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ASBK: Yamaha take trifecta on series return

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It was a revitalised Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) that took on Phillip Island for the first round of their 2016 Championship. Mike Jones was on double duty on the factory Ducat with the Yamaha and Honda teams on his heals. It ended up being a perfect weekend for Yamaha, who rejoined the ASBK field for the first time in years…

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After an absolutely action packed race one of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli yesterday, when the Australian riders headed to the grid again today, thousands of spectators dotted the fence-line, waiting to see what day two had in store.

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With Crankt Protein Honda Racing out for redemption after a tough race one, defending ASBK Champ Mike Jones (DesmoSport Ducati) looking for the top step, Jon Daniel’s Daniel Falzon in the mix, and of course the Yamaha boys looking to flood the podium again, it was anyone’s guess who would take the round one win.

When the Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbikes left the grid for the second time this weekend, it was Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell who took advantage of his pole position, leading the group into the first turn.

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By the time the Australian Superbikes had completed one lap, Maxwell continued to lead the hard charging group, followed by Crankt Protein Honda Racing’s Jamie Stauffer in second, who showed that despite his spectacular crash yesterday, that his speed on the track remained unaffected.

Two laps down, and the running order showcased Yamaha dominance, with Maxwell holding the top position, followed by teammate Glenn Allerton, Stauffer in third, while DesmoSport Ducati’s Jones and Honda’s Troy Herfoss completed the top five.

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With the Superbike riders quickly approaching the halfway mark in the race, less than a second separated the lead group, Allerton eventually finding his way around his team mate Maxwell, and taking an impressive race lead.

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When rider’s exited turn ten on lap four, Ducati mounted Jones began his charge to the front, getting by the likes of Maxwell and setting his sights on the rear wheel of Allerton.

With four laps remaining the star studded field looked in no way to be separating – Allerton continuing to lead from Jones, while Maxwell and team mate Cru Halliday held down third and fourth races respectively.

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Fans were absolutely treated in the closing stages of the race, with Jones showcasing the undeniable power of his Ducati machine, sticking it up the inside of Allerton to secure the race lead with only three laps remaining.

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With only two laps left of the ten lap journey, Maxwell began to make his move to the front, passing team mate Allerton and beginning to apply the pressure on race leader Jones.

And in turn 12 entering the final lap, Maxwell briefly moved in to the lead before Jones reclaimed the top position, only to have it snatched away by Allerton again in the blink of an eye.

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And by the time the chequered flag flew, Allerton did exactly what was required, holding on for his second Australian Superbike race win of the weekend, ahead of DesmoSport Ducati’s Jones in second, while Yamaha Racing Team’s Maxwell concluded the race in third.

When the horns sounded once again, indicating the imminent start of the final race for the Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbikes, thousands of spectators filled the venue, waiting to see one of the most talent packed fields we have seen in years.

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When bikes screamed off the grid, Jon Daniels Racing’s Falzon shot in to the early race lead, managing to hold off the fighting force of Jones, Crankt Honda Racing’s Herfoss and Maxwell.

With only one lap in the books there was plenty of action on track, Yamaha Racing Team’s Halliday crashing in turn ten, and Falzon wowing the crowds as he began to stretch out his lead on Jones.

It wasn’t long though until Jones managed to reel Falzon back in, making the move into the lead with eight laps to go. Jones’ lead was surprisingly short lived, with Falzon snatching back the top spot through Gardner straight, with Herfoss moving in to second, and Jones slotting in behind him.

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By the time the race reached the halfway mark, the top six riders were virtually neck and neck, Allerton managing to come from outside the top three and move in to the race lead, while Herfoss and Jones slotted in behind him.

From there the battles just got more intense, and when the lead pack hit a back marker, an additional factor was thrown in the works. Showing the knowledge and expertise on his Yamaha machine, Allerton managed to hold on to the lead with only 1.2 seconds separating him from the top eight riders.

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With three laps to go, the running order saw Allerton in front followed by Ducati mounted Jones in second, while Herfoss and Maxwell battled for third. However, Jones was not finished with his charge to the front, making the move in to the race lead with only two laps remaining.

When riders were shown the last lap board, no one could have prepared the crowd for what they were about to see – Herfoss (Honda) snatching the lead with only turns remaining, relegating Jones all the way back to fourth, and both Yamaha riders Allerton and Maxwell slotting in to second and third behind the Honda machine.

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Allerton however was determined to get a clean sweep, snatching back the lead, and crossing the line only .033 of a second ahead of Herforss who finished second, while Maxwell concluded the race with another third place.

Allerton, who recorded a trifecta at round one of the ASBK at Phillip Island, shared his thoughts after stepping off the podium as the new ASBK championship points leader.

“I am so excited! To get three from three is pretty unreal, and great to have those going points towards the championship. As I always say a lot of work goes in from the team, the hard work to put the bikes together,” he said.

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“I have been working hard in the off-season trying to stay fit, which can be pretty hard to do when you’ve got two kids. I’m lucky that I have a supportive family that allows me the time to do the things I need to do to be fit and ready. A big thanks to everybody involved, I am just really, really happy to come out on top!

“I was getting a few spits on the visor during the race but nothing to worry about. I was really thankful that it didn’t rain because that would have ruined a good run that we had going. It was awesome to get three race wins, with overcast good conditions, and the bike worked great and the tyres held up awesome. I am looking forward to the next ASBK round and getting stronger.”

Leonard Smith February 2016

Words by ASBK PR

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