The 2010 Australian Superbike Championship kicked off its new season in a two-day official ASBK Teams Test that took place at Phillip Island in Victoria on 28-29 January.
According to various sources from the circuit, Ducati Motologic’s Jamie Stauffer topped the time sheets unofficially with a 1:35.1 in his debut on the factory-supported 1198 R, sending the team’s first warning shot to kick off the new season.
Team Joe Rocket Suzuki’s defending champion Josh Waters was second fastest at 1:35.2, the pair just under three seconds shy of the current lap record set last season on Dunlop’s N-Tec tyres, while GAS Honda’s Wayne Maxwell again proved his pace around the epic 4.445-kilometre Island circuit just two-tenths of a second in arrears with a 1:35.4.
Maxwell’s time was matched by Shannon Johnson on the KTM 1190 RC8 R in the Austrian manufacturer’s official ASBK debut test under the Evolution Sports Group banner, as well as privateer Honda rider Glenn Allerton on an all-black Fireblade.
Both Maxwell and Johnson were notable fallers on today’s second and final day, with the latter undergoing X-rays before confirming that there were no broken bones in his arm after a collision with another rider at MG midway through the day.
Former three-time champion Shawn Giles was sixth quickest for Suzuki at a 1:35.8.
Scott Charlton made his debut with the Racers Edge Performance team in his return to the Superbike category, however no times have been made available at this point.
Stauffer, riding an all-white Ducati, wasn’t joined by rookie teammate Jordan Burgess at the test, the young Superstock 1000 series runner-up expected to debut in the coming weeks before the opening round takes place in four weeks time.
On hand for the test was the championship-winning Suzuki squad, plus all-new teams from KTM, Ducati and Triumph. Privateer teams on hand included a variety of teams including Honda, Aprilia, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki machinery.
The factory-backed Aprilia team run by Trinder Brothers Racing was absent from the test.
“It’s fantastic to see such a wide range of bikes and manufactures,” commented ASBK event manager Ben Williams. “From the factory set ups to very professional privateer teams we have a massive range of Japanese and European brands here today. It’s a true representation of the sports bike market here in Australia and a very exiting development for ASBK in 2010.”
A pinnacle focus of the test was the teams’ first hit out on the all-new Dunlop control tyres – the Dunlop D211GP Racer for the Superbike and Superstock 1000 A and B, with the Dunlop Sportmax GP-A for Supersport and Superstock 1000/600 C and D classes.
On hand for the test was Dunlop’s national motorsport and motorcycle coordinator Stewart Corser, overseeing the development of the tyres as the series enters its first official year with Dunlop as the Superbike and Supersport control tyre.
“At this early stage we are very happy with the lap times and durability. We are getting great rider feedback already and with more laps and bike development we are quickly seeing times fall,” Corser said. “This tyre has shown great wear rates even up to 50 laps on the front and 40 on the rear. We are very proud to be the official tyre supplier for ASBK 2010 and even more importantly to be able to do so with an affordable range of high performance racing tyres.”
Setting the pace in the Supersport ranks was official TJRS rider Troy Herfoss, who set a best lap of 1:38.1 on the new 2010-spec rubber, while Brodie Waters was second quickest at 1:39.1 in his debut on Suzuki machinery.
Times have been sourced by various riders and team members from the circuit and may be updated once finalised. No transponders were in use at the test.