Wayne Maxwell will start tomorrow’s QBE Australian Superbike Championship races from pole position after mastering a tricky wet qualifying session at Phillip Island today.
The Team Honda rider banked the day’s quickest lap in the morning session, though the conditions meant he was over five seconds away from his own qualifying record, set back in 2009.
Maxwell worked his way to the top with a 1m37.785s effort on the final of six laps completed during the morning’s 30-minute session, making the last-minute lunge on slick tyres as a dry line developed.
The Victorian rider held out Team Suzuki’s Ben Attard and team-mate Jamie Stauffer.
No rider could make headway in the second, wetter session, and the decision was made to cancel the QBE Superpole session, meaning the combined qualifying session times would decide the grid.
The pole is Maxwell’s second from three starts this season at a track he calls a favourite.
“They were tough conditions today so it’s good to come away with an extra point and the pole position,” said Maxwell.
“I didn’t go out at the start this morning when the track called for wet tyres, I waited for it to dry a bit and went out on slicks.
“I was trying to get out a lap time but turns 11 and 12 were so wet which made things difficult.
“I basically had to belt out an entire lap and then be super patient through that section and was lucky enough to set the quickest lap on my final run.
“Tomorrow should be good, we’ve been fast in the wet and dry so we’re ready for whatever comes our way.
“Josh (Waters) has form on his side so he’s going to be super fast – we have to beat him to keep our hopes alive.”
Points leader Josh Waters rounds out the front row of the grid on his Team Suzuki race machine, ahead of the second row featuring Procon Maxima BMW’s Glenn Allerton, Team Volvo Group Suzuki’s Robbie Bugden, Racer’s Edge Performance Suzuki’s Beau Beaton and Suzuki veteran and recent race winner, Scott Charlton.
Though his times would not match those of the morning session, this afternoon’s qualifying was a chance for Prostock rider Linden Magee to stretch his legs at the front of the field, rebounding after a crash in the first session.
He will line up as the second Prostock bike on the grid next to pacesetter Nicholas Waters who delivered another top effort on the GAS Honda Racing machine.
The Motul Supersport field faced a similar situation to the Superbike riders, with the morning session yielding best results.
Josh Hook got one up on points leader Mitchell Carr, with the Honda holding out the Triumph by around three-tenths of a second for pole position.
The cancellation of the Supersport Superpole saw the times from the morning session stand as the benchmark for the competitive category.
Daniel Falzon, Olly Simpson and Luke Burgess were all race winners in their respective classes as the opening Superstock, Superlites and 250cc Production bouts were fought.
Racing continues tomorrow at the Victorian circuit.