Another day of non-stop action here at Phillip Island for the second day of the Official Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) Test, as the competitors tested their setups and their commitment around ‘The Island’s’ four and a half kilometre layout in 30-plus degree heat. Australia’s fastest men on two wheels once again came up with the goods, providing an outstanding day and whetting the appetite for Round 1 of the Championship.
This morning as the engines kicked over and the visors went down, the riders steeled themselves for a crucial day of testing, their last chance to get the bikes fine tuned before they return to ‘The Island’ on 21-24 February.
Track temperatures reached over 60 degrees ensuring that there would be plenty of grip available to the riders. This would mean that yesterday’s times didn’t really stand a chance as the riders put the hammer down and fought for bragging rights.
Repaired collarbone and all, Wayne Maxwell (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R) could simply not be beat upon the close of Day Two of the Official ASBK Test. Maxwell finished the day with a top lap time of 1:32.312, picking up the pace from yesterday’s time by .601! Clocking in with the second fastest time of 1:32.451 and leading the pack continuously throughout the day’s practice sessions was Aiden Wagner (Yamaha YZF-R1), who is making a triumphant return to the ASBK paddock in the lead up to a highly anticipated Round 1.
Reflecting on the weekend, Maxwell stated; “I’m really enjoying the ride on the Suzuki GSX-R. It’s solid on the track which I found quite daunting to begin with, but once I got my head around the bike and adapted my style everything went smoothly.
“I’m not letting the expectation and hype get to my head. Instead I’m just trying to take a slow approach to the start of the season and enjoy the new team and bike. This weekend has really helped the team find the right direction moving, so we’re feeling really positive moving into Round 1!”
Landing in third behind Wagner today was legend Troy Bayliss (Ducati Panigale FE), with a fastest time of 1:32.631. Hot on Bayliss’ heels to secure the fourth fastest lap time for Day Two was Josh Waters (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R), clocking in with a 1:32.676.
Rounding out the top five was Daniel Falzon (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1), who appeared frequently at the front of the leading pack throughout today’s practice sessions. Falzon finished today with a best time of 1:32.784.
Reigning Kawasaki Superbike Champion, Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda Racing, Honda CBR RR SP) once again couldn’t crack the top five, settling instead for sixth place with a time of 1:32.984.
Overall Fastest Top 10 Results:
1 Wayne MAXWELL (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R) 1:32.312
2 Aiden WAGNER (Yamaha YZF-R1) 1:32.451
3 Troy BAYLISS (Ducati Panigale FE) 1:32.631
4 Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R) 1:32.676
5 Daniel FALZON (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1) 1:32.784
6 Troy HERFOSS (Penrite Honda Racing, Honda CBR RR SP) 1:32.984
7 Bryan STARING (Kawasaki Bcperformance, Kawasaki ZX10RR) 1:33.181
8 Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1) 1:33.211
9 Glenn ALLERTON (NextGen Motorsports, BMW S RR) 1:33.614
10 Mike JONES (Kawasaki ZX10RR) 1:33.786
If Tom Toparis was in intimidating form yesterday, then today he was untouchable. Already down into the 1:35’s by lunchtime, Toparis (1:35.295) pushed his Landbridge Yamaha almost two seconds clear of second placed Nic Liminton (1:37.273) who despite improving as the weekend progressed still didn’t have the pace to catch the World Supersport wild card rider.
“Good couple of days, first real time at the island on the R6, so super comfortable after the two days and really looking forward to getting to the races.
“We’re doing the world Supersport wildcard (this year) so we’ll have two days of testing down her during that week, and I think we’ll be able to find a little bit more.
“Hopefully we can repeat the weekend we had here last year”
After a weekend’s worth of trying, Oli Bayliss finally managed to crack the top three for the second and third sessions of the day despite reportedly clipping a stray bird whilst out on track. He finished the weekend in third position behind Liminton and Toparis in what was a superb improvement from yesterday.
Fighting it out for best of the rest all weekend was Broc Pearson and Reid Battye, who were consistently in the top five runners all weekend. Pearson ended the weekend on a 1:37.588 to leave him in fourth, while Battye could only manage a 1:38.142 which left him fifth.
Aidan Hayes and Territorian Sam Lambert managed to dip into the top five in the morning however couldn’t seem to match the top three for pace on a consistent basis. Pearson (1:37.588) ended up fifth and Lambert (1:38.134) ended the weekend in sixth.
Fastest Overall Top 10 Results:
1 Tom TOPARIS (Landbridge Yamaha, Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:35.295
2 Nicholas LIMINTON (Yamaha Motor Aust. Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:37.273
3 Oli BAYLISS (Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:37.492
4 Broc PEARSON (Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:37.588
5 Reid BATTYE (Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R) 1:38.134
6 Sam LAMBERT (Mv Agusta Aus-NZ, MV Agusta F3) 1:38.142
7 Aidan HAYES (Hayes Johnston Pty Ltd Chartered Accountants, Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:38.496
8 Scott NICHOLSON (Traction Control Motorsport, Suzuki GSX-R) 1:39.013
9 Ty LYNCH (Australian Outdoor Living, Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:39.136
10 Ryan TAYLOR (Arden Homes, Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:39.182
YMI Supersport 300 / YMF R3 Cup
Coming out of the pits like a demon behind the handlebars, Seth Crump (Rockoil, KTM RC 390) took out the fastest lap time for the YMI Supersport 300 and YMF R3 Cup class for Day Two of the Official ASBK Test. Crump clocked in a best time of 1:49.249, sitting pretty ahead of second place holder Locky Taylor (YRD, Yamaha R3 321) with a 1:49.429. Taylor continued his fantastic form from yesterday’s practice sessions, maintaining a cool head into today’s rising temperatures.
