ASBK

Superbike title contenders play it safe as Stauffer stars at Symmons Plains

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The late-season form of Ducati Motologic Racing's Jamie Stauffer continued today at Symmons Plains Raceway in Tasmania, with the two-time Australian Superbike Champion setting the pace in qualifying for the seventh and final round of the season.

His best lap of the deceptively-demanding circuit was a 54.355s, .202 clear of Valvoline Superbike Team Honda rider Glenn Allerton.

Stauffer made the switch to the powerful 1198R at the start of the season, and by the mid-point showed it would be a force to be reckoned with, regularly topping the timesheets.

His only win in Ducati colours came at the non-championship MotoGP support event last month, and he is eager to convert today's promising pace to points this weekend.

"It's a good result to start off with but we're really looking forward to converting it to a couple of race wins," said Stauffer.

"I'm confident that the bike is as good in race trim as it is as a qualifier. If I can pull off another good flying lap in Superpole then we're in with a shot.

"We came here expecting wet conditions but we had a dry run for both sessions so there would be big changes to make if the rain starts falling tomorrow."

The Newcastle-based rider will be the last of 8 out to contest tomorrow's Motul Superpole, and will look to defend his provisional placing at the head of the field.

Two more former champions trailed Stauffer on the timesheets.

2008 titleholder Glenn Allerton delivered a typically-solid effort in second place with a 54.557s lap in the closing stages of the 20-minute qualifying session.

Following a successful return to his regular ride on the Team Suzuki GSX-R1000, 2009 champion Josh Waters was instantly on the pace, clocking the third-quickest time.

The only two riders in contention for the title had a safe day, with Demolition Plus GAS Honda's Wayne Maxwell banking a time good enough for fourth fastest, and Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing's Bryan Staring the last man in the 54-second bracket in fifth.

Tomorrow's Superbike race will be broadcast on Channel 7 from 2.00-2.30pm.

Christian Casella got the edge over Insure My Ride Australian Supersport points leader Troy Herfoss in the final stages of today's 20 minute qualifying for the 600cc machines.

The Triumph 675 rider recorded a time of 56.682s on lap 19 of 19, just .098s clear of his Suzuki rival.

Today's result could be too little, too late to stop Herfoss, who can wrap up the title a day early if he finishes in the top two tomorrow.

Local rider Brett Symonds used his intimate knowledge of the track to set the third quickest time on his Yamaha today.

Brodie Waters, the third rider in mathematical contention for the Supersport title, was fourth on his Suzuki GSX-R600.

Main Photo: Jamie Stauffer in action

Viking Group Australian Superbike Championship, Round 7 ‰ÛÒ Symmons Plains, Qualifying
1. Jamie STAUFFER (NSW) / Ducati Motologic Racing, 54.355
2. Glenn ALLERTON (NSW) / Valvoline Superbike Team, 54.557
3. Joshua WATERS (VIC) / Team Suzuki, 54.833
4. Wayne MAXWELL (VIC) / Demolition Plus GAS Honda Racing, 54.870
5. Bryan STARING (QLD/WA) / Cougar Bourbon Honda, 54.924
6. Robert BUGDEN (QLD) / Team Suzuki
7. Daniel STAUFFER (QLD) / The Natural Aprilia Racing Team, 55.514
8. Scott CHARLTON (NSW) / Racers Edge Performance, 55.580
9. Craig COXHELL (VIC) / CJC Racing, 56.041
10. Kris McLAREN (VIC) / McLaren Motorsports, 56.279

Insure My Ride Australian Supersport Championship, Round 7 ‰ÛÒ Symmons Plains, Qualifying
1. Christan CASELLA (VIC) / Aark Electrics / Peter Stevens M-cycles / Triumph, 56.682
2. Troy HERFOSS (VIC) / Team Suzuki, 56.780
3. Brett SIMMONDS (TAS) / Simmonds Racing / Xlite Helmets / Motul / Dunlop, 57.808
4. Brodie WATERS (VIC) / Waters Racing, 57.901
5. Chris QUINN (NSW) / The Cannon Store / Coopers Pale Ale, 57.902
6. Ben BURKE (NSW), 57.947
7. Aaron GOBERT (NSW) / AGR Inc / Bell Helmets / Yamaha / Dynojet, 58.211
8. Nicholas WATERS (VIC) / Waters Racing, 58.729
9. Andy LAWSON Jnr (QLD) / Champion's Ride Days Race Team / Palfinger Aust., 59.502
10. Ryan TAYLOR (VIC) / Pakenham Yamaha / Monitor my Super, 59.509

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