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Friday Practice at The Bend: Getting Back Into It

Near perfect weather with a slight breeze greeted the riders as the opening day of on-track action got underway in the mi-bike Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul at The Bend Motorsport Park.

Alpinestars Superbike

With clear South Australian skies above it was the South Australian duo of Daniel Falzon (/ William Adams CAT / Mainline Dyno / YRT) and Arthur Sissis (Unitech Racing / Remo Contractors / SA Profiling / AUS Crush & Recycle ) in the Alpinestars Superbike class showing that there’s no substitute for seat time at the Tailem Bend circuit as they sat atop — or very near — the timing sheets in the early sessions.

In a windy Practice Two (FP2) it was Jack Miller (Ducati / Ducati Corse / Dainese / AVG / Red Bull / Caterpillar / Rival Ink ) in just his second ever session aboard his Ducti Panigale V4 R who surprised a few and didn’t surprise many more when he was fastest. Sissis and Falzon swapped spots in second and third respectively.

In FP3 it was a return to the top for championship leader Wayne Maxwell (Boost Mobile Racing with K-Tech / McMartin Racing ) who showed that he and the team were progressing the bike’s setup in the right direction as he went P1 and set the fastest time of the day. The Ducati was on song straight into the final session of the day as Maxwell uncorked his fastest lap on his first flying lap.

Wayne Maxwell: “Today was good! We worked through all of the tyre combinations and we’re confident we have a handle on it. We have a few areas to improve, so we will have a sit down tonight and come up with a plan to improve and find that all-important factor; consistency.”

Daniel Falzon: “I’m so grateful for the race to be here. We’ve been fortunate in South Australia to be able to still practice at a track we’re about to compete on… We’ll see how that goes for the rest of the weekend.”

Arthur Sissis: “We had a few tests here before this round and we’re sort of one up on the other riders. The Ducati guys are pretty quick, but they’re still working up to it.”

Motorsports TV Supersport

With a long lay off for the Supersport riders and teams, the first practice session was a chance for many to just get familiar with all things racing and riding. For Tom Edwards (Bikebiz Yamaha), the familiarisation process was short and he went to the top of the table and enjoyed a sizable 1.5 second gap back to Senna Agius (JMT Civil / MIE Racing / ELF Lubricants Yamaha) with Broc Pearson (YRD / City2Surf Locksmith) in third.

In Practice 2, Broc Pearson found the throttle stop and was fastest, with his lap time dropping by an incredible 2.5 seconds over his P1 time. Max Stauffer (GTR MotoStars Team / RS+C / Doctor Mak / YRD / Motul / Pirelli Yamaha) also found the fast way around the Tailem Bend circuit in P2 followed by Tom Edwards.

In Practice 3, times dropped again but the order shuffled with Broc Pearson from Tom Edwards and Max Stauffer in third.

Dunlop Supersport 300 Championship

Ben Baker (YRD Yamaha / Shoei / SCK / Utech Designs / West Sliders / Maxima Oils Yamaha) showed clear improvement through the session, dropping his fastest lap by 4 seconds over the three sessions to take the top spot for the day from Carter Thompson (GTR MotoStars Team / RS+C / Motostars / Doctor Mak / YRD / Motul / Pirelli Yamaha) who was fast early but not able to make the sort of improvements that Baker was able to and finished the day second fastest thanks to his Practice 1 time. It was Zac Johnson (Johnson Racing Team / Rebuilder / Prebuild Solutions / The Grinning Dingo) in third for the day who was also able to make significant improvements to his bike and lap time, dropping some three seconds over the three sessions.

Yamaha R3 Cup

Series leader Ben Baker (YRD Yamaha / Shoei / SCK / Utech Designs / West Sliders / Maxima Oils Yamaha ) showed his class and pace recording the fastest time of the day with a 2:08.159 from Archie McDonald (ProGP Racing Junior Team / GB Racing / Bonamici Racing / Signpro / JDS Moto Yamaha)  who stopped the clock in 2:10.003 and in third was Carter Thompson (GTR MotoStars Team / RS+C / Motostars / Doctor Mak / YRD / Motul / Pirelli Yamaha) who posted  2:10.120.

bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup

A twenty rider field made their way out onto the Tailem Bend International Circuit for the practice day and it was Cameron Swain who (bLU cRU Yamaha / FIM Oceania / Motul / MA / Pirelli / Ricondi / AGV) from Queensland who found the conditions and his bike much to his liking as he took fastest lap for the day thanks to a second-a-session improvement. Ryan Larkin (bLU cRU Yamaha / FIM Oceania / Motul / MA / Pirelli / Ricondi / AGV) also did the right thing, improving in each session before posting his fastest lap in the third and final session. Third for the day was Teerin Fleming (bLU cRU Yamaha / FIM Oceania / Motul / MA / Pirelli / Ricondi / AGV Yamaha) who broke the pattern, posting his fastest time during the second practice session.


For full results, see Computime

Tomorrow sees all categories in action on track as the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul heats up with qualifying and racing on ahead of Sunday’s all-racing finale to the 2021 season.