Third fastest for today was Senna Agius (Kawasaki Ninja 400) with a time of 1:49.581. Agius has been riding comfortably with the leading pack all day, appearing in the top three places for each of his four practice sessions. Breathing down Agius’ neck and trailing by a mere .36 seconds was Max Stauffer (Yamaha, Yamaha R3 321), with the fourth fastest time of 1:49.617.
Rounding out the top five for Day Two was Callum O’Brien (BC Performance, Kawasaki Ninja 400) with a time of 1:49.939.
Fastest Overall Top 10 Results:
1 Seth CRUMP (Rockoil, KTM RC 390) 1:49.249
2 Locky TAYLOR (YRD, Yamaha R3 321) 1:49.429
3 Senna AGIUS (Kawasaki Ninja 400) 1:49.581
4 Max STAUFFER (Yamaha, Yamaha R3 321) 1:49.617
5 Callum O’BRIEN (BC Performance, Kawasaki Ninja 400) 1:49.939
6 Luke POWER (RTR, Yamaha R3 321) 1:49.939
7 Zac LEVY (Demmery Motorsport, Yamaha R3 321) 1:50.109
8 Ben BAKER (Kawasaki Ninja 300) 1:50.823
9 Harry KHOURI (Excite M-sports, Yamaha R3 321) 1:50.829
10 Zylas BUNTING (Shark Leathers, Yamaha R3 321) 1:50.917
bLU cRU OCEANIA JUNIOR CUP
Clearly the most enthusiastic racers of the day were the Oceania Junior Cup riders. Without fail at the horn signalling 30 seconds before the start of their sessions, almost the entire field was sat at the end of the pitlane with engines revving excitedly. As the pitlane opened and the sessions began the youngsters would crank the throttle wide open and swarm out of pit exit, anxious to make the most of every second of their fifteen minutes on track.
The action was akin to a mini Moto3 race, with bunches of six and seven riders having five lap long drafting chains exciting enough to draw a few of the top class riders out of the pit garages for a look at the action. By the time the weekend finished it was Queensland’s Max Gibbons who came out on top, setting a impressive 2:14.375 to take fastest of the day, followed by Carter Thompson (2:14.835), Archie McDonald (2:14.897), New Zealand’s Cormac Buchanan (2:14.957), and Angus Grenfell (2:15.082).
Rider coach Damien Cudlin was thrilled with the performance of the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup riders.
“So far it’s been a really positive test, I think the kids have all really enjoyed themselves, they’ve learnt a whole lot.
“They’ve really surprised me and I think a lot of people in the pitlane with how professional they’ve been and how well they’re riding already, so I’m even more excited to see them in their first race.”
The young racers’ next outing is at Wakefield Park, where the Junior Road Race Academy will go racing for real with the first-ever Oceania Junior Cup round joining Round 2 of ASBK. If this weekend’s performance is anything to go by, these young talented riders will be itching to be the first to stamp their name on the series and will be providing us with some absolutely thrilling racing.
Overall Fastest Top 10 Results:
1 Max GIBBONS bLU cRU Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R15 (2:14.735)
2 Carter THOMPSON bLU cRU Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R15 (2:14.835)
3 Archie McDONALD bLU cRU Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R15 (2:14.897)
4 Cormac BUCHANAN bLU cRU Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R15 (2:14.957)
5 Angus GRENFELL bLU cRU Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R15 (2:15.082)
6 Cros FRANCIS bLU cRU Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R15 (2:15.202)
7 Glenn NELSON bLU cRU Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R15 (2:15.486)
8 Lucas QUINN bLU cRU Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R15 (2:15.668)
9 Jamie PORT bLU cRU Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R15 (2:15.681)
10 Alex KENWORTHY-JONES bLU cRU Yamaha YZF-R15 (2:15.890)
The end of official testing sees the beginning of the countdown to Round 1 of the season, when we return to Phillip Island on 21-24 February 2019. Make sure you don’t miss it as the Australians join the world’s best Superbike racers for a thrilling weekend of superbike action for Round 1 of the FIM World Superbike Championship. Get your tickets now! Stay tuned for all the updates from the ASBK by checking out the ASBK website, ASBK Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
2019 ASBK Calendar
Official ASBK Test – Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC February 2 – 3
Round 1- WSBK – Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC February 21 – 24
Round 2- Wakefield Park Raceway – Goulburn NSW March 22 – 24
Round 3- The Bend Motorsport Park – Tailem Bend, SA April 26 – 28
Round 4- Morgan Park Raceway – Warwick, QLD July 5 – 7
Round 5- Winton Motor Raceway – Benalla, VIC September 6 – 8
Round 6- Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC October 4 – 6
Round 7- Sydney Motorsport Park – Eastern Creek, NSW November 1 – 3
Images courtesy of Andrew Gosling – tbg sport