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Herfoss and Spriggs take important Pirelli Superpole victories at Winton | Sport

Troy Herfoss and Callum Spriggs got their 2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike presented by Motul Pirelli Grand Finale campaigns off to a flying start at Winton today, earning themselves a Pirelli Superpole Award each, ahead of championship deciding races which take place tomorrow.

Despite patchy weather conditions, crowds still poured through the gates today, all eager to see what action the Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance Superbike and Motul Supersport qualifying sessions would bring at Round 6.

Both the Superbike and Supersport competitors kept the crowds entertained from the minute bikes hit the track at Winton this morning, and with qualifying more important than ever this weekend, both classes went all out in a bid for times throughout their two sessions on track.

Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance Superbikes:

Yesterday’s practice turned heads with Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team’s Jamie Stauffer showing his pace in the varying wet conditions, setting himself up as the man to beat heading in to today’s qualifying sessions at Winton Motor Raceway.

Jon Daniels Racing’s Daniel Falzon was the first bike to hit the track this morning and instantly took the top spot with a time of 1:41.091, but it wasn’t long before Stauffer found yesterday’s pace once again relegating Falzon to second. A late arrival of the Yamaha Racing Team riders disturbed the on track battle, as YRT’s Wayne Maxwell quickly stole the top qualifying spot from Stauffer.

The half way point of the first qualifying session saw a significant drop in times, as the track started to dry and became patchy, with competitors sitting within the 1 minute 38’s. But very soon after re-entering the circuit, Honda’s Herfoss stole the limelight with a dramatic drop in his time, ensuring he was fastest on track.

Despite multiple changes in positions, Honda mounted Herfoss couldn’t be beaten, securing the fastest lap time with a 1:31.572. Teammate Stuaffer was just unable to match the speed of Herfoss, posting a time just outside of the 31’s (1:32.467) seeing him finish second quickest on track. Allerton finished session one in third position, and in front of teammate Maxwell with a 1:33.475. Just inside the top five was Maxwell and Apex Team Motorsport’s Josh Waters with times of 1:33.569 and 1:33.728 respectively.

In Q2 there was only 20 minutes on the clock, as competitors made one final attempt to lay down their fastest times to gain entry to Pirelli Superpole this afternoon. Beau Beaton who is a new face to Round 6 of the ASBK Championship hit the 1:24.224 mark in only the first five minutes, but that was quickly overruled by Herfoss with a 1:22.522, almost 10 seconds quicker than his Q1 time.

With seven minutes remaining in the final qualifying session, both YRT’s Allerton and Maxwell were no where to be seen inside the top six, shocking onlookers who had anticipated this year’s front-runners to qualify well.

But it was Herfoss, who shone out in front as the only rider to enter the 21’s in the session (1:21.798). Apex Team Motorsports Water’s was also on the pace securing second position in qualifying with a 1:22.069 lap time, seeing himself in his first Superpole showdown for the year.

Yamaha Racing Team’s Cru Halliday and Falzon ended the the session in third (1:22.103) and fourth (1:22.206) respectively, while DesmoSport Ducati’s Mike Jones and Stauffer became the final two riders to progress in to Pirelli Superpole.

In what was a huge upset, Yamaha Racing Team’s Allerton finished in a disappointing seventh, close to a whole second off the pace, while series points leader Maxwell had a day to forget, finishing Q2 in ninth position (1:22.699).

When Pirelli Superpole kicked off, Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team’s Herfoss opted to watch on for a couple of laps before heading out, and despite DesmoSport Ducati’s Mike Jones looking fast early in the session, once the Honda CBR1000RRSP headed on to the track, no one could replicate Herfoss’s pace.

On only his second lap, Herfoss set the fastest time of the day, a 1:21.033 which wasn’t matched throughout the remainder of the session, seeing him awarded with his third Pirelli Superpole victory for the year. Despite every effort from Waters, after ten minutes the Apex Team Motorsport’s rider finished second with a 1:21.212, while Ducati’s Jones wrapped up Superpole as the third fastest rider on track (1:21.242).

