Josh Waters (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R) has captured the 2017 Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance (YMI) Superbike Championship, in what was an epic showdown at the Spokes.com.au presents Round 7
Josh Waters (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R) has captured the 2017 Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance (YMI) Superbike Championship, in what was an epic showdown at the Spokes.com.au presents Round 7 Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK).
Improved weather conditions hovered around Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit this morning after a downpour earlier on, providing the perfect backdrop for today’s season decider to play out in. After a barnstorming qualifying session yesterday, crowds expected an action-packed day of racing and the riders delivered a spectacle for the ages, with Troy Herfoss (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team CBR1000SP2), Waters, and Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1) all within 14 points of each other.
When bikes headed to the grid for their first race of the weekend, the track temperature was sitting at 25 degrees and there was an undeniable championship buzz in the air.
Pole position getter, Maxwell didn’t get a very good start and Waters shot into the lead, with Daniel Falzon (JD Racing, Yamaha YZF-R1) second and Herfoss in third. Waters quickly made a break for it, while Maxwell has moved up several places, as far as making his way up to second by lap two.
By the second lap, Waters had a gap as much as two and a half seconds. Herfoss had his hands full on lap four when Falzon attempted to overtake and Herfoss later had a moment in that lap where he had to sit up from out of his seat.
The Crankt Protein Honda riders Bryan Staring (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2) and Herfoss were losing ground and appeared to be holding up the chasing pack. Josh Hook (Bell Helmets, Ducati Panigale) managed to overtake both Hondas after they were struggling for pace.
When riders reached the halfway mark in Race One, Waters continued to lead by three seconds followed by Maxwell and Falzon in third. Glenn Allerton (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1) in fourth and Hook in fifth.
From the mid stages of the race, things really heated up on track, as Herfoss lost a large amount of positions and ran wide at the first corner after Robbie Bugden (Kawasaki BCperformance) attempted an overtake. Allerton managed to overtake Falzon and put himself on a podium position in third.
Herfoss had a disaster of a race, retiring after nine laps with an oil leak forcing him to come into the pits. The retirement effectively wrecking his championship chances.
From there, Waters was able to keep it upright, stretch out his lead to 3.7 seconds, and scream down the straight to take a win. Second place was taken by Maxwell followed by Allerton who managed to keep Falzon behind him. Hook had his best YMI Superbike race finish in fifth after a very impressive fifth place.
Waters had played down his chances all weekend so far, but he was simply unstoppable in Race One and set himself up in prime position to take the title in the afternoon.
Staring, Cru Halliday, Alex Phillis (Apex Civil, Yamaha YZF-R1), Michael Blair (Yamaha YRT, YZF-R1) and Robert Bugden (Kawasaki BCperformance, ZX-10R), all finished race one inside the top ten.
YMI Superbike Race One Provisional Results
1 Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
2 Wayne MAXWELL (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1)
3 Glenn ALLERTON (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1)
4 Daniel FALZON (JD Racing, Yamaha YZF-R1)
5 Josh HOOK (Bell Helmets, Ducati Panigale)
6 Bryan STARING (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2)
7 Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Finance, YZF-R1)
8 Alex PHILLIS (Apex Civil, Yamaha YZF-R1)
9 Michael BLAIR (Yamaha YRT, YZF-R1)
10 Robert BUGDEN (Kawasaki BCperformance, ZX-10R)
When the YMI Superbikes headed to the grid for their final race of 2017, competitors were armed with the knowledge that a champion would be crowned upon the chequered flag, and with Waters holding the championship lead, the spectators couldn’t wait to see if he could hold on to his points gap.
When bikes screamed off the start and in to the first turn, it would be Falzon and Waters to lead the way. Maxwell had another disappointing start from pole position and was not as aggressive in the opening laps and found himself in the battle pack. Waters soon overtook Falzon at the hayshed on lap two with Maxwell in fifth.
With clear air in front of him, Waters was setup well to try and break away from the field. Staring overtook Waters at Pirelli corner and Maxwell soon followed suit. Maxwell quickly took the lead on lap three and he thundered past Staring on the main straight. It was clear that Maxwell was a man possessed.
With six laps to go in the YMI Superbikes, Maxwell had had stretched out his lead on Waters to a 0.7s, with Herfoss in third having disposed of his teammate Staring and Waters soon after, to move into second.
Herfoss now found himself within a couple of tenths behind Maxwell and was desperate to get passed. Waters began to drop off after lap 10, content with his championship winning position in fifth. With only two laps remaining the battle for the victory was extremely close. The Honda duo were all over Maxwell, and Allerton was close enough as well to challenge for victory.
On the last lap it was Maxwell, followed by Herfoss, Staring and Allerton. Maxwell managed to hold on to win by 1.26 second over Herfoss, Staring and Allerton. Waters would be relieved to finish fifth as it meant he had secured enough points to be declared 2017 YMI Superbike Champion.
But the man of the moment was simply Waters, his smart and consistent ride saw him take the 2017 YMI Superbike Championship with 261 points. Second in the Championship went to Maxwell and Herfoss in third. The 2017 YMI Superbike Championship marks Water’s third title and puts him amongst an exclusive group of Australian riders.
Maxwell and Herfoss will rue the lost opportunities, with Maxwell’s bad stars and Herfoss’ retiring in the previous race.
Josh Waters 2017 YMI Superbike Champion
“I’ve said it a million times, I never thought I would be in contention for the championship halfway through the season. To win the championship for Team ECSTAR Suzuki is awesome. Big thanks to the team, sponsors and everyone that’s stood by me, I can’t believe it! The turnaround from the start of the season has been huge.
“Three DNF’s throughout the season and to be just four points off is disappointing. There were mistakes all year but it’s no excuse. Big thanks to Yamaha and my crew. It’s been a positive year all around but we just came up short.”
“It was a tough race and there were many moments across the season that could have gone differently but second in the race was a good result. It’s unfortunate we had a mechanical issue in Race One. Unfortunately, I couldn’t contend with Wayne up the front. I’m fit and healthy and looking forward to 2018.”
Race Two YMI Superbike Provisional Results
1 Wayne MAXWELL (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1)
2 Troy HERFOSS (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, Honda CBR1000SP2)
3 Bryan STARING (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, Honda CBR1000SP2)
4 Glenn ALLERTON (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1)
5 Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
6 Daniel FALZON (JD Racing, Yamaha YZF-R1)
7 Alex PHILLIS (Apex Civil, Yamaha YZF-R1)
8 Matt WALTERS (Kawasaki Australia, Kawasaki ZX-10R)
9 Michael BLAIR (Blair Build, Yamaha YZF-R1)
10 Josh HOOK (Bell Helmets, Ducati Panigale)
YMI Superbike Championship Top Ten
1 Josh WATERS 261
2 Wayne MAXWELL 257
3 Troy HERFOSS 246
4 Daniel FALZON 220
5 Robert BUGDEN 219
6 Cru HALLIDAY 206
7 Bryan STARING 184
8 Michael BLAIR 138
9 Corey TURNER 138
10 Mitch LEVY 137