Josh Waters (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSXR-1000R) showed his expert skills around the famous Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit today and claimed victory in front of an international crowd at the 2017 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. The finish once again came down to a dramatic battle between Waters and Bryan Staring (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2).
Conditions were patchy early this morning at 8:55 AM, for the first Superbike race. After Waters dominated the opening races yesterday, a win today would further establish himself as the favourite for the Phillip Island Superbike Championship.
The Superbike competitors were eager to set off the line for race three. And with a stacked fence line, anticipation was in the air for the red lights to go out. Lining up on the front row of the grid was Waters, Troy Herfoss (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2) and Cru Halliday (Yamaha Finance, Yamaha YZF-R1).
Waters got a phenomenal start into Doohan corner and would lead the race, but heading into Stoner corner, Mitch Levy (ATR, Yamaha YZF-R1) and Jed Metcher (Race Center, YZF-R1) had overtaken him. Waters looked to be feeling out the damp conditions and fell back into fifth.
As it stood on lap two, Metcher was leading from Levy and Michael Blair (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF-R1) in third. After Waters fell through the pack, he managed to make a move on Dean Oughtred (Dynoverks, BMW S1000RR) for fourth and appeared to be back on the pace. Herfoss was another rider who was having a difficult start to the race, falling back to tenth place. Teammate, Staring was having a much better race and was following Waters as he made his way through the field.
Waters continued his charge and managed to overtake both Levy and Metcher with five laps remaining, to hit the front and lead. Staring managed to also overtake Levy and Metcher in short succession to move himself into second. For the second race in a row, the race was going to come down to a battle between Waters and Staring.
With three laps to go, Staring had closed right up on Waters, with only a tenth separating the two. Staring was not interested in coming second once again to the newly crowned ASBK champion, Waters. With two laps to go, Staring hit the front and overtook Waters down Gardner Straight. In the meantime, Halliday had managed to overtake Metcher, Blair and Levy to move into third place.
On the last lap, Staring continued to lead, Waters looked extremely strong through Stoner Corner but he could not execute the overtake. It was all going to come down to a drag race down Gardner Straight for the victory. Waters had closed right up on Staring at turn 12 and thundered past Staring to take another victory for Suzuki. It was another classic duel between the two competitors.
The podium positions went to Waters, Staring and Halliday, followed by Blair, Metcher, Herfoss, Levy, Oughtred, Turner and Barton to complete the top ten. The final race of the 2017 Phillip Island Superbike Championship takes place at 9:35 AM on Sunday.
Phillip Island Superbike Championship Race Three Provisional Results
1 Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
2 Bryan STARING (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2)
3 Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Finance, Yamaha YZF-R1)
4 Michael BLAIR (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF0-R1)
5 Jed METCHER (Race Center, YZF-R1)
6 Troy HERFOSS (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2)
7 Mitch LEVY (ATR, Yamaha YZF-R1)
8 Dean OUGHTRED (Dynoverks, BMW S1000RR)
9 Corey TURNER (Desmosport Ducati, 1299 Panigale)
10 Matt BARTON (West End Mazda, CBR1000RR)
By Motorcycling Australia