Three-time Australian Superbike champ Glenn Allerton topped the first official ASBK test ahead of the 2018 season at Phiillip Island over 30-31 January.
On board his new-for-2018 NextGen Motorsports BMW S1000RR, and at the scene of the opening round of the championship in just over a week’s time, Allerton proved he’ll be a championship contender when he fired in the fastest lap of the test in the dying minutes of the second day.
Back with the same squad and machinery with which he won his last title in 2014, Allerton’s fastest lap of 1m32.728s edged out Aussie racing veteran Bryan Staring (Kawasaki BCperformance) from the number-one spot by less than four hundredths of a second. Staring was only marginally quicker than the reigning Aussie champ Josh Waters on his Ecstar Suzuki GSX-R1000R.
In fact, the top eight riders were separated by just one second at the end of the two-day test, signalling a high time for Australia’s national Superbike series and its growing fan base.
Former triple world champ Troy Bayliss finished 10th fastest on his Desmosport Ducati 1299 Panigale, just over 1.2 seconds down on Allerton’s quickest.
“It’s a great feeling to return to NextGen Motorsports and come out on top,” Allerton said. “I knew we had all the pieces of the puzzle to come out fastest, we just had to work our way through the windy conditions.”
Bayliss’ former rider and 2017 European Superstock racer Mike Jones (Kawasaki ZX-10R), who finds himself without a ride on the world stage following the withdrawal of his aruba.it Ducati Junior squad from European SSTK1000, finished fourth fastest behind Waters and ahead of the Factory Yamaha duo of Wayne Maxwell and Daniel Falzon.
In the Supersport category it was the notoriously quick learner Tom Toparis who shoved his Cube Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R into the top spot ahead of World Supersport regular Lachlan Epis (ResponseRE Kawasaki ZX-6R) and former Superbike front runner Cru Haliday (Yamaha).
Tom Bramich (Yamaha YZF-R3), followed by Hunter Ford (Yamaha YZF-R3) and Oli Bayliss (Cube Racing Kawasaki Ninja 300) nabbed the top three spots on the Australian Supersport 300 class timesheet at the end of the test.