American Travis Wyman, riding his Addicted to Track Yamaha YZF-R1, qualified 22nd in Superbike.
American Cody Wyman (Travis’ younger brother), riding his Addicted to Track Yamaha YZF-R6, qualified 16th in Supersport.
Saturday: Jones Sets Himself For the Title, Supersport Still Open
While normally not the most important session of the day, there was a lot more tension and effort in this morning’s Timed Practice. With the top nine automatically progressing in top 12 qualifying session later today, the 30 riders in superbike were very keen to get a time near the top of the sheets to secure their ticket into the next session.
Troy Herfoss banged out a single solitary lap that put him some .277 ahead of Mike Jones and Arthur Sissis.
Of the international and one-off-round visitors, it was a mixed bag: Miller was inside the top nine as needed, Shrötter was hot early but unable to lift later in the session, Hook was only able to do an out lap before his injured wrist said “let’s go in”, McConnell was also inside the top 15 but was unable to push forward, while Travis Wyman was outside the top 20.
Both DesmoSport Ducatis didn’t make the top nine, an unsurprising outcome after their crashes in FP3 yesterday. The team worked hard yesterday evening and this morning to ensure they were race ready.
In Qualifying Two the top three go through to the final Qualifying and effectively back into the main game.
At the end of the session, it was Daniel Falzon back in after clocking the fastest time with Senna Agius and Jed Metcher for company. Both DesmosSport Ducatis were again absent with Bryan Staring fourth and .147 from third place, while Broc Pearson was seventh.
Of the one-round riders, Thriller Motorsport’s Marcel Shrötter was fifth and Livson’s Joel Kelso sixth.
So to Qualifying Two and the last qualifying session of the year. Just 12 riders were present and so plenty of clear track was available.
Billy McConnell had progressed from struggle town to the top nine and was now into this all-important final qualifying session.
Jed Metcher and Daniel Falzon were busy turning their bikes around from Q1 and were not on the circuit at the session’s start.
Wayne Maxwell ran wide early at turn six just to ensure he was placing himself under maximum pressure to either produce a diamond or find himself further back.
Arthur Sissis and Mike Jones posted fastest laps early to take some pressure off and Jack Miller banked a top two “safety” as well.
Herfoss, McConnell and Maxwell were in the pits and yet to complete a flying lap with seven minutes left in the session.
The lap record seemed safe at six minutes to go with the order Jones, Miller and Sissis.
While Jones and Miller were in the pits, Herfoss and Maxwell were out on track trying to respond. Maxwell was eleventh at three minutes to go and you had to wonder what the plan was.
At two minutes to go the leaderboard was awash with riders on target for the fastest lap of the day.
Halliday suddenly went P1, and Waters to P2. Miller stuck it into provisional pole.
Maxwell pitted without a fast lap and with that went any hope for the championship.
Jones put his YRT R1M on pole with seconds to spare just to underline his justifiable claim to the title for 2022. Jack Miller was an outstanding second and Cru Halliday ensured the YRT squad would be well-represented on the front row of the grid.
In fourth was the outstanding Glenn Allerton who was not favourited to be this close to the front based on earlier results and fifth was Arthur Sissis who would be disappointed after beingg second in basically every other session
Senna Agius pipped teammate Troy Herfoss for seventh with Billy McConnell ninth, Daniel Falzon tenth, and Jed Metcher eleventh.
Incredibly, Wayne Maxwell was 12th and the last finisher in this final qualifying session of 2022 and indeed his Australian Superbike career, some 2.753 seconds behind pole-sitter Jones.
With Staring well outside the top ten for tomorrow’s pair of races, Jones will sleep well tonight and rightly dream about another Alpinestars Superbike title o’ the morrow.
The first qualifying for the Saturday Michelin Supersport Squad was an early one and the man of the session was Harrison Voight who just went bang, bang, bang.
To play that out, he went fastest on lap two (1:56.908), lap four (1:56.337) and lap five (1:56.058). No one else got a look in.
