Australian Superbike: Waters Tops Two-Day Test At Sydney Motorsport Park

Australian Superbike: Waters Tops Two-Day Test At Sydney Motorsport Park

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By ASBK:

Josh Waters sets the tone for season 2023: He’s the man to beat.

The final day of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul (ASBK) Official Test was set to be an all-daylight affair after last night’s all-important under-lights session.

A 36-degree forecast greeted all assembled but the early running was overcast and mercifully under those frankly hideous numbers.

The promised 36 degrees never arrived, but we did get over 60-degree track temperatures as a consolation prize.

None of these were as hot as the on-track action. The top six in superbike topped Alex Criville’s 1996 500GP lap time on the mighty Honda NSR 2-stroke aboard their 2023 spec ASBK machines.

The test uncovered some new gems, reaffirmed the talent of others and set the stage perfectly for the 2023 season of racing.

Alpinestars Superbike

The early part of the first session for SBK was overcast and the sun poked through shortly after the start to really heat up the track and see who had carry over form from the cooler night before.

Broc Pearson on the DesmoSport Ducati had the top spot for perhaps a minute before Yamaha Racing’s Cru Halliday asserted himself as he is want to do. McMartin Racing’s Josh Waters was having none of that and was first to dip into the 1:29s and before Halliday had a chance to respond the red flag came out after Pearson went off at Turn Four.

The restart of the session saw Halliday trading fastest times with Josh Waters who – on his last flying lap – dropped an incredible 1:29.570 to dip well below both the pole and race lap records by 2/10ths and send the clearest possible message to the field that the Mildura born and bred Waters is back in ASBK in 2023 and is not here to mess about. Waters not only nailed the fastest ever two wheeled lap of the Sydney Motorsport Park Grand Prix layout, but he also hit 295km/h down the main straight. With several sessions to come, it’s over to Cru Halliday and Mike Jones (second and third for the session) to respond.

Practice six- the second for the day, saw the early running a Waters/Halliday show with Lachlan Epis up into fourth at times and Senna Agius fifth.
Herfoss was eighth for a lot of the session, seemingly “just testing new things”, but was able to make it work and jumped up into third late in the session.

Of the ASBK regulars (Agius and Epis are not set for a full season in SBK), Mike Jones was next in sixth, Broc Pearson was back in the hunt after an earlier crash in seventh, Max Stauffer was eighth, Ted Collins in ninth and Mark Chiodo on an ex-Penrite Honda in tenth.

Arthur Sissis had an engine/electronic issue in an earlier session and was back in eleventh, with Paris Hardwick twelfth.

Practice seven and the second-to-last session for SBK opened with Senna Agius briefly on top before that bloke Josh Waters spoiled the party once again, popping up with a 1:30.708.

A quieter session for the day, many riders opting to do short runs. The 30c+ air and 61c track temperature played a big role.

With 10 minutes to go, less than 5 bikes were on track and we finished with Waters, Herfoss, Agius and Halliday in fourth.

A reduced field hit the still hot track for the final session, but all the major championship contenders in on track.

And we can’t say this enough, but AGAIN it was Josh Waters king o’ the hill, master of the house, man to beat. Back into the 1:29s this time a 1:29.622 after a 1:29.8 the lap before.

If there was a statement being made, then we get it. Josh Waters is going to be a major contender in 2023, and not just here at SMSP. He’s a multi-time champion with the fastest bike in the paddock and backed by a team that has multiple championship wins.

And if Josh Waters at the top made it feel a bit olde school brigade then the sight of Max Stauffer second and Broc Pearson third in the final session ought give hope to the new crew coming through.

Mike Jones was in fourth and finally Arthur Sissis with it all together in fifth.

A huge season is fast approaching, and the test has only served to whet our appetites.

Alpinestars Superbike- Combined times, ASBK Official Test, SMSP

1 21 Josh WATERS (VIC)  1:29.570

2 65 Cru HALLIDAY (NSW) 1:29.658

3 1 Mike JONES (QLD) 1:29.997

4 17 Troy HERFOSS (QLD) 1:30.024

5 4 Broc PEARSON (QLD)  1:30.235

6 83 Lachlan EPIS (NSW) 1:30.275

7 27 Max STAUFFER (NSW) 1:30.453

8 81 Senna AGIUS (NSW) 1:30.810

9 29 Ted COLLINS (VIC)   1:31.098

10 61 Arthur SISSIS (SA)  1:31.306

Michelin Supersport

The first session for the Supersport squads saw Harrison Voight at the top and left his fellow test attendees happy that Harrison will seek his racing fix in Europe in 2023.

Some .7 of a second behind was Sean Condon from 2022 Supersport Champions John Lytras. Jake Farnsworth was fourth with Scott Nicholson fifth.
The second session late in the morning was once again the Harrison Voight show with a 1.1 second gap to second placed Farnsworth with Tom Bramich third. Bramich had admitted that he had taken his bike back to base settings and was working from there. Third showed the evolution of that plan.

A crash from Scott Nicholson at turn six brought out the red flag for the session, and as the clock was run down, the session was called and ended.
The session after lunch saw soaring track temperatures of over 60c and Harrison Voight content to sit out the rest of the day after pretty much dominating the entire test to that point.

