“Oliver Bayliss get over here and hug your mother!”
Those were the words issued with strident purpose and obvious joy as Oli’s mother Kim arrived alongisde Parc Ferme and demanded the attention of her son after he had just broken through for his maiden victory in the opening 10-lap Australian Supersport race of the weekend here at Phillip Island this morning.
Bayliss claimed the victory in a last-lap dash to the line with 2019 Champion Tom Toparis (Benro Racing Yamaha), in what is a huge weekend for the youngster combining ASBK with his World Supersport Wild Card appearance.
“It was really good. We got pole yesterday and we won that race just then. Hopefully the championhip can go on from there. It was a hard race and everyone was struggling for rear grip, so that just made it a little bit more interesting. Getting a win is always good, now we have Timed Practice for World Supersport, so hopefully we can go on from there. On the last lap (Toparis) pulled a few tenths on me and then he made a mistake out of turn 11, and I just got him at the line, so it was a good race. I only saw Jack and Tom, and I know Tom was going to do something on the last few laps, and I sort of knew where he could pass me and I used that to my advantage.”
Bayliss started from his first ever Australian Supersport pole position, a great start to what is a busy weekend for the teenager.
Toparis had re-emerged this morning after a nasty high-side in qualifying yesterday, reporting overnight that his foot got caught in the chain and he was lucky not to be seriously hurt.
Fortunately Toparis received only minor injuries and took his place in second on the grid alongside Bayliss on pole, and Jack Passfield (Stay Upright Yamaha) in third.
It was a great start for Bayliss to convert his pole position into a hole-shot into Turn 1. Passfield was looking to come up the inside into Honda corner, despite Oli having issues running wide through Siberia he managed to hold onto the lead.
Toparis had fallen back to fourth position but the top five was Bayliss, Passfield, Jack Hyde(SSS Developments Yamaha), Toparis and Nic Liminton (Yamaha), with a two-tenths gap back to Tom Edwards (Bikebiz Yamaha).
Passfield was now having multiple looks at Bayliss through Turns 3 and 4, with Toparis getting past Hyde through Siberia, and Liminton not going away.
Down the main straight Passfield was able to move out of Bayliss’ slipstream to have another crack at the lead and this time made it stick. He would lead on lap 3, Bayliss back to second and Toparis in third. The leading trio now had a small gap back to Hyde in fourth, with Liminton and Edwards next, and another gap back to Max Stauffer who was having a great run in his first ASSP appearance in seventh.
Bayliss and Passfield started trading the lead between themselves with Toparis sitting behind, and in the second group Jack Hyde tried to make a move up the inside of Liminton who was forced wide.
Toparis made a huge move on lap six to try for second around the outside at Stoner Corner to set the move up at Turn 4, but couldn’t make it stick. Bayliss ran wide at Siberia again but managed to maintain the lead, not for long though as Passfield was back through down the main straight. The lead group of three was now a second ahead of the second group and were free to fight for the win amongst themselves.
Suddenly Jack Passfield was tumbling down the timing screens, crashed at Turn 6, a devastating result for Passfield who has shown great speed this weekend.
Toparis made his move at Turn 1 on lap 9, finally claiming the lead. Bayliss was not going away though.
With one to go Toparis was still in front, Bayliss close behind and Liminton third. Edwards behind him and then Hyde having rejoined ahead of Stauffer.
Bayliss had a look up the inside into Turn 1 on the final lap but couldn’t make it stick.
Nic Liminton had taken advantage of the scrap and had now closed in, looking to launch a sneak attack from third, taking Edwards and Hyde with him.
As they raced towards the chequered flag they were side by side and over the line it was Bayliss by a hair to take his first Australian Supersport victory.
Race 2 for Motorsports TV Australian Supersport is this afternoon at 1715, as part of the Yamaha Finance Round of the 2020 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship weekend at Phillip Island.
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