It was an important day for Australia’s wildcards and regular contenders in their WorldSBK and WorldSSP Championship Round 1 ambitions. Friday being their last chance to get comfortable with their machinery ahead of a big weekend.
Australia’s Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1M), Daniel Falzon (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1M), Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda, Honda CBR1000RR SP) and Tom Toparis (Cube Racing, Kawasaki ZX-6R) all took to the track for their practice sessions. All four wildcards noted that it was a fantastic opportunity to fly the flag for Australia and show off their talents to the world.
Herfoss lead the charge for Australian wildcard riders, finishing the three WorldSBK Free Practice sessions in 19th position, with a combined time of 1:32.683, Maxwell was hot his heels with a time of 1:32.723 and Falzon finished the day in 21st position with a time of 1:32.991.
Maxwell commenting after the first practice session; “The first session took place on a drying track. We rode around, kept the bike in one piece. Its looking like conditions may be wet this weekend at times. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be racing as a wildcard in the WorldSBK championship and to do it with our Australian Yamaha Racing Team makes it even better. I think with how strong ASBK competition is at the moment, it’s good enough to ride at the world level.”
Herfoss shared his joy with competing on the world stage; “It’s hard to explain, I grew up watching WorldSBK and it’s been my life long goal to ride at this level. The two-day test early this week was an amazing feeling to be out on the track and riding with these guys, it was great to get that out of the way and settle the nerves and now I’m ready to go racing over the weekend and do the best job I can for my team.”
Toparis finished the day in 17th position in the World Supersport class with a combined time of 1:35.879, to put himself in a solid position after the two Free Practice sessions on Friday.
Toparis Shared; ”It’s pretty cool to be a wildcard in the WorldSSP Class, it reminds me a lot of last season when I rode in Moto3 as you are riding around with guys you watch on TV everyday. I’m really excited for this opportunity and I’m hoping the rain stays away as it makes the track a lot more fun and makes for better racing. We are liking the set up we have right now, as we aren’t far off the pace and if it stays dry over the weekend, we can really improve our times.
For the Australian regular on the WorldSSP stage, Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing, Kawasaki ZX-6R) has set himself for a real assault on the weekends racing, finishing in seventh position after Friday’s two Free Practice sessions. Fellow Australian Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven, Kawasaki ZX-6R) finished in 19th position after both of Fridays Free Practice sessions.
Stay tuned throughout the WorldSBK Yamaha Finance Australian Round to keep up with all the wildcards and regular Australian contenders.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Gosling – tbg sport