The opening round of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) proved to be a huge show of force from Yamaha Racing when bLU cRU riders dominated the podium in all three championship classes contested in a thrilling weekends racing at Philip Island.
1000cc – Superbikes
Aiden Wagner shook the establishment with his spirited racing as he took it up to the established riders and teams in the 1000cc paddock and charged home to take a memorable round victory on his Yamaha R1.
Wagner, just back from a stint racing overseas, raced to 2-1-1 results in the three races conducted over the weekend and showed plenty of fight as he ripped around the iconic Phillip Island circuit at near record pace for each of the 12 lap races.
The weekend started off on the right note when he claimed pole position during qualifying and any doubts that he could maintain the speed for the full 12 laps were soon washed away in the opening moto.
The break out weekend already sees Wagner clear of to a 16 point lead, ahead of fellow Yamaha (YRT) mounted racer, Cru Halliday in second making it a Yamaha 1-2 in the premier division in Australian road racing.
600cc – Supersport
With last years’ champion, Cru Halliday, returning to the Superbike category, all eyes were on last years runner up, Tom Toparis (Landbridge Transport) , to step up and stake his claim for this years’ Supersport crown. And Toparis did not disappoint.
The young New South Welshmen executed a near perfect weekend of racing, taking pole position in qualifying then going on to win each of the three races contested on this Yamaha R6. In fact, he led every lap of every race and showed his will be the man to beat in 2019 as he came home with a comfortable victory margin every time.
Behind him were a plethora of Yamaha riders with the top eight riders for the round all Yamaha R6 mounted and eight out of the top 10 on Yamaha. Nic Limington (Yamaha Motor Australia) came home in second place in a fine performance that saw him finish second to Toparis in each race. Rounding out the podium was Oliver Bayliss (Cube Racing) on the back of his 4-3-4 results.
The up and coming stars of Australian road racing never fail to put on the closest racing action and that proved to be the case at Phillip Island where the young punks go elbow to elbow every time they hit the track and wring the neck out of their 300cc machines.
Max Stauffer (Yamaha Motor Australia) battled his way through a menacing pack to take the round victory with thanks to his 1-1-4 results. Even the race he finished fourth in saw him only 5 hundredths of a second from the race leader. John Lytras (Caboolture Yamaha) claimed second place on the day, just one point ahead of Luke Power (RTR/ Graeme Williams Engineering) in an all Yamaha R3 podium.
“The opening round of any championship is always met with a mix of fear and excitement,’ explains YRD’s John Redding. “Competitors are always a little on edge, everyone wants to put their best foot forward and the reality is anything can and generally does happen.
“Having said that, I can’t understate the effort made all Yamaha riders and teams made over the weekend at Phillip Island and we congratulate them all on some amazing results. It was a Yamaha lock out on the 300cc and 600cc Supersport as well as the one and two positions in the Superbike category. It was a remarkable weekend of racing and sets us all a very high benchmark but I’m sure the confidence and motivation from this weekend will fuel our riders and drive them as we hard towards round two.
“ A special congratulations to Aiden, Tom and Max for winning their respective classes. We appreciate the work each of these riders and teams have put in for the opening rounds and will continue to work with them to help them achieve their goals.
“The success of Yamaha as well as the support and backing of the ASBK and WSBK continues to highlight Yamaha Australia’s passion for racing and we look forward to an exciting ASBK season with high quality racing at each and every round,” Redding ends.