The penultimate round of this year’s Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) has seen a few ups-and-downs for the Yamaha Racing Team at Sydney Motorsport Park on the second weekend of September.
After a positive fifth round for both Wayne Maxwell and Glenn Allerton a fortnight ago at Queensland’s Morgan Park Raceway, both riders were in fine form entering the sixth round of the championship.
Championship leader, Wayne Maxwell, started his weekend off in good form earning second place in timed qualifying and taking his fifth front row start for the year.
Race one saw Maxwell slot into third place, directly behind championship rival, Troy Herfoss, and tightening up the championship chase. Maxwell felt he could improve his result for race two with some improved feel in the rear wheel in terms of acceleration and braking.
After a reasonable start in race two, Maxwell began making moves and started moving forward. He moved into third, passing Herfoss but on lap three fell heavily in turn three and was unable to finish the race. The speed at which Maxwell fell saw him slide across the track and then into the track barrier.
Maxwell had just broken the lap record around the circuit and was looking good until his untimely fall. Wayne recorded a lap time 1:29.722 which was .169 faster than previous lap record held by Josh Waters.
“Things were going well and I just came into turn three and seemed to hit a few bumps and lost the front. It all happened pretty quick. I might have done some damage to my neck and shoulder but I will get that checked out during the week.
“No one goes out on track with the intention to crash and I certainly didn’t want to do that. In fact, I didn’t even have the intention of needing to win the race. I just wanted to get a strong result without taking too much risk.
“But it’s not over yet and I will just go to the final round at Phillip Island with nothing to lose and see what Troy and Josh have got,” he ends.
Maxwell, who finished in twelfth place for the round, now heads into the grand finale in third place in the championship, nine points behind second place and a further fifteen points behind the lead is still within a mathematical chance to win the championship.
For Allerton, it was once again a great outcome overall for the former triple Australian Superbike champion who took third overall in a confidence building ride as he returns from injury.
His weekend started well as he claimed the third fastest time in qualifying and started right alongside his team mate, Wayne Maxwell, in race one.
From third on the grid Allerton managed to produce a solid 5-4 result to bag third place overall for the round, his first podium finish since Morgan Park Raceway last year.
It was a tough race for Allerton in race two, as front leading group of riders were going fast at the front. In saying that, Allerton was still definitely fast enough to have a battle with the likes of Troy [Herfoss] and a few other riders.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be up here," beamed Allerton. "You just go through so many emotions when you have a massive injury like what I had. Then the doubts set in. In saying that, I never doubted myself, but the doubt sets in with everyone around you. You always need a good team of people around you that trust you.
Kev Marshall and everyone in the team have always believed in me and that has really helped me to come back strong, as everyone has always been positive and aware of my injuries and are trying to help me. Today is a result of all that faith in me and I really want to thank everyone for sticking by me.
"Overall, I’m really happy with the weekend went and look forward to making more progress at Phillip Island at the final round,” said Allerton.
YRT’s team manager John Redding expressed at the conclusion of the round that he and the team we’re naturally disappointed with Maxwell’s crash.
“Wayne was well positioned in the championship to go to Phillip Island in a tight battle for the title. It will now take a fair bit of luck on our side to pull back that fifteen point deficit. We will just have to wait and see what happens at Phillip Island in October.
“Naturally the team is disappointed with what has happened to Wayne, but at the same time we are happy that Glenn has now returned to form. He has shown today that he can go and battle at the front of the field, which is a positive thing for Glenn,” concluded Redding.
The Australian Superbike Championship wraps up on the first weekend of October at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Round Six Results – Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW
1st Josh Waters – 51
2nd Troy Herfoss – 38
3rd Glenn Allerton – 33 (YRT)
4th Robbie Bugden – 29
5th Cru Halliday (YRT supported) – 29
Championship Standings after Round Six
1st Troy Herfoss – 226
2nd Josh Waters – 220
3rd Wayne Maxwell – 211 (Yamaha R1)
4th Robbie Bugden – 201
5th Daniel Falzon (YRT supported) – 188
Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell has triumphed at round five of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship at Queensland’s Morgan Park Raceway on the weekend by finishing with a 1-2 result, which handed him the overall round win.
The stunning turnaround in results at a drama filled round at Morgan Park also catapulted him into the championship lead and the series is set for a grandstand finish with two rounds remaining.
The former Australian Superbike champion didn’t make things easy for himself after he qualified in seventh position on Saturday. Maxwell admitted after qualifying that it wasn’t the best outcome as he was hoping for, as ideally he needed to be on the front row of the grid to be able to have good track position for the two sixteen lap races on Sunday.
