Yamaha Racing Team rider, Cru Halliday, kicked of his 2020 Australian Superbike Championship aspirations in impressive fashion, finishing in second place at all three races contested at the opening round of the championship at the Phillip Island circuit.Ran in conjunction with the World Superbike Championship, the large crowd on hand got to witness some first class racing in the domestic series as Halliday and rival Wayne Maxwell put on a masterclass of superbike racing.
Halliday proved racy right from the get go, even when conditions were less than perfect during the opening practice and qualifying sessions. Halliday managed to park his Yamaha YZF-R1M in P-2 in qualifying and was confident his one lap speed would carry over into racing.
And that it did. In all three 12 lap races, Halliday shadowed Maxwell around the fast and flowing Phillip Island track. The pair proved to be the form duo of the weekend and in each race were able to break clear of the chasing pack and put on some enthralling racing at the head of the field.
Maxwell claimed the round win, taking victory in all three races, but his biggest wining margin was just 1.2 seconds as Halliday challenged him all the way to the finish in each and every race. While desperate for a race or round win, Halliday was pleased with his performance and that of his Yamaha Racing Team machine.
“Finishing on the podium at the opening round of the championship is always a good way to start the year,” Halliday begins. “It’s sets the time for the year and it’s the kind of results myself and the team expect each weekend.
“I felt great on the bike all weekend and despite changing conditions throughout the weekend, we barely touched the bike. Infact, after race two, we didn’t touch a thing, so the Yamaha Racing Team did a sensational job.
“Congratulations to Wayne on his racing this weekend and I enjoyed battling with him. He is such an experienced rider and I continued to pressure him, hoping for a mistake, but he kept his composure in all three races and deserved his win this weekend.
“But, we are going to build form this. I feel we are better placed this year as the 2020 R1 feels good and I love racing it. Let’s go for round two,” Halliday ends.
The weekend wasn’t as successful for new team-mate, Aiden Wagner. Wagner finished with 8-11-DNF results to take 14th for the round. With a lingering thumb injury, Wagner tried all weekend, but wasn’t at 100% and was just off the pace of the top riders on the day.
With a four week break before the next round, it gives Wagner valuable time to heal, regroup and get his season back on track when he takes to Wakefield Park Circuit.
“A tough and frustrating weekend for me and I just couldn’t ride the way I wanted to. I was in touch with the leaders in race one but made a couple of mistakes and lost the tow late in the race,” said a disappointed Wagner.
“Race two wasn’t good and then I fell on the final lap of race three. I just need to put this behind me and be better at round two.”
The ASBK moves to Wakefield Park, Goulburn on March 27-29 where both YRT riders will be out for the top step of the podium. For a full list of results; http://www.computime.com.au/