Yamaha reflects on highs and lows of ASBK opener
Falzon takes home 76 points, as Allerton and Maxwell have tough weekend
South Australia’s Daniel Falzon turned in a performance of a life time to dominate the opening round of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), held in conjunction with the World Superbike Championship (WSBK), at the Phillip Island circuit over the weekend.
On his Caterpillar / YRT supported Yamaha YZF – R1G, Falzon staked his claimed as a serious championship contender for the 2017 season with a stunning display of racing that sees him lead the championship by a whopping 22 points after the opening round.
The Yamaha Racing Team of Glenn Allerton and Wayne Maxwell on the other hand endured a tough weekend with small falls and costly mistakes ruining any chance of a good result but both riders are confident the wheel will turn the good results aren’t far away.
The weekend started brightly for Falzon, taking his first ever pole position in ASBK and he hit the track confident of a good showing in the opening race. But he didn’t have it all his own way.
A four rider dog fight broke out at the front of the pack with Falzon fighting off challenges from Troy Herfoss, Bryan Staring and finally Glenn Allerton to take the win by one hundredth of a second. All four riders flashed across the line separated by 0.6 of a second in a great showcase of 1000cc racing.
Race one was a cracker for Allerton, involved in a four rider battle for the race win, but came up just .013 of a second shy of getting the job done in thrilling spectacle.
For Maxwell it was a 17th place in the opening race, after a fall on lap one that left the Victorian on the deck but able to remount his bike and finish the race, fighting on to a gallant 17th place result.
Race two and again it was Falzon at the front of the pack but he was being stalked by Wayne Maxwell who relentlessly worked his way through the field to get into second place and hunt down Falzon.
With a final lap surge, Maxwell got within a second of Falzon but was unable to make a pass and Falzon held on for another thrilling race victory. Maxwell came up just short, taking a second place as he shadowed Falzon across the finish line.
Race two was almost over before it started for Allerton as he fell on the opening lap and had to withdraw from the race due to damage sustained to the bike from the crash.
With two wins from two starts and only needing a smart final race to secure the opening round victory, Falzon again leapt out to a great start and was leading the field after two laps when the race was stopped due to a fall and the riders were re-gridded up.
Falzon mis-timed his jump on the restart and suddenly found himself as the hunter, not the hunted. He exited turn one in seventh place but with confidence at an all-time high, Falzon worked his way through the field and while not the on track leader, when the combined times of both legs, Falzon was awarded the win and the round victory overall.
Maxwell was on a mission in Race 3 and he charged to the front to win the race on track but when the aggregate times of both races were combined, Maxwell ended up in fourth place.
The third race saw Glenn on his spare bike but intent on finishing the weekend on a positive note. With the race broken into two parts, Allerton crossed the finish line in second place on the track but was relegated back to sixth on combined times.
“We have worked so hard to get this result. I have so many people who help and support my racing and it’s so good to be able to reward them with this win, especially at such a high profile round with the WSBK riders. This is the best result that we could ever ask for. We didn’t just win by a little bit, I felt that we could win every race quite comfortably. We proved in that last race that we were strong and I didn’t need to push it and I knew that we were going to get the three wins overall if I just kept a level head and stayed on the bike. My goal was to have a good weekend and just get myself in contention but I felt great on the bike all weekend and the Yamaha was working so good. Thank you to everyone in my team, my family or anyone who assisted me to get this result, I’m stoked and it’s an amazing feeling to stand on top of the podium at Phillip Island. I can’t wait to get to round two.”
“This weekend has been an up-and-down weekend as there was just no rewards for the effort that the team put in. They all put in a massive amount of effort, which I’m very grateful for with Kevin Marshall, Jeff Dillion and all the guys at the Yamaha workshop putting in tireless hours and we just didn’t get the results we deserved today. We are just not getting the reward for effort. So we need to get a little bit smarter, I believe. In saying that, we are not too far away as it’s a start of a long season. I do get along with Wakefield Park at times. In saying that the circuit is a bit of a love-hate. It seems like every second time I go there I go well. We are going to have to try and make round two a winner.”
“I was a bit disappointed with the overall result. Even in the last race, the second half of the race I came from a long, long way behind and managed to get myself pretty much up to the head of the field. I was coming on strong at the end there. I feel like if I had one more lap and I would have been in the lead of the race but it was a two- part race, so I got done in there. The position is not ideal. We have some work to do. In saying that, we are going to Wakefield Park next and I am really confident there and I do ride well at the track. So I am looking forward to going there and trying to gain some points and catch up in the championship. I’m not worried, as lots of other riders had problems this weekend, apart from Daniel Falzon, as he had a really good weekend, so hats off to him. It would have been a lot worse if I was the only one who were to have a DNF. But the likes of Wayne, Bryan [Staring] and I all had a DNF. So it’s not all that bad.”
Falzon now holds a 22point lead after the opening round and couldn’t have positioned himself any better in the championship. While his competitors faced issues on the weekend, Falzon put himself in the perfect position every time and has set himself up well for a great run at the championship.
Round two of the ASBK hits Wakefield Park on March 17-19.