Tensions were high as competitors arrived this morning to kick in to gear the finale round of the Spokes.com.au presents Round 7 Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit at the 2017 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK), and with up to five class titles still up for grabs, riders wanted to start their weekend on the right foot.
All eyes were on YMI Superbike title contenders, Troy Herfoss (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2), Josh Waters (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R), Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1) and Robbie Bugden (Kawasaki BCperformance, ZX-10R), with Daniel Falzon (JD Racing, YZF-R1) and Cru Halliday (Yamaha Finance, YZF-R1) still being outside chances for the title.
Quickest on the time sheets for the YMI Superbike class was Maxwell with a class best of 1:33.296 in the third and final Practice session of the day. The Yamaha rider has often rated Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit amongst one of his all-time favourite circuits and will solidify himself as one of the favourites for tomorrow’s all important qualifying sessions.
Maxwell’s closest rival was Waters. The Mildura man managed to only pip his nearest competitor, Bryan Staring (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2) posting a 1:33.863. Although he only just scraped in ahead of Falzon in fourth position (1:33.881), Falzon is still in a position of strength ahead of this weekend’s action.
The final top five placers were Glenn Allerton (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1) who made a significant step in the first practice session to solidify, himself after heavy injury earlier this year into the top five overall times with a 1:34.864 and Herfoss’ 1:34.326 who also look likely to challenge for a front row grid slot in tomorrow’s qualifiers.
“If we are going to have any chances of winning on Sunday, we are just going to have to have a crack at it.
“In terms of what we have been working on in regards to bike setup, it hasn’t been a lot as we have had no time. We have just been trying to get the bike to turn in a bit better at this specific track. Just the same stuff as usual.
“It’s so hard however, as I have done four or five fast laps and now we go into qualifying tomorrow. Hopefully we get a good run tomorrow to put us in a good position for Sunday. We need every point we can get.”
With the top three all in relative close succession, tomorrow’s Qualifying sessions at 10:40am and 3:10pm won’t be ones to miss.
YMI Superbike Friday Top 10 Provisional Times
1. Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1) 1:33.296
2. Josh Waters (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R) 1:33.370
3. Bryan Staring (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2) 1:33.863
4. Daniel Falzon (JD Racing, YZF-R1) 1:33.881
5. Glenn Allerton (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1)1:34.236
6. Troy Herfoss (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2) 1:34.326
7. Matt Walters (Kawasaki Australia, Kawasaki ZX-10R) 1:34.493
8. Cru Halliday (Yamaha Finance, YZF-R1) 1:34.504
9. Josh Hook (Bell Helmets, Ducati Panigale R) 1:34.717
10.Jed Metcher (Race Centre Race Team, Yamaha YZF-R1) 1:34.803
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ASBK is live on SBS and Live Streaming
Fans will be treated to plenty of action on and off the track next weekend, however for the fans who can’t be at Phillip Island, the ASBK has provided them with the best opportunity to stay up to speed with everything happening on October 8.
From 9:30 am AEST the ASBK will be broadcast LIVE to everyone in the world via the ASBK website. Capturing the live racing moments, exclusive interviews with past and present champions and so much more, the Live Stream is not to be missed.
ASBK will be telecast on free to air channels SBS (from 1:00 PM AEDST) and SBS VICELAND (from 2:00 PM) on Sunday October 8.
Words courtesy of www.asbk.com.au and images courtesy of Andrew Gosling TBG Sport