Stauffer, Yamaha’s Cru Halliday and Falzon all concluded Pirelli Superpole in positions four through to six.

With another Superpole victory to his name, Herfoss will now start the championship deciding two Superbike races tomorrow from pole positon, while his closest competitor Maxwell will start from ninth spot on the Superbike grid, six points ahead of Herfoss.

Herfoss shared his thoughts minutes after celebrating with the team.

“This is unbelievable, to have taken another Pirelli Superpole victory at the final round is great for myself and the team,” Herfoss shared.

“This new tyre that Pirelli have added to our list of tyres has made the job easier to get a good lap time, but the durability is there too.

“I am looking forward to tomorrow, I am really happy with the lap time today. It has been a really weird weekend I didn’t expect to be riding in the rain so much, so it’s been quite stressful.

“I know what Wayne and Glenn are like though, there is a good reason for those guys being first and third in championship, so their position on the grid doesn’t mean anything. They are good riders!

“I know the plan is still that I have got to win races, so we will just get race one out of the way and then we will reevaluate it.”

Motul Supersport:

After yesterday’s practice sessions, Graffiti Alley Racing’s Troy Guenther had something to prove when competitors headed out on track for a wet and cold first qualifying session this morning.

Tensions were high as Clarke emerged as the fastest man from the moment bikes hit the track, with championship contender JNL’s Luke Mitchell, and Cube Racing’s Robbie Menzies also looking fast early in the session. With only ten minutes left on the clock in the opening qualifying, championship contender Guenther shocked crowds, sitting just inside the top ten, in ninth, almost five seconds behind Clarke’s best time.

After a quick stop in the pits for Clarke, it was back on track for a final push for better pace, and push he did, bettering his previous time. However, a hard charging Menzies who had fought his way throughout the session to third, wasn’t going to let Clarke finish without a fight, and with only four seconds left on the clock, he knocked the Kawasaki rider off the top spot bettering his time dramatically to snatch up the session’s fastest lap – a 1:41.981.

Clarke, with not enough time left in the session was relegated to third, after Callum Spriggs also pushed back to steer his machine to a second position with a 1:43.426. Series points leader Clarke finished Q1 with a total fastest time of 1:43.449.

With one championship point on the line and the Pirelli Superpole award up for grabs, anticipation was building for the second qualifying session for the Motul Superport competitors.

Menzies was once again on top early in the session with 1 minute 35 second lap times, but not for long, as Spriggs, Clarke, and Luke Mitchell swooped in, and before the half way mark of Q2, times were already in the 1 minute 28’s.

Guenther towards the end of the session thankfully found his groove on his Graffiti Alley R1 machine entering the top five ranks with five minutes left on the clock. While at the top of the time sheets Spriggs was battling against himself bettering his top time over again as the only rider who sat in the 25’s with two minutes to go.

And it was Spriggs who remained unmatchable throughout the second qualifying session – a 1 minute and 25.940 second lap time awarding him with the final Supersport Pirelli Superpole Award of the year, and pole position for when racing kicks off tomorrow.

Mitchell finished second to Spriggs with a qualifying time of 1:26.163, while Race Centre’s Nic Liminton (1:26.310) rode to a stand out position in qualifying, securing himself a front row start for tomorrow’s two races.

Guenther improved on his times from the beginning of the weekend to secure a second row start on the grid tomorrow with a 1:26.633 lap time, and just behind the Yamaha will be Menzies (1:26.970). Unfortunately, for championship leader Clarke, issues in the second session will see him also start from second row of the grid in sixth position for tomorrows two championship deciding races after finishing the second qualifying session this afternoon with a 1:27.521 lap time.

Riders and teams in the Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance and Motul Supersport classes will now prepare for tomorrow, when racing kicks off for competitors at Winton Motor Raceway.

For more information on the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli, head to www.asbk.com.au.

For a complete list of results from today’s qualifying sessions, head to www.computime.com.au.