Queenslander Broc Pearson has fired a sensational qualifying salvo in the 2023 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, at Phillip Island today.here, and can also be purchased at the gate. Live streaming begins at 10:00am (AEDT) tomorrow, and live TV on SBS and Stan Sport from 1:00pm (AEDT).Pearson rose to the challenge on his Ducati to defeat all comers in a tense Alpinestars Superbike qualifying session, while Tom Toparis (Yamaha) wasn’t under as much heat as he soared to pole position in Michelin Supersport. While the Superbike and Supersport riders fought for grid positions, the remaining ASBK Championship classes started their race campaigns, with intense action across all parts of the 4.448km grand prix circuit. That’s set the scene for a gripping 11-race Sunday program, including two races apiece for Superbike and Supersport in superb Phillip Island spring weather. Tickets are still on sale
Pearson claimed his maiden AMX Superstores pole position in the Alpinestars Superbike class with a ‘catch me if you can’ approach.Pearson took full advantage of the blustery conditions to produce a stunning 1:32.156 lap with five minutes remaining in the second Superbike qualifier and, despite inevitable late charges by the likes of Josh Waters (McMartin Racing with K-Tech Ducati V4R) and defending champion Mike Jones (Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R1), he couldn’t be dislodged. Pearson is now the fourth rider to score pole honours in 2023, and he’ll lead the field away in tomorrow’s 12-lap races as he tries his utmost to keep the marauding pack behind him. “We haven’t had the best lead-up in terms of practice, so I’m really surprised to claim pole today,” said Pearson. “I am especially happy to put in a good performance at a track where I feel like I haven’t really had any good results. “The team has helped me so much to move forward by showcasing more of my performance. I hope this can translate into some good results tomorrow. Waters, who took the sword to the Superbike field in February’s opening Phillip Island round, will start alongside Pearson after setting a best lap of 1:32.276. It’s tight at the top, with the next five riders all within 0.4sec of Waters: Jones, practice pacesetter Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R1), Max Staffer (GTR MotoStars Racing YZF-R1), championship leader Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda CBR1000RR-R) and Bryan Staring (MotoGo Yamaha YZF-R1). In a late charge for the top slot, Herfoss ran off at the blindingly fast turn one but managed to keep the Penrite Honda upright and return to the pits. He will start will start from fifth place in the middle of the second row tomorrow. Mark Chiodo (CBR1000RR-R) and Jed Metcher (YZF-R1M) also hit the deck in qualifying. Herfoss takes a 14pt title lead into race day over Waters, while Jones will begin an unlikely – but still mathematically possible – late charge for championship glory. Meanwhile, Glenn Allerton (GT Racing BMW M 1000 RR), Anthony West (Addicted to Track YZF-R1) and Ted Collins (Livson Racing M 1000 RR) saw out the top 10 in qualifying, with 20 riders set to do battle tomorrow.
Tom Toparis (Stop & Seal Cube Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) is back and producing gold standard work in the Michelin Supersport class. Today, the Goulburn charger maintained a vice-like grip on top spot in both Supersport qualifying sessions. A 1:35.495 in the opener was his ultimate ticket to pole position, only marginally in arrears of Senna Agius’ class qualifying benchmark of 1:35.307.The front row for tomorrow’s pair of 10-lap races will be completed by championship leader Olly Simpson (YZF, R6) 1:36.134) and Cameron Dunker (GTR MotoStars YZF-R6, 1:36.502), who’s only 13pts in arrears in second spot. While it will be a balancing act for Simpson and Dunker on race day, Toparis has no such constraints and is relishing as return to Australian competition after a long absence. He’s also added the Alpinestars Superbike to his repertoire, but had an electrical problem which derailed his qualifying charge. The ultra-consistent Jonathan Nahlous (YZF-R6) will lead away the second row, with the Michelin-shod duo of Ty Lynch (AMR Motorsports YZF-R6) and Scott Nicholson (Traction Control Motorsport) completing the top six. Early-season title leader Lynch crashed at turn six late in qualifying, but will be back tomorrow alongside his 17 Michelin Supersport colleagues.
The young stars of the future also came to play today in the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup.Hayden Fordyce started from pole position in race one, having recorded a time of 2:10.479 in qualifying, but it was Riley Nauta who took the ascendacy in the opening encounter by crossing the line first ahead of Fordyce and Bodie Paige.
The two Sureflight Superbike Masters Cup races were absolute crackers. Keo Watson (Yamaha FZR1000) won the first race from Suzuki GSX-R1100 campaigners Murray Clark and Nigel Taylor, with Scott Campbell on the underpowered Honda RC30 just behind the trio in fourth. In the second leg, the action was more intense as Clark took the win by 0.009sec from Taylor, with Watson third and Campbell leading the way in the P6 750cc class in fourth.