After many years of riding the Honda CBR250RR, Simon was given an opportunity to have a ride on a Yamaha R3. The bike is owned by the Motorcycle Sportsmen of Queensland and had been ridden in 2017 by Tayla Relph. A test at Carnell Raceway allowed Simon to get used to the bike before the 3 day ASBK event.
The bike was still setup to the rules from the 2017 R3 cup. The only changes from factory – the Yamaha race package supplied parts (MUPO suspension, race glass, and rearsets) as well as MWR air filter, Akrapovic exhaust system, and basic aftermarket adjustable reach levers. Tyres being run were identical to the ones used by Simon on his CBR250RR, the ever grippy Pirelli Supercorsa, even the same size as used on the CBR, 110 front and 140 rear. Having the same tyres removed one of the pieces of the puzzle to getting used to the bike.
Simon and the Turn 3 wall
With the R3 being eligible for the Supersport 300 class as well as the Yamaha R3 Cup meant there was plenty of opportunity on the practise day to get the bike feeling right. A couple of changes to the front height of the bike gave Simon the feel from the front wheel he needed to push, and settling on 13-42 gearing Simon was as ready as he could be. Best lap time from the Friday was 1:27.732.
Simon and Bronson Pickett through Turn 2
Saturday morning brought the best conditions of the event, a decent bit of sun, cool air and the wind was yet to pick up. Supersport 300 was the first session, Simon set about trying to put together a decent lap in the 20 min session. After spending most of the session solo Simon found himself with the opportunity to follow Locky Taylor and Mitch Kuhne for a lap, with Mitch breaking the air and with fresh rubber, Simon pushed hard and was able to put together a very good lap of 1:25.504, this is a lap faster than Simon had ever done around Morgan Park on his CBR250RR. With a solid lap in the bank Simon skipped the second Supersport 300 qualifying session. Final qualifying position was 14th. In the R3 cup class Simon managed his best time in the first of the 2 sessions, attempting to improve on that time in the second session was fruitless, more wind and no luck with picking up a tow. The time of 1:26.428 meant Simon would start the R3 Cup races from 16th position.
The racing over the weekend was intense, the grid is stacked with talent. Anything other than a perfect corner exit was punished, brake a metre before seeing Jesus and you get overtaken. Simon’s extra weight over most other riders meant it was a challenge just to stay in the slip stream. As the weekend continued Simon was able to push with increasing confidence in the bike, a few slides over the bumps on the apex of turn 6, and a few front end moments pushing into turn 4 let Simon know he was getting close to the maximum in the slow corners. A massive rear end slide into chicane complex of turn 11 that Simon was lucky enough to not only save but have the bike aiming for the apex of turn 12, and a few two wheel slides in turn 9 let know Simon he was at the limit of himself and the bike. Overall it was an amazing event and the racing was top notch. With plenty of great battles and a top 10 finish, and 3 race laps in the 1:25′s meant Simon had achieved his goals for the event, and to top it off Simon and the bike both left shiny side up.
Massive thanks go out to the best club in Australia, the Motorcycle Sportsmen of Queensland for allowing Simon to ride the R3, Link International have been a long time sponsor of the club so there was no doubt that the Pirelli tyres enabled Simon to adapt to the R3 quickly. The always amazing William Course and Karlos Neal were on hand to take photos, thanks to their snapping skills there are pictures in this article.