Race one saw Maxwell having an ‘OK’ start and had decent track position but with the lead group beginning to break away, Maxwell had to step up his game if he wanted to stay in race contention.
By lap three, Maxwell moved into fifth. On lap seven he claimed another two riders and moved to third. By lap thirteen, the Victorian rider got himself into the lead of the race and went on to win by .931 seconds.
“I just chipped my way through the pack and the leading riders were not really coming back within striking distance at first,” explained Maxwell after race one. “Then suddenly they just started coming back like three or four tenths a lap."
“I found a rhythm and lucky enough Cru made a mistake between turn one and two which allowed me to get by and take the win.”
The second race saw Maxwell involved in a four-way dice for the lead throughout the race duration. This time around Maxwell got a better start and was holding down fourth in the early stages. He quickly made his way to third, before pouncing his way to second and knowing a 1-2 finish was good enough to claim the round win.
Thanks to Maxwell’s 1-2 finish, it sees him leading the championship fight for the first time this year. Maxwell managed to turn a 22-point deficit into a five-point championship lead at Morgan Park.
“I was so disappointed after yesterday," expressed Maxwell. "Seventh position in qualifying wasn't ideal and I just felt like I couldn’t put a lap together and was riding well below my level.
“We changed a few things on the bike plus I really wanted to redeem myself after qualifying and combined we were able to turn around our weekend,” he ends.
It was a welcome return to racing for Glenn Allerton, who managed to finish in a solid fifth position, scoring 9-5 results.
The New South Welshman was still not 100% fit as he would have liked to be, but put in a gutsy performance all weekend aboard the number 14 Yamaha YZF-R1M machine.
Like Maxwell, Allerton had his work cut out for him as he qualified in eleventh place but was hopeful of better results in the two races contested.
Allerton described the race one as a really tough one for him. Always the competitor, he battled on bravely despite his wrist and shoulders straining under brakes and leaving him with little strength when the pace is really on.
Race two proved a little lucky as several riders in front of him had issues and allowed Allerton to finish slightly higher up the leader board in fifth place.
“At this point in time, my injury is what it is and I’m just going to have to deal with it and do the best that I can. I know I’m still a long way off at the moment and I would like to be closer to the front but I just have to keep working on my injuries and hopefully be closer again at the next round.
“Fifth place in race two was good and quite happy to have scored fifth place overall, but I got lucky. Not a lot of riders like to admit when they get lucky. But I’m happy to put my hand up and say heaps of people fell off in front of me which is why I ended up in fifth.”
YRT’s team manager John Redding did expect Maxwell to be competitive at Morgan Park Raceway after he was very fast at the official ASBK test a few weeks prior to round five.
“Wayne was able to put down some very fast times over a race distance, which is why we expected to do well here this weekend,” explained Redding. “It was unfortunate that Glenn had a crash here during the test, which made things a little bit harder for himself,” added Redding.
“Overall as a team we have to be pretty happy with how the day panned out for us. We are also certainly happy with Cru [Halliday]’s performance as well. Cru has definitely come up leaps and bounds coming off a difficult fourth round in July as well.
“We are now looking forward to the final two rounds of the championship to see what pans out the Yamaha Racing Team,” concluded Redding.
The Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship now heads 798km south to Sydney Motorsport Park for the penultimate round, which will be held from 8-10 September.
Round five Results – Morgan Park Raceway, QLD
1st Wayne Maxwell – 45 (YRT)
2nd Cru Halliday (YRT supported) – 44
3rd Josh Waters – 34
4th Corey Turner – 33
5th Glenn Allerton – 28 (YRT)
Championship Standings after Round five
1st Wayne Maxwell – 193 (Yamaha R1)
2nd Troy Herfoss – 188
3rd Robbie Bugden – 172
4th Daniel Falzon (YRT supported) – 171
5th Josh Waters – 169
Wayne will face an up-hill battle in the fight for the 2017 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) presented by Motul Pirelli title after crashing out of race two in Darwin.
The 2013 champion was well in the frame for victory after setting Friday’s pace and then qualifying third to complete the front row of the grid, however starts largely impacted his progress on Sunday.
Maxwell picked his way through the pack for third in the opening encounter – setting the fastest lap of part two following the red flag – but crashed while in fourth and chasing down Bryan Staring for position in the mid-stages of race two. Despite his DNF, Maxwell sits just 22 points outside of the series lead with three rounds to run, however he knows it will be a challenge to bridge the gap again from this point.
“We were trying to make ground after a bad start,” Maxwell told CycleOnline.com.au. “There’s nothing to blame, it’s just I made a mistake trying to push on a little bit too much, so the positive of it is that we had good pace, I could match the front guys, I just had bad track position. In hindsight I maybe should have just settled for fourth or backed it off and rode that pace out through to the end – see what we could do.
