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Grid talk with Josh Waters | Columns | Gassit Garage

Last year’s ASBK champion Josh Waters has lost his title but the Suzuki rider’s urge to win races is stronger than ever

It’s been a remarkable turnaround since The Bend, where you finished 12th overall and suffered a DNF in one of the three races. What got you back up at the front?

The team and I have just kept chipping away. I give Phil (Tainton, Team Suzuki Ecstar Australia crew chief), Dale Brede (team owner) and my crew a huge thank you for sticking with the new hardware and believing in my feedback. I was unlucky at The Bend but I’m not going to dwell on that.

Explain the Suzuki GSX-R1000R’s development throughout the season.

We started with last year’s set-up and after the Wakefield Park round the new parts arrived. A new ECU opened up a lot of options to configure the Suzuki. Once we got it bedded-in, it proved very beneficial. We had a freak incident with the brakes at The Bend that resulted in a DNF. Then we finished sixth in the round points at Darwin and by then our little team was well on the way to sorting out the problems. Every time I go out on the bike it gets better and better.

You had two second places at Phillip Island’s Round 1. Is it a favourite track of yours?

It is for sure. I wrapped up the title there last year. But it is also a favourite track for everyone. I’m going there just thinking about myself. I’m not going to tell you a fairytale; just tell you that I will try my hardest.

So you’re pretty fired up to continue next year?

Troy Herfoss has been very dominant this year. He’s done a really good job and congratulations to him. But after all the hard work our team has done this year, I really think it can only get better next year. I want that fourth ASBK title!

You took time out from ASBK this year to race at the Suzuka 8 Hours for the eighth time. Talk us through that and why you ran in the Superstock class, not Superbike.

I got an offer from a factory-supported Suzuki team and thought doing time on a Superstock class bike would help my ASBK season. Phil Tainton attended the official test. We finished fourth in our class after a small mechanical issue but I was happy to know I did the quickest times in my class. Suzuka’s a tricky race. If you pit with a small problem that you think may lose you one lap to fix, you’ve actually lost two laps as the pit lane exit is so long. I don’t know why I love the 8 Hour as it’s so physically demanding, but I do!

On the strength of your Suzuka efforts, would you be a possibility for next season’s new Superbike class in the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship?

Sure. I could be interested but my main focus is going to be on the ASBK and unfinished business there.

Finally, in your Revolving Racer column  you said the experience you were going through was the same every racer faces, whether they are world champion or a junior. What’s your advice to those juniors now?

Don’t give up. Believe in yourself and the people working around you.

As appeared in Vol 68 No 08

Interview Hamish Cooper