CROKER AND KTM RC390 LEAD AUSTRALASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP | Sport
KTM RC390 Racing Team rider Max Croker has joined team mate Billy Van Eerde at the head of a major championship, after a demonstrative whitewash of the weekend’s opening rounds of the 2017 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship, at Sydney Motorsport Park.
After qualifying second-fastest for the round, Croker was perfect across Saturday’s three races to dominate the first round of the championship, utilising a perfectly-timed finish line straight slipstream move to win the second. Croker then returned to the podium three more times for Round Two a day later.
KTM RC 390s enjoyed the lion’s share of the podium presence on both days, filling two of the three steps on both days as Keo Watson finished second ahead of Yannis Shaw on Saturday before backing up with a third behind Hunter Ford on Sunday.
Croker now takes a sizeable, 40-point lead in the 400cc class of the 2017 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship, which continues at Queensland Raceway in July.
It’s the second time in a month that KTM’s LAMS-approved commuter with Moto3 DNA has moved to the head of a national championship, after 14-year-old Billy Van Eerde took over the lead of the ASBK’s Supersport 300 class at Goulburn.
Max Croker – KTM RC390: “Saturday I won all three races, and then it was an exact repeat for Sunday – we ended up winning 6 out of 6! The KTM was going very well all weekend and the Bridgestone tyres were awesome. I’ve ridden all my bikes around Eastern Creek in the past, but that was my first time on the KTM RC390 there. We’d tweaked a few things here and there, but the varying temperatures meant that getting the correct tyre pressure was pretty difficult. Still, we came away with the wins so we had a good setup.
Most of the races I made a winning gap, but the second one on Saturday I battled with Hunter Ford all the way to the line and I think we passed three or four times. I got a really good run out of the final corner and got him on the start/finish.
It was the perfect weekend and I’m feeling very confident on the bike now. The more laps of the bike you do the more you can find the limits, so it’s a massive confidence boost with the times we were doing. I think we’ll have a good chance at the next round.
I couldn’t believe how easy I’ve adapted to the bike. It’s very stable and fits the way I ride – it’s an awesome bike to ride.”
Keo Watson – KTM RC390: “The C&M Motorcycles RC 390 was fantastic. This was the first time I’d raced it and it had great handling and power compared to the other bikes out there. We ran the dead stock suspension and it performed great. I was just hoping to score semi-decent points for the championship, so to be on the podium in every race except one was great – heaps better than we expected. I had a ball, it was awesome fun dicing with the other boys at that level. Now I just want to have a go on one of the 2017 models. Max says they’re a step above.”
2017 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship 400cc Supersport Round 1:
1. Max Croker KTM RC390 150
2. Keo Watson KTM RC390 110
3. Yannis Shaw Kawasaki 106
4. Hunter Ford Yamaha 94
5. Ryan Sellen Kawasaki 89
6. Dan Thomas Yamaha 88
7. Tom Toparis KTM RC390 82
8. Ryan Young KTM RC390 78