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Toparis makes a big statement in Sydney while Knezovic gains from the misfortunes of his rivals

The support acts that took to the track for round two of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul (ASBK) for the Night Race at Sydney Motorsport Park produced sensational racing as Stop & Seal’s Tom Toparis (Yamaha) and Valentino Knezovic (Yamaha) came away with great success.

Toparis was unstoppable on his Yamaha YZF-R6 in Michelin Supersport, as he followed up from claiming pole position on Friday night to score not only the race and round win, but set a new lap record on the second flyer of the opening race with a 1:31.484.

Knezovic, meanwhile, took out race three and the overall round honours of Race and Road Supersport 300 in an eight-lap encounter that featured a last-lap crash between Josh Newman and Jesse Stroud (both on a Kawasaki) that stopped the hearts of those watching on.

Download the official ASBK round two program
Waters and Halliday the big winners in the ASBK Night Race in Sydney
Waters takes pole ahead of the glamour of night racing at Sydney Motorsport Park

The Australian Superbike Championship is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

Michelin Supersport round two podium (L to R): Nahlous, Toparis and Farnsworth

Michelin Supersport
Despite an initial red-flag brought out on the opening lap of race one due to a Luke Sanders (Yamaha) crash at turn four, it did little to deter Toparis’ mindset as he got a great jump over his competitors at the restart and it was immediately evident that he meant business, as he took off and was never headed by his rivals for the remainder of the rescheduled nine-lapper.

And that in itself was clear, with the lap record set on Michelin tyres giving a clear indication to the field that he was prepared to do what was necessary to put them away early and stay out in front.

With the race virtually over at the half-way mark, it was a battle against the rest as the field sorted themselves out with plenty of moves made, the most significant of the movers and shakers was Mark Chiodo (Honda) who from second on the grid fell to 10th.

With Toparis crossing the finish line 3.384 seconds clear of Sean Condon (Yamaha), the top five was rounded out by Jonathan Nahlous (Yamaha), Jake Farnsworth (Yamaha) and Archie McDonald (Yamaha).

Toparis had his game face on at Sydney Motorsport Park

The opening lap of race two saw the usual flurry of chaos with riders racing to the first couple of corners to get into the best position possible, but the field was quickly brought to a halt as a Hayden Nelson (Kawasaki) crash at turn three brought out the red flag.

At the restart, points leader Nahlous threw a spanner in the works for the momentum of Toparis with a great jump to lead the opening lap, but it didn’t last long as the Stop & Seal man made a pass for the lead on the second lap.

The next several laps saw plenty of great battles as Condon and Nahlous fought over second while Farnsworth and Chiodo had their own scrap for fourth.

With the intensity reaching a climax as the mission to obtain the best outcome possible became the clear focus, it all became too much for Condon and McDonald as they crashed simultaneously at turn four on the final lap, promoting those behind them up two positions.

At the finish line, it was Toparis, Nahlous, Farnsworth, Chiodo and Tom Bramich (Yamaha) rounding out the top five.

“We achieved what we set out to do this weekend by taking pole position, two race wins and a new lap record in the Supersport class,” said Toparis after race two. “I’m so grateful to the Stop & Seal race team for all their efforts this weekend, it’s great to have that winning feeling again as it’s been a while.”

Despite not getting a win this weekend, Nahlous remains the championship leader and takes great confidence knowing he is in with a genuine shot of winning the Michelin Supersport Championship.

“We struggled initially as I had to wrap my head around this track and it’s completely different to Phillip Island where we raced at round one,” he said. “We made a substantial change to the set-up prior to race one and it worked really well, so to get on the podium in both races and maintain the championship lead is awesome.

“It’s a big confidence booster knowing I can perform well at every track on the calendar, so I’m sitting pretty comfortable with things now.”

Nahlous maintains the championship lead following round two

Race and Road Supersport 300
Aiming to go one better than his outing in race one on Friday night, Newman managed to do just that – leading from start to finish in race two to put himself in a great position heading into race three under lights sitting pretty.

The field sorted themselves out behind him as second to sixth were caught in a constant jostle, with the top five at the chequered flag following Newman being Watts, Mitch Simpson (Yamaha), Jesse Stroud (Kawasaki) and Jordan Simpson (Yamaha).

“I had a good discussion with Uncle Glenn (Allerton) and we came up with strategies for different scenarios in the race, and liased with my mechanic to produce a better set-up which we tried in the warm-up and it seemed to work which was pleasing,” Newman said following his race two victory.

The start of race three saw the usual scrap for positions as Newman settled in and led the first three laps before the bunched up, slipstreaming action typically seen in this class shone through as riders jostled for position over the ensuring laps to the end.

With the heightened intensity that comes with trying to finish in the best position possible at the chequered flag, it all came to a head on the final lap, when an attempted dive bomb by Stroud at turn nine went horribly wrong, as he crashed into Newman who was running third.

With an opportunity for those behind to capitalise presenting itself, the mad rush to the finish resulted in a first ASBK victory for Knezovic followed by Will Nassif (Yamaha), Calvin Moylan (Kawasaki), Simpson and Watts.

“It feels amazing to win my first race in the ASBK championship,” Knezovic said after race three. “My goal now is to maintain consistency and stay within the top four of the championship.”

Race and Road Supersport 300 round two podium (L to R): Watts. Knezovic and Newman

Superbike Masters
The popular Superbike Masters class produced some great racing where the legendary motorcycles of old put on a great show, as part of the spectacle that was the ASBK Night Race.

The race victories were taken out by Jack Passfield (Yamaha) in races one and two, while Keo Watson (Yamaha) got one back on the former in the final race of the weekend under lights.

Those to feature on the race podiums included Alex Phillis (Suzuki) and Josh Mathers (Yamaha), while Passfield was the overall round winner from Watson and Mathers.

Superbike Masters round podium (L to R): Watson. Passfield and Mathers

The 2024 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul will continue at Queensland Raceway for round three of the championship on April 26-28.