WATERS CLOSES IN ON AUSTRALIAN SBK LEAD

2009-10-20 03:40
Team Joe Rocket Suzuki rider Josh Waters has moved to within two points of the championship lead after executing a thrilling last-gasp pass to take a 0.024sec victory in the second race at the sixth round of the Australian Superbike Championship at Victoria's Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday.

Run as a support event to the 2009 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the 22-year-old thrilled the Sunday crowd of over 50,000 as he battled with race-one winner Wayne Maxwell over the six-lap journey before timing a slipstream pass to perfection in the run down Gardner Straight to the chequered flag.

"Turns 11 and 12 are my favourite corners on the circuit and I knew I had to get drive out of them to have a chance of pulling off the pass," said Waters.

Waters, who finished second in the opening eight-lap Superbike race behind Maxwell by just 0.166sec, has now moved to 251 points in the seven-round series, just 2 points behind defending champion Glenn Allerton.

Allerton finished third in each of the two championship races, with the 2009 title to be decided at the final round at Phillip Island on November 27-29. Just nine points separates the three riders, setting up a thrilling finale.

Waters' Team Joe Rocket Suzuki team mates Shawn Giles and Robbie Bugden rounded out a great day for the team with fourth and fifth placings overall, giving the new 2009 GSX-R1000K9 three of the top-five positions in only its fourth race meeting.

Bugden, the reigning New Zealand Superbike Champion, got the better of Giles by just 0.053sec in the opening eight-lap race to claim fifth place, with the three-time Australian Superbike Champion reversing the result in race two and finishing 0.044sec ahead of two-time champion Jamie Stauffer and Bugden seventh.

Waters recorded the fastest lap of race two with a 1:32.622 on his final lap as he set up for his pass on Maxwell, but the 22-year-old Superbike 'rookie' saw his national Superbike lap record of 1:32.471 fall to Maxwell in race one when the latter recorded a 1:32.316.

Waters, in his first season of Superbike racing, had entered the round 11pts adrift of Allerton and 8pts ahead of Maxwell, with Maxwell's bonus point for pole position giving him the overall round win from Waters.

"It's been a great day to be only 2 points off the championship lead - I'm looking forward to Phillip Island in a month's time," said Waters.

With one round remaining, Allerton leads on 253 points to Waters' 251. Maxwell lies third on 244 with Giles fourth (196pts) and Bugden fifth (184pts).

In the Australian Supersport Championship, also run as a support class at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, 22-year-old Troy Herfoss qualified his Team Joe Rocket Suzuki GSX-R600 on the front row of the grid, but had his challenge for a podium result dampened with a jump-start penalty in race one.

The 10-second penalty dropped Herfoss from fourth to 10th in the race one results, a fourth in race two securing sixth overall for the weekend.

The overall Supersport win went to current points leader Bryan Staring from defending champion Jamie Stauffer with Shannon Johnson third.

Herfoss, in his first full season of road racing, proved how quickly his learning curve is developing by recording a lap of 1:35.914 in race two, the fastest lap the 2008 US Supermoto Champion has done around the 4.45km Phillip Island circuit.

The three riders ahead of him, all Australian road racing champions, also lapped in the 1:35 bracket, all below the previous Supersport lap record. Staring claimed a new Supersport record of 1:35.200, 0.622sec below the old mark.

The final round of the 2009 Australian Superbike Championship is at Victoria's Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on 27-29 November.

Phil Tainton - Team Manager:

"It's been another great weekend for the team - and Josh has put himself in a great position heading into the final round.

"Three riders in the Superbike top five, the pace of the new GSX-R1000K9s in only their fourth race meeting, and Troy proving he can mix it at the front of the Supersport field made for a pretty good weekend all round.

"It was good to showcase our national championship in front of the big grand prix crowd and international teams. I'm sure they would have been impressed with the racing and the professionalism."

Joshua Waters:

"That win in race two is so important for the championship. Wayne is riding so well I knew it would be difficult to get past, but I knew where he was strong - and where I was too.

"I'd had a go at him in an earlier race, but made a small mistake and couldn't close down the gap. I knew I had to get good drive on to the straight to have a chance in that final race, but I really like those last two corners and everything worked as planned. The bike was great all weekend. I can't thank the team enough."

Shawn Giles:

"I'm happy to come away with fourth overall and remain fourth in the championship. It's been a buzz to race in front of the GP crowd.

"The weather conditions across the weekend made it a challenge to find a good set-up, as each session was different and the track conditions kept changing. The team worked tirelessly, and the bike was great. The pace was hot this weekend, and our Superbike times weren't far off the tail-end MotoGP times. I'm looking forward to coming back to the Island next month."

Robbie Budgen:

"I struggled a bit finding a set-up that I was comfortable with this weekend, so fifth overall is a good result. Phillip Island is a track that places big demands on set-up as the corners are so fast. You need everything spot-on, and that's a challenge when the weather conditions keep changing. I've no complaints about the GSX-R's performance - my bike was really fast."

Troy Herfoss:

"I was happy with my front-row qualifying and with my lap times, and my race pace was good. It's the fastest I've been around the Island.

"The jump-start penalty was disappointing, but getting into the 35s in the final race was great. It proves how good the bike is. I feel I'm still learning every time I go out. I'm still getting used to having to hang my body off the bike after years of Supermoto racing. I'm looking forward to the final round at Phillip Island, as it's a track I've raced at twice now."


Superbike Overall Results - Round 6: 1 Wayne Maxwell; 2 Josh Waters (Suzuki GSX-R1000); 3 Glenn Allerton; 4 Shawn Giles (Suzuki GSX-R1000);5 Robert Bugden (Suzuki GSX-R1000); 6 Jamie Stauffer; 7 Jake Holden; 8 David Anthony; 9 Kevin Curtain; 10 Jordan Burgess.

Superbike Championship Points(after 6 of 7 rounds): 1 Glenn Allerton 253pts; 2 Josh Waters (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 251; 3 Wayne Maxwell 244; 4 Shawn Giles (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 196; 5 Robert Bugden (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 184; 6 Jamie Stauffer 163; 7 Craig Coxhell 163; 8 Dan Stauffer 140; 9 Kevin Curtain 138; 10 Chris Trounson 104.

Supersport Overall Results - Round 6: 1 Bryan Staring; 2 Jamie Stauffer; 3 Shannon Johnson; 4 Ben Attard; 5 Scott Charlton; 6 Troy Herfoss (Suzuki GSX-R600); 7 Christian Casella; 8 Brodie Waters; 9 Mitchell Pirotta; 10 Cameron Keevers.

Supersport Championship Points (after 6 of 7 rounds): 1 Bryan Staring 275pts; 2 Jamie Stauffer 258; 3 Ben Attard 189; 4 Shannon Johnson 177; 5 Troy Herfoss (Suzuki GSX-R600) 155; 6 Scott Charlton 155; 7 Christian Casella 141; 8 Chris Quinn 126; 9 Cameron Keevers 123; 10 Jed Metcher 114.

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

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