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.

Wayne Maxwell - Image by Colvin
Wayne Maxwell – Image by Colvin

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…

Troy Bayliss - Image by Colvin
Troy Bayliss – Image by Colvin

Then it was Bayliss!

Troy Bayliss then shot to the top, a 1m45.090 with 30-seconds left on the clock.

Troy Bayliss put a thumb up to photographer Andrew Gosling without realising Wayne Maxwell was on it hard behind him and nearly ran up his backside! Image by TBG
Troy Bayliss put a thumb up to photographer Andrew Gosling without realising Wayne Maxwell was on it hard behind him and nearly ran up his backside! Image by TBG

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.

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.”

Josh Waters - Image by TBG
Josh Waters – Image by TBG

ASBK Final Qualifying Results

  1. Waters 1m43.676
  2. Maxwell 1m44.604
  3. Bayliss 1m45.093
  4. Falzon 1m45.411
  5. Herfoss 1m45.987
  6. Blair 1m46.509
  7. Allerton 1m46.932
  8. Rees 1m48.359
  9. Morris 1m49.150
  10. Walters 1m49.192
  11. Buckley 1m49.248
  12. Jones 1m49.470
  13. Staring 1m49.549
  14. Chiodo 1m50.737
  15. Barker 1m50.793
  16. Tooley 1m51.633
  17. Swallow 1m51.820
  18. Spriggs 1m52.225
  19. Strugnell 1m52.555
  20. Phillis 1m52.566
  21. Senior 1m52.626
  22. Turner 1m52.695
  23. Collins 1m52.829
  24. Coote M 1m52.860
  25. Faulkhead 1m53.335
  26. Sissis 1m53.339
  27. Vitale 1m53.741
  28. Travers 1m53.952
  29. Coote A 1m54.157
  30. Czaj 1m54.293
  31. Kokkoris 1m54.308
  32. McGregor 1m54.369
  33. Griffin 1m54.540
  34. Harding 1m55.928
  35. Levy 1m57.019
  36. Manuel 1m57.473
  37. Spiteri 1m57.566
  38. Smith 1m57.744
  39. Limanis 1m57.843
  40. Li 1m57.994
  41. McIntyre 1m58.136 DNQ
  42. Rhodes 1m58.420 DNQ
  43. Kozan 1m58.993 DNQ
  44. Gibson 1m59.513 DNQ
  45. McMurray 2m00.453 DNQ
  46. Vella 2m01.093 DNQ
  47. Drew 2m09.787 DNQ
  48. 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.


Supersport 600

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.

Broc Pearson

“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.”

Broc Pearson splashes his way to pole position this afternoon at Phillip Island - Image by TBG
Broc Pearson splashes his way to pole position this afternoon at Phillip Island – Image by TBG

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.

Cru Halliday

“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.”

Cru Halliday - Image by TBG
Cru Halliday – Image by TBG

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

  1. Pearson 1m50.261
  2. Halliday 1m50.306
  3. Clarke 1m51.218
  4. Scarcella 1m51.311
  5. Toparis 1m51.686
  6. Rees 1m51.853
  7. Liminton 1m52.111
  8. Hayes 1m52.227
  9. Lynch 1m53.312
  10. Barton 1m53.686
  11. Nicholson 1m54.558
  12. Croker 1m54.954
  13. Skeer 1m55.978
  14. Johnson 1m55.986
  15. Belling 1m56.534
  16. Bryden 1m56.740
  17. Mitchell 1m59.394

Supersport 300

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.

Harry Khouri

“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.”

Harry Khouri - Image by TBG
Harry Khouri – Image by TBG

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

  1. Khouri 1m50.907
  2. Bramich T 1m51.007
  3. Ford 1m51.846
  4. Crump 1m52.152
  5. Levy 1m52.211
  6. Taylor 1m52.476
  7. Bayliss 1m52.829
  8. Stauffer 1m53.020
  9. Bramich B 1m53.375
  10. Baker 1m53.830
  11. O’Brien 1m53.936
  12. Brown 1m54.262
  13. Whiteside 1m54.487
  14. Power 1m54.551
  15. Briffa 1m54.743
  16. Nerlich 1m54.811
  17. Hall 1m54.864
  18. Relph 1m55.763
  19. Edser 1m56.132
  20. Pickett 1m56.816
  21. Ryan 1m57.220
  22. Brook 1m57.740
  23. Kuhne 1m58.102
  24. Hocking 1m58.413
  25. Beames 1m58.654
  26. Hazeldene 1m59.337
  27. Brett 1m59.782
  28. Bunting 1m59.910
  29. Hynd 2m00.615
  30. Barnes 2m01.198
  31. Penhallurick 2m02.040
  32. Lytras 2m02.282
  33. Dadd 2m03.001
  34. Pickering 2m04.014
  35. Wensemius 2m04.980
  36. Ford 2m05.425
  37. Bottomley 2m05.761
  38. Kapilawi-James 2m07.159

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.

Hunter Ford
Hunter Ford

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

  1. 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

  1. Round 1- WSBK, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC February 22 – 25
  2. Round 2- Wakefield Park Raceway, Goulburn NSW March 16 – 18
  3. Round 3- The Bend Motorsport Park, Tailem Bend, SA April 19 – 22
  4. Round 4- Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin NT June 28 – 1 July
  5. Round 5- Morgan Park Raceway, Warwick QLD August 17 – 19
  6. Round 6- Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla, VIC September 7 – 9
  7. Round 7- Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC October 12 – 14

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