Kevin Curtain on his way to second overall at the opening round of the ASBK at Phillip Island.
Curtain on the podium for second place.

Yamaha Racing Makes Waves At Phillip Island on ASBK Return

27 Feb 2011

Yamaha Racing made a successful return to the Australian Superbike Championship with star rider Kevin Curtain taking a hard fought second overall in the Supersport 600cc division contested over the weekend.

The event was the opening round of the 2011 Australian Superbike Championship which was held in conjunction with the first round of the World Superbike Championship at the historical Phillip Island Circuit.

After a year on the sidelines in the ASBK, the highly anticipated return of the Yamaha factory team was impressive as Curtain and team mate Rick Olson took it up to the ASBK regulars and showed they will be serious contenders as the championship progresses.

Race one of two was held in perfect conditions on Saturday while a wet and slippery track greeted riders and teams for the final race on Sunday.

Race one saw Curtain in an intense battle with three other riders gunning for the top spot. The 12 lap race saw all four riders take the last lap board with less than half a second between them and the group only tightened up in the final stages of the race. Brodie Waters took the race win, .1 of a second ahead of Curtain with Mitchell Carr and Aaron Gobert in their shadows. The top four were separated by .278 of a second after nearly 20 minutes of racing in a nail biting finish.

Race two and the damp track made conditions ultra tricky for the riders and it was a matter of keeping your cool and riding with patience. No one in the 600cc Supersport class has more experience than Curtain and he raced to a rock solid second leaving him second overall for the round and well placed after the opening round of the championship.

“It was a tough weekend, no doubt. Things started a little slow for us, but everyone pulled together and we were able to get some more performance from the bikes and get the results we needed,” said the experienced Curtain.

“The first race came down to the rider who made the least mistakes while race two was more dealing with the slippery track surface and not throwing the bike down the road going for too much.

“We leave here in pretty good shape and that’s all you ever ask from the first round of a championship,” Curtain states.

Unfortunately the weekend didn’t pan out as well for team mate Rick Olson. The Victorian young gun took fifth place in race one but that could have been much better. Rick was forced wide while battling for a top four position only to run off the track and lose touch with the lead pack. He crossed the line in a lonely fifth place, six seconds behind the lead pack but well clear of the rest of the field.

But race two proved to be his downfall when he fell from his Yamaha R6 on the wet and greasy track. Again Olson was in the lead group and working his way forward only to have the rear end of his bike let go causing him to fall on lap two. His race scores of 5-DNF left Olson in 13th for the round and looking for a better showing at round two of the championship.

“It wasn’t the opening weekend of the championship I was hoping for. Race one was good without being great, while race two was a disaster as I scored no points.”

“The positive is that it is only the first round, so there is plenty of time to make up the lost ground,” Olson said.

Team Manager John Redding looked back on the mixed fortunes of the riders positively and thinks his team can take a lot from the opening round at Phillip Island.

“Overall it wasn’t too bad. In the first practice sessions we were a little off the pace but the guys in the pits and the riders were able to step up and we were on the pace in the final qualifying sessions.”

“Kevin again put in a very polished performance while Rick crashed in race two and that is just part of racing. But I think the positives outweigh the negatives and if we put into practice what we learned today at round two, we should be right on the money,” Redding ends.

Yamaha also lead the manufacturers points with 191 amassed over the weekend, well clear of their nearest rivals on 123.

Results
Victorian Motorcycle Wreckers Australian Supersport 600cc
Round one – Phillip Island
Qualifying: Kevin Curtain – P3 / Rick Olson – P6

Rider

Manufacturer

Results

Points

1st Aaron Gobert

Yamaha

4-1

42points

2nd Kevin Curtain

Yamaha

2-2

40points

3rd Brodie Waters

Suzuki

1-8

39points

4th Mitchell Carr

Triumph

3-4

35points

5th Blake Leigh Smith

Suzuki

7-3

32points

6th Christian Casella

Triumph

6-5

31points

7th Chas Hern

Suzuki

14-6

24points

8th Andy Lawson

Yamaha

10-12

20points

9th Hafizh Abdullah

Yamaha

14-10

18points

10th Ryan Taylor

Yamaha

13-11

18points

 

 

 

 

13th Rick Olson

Yamaha

5-DNF

16points

Credits: 
Keith Muir
Related Racing Teams: 
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