After three rounds and a total of seven races in this year’s Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell has put himself right back into contention for a shot of possibly claiming his second Australian Superbike Championship after snaring pole position and two race victories at Winton Motor Raceway on the last weekend of the April.
Yamaha Motor Australia caught up with the 34-year-old Victorian to find out how his season has gone thus far.
YMA: Wayne, three rounds down in this year’s ASBK series and the score card for you looks like this – fifth at Phillip Island, second at Wakefield Park and now this first place here at Winton Motor Raceway. Can you give us your run down on your season from point of view? How has it been?
WM: To sum it up in a few words, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. It’s been very hectic with so many changes. However, now it’s starting to settle down and the Yamaha Racing Team and I are starting to get an understanding about the Yamaha YZF-R1M a bit more on the current tyre. It’s getting better with each outing that we do.
YMA: At the conclusion of round three, you are now in second place in the championship fight, nine points behind Daniel Falzon, but more importantly there is fourteen points covering the top four in the YMI Australian Superbike Championship as the series now heads to Hidden Valley in Darwin. What’s the mindset now?
WM: Heading into Darwin, we just have to keep doing what we are doing and that is improving the Yamaha R1M.The way the races have been ridden at the moment, the long runs are very important. So you have to be super-fast over one lap, because that means your race pace is going to be a lot better. So not only pace, but consistency is the key.
YMA: Next round of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship obviously heads north to the top end of Australia. You have had some good results at Hidden Valley. Last time you raced at the 2.87km circuit you scored pole position and finished with a 1-3 which handed you second place for the round. What’s your thoughts on Hidden Valley?
WM: Yeah I’m really looking forward to going up to Darwin and racing at Hidden Valley. That circuit has been good to me in the past and I do seem to go well there. We’ll go back there on the Yamaha and try and take the challenge on in terms of the championship. We have to remember that the team and I are back in the championship hunt. For a while there after round one it looked pretty bad. However we have clawed our way back into it through hard work and perseverance. Everyone here at the Yamaha Racing Team has got the same focus, so we are just going to keep pushing on from here.
YMA: With two months off now between round three and four, what are you going to be getting up to?
WM: I’m going to continue to keep getting my fitness up. It has got a lot better as the rounds has gone on. A lot of stuff has improved away from the track for me, which means I have more time to focus on racing. We want to have a big push in the second half of the season.
YMA: One final question. As you said it has been a roller coaster ride to the start of year. So what does it mean for you personally to get pole position and a double race win, for not only you but the team and Yamaha Motor Australia as a whole?
WM: It means a lot as the whole team work really hard week in, week out. So it’s fantastic for not only myself, but for them who put in so much effort to make this happen. There is a lot of pressure on us being the factory Yamaha team. Daniel [Falzon] is a privateer Yamaha rider leading the championship. We have come in line in regards to what Daniel is doing when it comes to the tyre situation. I believe this will be the important thing for us to keep moving forward. We are a little bit behind, but after round three we have definitely closed the gap up quite a lot. Let’s see what we can do for the remaining four rounds of the championship.
Championship Standings after Round three
1st Daniel Falzon – 139 (Yamaha – R1)
2nd Wayne Maxwell – 130 (Yamaha – R1)
3rd Troy Herfoss – 130
4th Robbie Bugden – 125
5th Bryan Staring – 96
Credits: Russell Colvin