Kawasaki BCperformance’s Bryan Staring finished just shy of the podium at Phillip Island’s opening round of the 2020 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), in what was also an inspiring weekend for teammate Glenn Scott.
Former ASBK champion Staring took his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR to eighth position in qualifying and the determined Western Australian continued to improve from there.
Staring went on to record a 4-4-6 scorecard for fourth overall at round one of seven, especially displaying significant pace in the opening two 12-lap outings. The result marks a strong start to his 2020 title bid.
“Fourth is not a bad result,” Staring stated. “I went 4-4-6 over the weekend, so it’s decent enough for the first round with Kawasaki BCperformance. We’re still disappointed because in the last race, we weren’t quite fast enough there to cap-off the round. We had a great second race and we were able to fight, but once the pace stepped up today we couldn’t quite go with the front group. That’s why I’m disappointed overall, however, I feel like we had a solid comeback from a very difficult start to the weekend.”
Scott, making his debut with Kawasaki BCperformance, faced misfortune on a number of occasions throughout the weekend, and was forced to start from the rear of the grid after striking a wet-patch on the circuit during lap one of qualifying.
Despite the setback, Scott - who was injured and missed much of the 2019 season - pressed on with an impressive 17-13-17 scorecard for 17th overall, the weekend providing valuable experience for the number 68. His second race in particular was a sign of things to come.
“We struck a lot of bad luck this weekend and in qualifying I got caught out with some liquid on the track,” Scott explained. “They’re just really unfortunate events and it’s no one’s fault, but they kept coming our way. We turned it around in race two and showed that there’s potential when I came from 26th on the grid to 13th position. That’s a solid race and there’s some consistency there, so we can build from that together as a team.”
Kawasaki BCperformance team owner Kelvin Reilly acknowledged the weekend’s challenges, but was also satisfied that the round served as a strong base to build from in the early stages of the season.
“The team, riders and bike worked well together this weekend," Reilly reflected. "The conditions on Thursday and Friday - which were very cold - seemed to have affected us more than expected, however, we were able to work through all of that and the Ninja ZX-10RR race bikes were exceptional. We had a consistent start to the year that we can build from and Bryan's results were impressive in the form of consistency. I feel sorry for Glenn because he had a couple of things go wrong this weekend, although certainly we’ll build from here.”
It was a positive weekend for Kawasaki-supported Matt Walters, who managed to overcome a non-finish in race one to record 8-10 results across the final pair of races. He was 12th overall for the round as a result.
After scoring pole position in the Australian Supersport 300 Championship, Harry Khouri rode his Ninja 400 to a trio of victories and the overall round win. He also posted a new lap record in race one. Joining him on the overall podium was fellow Kawasaki rider Luke Jhonston in P2.
Kawasaki BCperformance will be in action next at Wakefield Park on 27-29 March for round two of the ASBK season.