Media Information: 28 February 2022
With renewed vigour and motivation, the Yamaha Racing Team and riders Cru Halliday and Mike Jones, finished the round in second and third respectively and got their championship aspirations off to a positive start, rewarding the team for a pre-season full of hard work.
To view some action from the YRT team at round one: https://youtu.be/w9M5SsyVYJw
The weekend started strongly with both riders inside the top four an nearly all practice and qualifying sessions and they entered the first of two, 12 laps races confident of a good result.
Cru Halliday parked his Yamaha YZF- R1M in P2 after posting the second fastest lap time in qualifying. But his goal of a clean start and good track position on the opening lap went out the window when he got off to a horrendous start and was being quickly shuffled back in the first few turns. He crossed the finish line on the opening lap in a lowly ninth place and had plenty of work ahead of him just to get back inside the top five.
But as the race settled down, Halliday got to work. He picked off the riders in front of him and moved forward at a consistent rate. He was up to fifth before the halfway stage and when the leader went down, he was into fourth.
In the waning laps, he slipped past Josh Waters for third and then put a move on teammate, Jones to charge into second place. Jones put up a real fight and the pair went on battle all the way to the finish with just a few bike lengths separating the YRT duo at the end of 12 laps.
Race two and Halliday got a better start and was with the lead group in the early stages. A four-rider pack of Wayne Maxwell, Bryan Staring, Mike Jones and Cru Halliday broke away from the remaining superbike field and the battle within the battle was Staring vs Halliday.
Halliday slipped past Jones and set his sights on Staring. He edged up lap after lap and was able to draw alongside in a tight turn but couldn’t make the pass stick. Halliday kept probing all the way to the end but was unable to find a way past. The fast four flashed across the line with Maxwell, ahead of Staring, Halliday and Jones. The 2-3 results gave Halliday second for the round and has him well placed as the championship moves to Queensland for round two.
“A podium at the opening round is always the goal of any championship and I’m glad we were able to get that this weekend and start the year on a strong note,” Halliday explains. “I gave it my all in both races but its satisfying to get a good result and give the Yamaha Racing Team and result we can be proud off.
“Mike and I had a great battle in the first race and then myself a Bryan in the second one, so it felt like every lap was intense. I was able to get up the inside of him out the back, but he held his line for the next turn and kept me at bay.
“As a team we are looking good, and it shows the work everyone at YRT has done to have two riders on the podium and be so competitive all weekend. We need to keep the momentum going and be just as strong when we hit QR in a few weeks’ time,” Halliday ends.
Mike Jones made his debut for the Yamaha Racing Team a memorable one finishing with 3-4 results to take third on the day and show he is a legitimate championship contender on his new ride. Jones methodically made improvements all weekend and when it came race time, he was right in the frame to charge to the top.
Jones battled hard with Halliday in the first race with the pair providing some of the closest and most intense racing of the weekend. Both kept it clean yet the urgency to land on the podium was obvious in both of them.
He was also right in the thick of the action in race two and no doubt will take some valuable lessons from the weekend as well as some confidence knowing he has the speed on the Yamaha to match it with anyone.
“It was great to get the first race done and out of the way as well as achieve a good result for the team. Sometimes you can do as many laps as you like in testing but it’s the intensity of racing where you gain the most knowledge and I think today was successful in many ways for us.
“The YRT crew were great to deal with and I think we are building a great working relationship together. Nothing was too much for them but to be honest, we weren’t searching for much all weekend, just minor adjustments to dial the bike into the conditions.
“I feel we can improve on today and think we will get better as we go along but I’m happy with the weekend and look forward to the coming rounds,” Jones said.
Round two of the Australian Superbike Championship moves to Queensland Raceway, west of Brisbane on March 18-20. It’s the first time an ASBK round has been held at the venue for some time and it’s also a hometown round for the Brisbane based Jones and the YRT crew.