Star Suzuki signing Wayne Maxwell has wasted little time in getting up to speed on his new machine with a commanding display in qualifying and practice at Phillip Island today.
QBE Australian Superbike Championship classes were faced with a reduced track schedule after lengthy delays following multiple red flags in the World Supersport practice.
Maxwell was on maximum attack in his sole qualifying stint, despite the event’s non-championship status.
He knows he will be up against strong opposition when the QBE Australian Superbike Championships’ official points chase begins, and is taking every opportunity to customise the factory GSX-R to his liking.
“It’s my first official qualifying session on the bike and I couldn’t ask for much more than to come away with P1 to start the year,” said Maxwell.
“I’m treating this as a testing weekend and trying to get a good feel for the Suzuki and make any adjustments I need to at a track I am familiar with.
“The Dunlop tyre is hanging in there over the duration and I’m doing a lot of my fast laps at the end of the sessions which is promising.
“The next step is to find a bit more feeling in the bike and I’m hoping to have come on leaps and bounds by the end of the weekend.”
Dynotech Maxima BMW’s Linden Magee slotted his Superbike into second place with a strong showing in the 25-minute session.
He clocked his quickest time, just 0.071s off Maxwell, on the last of 11 laps, showing he will be a serious podium contender when racing gets underway.
Racer’s Edge Suzuki pilot Beau Beaton was third-fastest for the day, his best effort coming mid-way through the session.
The Rover Coaches Kawasaki of Matt Walters was the standout Honda Australian Prostock Championship entry, finishing fifth on the overall timesheets after turning just 8 laps.
Walters’ lap was only 1.232s off the Superbike pole mark, an impressive effort for the ZX10R rider who becomes the new lap record holder for the class.
“The conditions weren’t ideal, it was pretty windy out there but we came in knowing we had the bike setup pretty well and this session verified that,” said Walters.
“Everything went to plan to day, hopefully I can stick with the leaders during the races and all my fitness work will pay off.”
Ben Nicolson brought his BMW home second fastest, with Dustin Goldsmith making it two Kawasaki’s in the Prostock top three.
In the Motul Supersport class it was Aaron Morris on the Maxima Yamaha R6 claiming pole position by a 0.286s margin over fellow R6 rider and 2012 Superstock Champion Daniel Falzon.
Morris topped the day’s earlier practice session and set a top two time yesterday showing his pace is no flash in the pan.
Falzon was ‘ecstatic’ with his second place and said the new track surface gave the rider a lot more confidence.
“We started off the day struggling a bit and were down by around 0.7 of a second but put on a new set of tyres and went 1.5 seconds faster which I was ecstatic with,” said Falzon.
“The new surface is super smooth and it’s hard to get a lot of feeling in the front end, I think that’s why there were a few people crashing.
“There is lots of grip though and it gives you a lot of confidence, especially with the run off areas at turn 1 and 4.”
Ryan Taylor made it three Yamaha machines in the top three with a strong qualifying performance.
Taylor was left to rue lap traffic in his search of a higher grid placing but is confident in his chances over the 10-lap distance of tomorrow’s opening race.
The Superbike/Prostock and Supersport classes will get a 5-minute warmup session each prior to their first races, 12 and 10 laps respectively.
AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE C’SHIP at Phillip Island. Rd 1: Qualifying:
Superbike/Prostock*: W Maxwell (Suzuki) 1m33.695s 1, L Magee (BMW) 1m33.766s 2, B Beaton (Suzuki) 1m34.046s 3, C Hern (Suzuki) 1m34.476s 4, M Walters (Kawasaki) 1m34.927s 5*, G Scott (Honda) 1m35.386s 6, B Nicolson (BMW) 1m35.555s 7*, B Henry (Suzuki) 1m35.704s 8, D Goldsmith (Kawasaki) 1m35.798s 9*, A Christie (BMW) 1m36.348s 10*.
Supersport: A Morris (Yamaha) 1m37.183s 1, D Falzon (Yamaha) 1m37.369s 2, R Taylor (Yamaha) 1m37.818s 3, M Lockhart (Kawasaki) 1m37.960s 4, C Spriggs (Yamaha) 1m38.055s 5, A Wagner (Yamaha) 1m38.133s 6, M Blair (Yamaha) 1m38.188s 7, C Quinn (Yamaha) 1m38.247s 8, A Gobert (Kawasaki) 1m38.404s 9, L Burgess (Kawasaki) 1m38.559s 10.