Tom Bramich made life difficult for himself and his team, crashing halfway through the session. Passfield also went down.
Dallas Skeer was able to work his way to second, surprising even himself while a somewhat fortunate Bramich was third, the clearly injured Ty Lynch fourth and Scott Nicholson fifth.
Championship leader John Lytras was back in eighth, but that spot still comfortably delivers the championship if replicated in the race.
In Qualifying Two it was a session split by both rain and a serious crash requiring a red flag after Luca Durning went down at turn 10 with 18 minutes to go.
The results from the second qualifying reflect the rain situation with Morgan McLaren-Wood P1, Scott Nicholson second and the unfortunate Luca Durning third.
On combined times, the grid for tomorrow reflects the results from First Qualifying with Thriller Racing’s Harrison Voight on pole from Dallas Skeer, Tom Bramich, Ty Lynch and Scott Nicholson.
Dunlop Supersport 300
Dunker was straight bossing in much of Qualifying One, at one stage he was some .6 up on the field until Pezzetta was able to do some reeling in and narrowed the gap to .279 at the end. Cameron Swain was third.
In qualifying two in damp conditions, there was oil on track at 13 minutes in and Pezzetta had a spectacular crash and long slide to an eventual stop. The session was red-flagged and ultimately declared with the merged result bringing Q1 results to the fore that saw Dunker on pole from Pezzetta and Swain
In race one, Dunker led as he is want to do, but had Hayden Nelson and Sam Pezzetta for company.
On lap one, Port and Rende came together at turn one and both crashed out of the race. Cameron Swain pitted with his gear lever hanging off. Glenn Nelson was found to have jumped the start and there his slim titles ended.
On lap four, Pezzetta and Hayden Nelson got past Dunker, but Dunker returned the favour before the lap was done.
Into the last few laps of the race and the hard racing began in earnest. Any thoughts Dunker had about a solo break were quelled when he was shuffled down to fourth while Pezzetta and a resurgent Aksu took the top spots with Hayden Nelson third.
With two turns to run Aksu ran wide and found himself down in fourth while Dunker set himself for the run to the line.He was unable to slip past and a deserving Sam Pezzetta saluted for first with Hayden Nelson second.
Cameron Dunker was third at the line and this points haul saw the baby-faced assassin take the Dunlop Supersport title for 2022. Dunker paused at the entrance to pit lane to don the traditional champion t-shirt and a gold helmet to boot. His crew- including superbike rookie Max Stauffer- posed for a pic and he headed to the podium.
At the post-race presser, he sat next to Jack Miller, drank it all in and perhaps dared to dream. As he ought.
Yamaha R3 Cup
Tension was mountain coming into Saturday’s R3 Cup race with #3 Cameron Dunker and #39 Glenn Nelson both tied for Season first place at 239 Points with Hayden Nelson trailing at 193 points.
Qualifying one saw a stacked field set the grid on fire with Cameron Dunker not disappointing. With exceptionally strong winds providing unpredictable conditions, Dunker looked to really test out the track throughout the session, getting faster each lap until he posted both his fastest and the dominating lap of qualifying on lap six with a 2:11.119.
South Australia’s own Sam Pezzetta put on a show in front of the hometown fans locking in his fastest on lap 5 at 2:11.890 and third place Cameron Swain trailed closely with his fastest just marginally behind Sam with a 2:11.917.With winds continuing to gust over the track, we are expecting exciting times ahead for Race 1 later today.
Tension was mounting just at the start it was the perfect run into an exceptionally eventful race. Straight off the line Dunker, Aksu and Pezzetta were at another level until Pezzetta was squeezed back to sixth place down the main straight. This wouldn’t be the only time Pezzetta would find himself on the sharp end of some pointy racing.
Not giving up, Pezzetta clawed back to third place over Snell, Hamod and Aksu through lap three and then Pezzetta was again back into fourth.
He was not to be denied, however, and a late charge saw him back up to second at the line.
