In cool, blustery conditions and with track temperatures barely scraping above 20 degrees at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia, the final free practice and qualifying sessions were centre-stage for this weekend’s ASBK/ARRC MotoFest.
ASB 1000: Parkes out of reach in qualifying
Lap times continued to fall on Friday as the ASB 1000 frontrunners worked their way towards the 1:52s. Broc Parkes pointed the way by posting a 1:53.089 on his fourth time around, which stayed at the top of the timing screens for most of the 40 minute session. His compatriot, Bryan Staring, did a worthy job as stand-in for the injured Thitipong Warakorn on the Thailand Kawasaki ZX10RR, looking comfortable in the mid-1:53s and keeping station in second place.
Zaqwan Zaidi, who had gone well in free practice, looked less comfortable in Qualifying, getting uncharacteristically out of shape on the Asia Dream Honda and unable to follow the two Australians into the 1:53s after having his fastest lap disqualified for exceeding track limits. Yuki Ito worked hard throughout the session, keeping his Yamaha Racing ASEAN team-mate in close company, while Apiwat Wongthananon looked to be the more comfortable of the two Yamaha Thailand riders. Chaiwichit Nisakul did his best to follow his temporary team-mate around The Bend’s 4.95km and 18 turns and improved his times, despite being more than a second adrift. Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman worked hard on the ONEXOX TKKR SAG BMW, but was not able to get close to a front row pace.
With less than ten minutes left, Broc Parkes made the most of a fresh pair of Dunlops and, despite having to pass Ratthapong Wilairot, put in a killer lap of 1:52.581 to put pole position out of reach. Staring moved into second position with a 1:53.223, while Apiwat dug deep to post a third best time of 1:53.546. Yuki Ito, who won the Supersport 600 race at The Bend in 2018 was the only other rider in the 1:53s and will lead the second row thanks to his best lap of 1:53.910. He will line up alongside Zaqwan and Azlan, while Victor Racing Ahmad Yudhistira heads row three from Ratthapong and Chaiwichit. Full results here.
Supersport 600: super-sub Ibrahim fastest despite late crash
Ibrahim Norrodin more than justified his selection as replacement for older brother, Adam, in the SIC Junior ZK Racing Team. The 19-year-old posted his best time of 1:56.580 and then proved he had left nothing in the garage, by crashing with less than one-and-a-half minutes left on the clock. That brought out the red flag and left Peerapong Boonlert, who had until that time topped all three practice sessions, with insufficient time to reply, so he will start from the middle of the front row. Musashi Boon Siew Honda’s Azroy Hakeem Anuar showed good pace throughout and will start from third position, thanks to a best lap of 1:57.391.
Rheza Danica Ahrens continued his steady acclimatisation to 600s and will lead row two from Helmi Azman and Andi Farid Izdihar. Helmi crashed late in the session and was taken to the medical centre to have a knock to his ankle checked, but is expected to be fit to race. Full results here.
AP 250: Fadly leads Kawasaki 1-2
Andy Fadly, who scored his first ever AP 250 podium at the Bend last year, sealed a successful first two days by taking pole position. He found himself under pressure from his new Manual Tech KYT team-mate, Aiki Iyoshi, who again impressed after a strong debut in ARRC round one. The green liveried pairing were the only riders who broke below 2:09 and held off Sepang race two winner Muklada Sarapuech, who will join them on the front row.
Astra Honda’s Awhin Sanjaya was next up, almost half a second off Muklada’s time and is followed by Reynaldo Ratukore, on the best of the Yamahas and Piyawat Patoomyos. Tatchakorn Buasri leads the third row from Nazrul Izzat and Lucky Hendriansia. Full results here.