It fell to John Lytras to assert himself as in this session and he did so, but only by .0007 to Giuseppe Scarcella who had been thereabouts for much of the test, but now evidently had a fully sorted YZF-R6 under him. Cameron Dunker was third to show he’s very much ready for this big step from the 300 to the 600.

The final session of the entire test ended on a sour note. While it was Lytras on top from Condon and  Farnsworth, the session ended with a red flag and multiple riders down.

Farnsworth crashed late in a lap and Dallas Skeer shortly after at nearly the same spot. Farnsworth was able to return to the pits, Skeer required medical attention.

While this was going on, Jonathan Nahlous crashed at turn 3 as the red flag was being deployed. With just a few minutes remining, the session was declared done and the medical team was busy for the next while, delaying the following sessions and ending the Supersport test days in an unfortunate fashion.

Michelin Supersport- Combined times, ASBK Official Test, SMSP

1 29 Harrison VOIGHT (QLD) 1:32.138

2 26 Sean CONDON (NSW) 1:33.184

3 1 John LYTRAS (QLD)  1:33.335

4 49 Jake FARNSWORTH (NSW)  1:33.401

5 44 Tom BRAMICH (VIC)  1:33.620

6 3 Cameron DUNKER (NSW) 1:33.931

7 39 Scott NICHOLSON (VIC)  1:34.011

8 86 Dallas SKEER (SA) 1:34.145

9 47 Giuseppe SCARCELLA (NSW) 1:34.150

10 42 Jack PASSFIELD (NSW)  1:34.150

Supersport 300

A 9:30 am start for the first practice of the day for the three hundjees saw Cameron Swain sway the times his way with ‘veteran’ 300 racer Brandon Demmery up into second for the session. Brodie Gawith had improved on his consistency from the first day and was up to third.

A red flag interrupted the session when Cameron Dunker crashed his Moto3 bike, but the session resumed without issue and the top two improved their times.

The second session of the day saw Marcus Hamod electing to run a Moto3 bike, leaving Brandom Demmery the opportunity to show he’s not lost too much after sitting out much of 2022.

The 25-year-old Demmery took the fastest time of the session with Sam Pezzetta back into the top three and Brodie Gawith rounding out the top three.
The seventh session of the Official Test was Cameron Swain’s. After an OJC series win in 2021 and a mixed 2022, this year beckons Swain to greater things and after a number of podiums in 2022 in the Supersport 300 class, his opportunity awaits him.

Pezzetta was second with Brandom Demmery again thereabouts in third.

The final session of the test saw Cameron Swain end up on top again from Brodie Gawith and the ever-reliable Brandon Demmery.

In contrast to the Superport 600 machines, the smaller Supersport 300s kept it clean and crash-free to the checkered flag to round out a successful test at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Supersport 300- Combined times, ASBK Official Test, SMSP

1 13 Marcus HAMOD (NSW)1:44.633 189

2 11 Brandon DEMMERY (NSW) 1:44.811

3 26 Cameron SWAIN (QLD) 1:45.148 192

4 51 Sam PEZZETTA (SA) 1:45.251 189

5 25 Brodie GAWITH (VIC)  1:45.513 191

6 55 Steve SFORZIN (VIC)  1:45.713 195

7 57 Cooper ROWNTREE (SA)  1:46.131 189

8 17 Joshua NEWMAN (NSW) 1:46.349 191

9 12 Henry SNELL (QLD)  1:46.371

10 2 Luke JHONSTON (VIC) 1:46.470

bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup

First out in the morning, the top riders shuffled their order a touch, with first-year rider Riley Nauta who had been a top three contender last night dropping down to 12th and seemingly out of sorts. Topping the table was Bodie Page from his lookalike (and nemesis) Sam Drane in second. Valentino Knezovic continued his improvement and delivered on the promise he showed in 2022 and was third. OJC first-year riders Rikki Henry and Jed Fyffe were fourth and fifth.

While Bodie Page was the fastest for the session, he also had a get-off at turn five to apparently keep the OJC mechanic crew busy and the assembled media confused.

The later sessions saw Bodie Paige once again up top with Rikki Henry for company and brother Jake Paige a fast learner up into the top three.
For the majority of the OJC, working closely with the support team (including mum and dad!), it was a matter of getting into a rhythm and finding time here and there. Rider coach Garry McCoy was clear in his addresses with the riders; learn, progress and stay upright.

Mercifully, they largely listened and a terrific season of OJC awaits us.

bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup- Combined times, ASBK Official Test, SMSP

1 36 Rikki HENRY (SA) 1:59.364

2 74 Bodie PAIGE (QLD) 1:59.753

3 40 Hunter CORNEY (QLD) 1:59.974

4 42 Riley NAUTA (QLD)  2:00.160

5 7 Sam DRANE (NSW) 2:00.890

6 55 Jake PAIGE (QLD) 2:01.069

7 48 Valentino KNEZOVIC (NSW)  2:01.074

8 23 Jed FYFFE (NSW) 2:01.321

9 61 Ella McCAUSLAND (VIC)  2:01.332

10 37 Alexander CODEY (NSW)  2:01.492

 

For more information on the event, stay tuned to the ASBK website and social pages.

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