Australian Superbike: Herfoss Fastest In Practice At Queensland Raceway

Australian Superbike: Herfoss Fastest In Practice At Queensland Raceway

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

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More, from a press release issued by ASBK:

Herfoss Leads the way on Friday at Queensland Raceway

As the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship Presented by Motul returned to Queensland Raceway on Friday morning to get official on-track proceedings underway, the championship was greeted with clear, blue skies and a steady ambient temperature hovering around 22 degrees celsius. Overnight rain had left the circuit damp, however it quickly dried out as the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup competitors headed out of the pits to turn the first laps of round three.

ALPINESTARS SUPERBIKE

After three sessions on day one, it was Troy Herfoss and his Penrite Honda team who sit atop the combined standings. Herfoss was straight down to business from the opening laps in FP1 and made solid progress throughout the day to be able to consistently run in the 1:07 bracket, this style of circuit proving to be a lot more comfortable for Herfoss aboard his Fireblade than the Grand Prix circuits that opened the season. You could not wipe the smile off his face as Herfoss put the icing on the cake in FP3, saving the best for last, when he broke Bryan Staring’s race lap record with a time of 1:07.705.

Yamaha’s Cru Halliday was second fastest. He drew first blood as he immediately settled into a rhythm onboard the YZF-R1 M and was challenging the ASBK race lap record just minutes into the day. The track had cooled for the third and final session of the day, allowing riders to hunt lap time with confidence. Halliday was the only rider alongside Herfoss to dip into the 1:07 bracket, ending the day on a 1:07.952.

ASBK lap records have tumbled at both previous rounds in season 2023, and this weekend looks set to see another record broken.

Halliday’s team-mate, and defending ASBK Champion, Mike Jones was third fastest, but could not enter the elusive 1:07 second bracket that Herfoss and Halliday managed. Speaking to ASBK post-session, Jones is confident he and machine made positive progress throughout the day to be in contention when it matters. Rewind the clock back to round two last year and Jones was untouchable here at Queensland Raceway. With another free practice session prior to qualifying on Saturday, the reigning champion has time on his side and will no doubt be in contention for AMX Superstores pole tomorrow afternoon.

Current points leaders Josh Waters and McMartin Racing with K-Tech find themselves in unfamiliar territory tonight as they leave the circuit not in a commanding position. The stop-start nature of the Queensland Raceway layout, combined with the climbing ambient temperature remains a concern for the Ducati which runs hotter than most. Time will tell on Sunday if the V4 R is vulnerable over a race distance, with temperatures set to match the ones recorded this afternoon.

Queensland Raceway remains favourable for Yamaha as MotoGo and Bryan Staring made it three in the top five as they made significant gains between FP2 and FP3 to leap ahead of GT Racing’s Glenn Allerton. Long-run pace and setup appeared to be the order of the day for Staring, stringing together consistent times to cut half a second off his best time to that point.

MICHELIN SUPERSPORT

The talk of the town is the depth of the field in Michelin Supersport this weekend as no less than 27 machines burbled their way out of pitlane on Friday. A mix of experience and youth make up the field this weekend, and it was experience that prevailed in the early running as Tom Bramich, Olly Simpson, Ty Lynch, Scott Nicholson and 2022 Champion John Lytras make up the top five after three practice sessions.

The field is incredibly close, as one second covers the top twelve riders in class from Bramich down to Dallas Skeer. Returning riders Aidan Wagner and Marcus Chiodo bring Superbike experience to the category, yet had difficult days adapting to supersport machinery with Wagner in 11th and Chiodo in 17th aboard his Triumph. A race winner last time out in Sydney, Cameron Dunker once again heads to a new track with his Yamaha YZF-R6, the 15 year-old had his head down all afternoon as he gets up to speed with the ‘Paperclip’ layout on significantly faster machinery than this time last year – He ended the day in tenth, a little over seven tenths back from pace-setting Bramich.

SUPERSPORT 300 AND YAMAHA FINANCIAL SERVICES R3 CUP

A mechanical glitch towards the end of the day couldn’t deny Cameron Swain top honours in both Supersport 300 and R3 Cup. In the intensely fought class, the 14-year-old has ascended to another level since his breakaway victory at Phillip Island at the end of February. Swain dominated Friday, dipping under the lap record on multiple occasions, setting up another battle with title rival Brandon Demmery who ended the day third in Supersport 300.

Splitting the two of them and leaving Queensland Raceway Friday night second in both classes was Marcus Hamod who laid down consistent improvements every time he went out. The #13 ended the day just two tenths behind Swain which will no doubt instill confidence ahead of qualifying and race one on Saturday.

Missing out on the top ten by just 0.006 of a second in supersport 300 was Tara Morrison. Speaking to ASBK at the beginning of the season at the Official ABSK Test, Morrison’s goal was clear – Top 10. She has been in top ten contention at Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park, achieving her goal once thus far, she finished today’s three practice sessions in 14th, 13th and 11th – Knocking on the door of that top ten with improvements in each session.

BLU CRU OCEANIA JUNIOR CUP

Hunter Corney stamped his authority on the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup field on Friday with a 1:35.794 in FP1 going unbeaten the rest of the afternoon. Try as they might, the gaps tightened but the #40 remained clear at the top of the charts by two tenths of a second which is a significant margin when every rider is on the same equipment.

Rikki Henry, Bodie Paige, Riley Nauta and Valentino Knezovic traded places second through fourth throughout the day as Ella McCausland picked up where she left off from at Sydney to finish the day fifth with a 1:36.174 – McCausland has come out swinging this weekend, determined to etch her name into history as the first female rider to win an OJC race. Standing between herself and that first place are four riders covered by less than half a second. OJC proving to be anyone’s game and as close as ever as we get set for another round of action.

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