Josh Waters takes first championship point of ASBK season 2018 with pole at a damp Phillip Island
While the track was dry enough for World Superbike competitors to get a good session in for their FP2 stoush (Link), and the rain just managed to hold off for the majority of the Supersport 300 qualifying session (see results further below), precipitation started just before Australian Superbike competitors joined the circuit for their one and only 20-minute qualifying session at 1340 this afternoon. Not a lot, but enough to make things precarious enough to suggest that caution would be the order of the day.
Riders had a choice to make. Go hard from the start, in case the rain started to get serious. Or take things very carefully and hope for the track to dry off in the dying minutes of the session. With only 20-minutes to play with, any game plan was going to be a gamble.
First to throw the dice hard were the YRT pairing of Daniel Falzon and Wayne Maxwell. The pair, already with plenty of laps under their belts due to their cross-entry in the World Superbike ranks, got straight down to business, a 1m45.76 for Maxwell and 1m46.93 for Falzon.
Another issue competitors faced, that was certainly compounded by the massive entry list for this opening round of the 2018 ASBK Championship, was that finding clear track was always going to be an issue. Another reason that going hard from the start might have been the wise option. Unless it turned out not wise that is…
Aaron Morris, Troy Bayliss, Josh Waters, and Michael Blair were the only other riders under the 1min50-sec at the halfway mark of the 20-minute session.
As the rain, which was still not heavy by any means, picked up a little more, suggesting that throwing that early dice had indeed turned out to be the right decision.
Just as it looked as though Troy Herfoss and Penrite Honda were going to be left languishing outside the top 20, Herfoss came from nowhere to bang in a 1m48.737 to move himself up to seventh quickest.
In the dying minutes of the session many riders decided it was now or never. Josh Waters punting the GSX-R1000 to the top of the timesheets to displace Maxwell.
The YRT pair were back on track now, Herfoss had improved to fourth and the leading trio were all setting a fastest split here and there, but struggling to link all those splits together into a pole winning lap…
Then it was Bayliss!
Troy Bayliss then shot to the top, a 1m45.090 with 30-seconds left on the clock.
Then it was Waters again!
The dream headline of Bayliss takes pole in ASBK return was then put on hold with Waters back on top, the first man in the 1m44s, a 1m44.192 to be exact.
Chequered flag out but Maxwell on a flyer!
Maxwell was fastest at all three splits but then lost some ground on the run to the line, crossing the stripe to stop the clock at 1m44.604.
Waters does it!
Josh Waters then went quicker again on his final lap, seconds after which the heaviest rain of the day started to fall. The pole lap a 1m43.676, and with it the first championship point of the 2018 ASBK season to the reigning Australian Superbike Champion, Josh Waters.
“Very happy to be on pole position, it’s still going to be very hard tomorrow though! It’s great to be cutting laps out there with Australia’s best in all conditions. Huge thanks to the team and we’ll try our hardest. I think everyone was cautious towards the end when the rain really came down.”
ASBK Final Qualifying Results
Coote M 1m52.860
Coote A 1m54.157
McIntyre 1m58.136 DNQ
Rhodes 1m58.420 DNQ
Kozan 1m58.993 DNQ
Gibson 1m59.513 DNQ
McMurray 2m00.453 DNQ
Vella 2m01.093 DNQ
Drew 2m09.787 DNQ
Davies 2m39.986 DNQ
Australian Superbike competitors will not take to the track again until 1640 on Saturday when the first of their three 12-lap races get underway.
The final two bouts will be staged on Sunday, the first of which is schedule for 1055 while the third is slated to run at 1630, after Sunday’s World Superbike race.
Broc Pearson (Yamaha, YZF-R6) was scintillating in the Australian Supersport Championship qualifying at Phillip Island’s opening round of the 2018 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK) this afternoon. Soaring to pole position in mixed conditions.
The Yamaha mounted rider posted a fastest lap of 1:50.261 to put himself in pole position, setting himself up for a great start to the season.
“It was super wet out there and it was hard to keep the concentration at times. We had the bike dialed in and I can’t thank my team enough, I’m just trying to stay focused and hopefully we can maintain our position come tomorrow.”
Posting ‘that time’ put Pearson .045s ahead of Yamaha Racing Team rider, Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R6) in second, while Brendan Clarke (Champions Ride Days Race Team, Kawasaki ZX-6R) will fill the three-rider front row of the talent-packed grid.
“We haven’t had much track time in the wet on the YZF-R6. I’m happy with the team, we still have some fine tuning to do, and they’ve been flat out with the WorldSBK wildcard operation. Hats off to them for the effort they’re putting in for the new season.”
Giuseppe Scarcella (BCperformance Junior Team, Kawasaki ZX-6R) will start out of fourth, 0.957s from the pole-time, after edging out yesterday’s pacesetter Tom Toparis (Cube Racing, Kawasaki ZX-6R) to round out the top five.
Positions six through 10 belong to Kiwi rider Damon Rees (Carl Cox M-sports, Honda CBR600RR, Nic Liminton (Yamaha YZF-R6), Aidan Hayes (Cube Racing, Kawasaki ZX-6R), Ty Lynch (Adelaide Motorcycle Recovery, Yamaha YZF-R6) and Matt Barton (Blue Marlin Pools East, Yamaha YZF-R6) respectively.
