Wayne Maxwell tops ASBK Thursday Practice at Phillip Island
Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell headed a Yamaha 1-2 at the top of the timesheets today as first practice got underway at Phillip Island for the 2016 ASBK curtain raiser this weekend, a support act to the opening round of the 2016 WorldSBK Championship.
Maxwell was the only man to sneak into the 1-minute-33s, his 1m33.964 coming on the 13th of the busy 15-lap stint the 33-year-old put in during the 30-minute session.
“I owe full credit to the team at Yamaha. The bike was good straight off, it’s a good way to start the weekend’s proceedings at the top of the time sheets.
“Its good to be back here at my home track having a good time, the weather is holding off, which I am pretty happy about. It’s a little bit blustery out there but overall the conditions are pretty good.
“There’s a fair bit of traffic out there, everyone is trying to find their way. It’s the first race meeting of the year and we will just keep chipping away making improvements.”
Glenn Allerton was second quickest ahead of the Honda duo of Jamie Stauffer and Troy Herfoss.
“I’m happy with today, we had some small teething problems throughout the session but we have a clear direction for tomorrow, so to come out in P2 was a good start. I’m looking forward to some small improvements from myself and the bike tomorrow and we will be very strong.”
The Motologic prepared Fireblade SP machines debuted their new Crankt Protein colour scheme, recognising the new naming rights sponsor of the Campbellfield based squad. Stauffer put in a 1m34.205 while Herfoss recorded a 1m34.345.
“We were not too far from the front today, we only had one session so we tried to try a couple of different settings and didn’t get time to put a fast lap down, but I feel good on the bike so we will see what tomorrow brings us.”
Mike Jones was on his ASBK spec’ Desmosport Ducati today and managed a 1m34.453 to end the session fifth quickest ahead of fastest Kawasaki rider Robbie Bugden.
Daniel Falzon put in 1m34.896 to claim seventh on the leaderboard ahead of Superbike debutant Michael Blair and YRT encumbent Cru Halliday made it a trio of Yamaha YZF-R1 machines in that seventh through ninth spots on the charts.
Ben Burke rounded out the top ten ahead of similarly ZX-10R mounted Matt Walters while Brayden Elliott had his first official session on the GSX-R1000 Superbike to end today 12th quickest with a 1m35.740 the Tumut youngsters best.
In the Supersport ranks Troy Guenther topped proceedings ahead of Mark Chiodo, Luke Mitchell and Chris Quinn.
“It feels really good to top the times! I would just like to say a big thank you to my mechanic Scott, who has put it a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get this bike capable of being up the front. I’m feeling very good and quite confident for tomorrow.
“The track was a little bit greasy, little bit of warmer weather for Phillip Island standards, but the Yamaha R6 seemed to handle the conditions well and I am really looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow.
“This weekend we would like to try and get three race wins. It’s going to be difficult, there are a lot of competitive riders in the Superport field. Ultimately the goal for the season would be to win the ASBK Supersport championship.”
Moto 3/125GP rider Brian Houghton was excited to jump off the bike after his first session, topping the practice times with a 1:45.819, making his presence known leading into the 2016 ASBK season. Closely following Houghton was young gun Tayla Relph (1:46.929) who showed the boys how it was done, and Locky Taylor who completed the session strong in third with a 1:47.008.
Despite a minor mishap with his front screen at turn 12 mid-way through the Moto 3/125GP practice session, Houghton was happy to walk away unscathed.
“I was slightly slower than I normally go around here. The weather is not brilliant with the cross wind making it hard especially at Stoner Corner. I am on tyres that have already done a race meeting, so I was really struggling with grip.
“Coming into turn 12 I head butted my fearing, riding flat out in fourth gear, and just lost the back end. I was expecting a massive high-side but luckily kept on the bike. After that I came in, we will get ready and put new tyres on for tomorrow.”
In the Period 5/6 Historic category Dean Oughtred domintaed proceedings with a strong lap time of 1:41.788.
“It was really good, good fun, but pretty humid and sticky today. The track was good the tyres held a lot of grip. There was some head wind but all in all it was a good session.
“I had no dramas with grip and the bike was pulling strong, the only thing I really noticed was just the head wind. We are going to determine what we are going to do setup wise, and hopefully go another second or so quicker and stay in the top bunch.”
All four of the domestic support categories have another practice session on Friday morning before their individual qualifying sessions on Friday afternoon.
The first of three ten-lap Australian Superbike races will take place at 1115 on Saturday, the second bout will be on Sunday morning at 0920 while the final contest is scheduled for 1150, just before the World Supersport race on Sunday.
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