Falzon Opens 2017 ASBK Account with Race One Victory
February 25, 2017

The chequered flag has fallen on the opening race of the 2017 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship supported by Motul Pirelli (ASBK) at Phillip Island, where Daniel Falzon (Caterpillar YZF-R1) was able to convert his pole position to the Yamaha Motor Insurance Superbike race victory.

A minor delay before race-start saw an additional warm-up lap completed and the race reduced from 12 to 11 laps as a result, but once it did get underway the fight at the front was a fierce one. First casualty was Yamaha Racing Teamís Wayne Maxwell; down at turn four on lap one on cold tyres. Maxwell managed to remount to claim 17th, after he clawed his way up the order.
At the front of the field, however, Falzon worked his way into the lead across the stripe on lap three and remained there for the duration. The 22-year-old South Australian withstood all kinds of pressure from three-time title-winner Glenn Allerton (Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R1), claiming the win by just 0.013s.
Falzon commented; "The race was nothing short of extremely difficult, but it was very sweet to come out with a victory like that. The racing was close. It's no secret that we are down on horse-power as we are 17kph slower than the top guys down the main straight, but we will make some changes and try to squeeze more out of the bike.  

"I found a new line that really worked for me on the exit of Siberia through MG in qualifying yesterday, my tyres gripped really well. I was really trying to punch every apex, I knew I had the pace, I just had to be consistent. The monkey is off my back now and my nerves will settle down and my concentration will come back for the next race."

Allerton was satisfied with his result nonetheless, over coming fuelling issues to take vital championship points and besting Crankt Protein Honda Racing CBR1000RR SP-mounted teammates Bryan Staring and Troy Herfoss for position. Only 0.868s separated the top four across the finish-line.

Allerton shared; "The boys on the Yamaha team did a really great job on my bike, they put in a huge effort and it was a great start to the year. There's a thousand moving parts inside that bike and sometimes things can go a bit wrong but I hope to go one better next time. We are always learning in racing, we have two races left this weekend and we will move forward. I can't wait to get back out there!"

Bryan Staring said; "Now that the pre-season testing is out of the way and we have a race under our belt, we are going to make a couple of small changes to the settings of the Honda, but it's such a great machine as it is. I'm feeling really good on the bike now and I'm happy with managing third place on the opening race to gain a few championship points."
Meanwhile, 12.670s back in fifth was Robbie Bugden (Kawasaki BCperformance ZX-10R), who overcame a late charge from Cru Halliday (IPONE YZF-R1) and leading rookie Mitch Levy (ATR/Landbridge Transport YZF-R1). 
The top 10 was completed by Alex Phillis (Race Dynamics RSV4), Beau Beaton (Racer's Edge Performance 1199 R) and Kyle Buckley (Kawasaki BCperformance ZX-10R). Reigning Australian Supersport champion Troy Guenther (Next Gen Motorsports S 1000 RR) claimed 11th.

Team Suzuki Ecstar's Josh Waters was right in the mix of the top five before encountering problems of his own aboard the brand new GSX-R1000R, dropping down the order between laps seven and eight. He pulled into pit-lane and exited the race soon afterwards. Matt Walters (Swann Insurance ZX-10R) also registered a DNF, crashing out after running as high as sixth.

Waters explained the situation on his Suzuki; "I've had less than an hour seat time on the new GSX-R and it was keeping up with the leading pack, no problems! The racing was that close, that when the Honda riders touched in front of me, one ran a little wide the on the straight, causing a stone to flick up and pierce a hole in my radiator, as well as smashing a few other things on the front of the bike. The main thing was the hole in the radiator resulting in the engine overheating." He finished.

Race two of the weekend is scheduled for 11:50am local time on Sunday, followed by the third and final 12-lap battle at 4:10pm.

Live timing and results can be found here

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