ASBK 2022 – Round Five
Morgan Park – Friday Morning Wrap
Riders were greeted by an overcast morning here at Morgan Park as the fifth round of the 2022 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Alpinestars Superbike Championship got underway at the tricky three-kilometre lay-out. Rain was expected and you could amost feel it in the air.
Pit crews were left scrambling for generators this morning as the demands of tyre-warmers in certain sections of the pits were tripping the power. Teams affected included both the BMW squads, McMartin Racing and Matt Walters, along with many others.
There had been a few twists and turns unfolding this week ahead of this round with Josh Waters pulling out of the meeting. Josh told MCNews.com.au he has no comment to make until after this race meeting is over, so we will leave it at that for now, but needless to say, he has obviously not been happy with the team or the bikes, or he would be here…
With sponsor commitments to put two bikes on the grid, Kinderis has called up Kiwi Sloan Frost to ride the bike. The 40-year-old multiple time NZ Superbike Champ was already here with his son Nixon, who competes in the Oceania Junior Cup. Last minute run-arounds this morning involved getting Frost an M.A. licence for the team to secure him a late entry, which only got finalised an hour before first practice.
727Moto had announced that Broc Parkes would step into the fold after Broc Pearson split with the team a few months ago. The team though are only fielding Jed Metcher this weekend as Parkes felt as though they had not had enough preparation under his belt to race here. They did have some test days leading up to the round but they were plagued by inclement weather, and this led Parkes to pull the pin for this one, but their plan is to have him race the bike in the remaining rounds of the season.
South Australian Daniel Falzon is taking time out to further convalesce after finding some niggling injuries from his crash at The Bend late last year remain unresolved.
Mark Chiodo has also decided not to race this round, as has fellow Victorian privateer Chandler Cooper.
But we do have Broc Pearson back on the grid, the Supersport champ teaming up with DesmoSport Ducati to ride a V4 R. He knows this circuit as good as anyone, and has run high 14s on a Supersport bike here before, so he could be competitive enough to break into the top six. What might hold him back though is a lack of experience on a Superbike on well worn tyres in the latter half of the race.
Tyre longevity will be crucial here for all competitors here this weekend and a major factor that teams will be working on ahead of Sunday’s two 16-lap races. While this would generally involve setting up a bike somewhat long and lazy, so it is more controllable when the grip is gone, without having to lean on the electronics too hard, the tight and technical nature of this track makes that an untenable set-up for quick lap-times. So it really is a fine line of balance they will all tread as they work towards Sunday, where fine and sunny conditions are forecast with temperatures in the high teens.
Robbing riders and teams of some of that cruical set-up time was very light, almost imperceptible, drizzle that started to drift across the circuit after riders had only completed a couple of laps.
Shortly after, the power started to go out in more areas of the circuit, with the media centre then also getting blacked out along with timing. We had it all going on here this morning… With such a relatively small entry lists across some of the main categories, it does make me wonder how bad the power issues would have been if we had fuller grids… The power cut caused the session to be halted for a few minutes as power was restored before pit lane was opened again, by now though the drizzle had got a little heavier, and that was pretty much the session wrecked for all.
Wayne Maxwell had put in a best of 1m14.426 on his fourth lap of the session, which was also his last lap of the session. Likewise few riders managed more than a couple of laps this morning, and no riders went out for the remaining damp 12 minutes or so after the power interruption, thus these times mean absolutely nothing. A wasted morning for all those that had their ducks in a row, but some more breathing time for those still rushing to complete last minute preparations to their machines ahead of the race weekend.
Championship leader John Lytras was quickest out of the blocks this morning in the Michelin sponsored Supersport class with a handy half-a-second over Ty Lynch and Tom Bramich. The pace this morning was low 1m16s, more than a second off the race lap record and 1.5-seconds from the qualifying record set by Cru Halliday back in 1m14.609. 13 riders took to the track for FP1 this morning.
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