Staring on pole position at Qld Raceway; Johnson puts the KTM on front row
After all but counting himself out, Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing pilot Bryan Staring was able to produce a near perfect lap to claim pole position for the fifth round of the Viking Australian Superbike Championship at Queensland Raceway.
Staring struggled in today’s two 30-minute qualifying sessions and was hopeful of simply securing a front-row start.
Mid-way through Motul Superpole, Staring’s split time suggested he had found some extra pace, and it was confirmed as he stopped the clock with a 1:10.379 lap of the 3.12km circuit, the fastest lap of the day.
The 23-year-old Gold Coast-based rider was surprised by the result and said it set him up for a good shot at race victory tomorrow.
“Before I’d even begun I’d taken myself out of the equation, after a slow day I really didn’t think I stood a chance,” said Staring.
“The lap felt okay, there were a few little mistakes that felt like half a second each time but turned out to be a tenth or less – they are always much more pronounced in your mind because you only get one shot at the lap.
“The conditions have been tough all weekend, yesterday didn’t give us too much to go on and the whole field was struggling for pace earlier in the day.
“The whole team has been trying really hard and we’ve finally got there with our fourth shot at it (pole position) – it’s a great feeling and a good reward to those that have worked so hard and backed us.”
Wayne Maxwell came agonisingly close to knocking Staring from the top spot, lapping just nine-hundredths of a second slower than his fellow Honda rider.
The Demolition Plus GAS Honda pilot claimed provisional pole after a solid showing in this afternoon’s second qualifying session, and was encouraged despite missing out by such a small margin.
KTM Superbike Team rider Shannon Johnson enjoyed a welcome return to form, qualifying his RC8R in third position with a tidy Superpole lap.
“Qualifying has been a dream run in comparison to the last round, last time we were here we only did 3 laps in qualifying – this time I find myself in third,” said Johnson.
“It’s the first time all year we’ve made Superpole and we improved a handful of positions on top of qualifying.
“It’s a huge credit to all involved in the outfit including KTM and ESG (Evolution Sports Group). After the last round I was really questioning myself but we worked hard, tried a few things at a test which yielded positive result and here we are.
“This is the best the bike has felt all year, it feels good in the turns which was its weak point in the past. Over race distance this will be a strong point, too.
“I’ve already exceeded my goal for the weekend and – who knows – we might just be in a position to take a podium which would be amazing.”
The Valvoline-backed entry of Glenn Allerton made it three Honda CBR1000RR racers on the front row, with the 2008 champ recording a 1:11.300.
CJC Racing Superstock entrant Craig Coxhell made it in to Superpole for the second round in a row and showed the might of the 1000cc BMW machine on Queensland Raceway’s two long straights.
He was fifth quickest and heads up the second row of the grid, followed by The Natural Aprilia Racing’s Dan Stauffer, Team Mack Trucks Suzuki’s Robbie Bugden and Ducati Motologic’s Jamie Stauffer who made a small mistake on his flying lap.
The Motul Superpole result showcases the diversity of the field in 2010 – six manufacturers make up the top eight grid placings ahead of tomorrow’s two 16-lap races.
A cloudless sky and track temperatures close to thirty degrees made for a welcome change from a grey and greasy day yesterday.
As a result there were far fewer incidents, though the second qualifying session of the day was red-flagged when Jordy Burgess crashed his Ducati 1198R heavily heading into turn 1.
Suzuki’s Troy Herfoss made another pole position in the race for Insure My Ride Australian Supersport honours look easy. He was the only rider to set a lap in the morning session and sit out the second, and will be tough to beat once the visors go down tomorrow.
Filling out the front row in positions 2, 3 and 4 respectively are the factory Yamaha R6 racers of Kevin Curtain, Rick Olson and Pat Medcalf.
Without a championship to consider, they will be on the hunt for Herfoss and look like the only ones within striking distance of the championship leader.
Title hopeful Brodie Waters will begin his day from the fourth row of the grid after a troubled morning session. Waters was unable to make back the ground required during the afternoon and a big effort will be required if he is to salvage some points.
Queenslander Derek Pastuszek took advantage of a Cru Halliday misfortune in the opening race of the Cougar Bourbon Superstock 1000 C&D class.
The Yamaha R1-mounted Halliday was back in action for the second race and a convincing winner by a margin of over 25 seconds. He backed up the effort with another big win in the final race of the day and is firm favourite for the class title when proceedings wrap up tomorrow.
Matthew Walters led home local favourite Mike Jones by less than a second in the battle for Suzuki Superstock race 1 honours, a result that Jones was able to reverse in race 2.
Walters rounded out the day with a win, with Aaron Morris beating Jones to the line for second.
The Motul 125cc Grand Prix/Dunlop 250cc Mono races proved entertaining, with Jordan Zamora taking two wins and increasing his lead of the 125 class and Zac Levy also successful on two of three occasions.
Gates open at 8am tomorrow to a full day of racing from all classes.
Tickets are available at the gate, with children under 13 years admitted free. A full listing of prices and further event details can be found on asbk.com.au.
Motul Superpole Results, Viking Australian Superbike Championship Round 4, Queensland Raceway
1. Bryan STARING (QLD/WA) / Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing 1:10.379
2. Wayne MAXWELL (VIC) / Demolition Plus GAS Honda Racing 1:10.470
3. Shannon JOHNSON (VIC) / KTM Superbike Team 1:11.262
4. Glenn ALLERTON (NSW) / Valvoline Superbike Team 1:11.300
5. Craig COXHELL (VIC) / CJC Racing 1:11.744
6. Daniel STAUFFER (QLD) / The Natural Aprilia Racing Team 1:11.850
7. Robert BUGDEN (QLD) / Team Mack Trucks Suzuki 1:11.888
8. Jamie STAUFFER (NSW) / Ducati Motologic Racing 1:12.469
Insure My Ride Australian Supersport Championship Qualifying Results
1. Troy HERFOSS (VIC) / Team Suzuki 1:12.693
2. Kevin CURTAIN (VIC) / Yamaha Racing Team 1:13.048
3. Rick OLSON (VIC) / Yamaha Racing Team 1:13.519
4. Pat MEDCALF (VIC) / Yamaha Racing Team 1:13.800
5. Chris QUINN (NSW) / The Channon Store / Coopers Pale Ale 1:13.841
6. Christan CASELLA (VIC) / Aark Electrics / Peter Stevens M-cycles / Triumph 1:13.927
7. Mitchell CARR (NSW) / Carr Bros Motorsport / Team Taylor Racing 1:13.941
8. Dylan MAVIN (QLD) / Mavin Industries / Jetset Alice Springs 1:13.997
9. Aaron GOBERT (NSW) / Gobert Motorsports 1:14.130
10. Andy LAWSON JNR (QLD) / Champion’s Ride Days Race Team / Palfinger Australia 1:14.158