Josh Hook leads Team Honda home in second SBK bout – By Trevor Hedge
Josh Hook led the charge for Team Honda on a beautiful sunny morning at Phillip Island today.
Right from the start it was clear that it was going to be somewhat of a Team Honda benefit up front as despite an incredible 20km/h speed advantage in the favour of Glenn Allerton’s BMW S 1000 R, the current ASBK Champion had no answer for the Honda boys and could not lap within a second of the Honda CBR1000RR SP mounted quartet.
Josh Hook stamped his dominance within the Paul Free managed squad today with a staggering level of aggression, not in regards to other riders but in regards to the way he attacked the 4.45km circuit with almost reckless abandon. Running across ripple strips at places other riders seemingly feared to tread, Hook kept the almost standard 165hp Fireblade SP, still in very tightly regulated ASC-FX production rules trim, nailed to the stop as it slid, bucked and wheelied around the circuit in a breathtaking display of total commitment all the way to the flag.
Hook was the fastest rider on every single lap of the eight lap encounter, a 40.1 from a standing start was then followed up with; 33.1 – 32.89 – 32.81 – 32.796 – 32.792. A consistent pace that not even his highly credentialled teammates could match.
Jamie Stauffer made a concerted effort to try and challenge Wayne Maxwell for second place in the closing laps but could not get close enough to mount a serious challenge. Herfoss was strong early on but faded as the race wore on and the pace increased, certainly not through a lack of fitness but perhaps a lack of time on fast circuits such as Phillip Island in recent years hurting Herfoss this weekend.
Glenn Allerton will be bitterly disappointed with fifth place here. The NextGen squad allowed to run their favoured Pirellis at this event in comparison to the control Dunlops mandated during the ASC-FX season, and despite that incredible top end horsepower difference resulting in a 20km/h faster top speed than race winner Hook, they simply had no answer today. For the reigning current ASBK Champion, a ten second difference over eight laps will be a very bitter pill to swallow, the squad will be looking for answers overnight in order for Allerton try and get that prodigious BMW horsepower to the ground more effectively.
In the Supersport ranks it was South Australian Daniel Falzon who dominated proceedings. Aaron Morris and Callum Spriggs were right with him early on but Falzon had the speed and consistency to pull away from his pursuers and card a three-second win over Morris at the flag.
The third and final Superbike bout kicks off at 0940 Sunday morning. Supersport race three kicks off proceedings at 0905.