Yamaha Racing Team rider, Mike Jones, scorched around the Morgan Park circuit on the weekend, setting a new qualifying lap record and a new race lap record on his way to a second-place finish during another enthralling round of the Australian Superbike Championships (ASBK).
In front of a 7000 strong crowd, race fans lined the fences to see Jones finish in second with teammate Cru Halliday in fifth and now sit third and fifth respectively in the championship.
To view the YRT bLU cRU round review: https://youtu.be/7iUarFVIEZY
The pace was hot right from the get go with the Friday practice sessions showing the top five riders a good turn of speed around the physical and challenging Morgan Park circuit. Things intensified quickly in qualifying with Jones setting a new lap record of 1.12.079, .5 of a second under the previous best on that circuit.
Starting from pole position in race one, Jones leapt from the line well but allowed arch-rival Troy Herfoss to sneak by in the opening lap. For the next fifteen laps, the duo poked and prodded each other, pushing the pace and swapping positions as the gapped the rest of the field. On Lap 13, Jones made a move and got his Yamaha R1M to the front and with the final lap board out, the pair where side by side down the front straight.
Jones held his position and Herfoss continued to look for a way by, then in the closing stages of the final lap, Herfoss had a huge lunge down the inside, pushed Jones wide and the pair sprinted towards the finish line. Jones trailing Herfoss by .097 as they crossed the finish line.
Race two and Jones was instantly on the back foot as he dropped to fourth place on the opening lap while Herfoss took control of the race. Jones could afford to let Herfoss slip away and immediately went to work on Broc Pearson and Glenn Allerton. He swooped on Pearson at the end of the opening lap, then worked on closing the gap down to Allerton.
He made his move on lap four and now set off after Herfoss. It was then Jones uncorked a 1.12.2 in race conditions and quickly closed the gap to bring his R1M right to the exhaust of Herfoss. Two laps later, he was by and into the lead. But Herfoss stayed in the fight and the pair changed positions again before Jones snatched back the lead with just two laps remaining.
Jones fought off another attack from Herfoss and then just as he looked to have the race under his control, made a slight bobble entering a turn, causing him to run wide and allow Herfoss to snatch the lead. Again, Herfoss took the race win, with Jones .7 behind him.
“Another round and another great battle with Troy,” Jones explains. “I was frustrated after the first race because I knew what was coming but didn’t do anything to prevent it, so just a bit angry with myself knowing that I knew what Troy would do, I just didn’t do anything to stop it.
“Race two and that was on me. I defended the inside, but the back just got loose, and I couldn’t tip into the turn and that allowed Troy to come up the inside of me. But I will take that on the chin as I was trying to win the race, and just made an execution error and that’s racing. I would rather be beaten like that trying to win and race, rather than what happened in the first one.
“The speed was obviously on this weekend and the Yamaha Racing Team did a great job. Everyone was on the pace early, but the boys found something in the bike Friday night, and we were fast every time we hit the track after that. Thanks to the team for their efforts, my bike was amazing around here this weekend,” Jones ends.
Cru Halliday had an up and down weekend resulting in a fifth-place finish for the round. Halliday took some time to get adjusted to the Morgan Park circuit but continued to chip away at it to secure a P5 in qualifying in a new personal best.
Race one and Halliday got a good jump and quickly moved into fourth place, only to let Allerton get by a few turns later. The front pack of five riders made a break from the rest of the field and were wheel to wheel in the opening stages.
Halliday lost some ground in the middle stages, then when Josh Waters ran off track at turn one, Halliday moved to fourth and could sniff a podium. He charged for the next few laps and was able to pressure Allerton for third but never found a way past and finished a hard fought fourth place.
In race two, his start wasn’t as good and was shuffled back to sixth place. He struggled to get into a flow that could match the five riders in front of him and the frustration led to some arm pump. He was unable to make any moves, but he did maintain his sixth place to the finish and the 4-6 results gave him fifth for the day.
“Not my greatest weekend, I just needed to be faster here. Race one was ok, but I just couldn’t find a good place to attack Glenn as he is good under brakes. The race two was just me. I rode tight, my heart rate and breathing were up, and I just didn’t ride well.
“The positives were, I set my best times around here and got through the weekend without any falls or damage. Next round is Phillip Island and that has proven to be a good track for me recently, so I hope to bounce back strongly there and get back on the podium,” Halliday said.
The ASBK championship now takes a break before the final two rounds scheduled at Phillip Island and The Bend are contested in October and December.
Round 5 _ Morgan Park
1st Troy Herfoss – 50
2nd Mike Jones – 41 (Yamaha Racing Team)
3rd Glenn Allerton – 36
4th Broc Pearson – 33
5th Cru Halliday – 32 (Yamaha Racing Team)
6th Bryan Staring – 29
7th Josh Waters – 28
8th Anthony West – 27
9th Arthur Sissis – 25
10th Ted Collins – 21
ASBK Championship Standings
1st Troy Herfoss – 262
2nd Josh Waters – 248
3rd Mike Jones – 202 (Yamaha R1M)
4th Glenn Allerton – 196
5th Cru Halliday – 177 (Yamaha R1M)
6th Bryan Staring – 159 (Yamaha R1M)
7th Broc Pearson – 155
8th Ted Collins – 150
9th Arthur Sissis – 138 (Yamaha R1M)
10th Max Stauffer – 117 (Yamaha R1M)