ASBK

Bugden tops Superbike practice in Tassie

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Robbie Bugden
Robbie Bugden has registered his intentions to challenge for top spot on the Symmons Plains podium this weekend.

The Queenslander topped today's combined QBE Australian Superbike Championship practice sessions, shooting up the timesheets as the clock ticked down during this afternoon's 20-minute shakedown.

With the Superbikes book-ending the day's proceedings, it looked like the early morning mark of Wayne Maxwell may have stood, before a barrage of quick laps in the closing minutes.

On lap 13 of practice 2, Bugden set an unanswered best of 54.153s on his GSX-R1000, finding over a half a second since the opening session.

It's a promising start to the penultimate round for Bugden, 29, who is hopeful of improving the pace of his Team Mack Trucks Suzuki even further tomorrow.

"I'm happy with today's results but I think there's still lots more to come from the bike," said Bugden.

"It's a circuit I really like, very technical, and I knew if we chipped away at it this morning we could sharpen the bike up for this afternoon's session.

"I'm just looking forward to getting out there and racing. If it's dry it's going to be a fierce, close race, the times today tell that story."

Positions 1-7 on the overall timesheets were separated by just 0.332 seconds, setting up a thrilling qualifying and opening race tomorrow.

Symmons Plains' quickest-ever Superbike qualifier, Jamie Stauffer, finished second today, and is doing everything he can to stay in the hunt for the 2011 title.

The winner of 3 of the past 4 Superbike races will need to keep his eye on the prize if he and his factory Team Honda are to hold off Glenn Allerton, who was a comfortable fifth.

"To be honest the pace wasn't what I thought it would be, it's slower than I expected and I think there will be a lot more we can do overnight to get a quicker bike for qualifying," said Stauffer.

"If the weather closes in it changes things. It looks like we will spend at least some of our time this weekend riding in the wet, if it has to be in the races then we'd really like to be able to get a setup tomorrow morning during qualifying.

"We're going in the right direction and where we need to be at the moment."

Josh Waters put his Team Suzuki GSX-R1000 into the top 3, edging out Honda's Wayne Maxwell by just over one-hundredth of a second.

The difference between the times of Craig Coxhell and Troy Herfoss in sixth and seventh illustrated the evenly-matched affair ‰ÛÒ there was none.

Both riders rounded out the day with a best time of 54.485 seconds, unable to be split on the timesheets.

Brodie Waters was the fastest of the Prostock competitors today, lapping his Team Suzuki machine in 55.862 seconds.

Again it's a case of 'must-win' in this class for Waters, with current leader Linden Magee streets ahead on the points table.

The field will contest two 20-minute qualifying sessions tomorrow morning to determine the order for the eight-rider Superpole shootout.

Grid placings will carry over into the opening 16-lap race, to be held at 1.50pm local time. The race will be televised on Channel 7's V8 XTRA program from 2.00pm tomorrow (check local guides for variations).

Merged Practice Results, Symmons Plains
1. Robert BUGDEN (QLD) / Team Mack Trucks Suzuki, 54.153
2. Jamie STAUFFER (NSW) / Team Honda Racing, 54.192
3. Joshua WATERS (VIC) / Team Suzuki, 54.209
4. Wayne MAXWELL (NSW) / Team Honda Racing, 54.222
5. Glenn ALLERTON (NSW) / Procon Maxima, 54.336
6. Troy HERFOSS (NSW) / Team Suzuki, 54.485
7. Craig COXHELL (VIC) / GAS Honda / Demolition Plus, 54.485
8. Ben HENRY (QLD) / CUBE Racing / Australian Outdoor Living / Weld West, 55.772
9. Brodie WATERS (VIC) / Team Suzuki, 55.862
10. Linden MAGEE (QLD) / Coastline Motorrad Racing, 55.928

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