But today was Dunker’s to savour. Fresh from winning the Dunlop Supersport 300 title, he was the smooth operator and was dominant throughout the entire race posting his fastest lap of 2:11.144 on lap two.
Taiyo Aksu was third but won’t be able to make an impact on the title chase, while Dunker has moved 13 points ahead and dares to consider the double SS300 and Yamaha Finance R3 Cup double.
bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup
It’s a tough caper both racing and predicting what will happen in the OJC. The dominant-til-now Ryan Larkin was absent from the first 15-minute qualifying session this morning, leaving the door open for Hudson Thompson who took the top spot from Marcus Hamod and John Pelgrave.
Championship leader Harrison Watts was 11th and some 2.2 seconds from the front.
Post-lunch and mercifully post some wet weather, the OJC took to the 4.9km International circuit configuration later than scheduled, but on a dry track.
In Qualifying Two, Larkin returned to the track and returned to his business as usual, posting the fastest time by .435 of a second to a resurgent Bodie Page and Hudson Thompson who was now contending near the front in every session.
In the race, fastest rider Larkin was not on pole after incurring a six-grid spot penalty from the Phillip Island MotoGP support race round.
It mattered not, he was at the front of the pack by the end of lap one after lapping seconds ahead of the field and then just danced off into the distance. Thanks to consistent, clean and fast laps, it was never in doubt.
Terrin Fleming and Bodie Page battled on and were second and third with championship leader Harrison Watts down in tenth, leaving the door open to the title challengers Rende (5th) and Thompson (6th) who will need a lot more tomorrow to bridge the 20 and 22 points deficit they face.
Sureflight Superbike Masters
Sureflight Superbike Masters qualifying was tight as ever with David Johnson showing the field what he’s made off by posting a cracker flying lap of 2:01.801 later in qualifying on lap 5, leading a marginal gap of .535 in front of Aaron Morris.
Rounding out third place Murray Clarke was not quite able to follow the pace set following David back with his fastest lap of 2:03.911 posted on lap 5.
In the race, the riders jumped away with a couple a little too keen and race direction placed the start under investigation.
Aaron Morris jumped over Dave Johnson for the lead, only to have his bike expire a few laps later. Johnson went back into P1 with Strugnell and Coote for company.
And there they would remain to the line, with Johnson aboard his 1100 Suzuki taking the win by 2 seconds over William Strugnell on a 750 Suzuki with another 11 seconds back to the third place Honda 750 of Aiden Coote.
There was very little between first and second with bike Patrick Clancy and Stephen Bonney just pipping Phillip Underwood and Tristan Vercoato the biscuit with a .298 difference. Phillip Underwood and Tristan Vercoa wanted to cement a dominant start early stamping the fastest lap of a 2:11.228 on Lap 2.
Patrick Clancey and Stephen Bonney were more than happy to fire back slapping down a 2:10.610 and 2:09.454 on laps 3 and 5.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing with J. Brown / P Halsey stopped at Pit entry with a dropped chain 3 minutes into the session and bike A. Shanks / J Whitfield stopping on turn 13.
Patrick Clancy and Stephen Bonney continued their reign taking out the fastest lap with a 2:09.661 on lap six.
Underwood/Vercoe held second for the entire race and looked to be able to finish in second until the charge of Harvey and Marshal caught them in the final lap making sure they settled for third.
Work was done early with Harvey and Marshal jumping into third place on lap one of the race chasing down and planning a successful attack on Underwood and Vercoe.
The race was largely incident-free, with only mechanical issues striking a few victims in the race. Jones and Boggiano were 2 of these such victims stopping on turn 13, halfway through the race and the Turner/Turner machine stopping on turn 6 but being able to resume.
The last race of the day- race two for the sidecars- was eventful with multiple mechanical and other issues facing the field. We lost Watson/Hegarty, then Rayner/Warne with plenty of smoke and excitement…
At the finish, it was Patrick Clancy / Stephen Bonney from the formerly unassailable Underwood/Vercoe second with Harvey / Marshall in third.