Race one of Australian Supersport 2018 ASBK is scheduled to be contested at 11:05am local time on Saturday.
Supersport 600 Final Qualifying
A determined line-up of Australian Supersport 300 Championship riders did battle on Friday at Phillip Island during Round 1 of the 2018 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK), with Harry Khouri (Yamaha Acid Racing, YZ-R3) collecting pole position, his first in the Australian Supersport 300 Championship.
Khouri stormed to the top of the timesheets with a 1:50.907, ahead of Tom Bramich (Yamaha JLT, YZ-R3) who recorded a 1:51.007 to qualify second. Hunter Ford (Yamaha South Sydney Commercial, YZ-R3) slotted into third overall with a time of 1:51.846.
“Qualifying went really well, I was improving my lap times throughout the session and I finally caught on to the group in front of me. I was lucky enough to get a good slip stream on the back of Levy, then using Hunter (Ford) to slip stream through to the line. I’m excited, as this is my first pole position and I do enjoy riding in the rain.”
Seth Crump (KTM Rock Oil, RC 390) impressed in tricky conditions to finish fourth clocking a time of 1:52.152, ahead of Zac Levy (Yamaha Puma RV, YZ-R3), who completed a tight top-five stopping the clock at 1:52.211. The top 10 was rounded out by Locky Taylor (Yamaha LTR Racing, YZ-R3), Oliver Bayliss (Kawasaki Cube Racing, Ninja 300), Max Stauffer (Yamaha Chris Watson M-cycles, YZ-R3), Ben Bramich (KTM GOWMoto, RC 390) and Benjamin Baker (Kawasaki BCPerformance Junior Team, Ninja 300).
With these riders securing their place on the grid, it sets up an exciting eight-lap opening race on Saturday at 10:40am local time.
Supersport 300 Final Qualifying
Bramich T 1m51.007
Bramich B 1m53.375
YMF R3 Cup
Qualifying took place today for Round 1 of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK), with Hunter Ford (Yamaha South Sydney Commercial, YZ-R3) setting the Phillip Island Circuit alight with a time of 1:50.394 to snatch pole position in the YMF R3 Cup.
Friday’s qualifying for the YMF R3 Cup was the final session of an action packed day at Phillip Island, with Ford managing to secure the coveted pole position from Tom Bramich (Yamaha JLT, YZF-R3) 1:50.443, who was the quickest in Thursday’s Free Practice.
Ford is happy with how the weekend is shaping up; “I’m feeling really good about how I’m riding, I’m excited to get out there and continue riding like this, and the set up is exactly how we want it so hopefully we can get a good start from pole tomorrow.”
Locky Taylor (Yamaha LTR Racing, YZF-R3) rounded out the podium with a time of 1:50.858 and joins the front of the grid for Saturday’s opening race.
Zac Levy (Yamaha Puma RV, YZF-R3) snuck in for fourth position after stopping the clock at 1:51.860, whilst the fastest qualifier from the Australian Supersport 300 class Harry Khouri (Yamaha Acid Racing, YZF-R3) had to settle for fifth position after crossing the line with a 1:52.362.
The top ten was rounded out by Max Stauffer (Yamaha Chris Watson M-cycles, YZ-R3), Laura Brown (Yamaha WNR, YZF-R3), Callum O’Brien (Yamaha Banhams WA YZF-R3), Ross Beames (Yamaha YZF-R3) and Travis Hall (Yamaha YZF-R3).
Saturday’s two races for the YMF R3 Cup will take place at 8:45 AM and 17:15PM and if qualifying is anything to go by we can expect a tight battle from start to finish.
YMF R3 Cup Top 10 Qualifying
Hunter FORD (Yamaha South Sydney Commercial, YZ-R3) 1:50.394
2. Tom BRAMICH (Yamaha JLT, YZ-R3) 1:50.443
3. Locky TAYLOR (Yamaha LTR Racing, YZ-R3) 1:50.858
4. Zac LEVY (Yamaha Puma RV, YZ-R3) 1:51.860
5. Harry KHOURI (Yamaha Acid Racing, YZ-R3) 1:52.362
6. Max STAUFFER (Yamaha Chris Watson M-cycles, YZ-R3) 1:52.886
7. Laura BROWN (Yamaha WNR, YZF-R3) 1:53.044
8. Callum O’BRIEN (Yamaha Banhams WA YZF-R3) 1:53.772
9. Ross BEAMES (Yamaha YZF-R3) 1:53.975
10. Travis HALL (Yamaha YZF-R3) 1:54.017
2018 ASBK Calendar
Round 1- WSBK, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC February 22 – 25
Round 2- Wakefield Park Raceway, Goulburn NSW March 16 – 18
Round 3- The Bend Motorsport Park, Tailem Bend, SA April 19 – 22
Round 4- Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin NT June 28 – 1 July
Round 5- Morgan Park Raceway, Warwick QLD August 17 – 19
Round 6- Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla, VIC September 7 – 9
Round 7- Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC October 12 – 14
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