Front-row for Miller at ASBK’s The Bend series finale

| | World News
Picture: Russell Colvin

MotoGP star Jack Miller qualified on the front row for Australian Superbike clashes at The Bend in his native Australia, finishing 0.161s behind series leader Mike Jones.

Miller, riding the Caterpillar Ducati Panigale V4R, lapped at 1’50.805 compared to the Yamaha of Jones who went round in 1’50.644.

Yesterday’s quickest man Cru Halliday completes the front row with a 1’50.864.

While normally not the most important session of the day, there was a lot more tension and effort in this morning’s Timed Practice. With the top nine automatically progressing in top 12 qualifying session later today, the 30 riders in superbike were very keen to get a time near the top of the sheets to secure their ticket into the next session.

Troy Herfoss banged out a single solitary lap that put him some .277 ahead of Mike Jones and Arthur Sissis.

Of the international and one-off-round visitors, it was a mixed bag: Miller was inside the top nine as needed, Shrötter was hot early but unable to lift later in the session, Hook was only able to do an out lap before his injured wrist said “let’s go in”, McConnell was also inside the top 15 but was unable to push forward, while Travis Wyman was outside the top 20.

Both DesmoSport Ducatis didn’t make the top nine, an unsurprising outcome after their crashes in FP3 yesterday. The team worked hard yesterday evening and this morning to ensure they were race ready.

In Qualifying Two the top three go through to the final Qualifying and effectively back into the main game.

At the end of the session, it was Daniel Falzon back in after clocking the fastest time with Senna Agius and Jed Metcher for company. Both DesmosSport Ducatis were again absent with Bryan Staring fourth and .147 from third place, while Broc Pearson was seventh.

Of the one-round riders, Thriller Motorsport’s Marcel Shrötter was fifth and Livson’s Joel Kelso sixth.

So to Qualifying Two and the last qualifying session of the year. Just 12 riders were present and so plenty of clear track was available.

Billy McConnell had progressed from struggle town to the top nine and was now into this all-important final qualifying session.

Jed Metcher and Daniel Falzon were busy turning their bikes around from Q1 and were not on the circuit at the session’s start.

Wayne Maxwell ran wide early at turn six just to ensure he was placing himself under maximum pressure to either produce a diamond or find himself further back.

Arthur Sissis and Mike Jones posted fastest laps early to take some pressure off and Jack Miller banked a top two “safety” as well.

Herfoss, McConnell and Maxwell were in the pits and yet to complete a flying lap with seven minutes left in the session.

The lap record seemed safe at six minutes to go with the order Jones, Miller and Sissis.

While Jones and Miller were in the pits, Herfoss and Maxwell were out on track trying to respond. Maxwell was eleventh at three minutes to go and you had to wonder what the plan was.

At two minutes to go the leaderboard was awash with riders on target for the fastest lap of the day.

Halliday suddenly went P1, and Waters to P2. Miller stuck it into provisional pole.

Maxwell pitted without a fast lap and with that went any hope for the championship.

Jones put his YRT R1M on pole with seconds to spare just to underline his justifiable claim to the title for 2022. Jack Miller was an outstanding second and Cru Halliday ensured the YRT squad would be well-represented on the front row of the grid.

In fourth was the outstanding Glenn Allerton who was not favourited to be this close to the front based on earlier results and fifth was Arthur Sissis who would be disappointed after beingg second in basically every other session

Senna Agius pipped teammate Troy Herfoss for seventh with Billy McConnell ninth, Daniel Falzon tenth, and Jed Metcher eleventh.

Incredibly, Wayne Maxwell was 12th and the last finisher in this final qualifying session of 2022 and indeed his Australian Superbike career, some 2.753 seconds behind pole-sitter Jones.

With Staring well outside the top ten for tomorrow’s pair of races, Jones will sleep well tonight and rightly dream about another Alpinestars Superbike title tomorrow.

Qualifying two results

1 46 Mike JONES (QLD) / Yamaha Racing Team Yamaha YZF-R1 1:50.644 6 of 6 291
2 43 Jack MILLER (QLD) / Caterpillar Inc. / Boost Mobile / Vietnam Motorbike Tours / Ducati / Thriller
Motorsport Ducati V4R 1:50.805 6 of 7 .161 .161 293
3 65 Cru HALLIDAY (NSW) / Yamaha Racing Team Yamaha YZF-R1 1:50.864 5 of 7 .220 .059 292
4 14 Glenn ALLERTON (NSW) / Spectro Racing Oils /.Film BMW BMW M RR 1:50.903 6 of 6 .259 .039 290
5 61 Arthur SISSIS (SA) / Unitech Racing / Remo Contractors / SA Profiling / Aus Crush & Recycle /YRD Yamaha YZF-R1 1:51.017 7 of 7 .373 .114 293
6 21 Josh WATERS (VIC) / Boost Mobile Racing with KTech/ AMA / Ipone / Pirelli / McMartin Racing Ducati V4R 1:51.183 5 of 6 .539 .166 298
7 81 Senna AGIUS (NSW) / Penrite Honda Racing Honda CBR RR 1:51.793 3 of 7 1.149 .610 295
8 17 Troy HERFOSS (QLD) / Penrite Honda Racing Honda CBR RR 1:51.969 3 of 5 1.325 .176 287
9 9 Billy McCONNELL (SA) / 727 Moto / YRD / Fusport Yamaha YZF-R1 1:52.241 4 of 6 1.597 .272 277
10 25 Daniel FALZON (SA) / William Adams CAT Yamaha YZF-R1 1:52.499 3 of 3 1.855 .258 291
11 3 Jed METCHER (VIC) / 727 Moto / YRD / Fusport Yamaha YZF-R1 1:53.209 4 of 4 2.565 .710 281
12 1 Wayne MAXWELL (VIC) / Boost Mobile with KTech