Team Suzuki’s Wayne Maxwell has converted his pole position to a comfortable win in the opening 12-lap race of the QBE Australian Superbike Championship’s ‘WSBK Cup’ at Phillip Island today.
The Victorian rider held position off the start and immediately began to stretch his legs on the Suzuki as the chase pack began an entertaining battle for the remaining podium spots.
At the height of his dominance, Maxwell was over eight seconds clear of second place, though he would eventually cruise across the line with a 4.796s advantage.
It’s been a perfect showing thus far for Suzuki’s sole factory rider who is hopeful that 2013 can be the year he breaks through for a maiden ASBK title.
“We couldn’t ask for much more today, a flag to flag win is a good way to start things off,” said Maxwell.
“I got a good start and the bike was very consistent. There are a few things we are not quite happy with but we’ll stick to our plan of trying as many different settings as we can over the weekend to collect as much data as possible.
“We’re keeping focused on the main goal which is being ready for the first point-scoring round of the Championship in Tasmania.”
The existing lap record holder clocked his best effort on lap 6, the 1m33.535s flyer making him the only rider in the field to dip below 1m34s.
C.M. Racing Team’s Chas Hern brought his Suzuki home in a commendable second place, inheriting the position when fellow GSX-R rider Beau Beaton ran off the circuit as he recovered from a near-highside crash on lap 7.
Dynotech Maxima BMW’s Linden Magee held off a fast-finishing Ben Henry to claim the final podium position and stop a Suzuki clean sweep.
Rover Coaches Kawasaki rider Matt Walters opened his Honda Australian Prostock points account with a solid class win on his ZX10R.
Walters had the measure of fellow Kawasaki riders Dustin Goldsmith and Phil Lovett for the race distance, and was able to add the race lap record to his name to accompany yesterday’s quick qualifying effort.
“It was a good race and good to be up amongst the Superbike guys in the early laps – that was definitely an eye-opener,” said Walters.
“It all went to plan but in the last few laps I got some arm pump and my hands just stopped working so I drifted back a bit.
“It’s great to be quick again and come away with the race lap record, I think tomorrow we might be able to go faster again if the conditions are right.”
Spectators were treated to a near-photo finish in the opening 10-lap Motul Australian Supersport stanza with an engaging battle finally going the way of polesitter Aaron Morris by a mere 0.010s.
Caterpillar EPS Yamaha’s Daniel Falzon took the early lead on the scorching surface but would trade places with Pirelli Motul YRDSW Racing’s Ryan Taylor who was making good gains, also on the competitive R6.
Morris on the Maxima Yamaha bought into the battle and it soon became a race of two as the he closed in on leader Falzon.
The 2012 Superstock Champion had his hands full in the final laps and a mistake allowed Chris Quinn, who was keeping a close watching brief, to blast by.
Quinn then ranged up on Morris and threw down an almighty challenge aboard the Cooper’s Pale Ale Yamaha, falling excruciatingly short as the chequered flag was waved after the 10-lap duration.
Morris was relieved to come away with the win after battling for grip on a baking track.
“I didn’t get the greatest start and worked out quickly that the track temperature had gone up a lot from the warmup which I knew would make things difficult,” said Morris.
“I hit the front on lap 4 or 5 and was able to stay around there for most of the race, I didn’t know Quinny (Chris Quinn) was coming up on me and was pretty stoked to come away with the win.
“I’m a lot happier that tomorrow’s race will be earlier and hopefully the track temperature will be down a bit.”
Falzon came home an eventual third, 1.711s behind Morris, while Taylor in fourth made it a 1-2-3-4 finish for Yamaha.
The Superbike/Prostock and Supersport fields will tomorrow contest the final races on their weekend schedule, 12 and 10 laps respectively, following early 5-minute warm-up sessions to verify any setup changes or track variations.
AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE C’SHIP at Phillip Island. Rd 1: Race 1:
Superbike/Prostock*: W Maxwell (Suzuki) 18m58.691s 1, C Hern (Suzuki) 19m03.487s 2, L Magee (BMW) 19m09.070s 3, B Henry (Suzuki) 19m10.016s 4, G Scott (Honda) 19m14.670s 5, M Walters (Kawasaki) 19m17.506s 6*, D Goldsmith (Kawasaki) 19m19.770s 7*, P Lovett (Kawasaki) 19m28.191s 8*, B Nicolson (BMW) 19m30.551s 9*, M Harding (Kawasaki) 19m31.206s 10*.
Supersport: A Morris (Yamaha) 16m25.318s 1, C Quinn (Yamaha) 16m25.328s 2, D Falzon (Yamaha) 16m27.029s 3, R Taylor (Yamaha) 16m27.320s 4, M Lockart (Kawasaki) 16m34.187s 5, A Gobert (Kawasaki) 16m35.542s 6, A Wagner (Yamaha) 16m35.79s 7, C Spriggs (Yamaha) 16m35.846s 8, A Phillis (Kawasaki) 16m38.755s 9, M Levy (Suzuki) 16m38.869s 10.