Desmosport Ducati rider Mike Jones has secured his third-consecutive Kawasaki Australian Superbike pole position, with the fastest-ever time for a Superbike around Winton Motor Raceway, a scorching 1:19.994.
Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Wayne Maxwell held the ascendancy for much of the session, before Jones punched out the record-breaking lap in the dying stages.
“It was unbelievable,” Jones said.
“When I first went out there, I wasn’t really sure how fast we could go. We’ve had tricky conditions this weekend, and haven’t really been able to evaluate our setup. Fortunately, the Desmosport Ducati team gave me a fantastic bike, and it shows in the end result. It’s testament to the team work – we’re all working really well together.”
Jones said the team’s recent testing has also given him confidence his bike will be competitive over tomorrow’s 16-lap races.
“In our testing in the last couple of weeks, we’ve been able to see our pace over a race distance – as we showed at Morgan Park, we have a really strong bike that can be very fast.”
Wayne Maxwell (Suzuki) and Cru Halliday (Yamaha) will share the front row of the grid with Jones for tomorrow’s two races, with Daniel Falzon (Yamaha) fourth ahead of Mark Chiodo, who qualified his Honda a season-best fifth, and Josh Waters will start sixth on the second-best of the Suzukis.
The top three riders from Qualifying 1 were Alex Phillis (Suzuki), Aaron Morris (BMW) and Matt Walters (Kawasaki) – they progressed to the second session, and qualified ninth, 11th and 10th respectively.
Not having such a positive run was Troy Herfoss; the defending champion crashed at Turn 10 early in the session. He returned to the track, but his fastest lap was only good enough for 12th position.
An even tougher day was in store for Glenn Allerton; the Next Gen Motorsports rider qualified 15th, but elected to withdraw from tomorrow’s races due to a niggling wrist injury.
“At the test last week, we got through one day but after the second day my wrist was really sore,” Allerton said.
“I thought after another week, the progress of my wrist would help me to get back on the bike, but the problem is I just don’t feel like I’m completely in control of the bike – I’m not attacking the track the way I know that I can.
“I don’t want to go out there and just make up the numbers, I want to try and win races. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve taken the decision not to race tomorrow, because I feel like I’m not completely 100 per cent safe on the bike. I’ll keep working ahead to the next round at Phillip Island.”The two Superbike races will take place tomorrow at 11:25am and 2:10pm.