“Massive apologies to everyone at Yamaha Racing Team, it’s not how we wanted to finish the weekend and it’s really put a damper on our championship. It’s going to be really hard from here on in to close that gap up. We’ve already been 30-odd points behind once and closed it to nine, but now we’re back out to the same again.
“We’ll try to come back at Morgan Park, a track that’s hard for us to win, but we’re going to have to change the strategy in what we’ve been doing with the bike and make it so it’s easier to race when we’re in a pack. In clean air the bike’s good, but in a pack we’re struggling. We’ll revisit the drawing board and hopefully come out at Morgan Park with a better package.”
With new points leader Troy Herfoss dominating at Morgan Park last year and now armed with Honda’s revamped SP2, Maxwell said he will continue to refine his approach with the YZF-R1M in its third full season of development.
“We need to get to turn one with the front guys and we need to not give away free time in some sectors of the track,” he added. “We’re so much stronger than the other guys in some areas, but giving up a lot of that free time in other areas. We’ll revisit out strategy with the R1M as I said and come out at Morgan Park with the package to run at the front.”
Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell has thrust himself right back into championship contention after a weekend of domination at round three of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) at Victoria’s Winton Motor Raceway.
After enterprising day during the practice sessions, Maxwell felt in tune with his YZF- R1M and confident of a good showing in the qualifying sessions. True to his word, the 2013 Australian Superbike Champion stormed to a 1min20.290 in qualifying two on Saturday, which is the new best lap in the Superbike category around the Winton circuit and he lowered the bench mark time by .115 seconds. His next goal was to transfer his raw speed into into racing then next day.
Race one saw the 34-year-old sit in second position behind Troy Herfoss for the first eleven laps of the race before taking command of the race after he got by Herfoss at turn seven. From there Maxwell was never headed and took the race win by .550sec over Robbie Bugden, with YRT supported rider Cru Halliday finishing in third place.
"It was a strange race as Troy [Herfoss] and I were strong in the first sector of the race track, then in the second and third sector I was stronger, while Troy was strong in the final sector," explained Maxwell after race one.
"My only passing opportunity was in the second sector. Troy just kept fighting back and I couldn’t get clear air. However, with three laps to go I managed to get clear air and managed to win."
The second race saw Maxwell racing in third position for the opening six laps before making his way up to second place and then set about tracking down Herfoss once again. The race winning move came on lap twelve when Maxwell dived up the inside of Herfoss at turn four. The Yamaha rider romped to a 5.211 second victory and in the process posting the fastest lap of the race with a 1min20.688 on lap eleven.
“The Yamaha YZF-R1M was a great package here this weekend,” beamed Maxwell after race two. “To be able to do those lap times one after another is no mean feat. The guys at Yamaha Racing Team have given me a great bike to go racing on this weekend. The bike and the tyres were consistent. I just tried to hit a number and stuck to it.
“I’m so happy to come away with pole position yesterday and the double race win today as it’s a nice way to repay back the team for all of their hard work. The team and I are going to have to try and keep that momentum going into the next round and for the rest of the season.”
Team mate, Glenn Allerton, is still sidelined due to an injury at a previous round but his recovery is going well and the team expect him to be back on the bike in the near future.
The Australian Superbike Championship now heads to the top end to Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway, which Maxwell said that he is really looking forward to as the circuit has been good to him in the past.
“Last time I raced there the circuit was good to me and I managed to do the fastest ever lap around there before. We’ll go back there and try and take the challenge on in regards to the championship.”
It will be the first time that the Yamaha Racing Team will race at Hidden Valley in the Superbike category. Last time the team raced at the 2.87km circuit was in 2011 in the Supersport class.
Maxwell heads into the fourth round of the championship in second place with 130-points to his name, just nine points off the championship lead. Round four of the ASBK series will be held from 6-9 July.
Round three Results – Winton Motor Raceway, VIC
1st Wayne Maxwell – 51 (YRT)
2nd Troy Herfoss – 37
3rd Cru Halliday (YRT supported) – 36
4th Robbie Bugden – 36
5th Daniel Falzon (YRT supported) – 33
Championship Standings after Round three
1st Daniel Falzon – 139 (Yamaha – R1)
2nd Wayne Maxwell – 130 (Yamaha – R1)
3rd Troy Herfoss – 130
4th Robbie Bugden – 125
5th Bryan Staring – 96
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2014 Australasian Superbike Champion & AFX-Superbike Champion, 2013 Australian Superbike Champion