News 30 Jan 2018

Maxwell fastest on day one of Phillip Island ASBK test

Yamaha Racing Team rider fires the first official shot of 2018 season.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell has set the pace on day one of the 2018 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) test at Phillip Island, topping three of the four sessions held on Tuesday.

Maxwell’s eventual fastest came on lap eight of the final session this afternoon, a 1m33.252s that placed him 0.048s ahead of defending champion Josh Waters (Team Suzuki Ecstar) as Glenn Allerton (Next Gen Motorsports BMW) slotted into third.

It was a satisfying start to the official pre-season for Maxwell on the factory-prepared YZF-R1M, consistently quick and determined to challenge for his first ASBK championship since he won with Suzuki in 2013. Penrite Honda Racing recruit Troy Herfoss led the way in the first session on debut with the new team, before Maxwell stormed to the top in the remaining three.

Fresh from testing Suzuki’s MotoGP bike in Malaysia, Waters also constantly factored at the front today, eventually second on the time-sheets, with fellow three-time champion Allerton impressing back aboard the S 1000 RR following three years at Yamaha.

Fourth capped off a solid day for top privateer Michael Blair (Michael Blair Racing Yamaha), marginally ahead of new factory signing Daniel Falzon, who in turn led Mike Jones (Kawasaki) and 2016 title-winner Herfoss as the final riders within the 1m33s bracket. The 2015 champion Jones is on-board a private ZX-10R, but is yet to confirm his plans for the upcoming season.

It was a reasonable first day on-track with Kawasaki BCperformance for 2010 champion Bryan Staring in eighth at a 1m34.021s and within a second of Maxwell, while Matt Walters (Swann Insurance Repsol Kawasaki) and triple world champion Troy Bayliss (DesmoSport Ducati) completed the top 10. The latter’s best of a 1m34.917s came in session three as he makes his full-time comeback following a decade in retirement.

Leading rookie was Waters’ incoming Team Suzuki Ecstar teammate Mark Chiodo, the Phillip Island flyer getting to grips with his GSX-R1000R for 11th position, closely following by Jamie Stauffer (McMartin Racing Ducati) as he trials the private Panigale and last year’s Supersport champion Ted Collins, who is paired with Allerton at Next Gen this season.

Cube Racing’s Tom Toparis displayed impressive speed in the Supersport ranks to go fastest, his 1m36.354s a full eight tenths ahead of Kawasaki World Supersport campaigner Lachlan Epis, who was in turn almost a second quicker than third-placed Giuseppe Scarcella (Kawasaki BCperformance) – also a rider with vast international experience.

Factory rider Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team) was fourth on combined times as he returns to a YZF-R6 with a 1m38.211s, albeit missing the first session while the new model was undergoing final preparations. He was ahead of current R3 Cup champion Tom Edwards (Yamaha), who is set to contest the World Supersport 300 Championship in 2018.

Yamaha-mounted Tom Bramich led the way in the combined Supersport 300 and YMF R3 Cup sessions following the conclusion of the opening day, his 1m51.223s lap-time a few tenths up on Oli Bayliss (Cube Racing Kawasaki), with Ben Bramich (KTM) third. The top five was filled by Hunter Ford (Yamaha) and Jarred Brook (KTM).

Detailed results