Privateer Wagner Wins Again to Take the Round at the Island
24 February 2019
Aiden Wagner (Yamaha YZF-R1) has brought Round 1 of the 2019 Motul Pirelli Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) to a thrilling climax at Phillip Island during the FIM World Superbike Championship (WSBK) weekend, claiming Race 3 ahead of 2015 Australian Superbike Champion Mike Jones (K and R Hydraulics, Kawasaki ZX10R), Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1) and Josh Waters (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R).
Halliday put in three strong performances at the front of the Kawasaki Superbike field across the weekend to claim second place overall, and Waters added another fifth to his fifth and third finishes yesterday to secure third overall.
The third race was another entertaining display, with Waters leading the pack off the start from Daniel Falzon (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1). As they tipped into turn one, polesitter Wagner was fourth but made it back to third by turn three. Wagner then got underneath Falzon at turn 10 to claim second and at the end of the first lap it was Waters from Wagner, Falzon, and Halliday. Two surprises amongst the leaders were Jones and Arthur Sissis (Powerfone Suzuki GSX-R) who both managed to make great starts and join the top guys at the front. Jones would go on to claim fourth spot in the pack ahead of Halliday on lap three while Sissis unfortunately couldn’t sustain the pace of the frontrunners and dropped back to finish 11th.
Jones was on an absolute charge and pulled off a lap record 1:31.881 in his pursuit of the leaders who chopped and changed amongst themselves. A lead change on lap five saw Falzon finding a way past Wagner as they tipped into turn one before Falzon went too deep into two and got bundled back to fourth for his trouble. The Yamaha Racing Team rider then squabbled with teammate Halliday over second and third positions while the chasing Wayne Maxwell (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R) and Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda Racing, Honda CBR RR SP) crept up on the lead bunch to form a seven-rider train.
In the second half of the race Wagner and Jones were swapping positions with regularity, Jones ultimately taking the lead going through the Hayshed on lap nine. Two laps to go and the lead group was Jones from Wagner, Waters, Halliday, Falzon and Maxwell, with Herfoss now starting to lose touch ever so slightly. Just before the last lap began Halliday seized the opportunity to scoot through on Waters to claim second.
As the field began the final lap Wagner made his move for the third time in a row this weekend, however there was no controversy this time as he cleanly slithered past Jones before turn two. As they rode through the lap Wagner pulled far enough in front by Jones’ apparent favourite passing spot at the Hayshed to defend his lead to the line, crossing first ahead of Jones, Halliday, Falzon, Waters and Maxwell.
Wagner was thrilled to climb on the top step of the podium. “It’s awesome to take the round win on the Landbridge Racing privateer Yamaha. It was really good to battle out there with Mike, another privateer and a really experienced rider. Well done to all the boys on the podium, it’s awesome to take this win home and I’m going to sleep really well tonight!”
Mike Jones surprised a few onlookers with his superb ride on the privateer Kawasaki, whilst a question mark hangs over his head as to whether he will contest any more rounds of the ASBK this season.
“Obviously absolutely ecstatic with the race,” he said. “Made a really good start and got away with the guys at the front and that helped me keep the lap times up and be there at the finish. It’s been a challenging time here since the ASBK Official Test here a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve shown that within six days of riding we can be up here at the pointy end.”
Halliday was pleased with his overall third in the race and second place for the round, in his first round returning to the Kawasaki Superbike class after winning the Supersport class last year.
“It was unreal” he said. “I sort of lost count of the lap board, I was that focussed on the race. Once Jonesy and Josh got past me I sat behind them for a little bit. I got the lap board with two laps to go and I thought I have to get in front of either Josh or Mike, they’ve got a touch more power than me and I’ve got to make sure I have enough of a gap down the straight.
“Third for that race and second overall for this round, I can’t say enough. I came here with top five as my goal and we knocked that out of the ballpark. Can’t wait for Round 2!”
Round 2 of the 2019 Motul Pirelli Australian Superbike Championship heads to Wakefield Park in Goulburn (March 22-24). For information and tickets, head to www.asbk.com.au.
To keep up with all the action, follow the ASBK on Facebook and Instagram.
Overall Classification (Race 3):
1 Aiden WAGNER (Yamaha YZF-R1)
2 Michael JONES (K and R Hydraulics, Kawasaki ZX10R)
3 Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1)
4 Daniel FALZON (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1)
5 Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R)
6 Wayne MAXWELL (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R)
7 Troy HERFOSS (Penrite Honda Racing, Honda CBR RR SP)
8 Bryan STARING (Kawasaki BCperformance, Kawasaki ZX10RR)
Matt WALTERS (Kawasaki Australia, Kawasaki ZX10R)
9 Glenn ALLERTON (NextGen Motorsports, BMW S RR)
10 Ted COLLINS (NextGen Motorsports, BMW S RR)
Championship Standings After Round 1:
1 Aiden WAGNER (Yamaha YZF-R1) 71
2 Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1) 55
3 Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R)50
4 Michael JONES (K and R Hydraulics, Kawasaki ZX10R) 49
5 Bryan STARING (Kawasaki BCperformance, Kawasaki ZX10RR) 48
6 Troy HERFOSS (Penrite Honda Racing, Honda CBR RR SP) 41
7 Wayne MAXWELL (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, Suzuki GSX-R EL R) 40
8 Glenn ALLERTON (NextGen Motorsports, BMW S RR) 40
9 Daniel FALZON (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1) 32
10 Ted COLLINS (NextGen Motorsports, BMW S RR) 31