Tuesday, 28 February 2017 15:07

Robbie Bugden & Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R second at Round 1 of the 2017 Australian Superbike Championship

Robbie Bugden Robbie Bugden

Kawasaki BCperformance racing team’s Robbie Bugden has come away with second place overall in the first round of the 2017 ASBK championship aboard his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, while other Kawasaki supported riders turned it on for the season opener.

In the single fifteen minute Superbike qualifying session, Robbie achieved a best lap time of 1.33.941 seconds, nestling him into 6th place for a second row start. Teammate Kyle Buckley made his debut in the Superbike category and remarkably slotted his Ninja ZX-10R on the 5th row with a 15th place start and a best lap time of 1.35.589 seconds.

The first Australian Superbike race of the weekend saw another rider nudge Robbie Bugden in the opening lap, sending him wide and into 12th position with a damaged racing machine. Robbie powered on and showed an exemplary display with his Ninja ZX-10R, ultimately crossing the line in 5th place.

Robbie Bugden ASBK 2017 Australian Superbike Championship Round 1 Robbie Bugden

Robbie claimed the team’s first podium of the season in race two with a third place finish and he bettered that with 2nd in race three. The Queenslander finished the first round in 2nd place overall, saying, “what a great way to kick off our 2017 title chase! The first race wasn't ideal, getting caught up is someone else's mistake and having to recover from that. But from then on we showed the pace of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R to finish 3rd and 2nd.”

“Most importantly it showed we have the speed and determination within the team to be a real title threat. I cannot thank the whole team enough for the effort over the weekend and for giving me a great motorcycle every time. Team Manager, Kelvin was spot on with settings. Technicians, Adam and Jake were faultless. We have a great team environment and results shows just how strong we are going to be this year,” commented Robbie.

Kyle Buckley’s formidable talent was on display in full force over the weekend with 10th, 12th and 13th place race finishes, resulting in 11th overall.

“It was an awesome debut race in the Superbike class, I learnt a whole lot and came away with some results that I was aiming for. With a good test schedule before round two I think I'll be able to come back faster and ready to race a bit further up in the pack. Massive thanks to Mechanics, Vaughan and Duncan and our Manager, Kelvin for their hard work over the weekend.”

Kyle Buckley ASBK 2017 Australian Superbike Championship Round 1 Kyle Buckley

Kawasaki supported Matt Walters campaigned the Kawasaki Connection Ninja ZX-10R superbike over the weekend with his usual piercing pace. He was robbed of a placing in race one due to a crash, suspected to be a result of debris on the track that caused damage to his radiator, lashing fluid onto his tyres. Matt placed 8th and 12th in races two and three respectively, rounding out the weekend in 13th place overall despite a less than favourable opening race.

“We tried a few different setting with the bike. We tried to get as comfortable as possible to be competitive at a good pace but the first meeting was very much trial and error,” said Matt. 

“I came on to the straight and got a punctured radiator throwing me off at turn four which was unfortunate for the first race of the season.”

“For the following rounds we are definitely going to up the pace in practice and qualifying which will give us the best chances. Wakefield is next and I’ve got a good history there, I know the track well so we just need to get there and knuckle down for round two,” Matt commented.

Matt Walters ASBK 2017 Australian Superbike Championship Round 1 Matt Walters

Ninja ZX-6R Supersport ace, Sam Muldoon also experienced the misfortune of crashing in his first race of the year where he was at times contenting with the top five, even after starting in fourteenth position due to a tough qualifying session. 11th and 8th place in races two and three granted the 29 year old 11th place overall for the round.

“It’s not really the result we were looking for. We just found ourselves with a lot of adversity but I feel we handled it all pretty well. For the last two races I was riding a spare bike which had a lack of focus on its set up, so I wasn’t comfortable on it. In the last race I was stuck with a group but I managed to work my way through it for a good result, so that was a positive,” said Sam.

“We had an unforeseen issue during qualifying and that’s what put me back in 14th. That made it hard for the rest of the weekend. There were a few challenges but we accept it as being part of racing, but it’s all behind us now and we will definitely make up for it in the next round!” Sam commented.

Crazy Dogs Motorcycle’s Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R virtuoso, Jack Baker made the most of the weekend, learning even more about his racing machine and one of Australia’s premier racing circuits which he had seldom had the chance to compete on. Jack placed 23rd in race one, 22nd in race two and unfortunately did not finish the third race due to a motorcycle set up matter.

Kawasaki supported riders now set their sights on Wakefield Raceway for round two of the ASBK, taking place between 17th to 19th March.

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