Features 23 Nov 2022

Quotebook: 2022 ASBK Rd6 Phillip Island

Assorted racer comments following the sixth round of the season

In Quotebook, a selection of riders detail how their races played out in the sixth round of the 2022 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) at Phillip Island.


Image: Foremost Media.

Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team) – Ninth: 
It was a disappointing weekend as I had high expectations coming into this round. I raced well here at the MotoGP a month ago and while it’s not my favourite circuit, I have done well here in the past. Most of the riders used up a couple of tyres in qualifying while I just stuck with the same rear. The pace was getting quicker, so I should have got a fresh tyre in at the end on got myself higher up the grid as P8 is a difficult place to start from. I felt my riding was good and in the dry I was able to get my way through the pack and finish third. I was starting to do the same in the final race but got tagged from behind going into turn four and went down. We still have one round to go, so it’s all or nothing to get back up the front and finish the year on a positive note.

Mike Jones (Yamaha Racing Team) – Fifth:
The on-track results don’t look great, but on paper to increase my lead has been awesome and gives me a good points buffer leading into the final round of racing this weekend. The conditions at Phillip Island were far from ideal and the first race was wet, so that made it even more unpredictable. I certainly didn’t ride that first race well as I saw Wayne [Maxwell go down in turn two and my whole mindset changed. I went very conservative and rode like I had something to lose rather than something to gain. I didn’t want to fall as that was so easy to do and just get some points to increase my margin. It wasn’t pretty but I got the job done. Things were better in race two and three. Race two I was a bit passive in the opening laps and got shuffled back to ninth in the chaos. I got my head back in the game at about the halfway point and started to move forward and got to fifth, right on the back of third and fourth. The third race and I was more aggressive in the early stages and fought much harder for track position. I again saw Wayne go down, but this time I thought I would keep pushing and I got into a good battle with Bryan Staring. Things got close a few times, but it kept me focused and to finish third was a good result and a positive way to end the weekend.

Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda Racing) – Fourth: 
First race in the wet for a lot of years, it was strange because I haven’t raced in the wet with electronics. I felt really good at the start of the race, but as the race went on and in hindsight from what I learnt, we just need to change electronics as the race goes on, go to different modes and as the track dried up I started to struggle a bit and couldn’t quite move forward with the leaders so it was a bit frustrating but we definitely learnt a lot moving forward. Race two was good, I’ve led some races now and I’m pushing my own wind out there at Phillip Island and holding my own, which is a big achievement for the team, when I think back to round one of the season I was so far back and now I’m battling for the podium. I know I wasn’t the fastest guy out there and I had to ride defensively, lots of blocking and race tactics but I was still there fighting so I’m really happy with the result. The guys made some good changes to the bike for race three, I could feel definite aggression and I was stronger again. Sitting in P2 for most of the race and almost making it on the podium at Phillip Island, I’m so happy. It will be interesting to see how we go at Tailem Bend now; I’m looking forward to rolling out on Friday to have another go at it.

Senna Agius (Penrite Honda Racing) – 10th: 
Heading out for race one, I was genuinely nervous, not just because it was my first Superbike race but also because of the weather conditions. It turned out to be super positive and I made consistent progress through the race without making mistakes which was easy to do with the track being as slippery as it was in the wet. It was a new experience to ride such a fast track this weekend, and the wind made it hard. It picked up just before race two and made life tough for everyone, I don’t think I was the only one who found it challenging. I learnt a lot and I was in the battle for P7, and I almost got it to the line but just missed out in the slipstream, the gap to the leader was quite good and the pace was strong for the conditions. The bike was in a much better spot for race three in the afternoon, I was riding really well, it’s just unfortunate to be taken down, it’s not a good feeling when it’s a missed opportunity but lucky we can do it all again in five days.

Glenn Allerton (Next Gen Motorsports BMW) – Third:
The weekend threw out a lot of challenges, especially with the weather, and I am really happy with our third overall result. Race one was wet and we were very strong, challenging for the win and finishing second. Race two I had a great start and made my way up to second place. But I suffered rear grip issues finishing in seventh place. Race three was another great start and the team had made some changes to fix the rear grip issues. I was in a long battle for the podium but lost the tussle to end up fifth. Confidence is high heading into The Bend this weekend. I am aiming for the top step of the podium.

Sloan Frost (Next Gen Motorsports BMW) – 23rd:
Phillip Island is such a special place to ride but it’s the speed in the simplicity that makes it very challenging. Having the previous experience on the M 1000 RR under my belt I felt confident to accept the challenge although with the rest of the field having spent several days testing at Phillip Island in the last month I was under no illusion it was going to be another tough weekend. A wise man once said usually the hard way is the right way! Practice one, we basically used the Morgan Park set-up with a heavier rear spring. I was actually quite pleased with my progress through this session. In practice two I expected another jump in times but they wouldn’t come below 1.40 so I pulled in very disappointed with the session. By the end of Q1 my times had dropped into the 36’s and I was ready for the race. Race one, mother nature was quick to remind us we were in Phillip Island and the rain came pouring down. I felt confident immediately in the wet but my mid-race pace dropped off after a few big slides in the slow corners. I ended up with an 18th place but was pleased with the results. Race two, with the sun back out I set about passing riders on the first lap as I was strong on the brakes. Making a pass into turn 1 I went really deep on the brakes and with the extra push from a tailwind I duffed a downshift and found a false neutral causing me to run off into the wet grass at somewhere near 180k! I managed to keep the bike up but I was a lap down by the time I got the mud off my tyres. I had come too far to just ride back to the pits so I finished the race and just enjoyed life. Race three, I was really between a rock and a hard place, we made some changes to help with the windy conditions. I made the decision to use the soft tyre as I had little to lose. The soft tyre felt good off the start, my corner entry problems were gone with the soft tyre so I thought, if I didn’t beat the tyre up too much in the initial laps I could make it last. Well, best-laid plans and all… it just wasn’t the right call and even though it went against Shane’s best judgement, I appreciate the fact he allowed me to choose for myself. Overall I was really proud again to be in the Next Gen pits… we have such a great team, everyone in the pits had a smile on their face and in my opinion, that’s where a great on track performance is born.

Bryan Staring (DesmoSport Ducati) – Second:
The weekend started off with fourth in qualifying on super hot and fast track conditions. The opening race was completely wet and one of the slipperiest races I’ve probably had in my life. I managed to get the win, which I and we [DesmoSport Ducati] were ecstatic about. It was a really, really enjoyable win, and so difficult because I felt like I could have crashed the bike at any moment of the race, tough conditions. The second race didn’t go that well, I didn’t really have the feeling I needed to push the bike. The last one there was a much strong race for me, I was finally back in the… not really racing for the lead, but in the group for second. I battled really hard, put myself where I needed to on the final lap and finished second across the line to take second for the weekend. First, sixth, second, not a bad weekend.

Broc Pearson (DesmoSport Ducati) – Eighth:
In short, I think this weekend has been a little bit challenging. Every time I’ve rode the Panigale V4 R we had been getting better every time I rode the bike, and it has not really been that smooth sailing this weekend. We had a good race in the rain, but I think that sort of put a bandaid on the issues we were having in the dry. We’ve been not the fastest all weekend, Phillip Island is always challenging but from the start we were a little bit off, so I think we made a little bit of progress, but not enough. I’m really looking forward to The Bend next weekend, I hope I can refresh and restart to go again, because this weekend has been a little bit challenging and I’m sort of glad we got it done today. I’m really happy for the team, Bryan has made a lot of ground in the championship, so good for him, and hopefully, we can both be up there next weekend.