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2016 PI Classic: Beaton takes pole; McWilliams best of the Brits

Australian Beau Beaton claimed his first ever pole position at the Phillip Island Classic for the Mitchelton Wines International Challenge with Jeremy McWilliams taking top spot among the British in third.

Beaton stopped the clock with a 1min55.400 aboard the Austart Air Starters/K.H. Equipment Irving Vincent machine, which was 3.317 seconds faster than fellow Aussie team-mate Steve Martin (TBR/D&D/QBE).

The f15 minute qualifying session was cut short after oil was dumped from turn three all the way to turn four from a few riders, which also included last year’s winner of the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy, Ryan Farquhar (Team Winfield). This resulted New Zealand rider Grant Dalton coming off at Stoner Corner.


On a semi-wet track, Beaton who rode on slick tyres said, “I don’t think this pole position was given to me, as I had to work for it.”
“The lap before I did my flyer lap I didn’t see the oil through turn three. I saw it coming into turn four, so I thought the next lap I would push a little bit harder and I actually lost it through turn three, but I managed to hold onto it, then the session got red flagged.”

Martin will start from second and said the whole weekend so far has been a bit of a nightmare in regards with the weather and what has happened this morning.

“The lap I did was really nothing,” said the 1999 Australian Superbike and 2009 World Endurance Champion. “I didn’t even see the oil really, Shawn [Giles] saw someone come off on it, which stuffed his qualifying up. I know he also lost the front on the oil as well. He was a bit unlucky, but he was lucky that he managed to stay up. I’m not going to say that I a lap. Sure I’m second on the grid, but that is not a true reflection on what will happen in this afternoons two races.”

Jeremy McWilliams who will start from third on the grid after he managed to post a 1min59.051.

“You could have seen the oil from Melbourne,” said McWilliams. “I really didn’t know what to do as I knew it was a qualifying session and I was tip toeing through the oil and then riding fast through the rest of the lap. It was wet and we were on slicks combined with oil on the track and it’s everything that you don’t want.
“It was a disaster as Glen [Richards] pulled in to warn the marshals that the track was covered in oil and he lost his lap and now he back in forty-second position and James [Hillier] is in forty-forth position. So it’s not the best way to start the day really.”

McWilliams’ team-mate, Conor Cummins with Cam Donald on the McIntosh Suzuki round out the top five positions. Riders affected by the red flag was Aussie star Jed Metcher (T-Rex Racing/Race Center), Irish team captain Mike Meskell, Simon Richards and who all were unable to post a time during qualifying.

Top 10 Mitchelton Wines International Challenge Qualifying

1. Beau Beaton (AUS) 1min55.400
2. Steve Martin (AUS) 1min58.717
3. Jeremy McWilliams (UK) 1min59.051
4. Conor Cummins (UK) 1min59.686
5. Cam Donald (AUS) 2min02.090
6. Pete Byers (NZ) 2min02.272
7. John Allen (AUS) 2min02.765
8. Ryan Farquhar (UK) 2min03.713
9. Pat Mooney (USA) 2min04.218
10. Trevor Manley (IRE) 2min05.350

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