Round 1 of the Motul Pirelli Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) returns to Phillip Island for the first round of the season, featuring as part of the FIM World Superbike Championship (WSBK) weekend. With the big-name teams and riders all in attendance, the opportunity exists for our Australian riders to put in a good performance in front of the world’s best.
The all-important first practice sessions for the national Kawasaki Superbike, Supersport and YMI Supersport 300 classes set the tone for the weekend, before Qualifying tomorrow.
Troy Bayliss (Ducati Panigale FE) pounced in the last two minutes of the Kawasaki Superbike session to snatch the fastest time of the day with a 1:32. 478 away from privateer Aiden Wagner ( Yamaha YZF-R1, 1:32.873) in what was a session that offered up a few surprises, none more so surprising than defending champion Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda Racing, Honda CBR RR SP, 1:34.491) finishing tenth, more than two seconds off the pace. Although its early on in proceedings it’s clear Herfoss’ title defence wouldn’t be a walk in the park.
Reflecting on the positive start to the season, Bayliss had this to say, “Feeling quietly confident that everything’s headed in the right direction. I felt a little bit rusty when I first jumped on the bike but didn’t take too long to get going.”
Privateer Wagner launched an impressive attack in the middle part of the session, toppling Wayne Maxwell (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R) who finished the day third fastest with a 1:33.098.
“I knew I had to get back on the Superbike and prove a point” said Wagner.
“I know quite a few of the other teams went out on the sticky tyre… where we stayed with just the race tyre. So to do those lap times on what we did, we’re pretty happy.
“Our small team, I think we’re putting together a pretty good package.”
Next was Maxwell’s Suzuki ECSTAR teammate Josh Waters on a 1:33.131, and behind him was Cru Halliday (1:33.360) on the Yamaha Racing Team Yamaha, in his return to the Superbike class after winning the Supersport championship last year.
Fastest Overall Top 10 Results:
1 Troy BAYLISS (Ducati Panigale FE) 1:32.478
2 Aiden WAGNER (Yamaha YZF-R1) 1:32.873
3 Wayne MAXWELL (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R) 1:33.098
4 Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R) 1:33.131
5 Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1) 1:33.360
6 Daniel FALZON (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1) 1:33.587
7 Michael JONES (Kawasaki Bcperformance, Kawasaki ZX10R) 1:33.982
8 Bryan STARING (Kawasaki Bcperformance, Kawasaki ZX10RR) 1:33.986
9 Glenn ALLERTON (NextGen Motorsports, BMW S RR) 1:34.137
10 Troy HERFOSS (Penrite Honda Racing, Honda CBR RR SP) 1:34.491