New season underway with opening practices complete at Phillip Island.
The 2018 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) presented by Motul Pirelli is go at Phillip Island, with the opening practice sessions of the season completed this afternoon in Victoria.
With just a single session per class scheduled for Thursday’s running, it was reigning champion Josh Waters (Team Suzuki Ecstar) who topped the YMI Superbike charts with a 1m32.798s, effectively matching his quickest lap in testing late last month.
While Waters was no surprise at the top of the time-sheets, it was triple world champion Troy Bayliss who starred on return with DesmoSport Ducati, lowering his best time of the official test by half a second to go P2 today, albeit 0.612s from Waters. Third was Daniel Falzon (Yamaha Racing Team), a couple of tenths back from Bayliss and fresh from this week’s two-day Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) test.
In fact it was a trio of WorldSBK wildcards in positions three through five as Falzon was followed by Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda Racing) and Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha Racing Team), all within a second of the front-running pace.
After setting the pace in pre-season testing it was Glenn Allerton (Next Gen Motorsports BMW) who slotted into sixth, followed by Mike Jones (Kawasaki) in a one-off appearance, Michael Blair (Gosford Classic Car Museum Yamaha), Bryan Staring (Kawasaki BCperformance) and Matt Walters (Swann Insurance Kawasaki) completing the top 10. Further down the order, ex-Moto3 World Championship regular Arthur Sissis made his ASBK debut, 20th overall on a privateer Suzuki.
The Kawasaki Supersport category was led by Cube Racing’s Tom Toparis – also on wildcard duties this week – as he set a 1m37.515s lap-time, marginally ahead of Yamaha Racing Team’s Cru Halliday on return to the 600cc class. Behind them was Kawasaki BCperformance’s Giuseppe Scarcella, as Brendan Clarke (Kawasaki) and Nic Liminton (Yamaha) filled the top five. Rookie Max Croker (Suzuki) impressed in sixth, under the guidance of AMA Superbike icon Mat Mladin in 2018.
In today’s first YMF R3 Cup practice it was Tom Bramich who proved fastest at 1m51.571s, followed closely by Locky Taylor and Max Stauffer, son of former ASBK champion Jamie Stauffer. The Supersport 300 ranks saw Oli Bayliss (Cube Racing Kawasaki) quickest with a 1m49.931s, from Yamaha-mounted duo Bramich and Taylor.