Ringing out loud and clear that he is a dominating force in the Kawasaki Supersport Championship, Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R6) scored the fastest lap time in Friday’s practice day at the Spokes.com.au presents Round 7 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Leading the scoreboard by 52 points, Halliday is making sure he ends his year on a high in the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK).
Halliday gave himself plenty of breathing space in Friday’s practice day with a fastest lap time of 1:35.594, which sets a positive tone for the rest of his weekend at ‘The Island’. Renowned for being a track that reveals both the strengths and weaknesses of a rider and its bike, the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit suited Halliday perfectly, as his closest competitor sat a comfortable one second behind.
Currently on 283 points and sitting pretty at second position overall for the 2018 Kawasaki Supersport Championship, Tom Toparis (Cube Racing, Kawasaki ZX-6R) clocked in the second fastest time with a 1:36.320. Toparis can be remembered for his domination earlier this year at the Round 1 WorldSBK with three victories top to tail. Unfortunately since Round 1 Toparis has failed to nab another victory, but with his talent at this track he will no doubt put Halliday to the test.
Coming in hot after Toparis was Callum Spriggs (Yamaha YZF-R6) nabbing third best lap time overall, with a 1:36.733. Sitting in 19th position in the Championship, Spriggs surprised many of his competitors as his skill and bike set a cracking pace in amongst Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit’s long sweeping turns and high speeds.
Scoring the fourth fastest lap with a 1:37.347, was Max Croker (Mat Mladin Mladin Racing, Suzuki GSX-R). Croker currently holds third position overall in the 2018 Kawasaki Supersport Championship with 213 points and will use this weekend to defend his position on the podium. With 18 points separating Croker from fourth position, this weekend will be make or break for the Yamaha racer.
Hot on the heels of Croker was Honda CBR rider Damon Rees (Carl Cox M-sport, Honda CBR), with a fastest lap time of 1:37.490 for Friday’s practice day. Sitting at fourth position overall in the Championship, Rees has his eyes set on a podium position and will use this track, its long straights and tight hairpins to steal third position from Croker.
Following on from Rees with the sixth fastest time of the day was Nic Liminton (YRD, Yamaha YZF-R6), clocking in a best time of 1:37.934. Throughout the day, Liminton set a cracking pace for his competitors and is definitely one to keep an eye on as the weekend progresses!
Not far behind Liminton, with fastest time of 1:38.128 was Scott Nicholson (NextGen Motorsports, Suzuki GSX-R). Nicholson put on a show for Round 6 at Winton Motor Raceway and is sure to keep fans on their toes for this final round of the 2018 season as he fits to stay within the top 10 overall in the Kawasaki Supersport Championship.
Clocking in the eight quickest time of the day was Dylan Whiteside (YRD, Yamaha YZF-R6), with a 1:38.442. Fans will be pleased to see Whiteside back in the Championship, after time away, and he will no doubt show his finesse in preparation for the 2019 season over the weekend here at ‘The Island’.
Rounding out the top 10 for Friday’s practice day, and biting at Whiteside’s heels is Broc Pearson (1800 Approved Cairns, Yamaha YZF-R6) and Ryan Taylor (Arden Homes, Yamaha YZF-R6), who clocked in best times of 1:38.463 and 1:38.773 respectively.
Tomorrow will be a cracker of day in Qualifying One at 9:50am and Qualifying Two at 1:35pm, with strong competition to clinch the pole position for the Kawasaki Supersport Championship!
Kawasaki Supersport Friday Practice Top Ten Provisional Results
1. Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Racing Tea, Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:35.594
2. Tom TOPARIS (Cube Racing, Kawasaki ZX-6R) 1:36.320
3. Callum SPRIGGS (Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:36.733
4. Max CROKER (Mat Mladin Mladin Racing, Suzuki GSX-R) 1:37.347
5. Damon REES (Carl Cox M-sport, Honda CBR) 1:37.490
6. Nic LIMINTON (YRD, Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:37.934
7. Scott NICHOLSON (NextGen Motorsports, Suzuki GSX-R) 1:38.128
8. Dylan WHITESIDE (YRD, Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:38.442
9. Broc PEARSON (1800 Approved Cairns, Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:38.463
10. Ryan TAYLOR (Arden Homes, Yamaha YZF-R6) 1:38.773
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Remaining 2018 ASBK Calendar Rounds
Round 7- Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC October 12 – 14
Photos courtesy of Andrew Gosling – tbg sport