  7. #67 Bryan STARING (WA) Honda CBR RR 1:34.065
  8. #86 Beau BEATON (NSW) Ducati Panigale 1:34.710
  9. #12 Matthew WALTERS (NSW) Kawasaki ZX10R 1:34.879
  10. #65 Cru HALLIDAY (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:34.954
  11. #54 Sam LAMBERT (NT) BMW 1:35.308
  12. #50 Callum SPRIGGS (QLD) Ducati 1199 1:35.344
  13. #56 Troy GUENTHER (QLD) BMW S RR 1:35.366
  14. #83 Kyle BUCKLEY (NSW) Kawasaki ZX10R 1:36.164
  15. #31 John HUNT (SA) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:36.167
  16. #68 Mitch LEVY (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:36.222
  17. #41 Simon GALLOWAY (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:37.596
  18. #93 David BARKER (VIC) Kawasaki ZX10R 1:37.805
  19. #34 William DAVIDSON (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:37.830
  20. #78 Nathan SPITERI (VIC) Kawasaki ZX10R 1:38.774
  21. #77 Adam SENIOR (WA) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:39.087
  22. #11 Philip CZAJ (VIC) Aprilia RSV4-F 1:39.559
  23. #48 Paul DUTTON (NSW) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:40.752
  24. #88 Brendan SCHMIDT (VIC) Kawasaki ZX10R 1:42.051
  25. #82 Jake DREW (VIC) Yamaha YZF-R1 2:03.923 1:42.569
  26. #69 Heath GRIFFIN (NSW) Ducati 1299 1:45.741
  27. #131 John QUINN (WA) Suzuki GSX-R 1:48.476
  28. #74 Scott McGREGOR (VIC) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:50.114