—  2012 ASBK Championship – Round One – Phillip Island – Team Reports

 – Suzuki Report

Team Suzuki’s Josh Waters claimed victory in the opening Australian Superbike Championship round of the 2012 season at Phillip Island in Victoria over the weekend of 24-26 February.

Contested alongside the Australian round of the Superbike World Championship, Waters was relentless in his pursuit for victory at the season opener, claiming pole position and 1-2 finishes on Sunday to seal the overall.

Waters topped Saturday’s Superpole session to take first on the grid with a 1:33.438sec lap around the scenic 4.5-kilometre ocean side circuit, setting himself up for a successful race day.

The first 14-lap race on Sunday morning saw Waters dominate from the outset aboard the brand new 2012 model GSX-R1000, winning by a comfortable 7.424sec margin with the fastest lap of the race at 1:33.925sec.

Race two saw Waters finish a close second, just 0.499sec behind Wayne Maxwell. With his results, Waters claimed the overall on 46 points to lead the Australian Superbike Championship after one round in 2012.

“The first race was great as I was able to get a good start and break away,” 2009 ASBK champion Waters said. “I was really happy with that and the 2012 model GSX-R1000 was faultless. In race two the heat was extreme. I tried and couldn’t quite get away, so I let the guys past and then near the end of the race I tried again. I got caught up a little bit and couldn’t quite get it done.

“It was a great way to start the championship and get the ball rolling with the overall victory. The bike was really good, similar in a lot of ways to the old bike, but the engine is just really strong and I have a lot of confidence in the handling already. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into Darwin.”

Team Volvo Group Suzuki satellite rider Robert Bugden finished a strong fourth overall with 5-4 finishes, with fellow Queenslander and Team Suzuki newcomer Ben Attard directly behind him in fifth for the weekend. Attard took a hard-fought third in race one before crossing the line eighth in the second race after experiencing tyre degradation.

“It was nice to get a podium in my first Superbike race for Suzuki, but also disappointing to experience the problem in the final race because I felt like we could challenge for a third or fourth place,” the experienced Queenslander said.

“We’ve done a bit of testing, but in race conditions at 110 percent I felt like my feeling for the bike improved. I’m really looking forward to Darwin now and am confident that the 2012 model GSX-R1000 will be even stronger with extra development before that event.”

Team Suzuki Supersport contender Brodie Waters commenced his 2012 campaign on the podium with third overall aboard the GSX-R600. Waters finished third in race one and fourth in the shortened second outing, which awarded half points due to the minimal amount of laps completed.

“It wasn’t the way that we wanted to start the year, just because we struggled with the race set-up and didn’t quite get to the level we needed to for the win,” Waters said. “We’ll work on that for the next round and hopefully be able to push for the win.

“Consistency will be a vital factor this year though, which is something that I learnt last year. You need to stay on and get points when you can, because third place is definitely better than nothing at all when it comes to scoring points for the championship.”

Team Suzuki manager Phil Tainton said that the weekend’s results were a strong base to build from for the season ahead, looking forward to further developing the 2012 GSX-R1000 for upcoming rounds.

“Josh was great as always and adapted really quickly to the 2012 GSX-R1000, plus I’m really happy with the way Ben is riding, so it was impressive to see him in the top three during that first race,” Tainton said.

“We’re up a little bit in horsepower with the new bike, which is a great benefit at Phillip Island. It’s very similar to the previous model bike, however the refinements are clear improvements and we have more to come from Japan as development continues.

“Brodie scored good points, but was struggling with grip in the heat. The GSX-R600 is fast, but we’re working on improving edge grip. It’s all going well and Brodie is riding well, but we didn’t quite get it good enough for Brodie to win this weekend.”

Sadly, 17-year-old Queensland rider Oscar McIntyre was involved in a fatal incident during the first Supersport/Superstock race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. Team Suzuki expresses its condolences to the family and friends of Oscar.

The Australian Superbike Championship will continue at Hidden Valley in the Northern Territory on 20-22 April, for round two of the seven-round 2012 season.

– Team Honda Report

Team Honda Racing begins the 2012 Season of the ASBK Championship leading the 600 Supersport Championship and 3rd in the Superbike Championship.

#27 Jamie Stauffer & #47 Wayne Maxwell
At his 1st ASBK race event on a 600 Supersport machine, #34 Josh Hook won overall in the category and leads the Supersport Championship going into the next round. A very impressive result for the NSW rider who rode consistently throughout the weekend, winning Race 1 by just .006 sec and coming 3rd in Race 2 which was unfortunately red flagged on the 4th lap. His efforts over the weekend have shown that he will be one to watch this season.

Hook: “This has been a great weekend for me, obviously winning overall for Round 1 is awesome and to do it at the World Superbike Event is definitely a highlight. The team has been really supportive all weekend and I already feel comfortable on the CBR600RR. I did my first Superpole yesterday too which although I didn’t get the Superpole point it was good to get that first one out of the way. I’m really looking forward to the next event with Team Honda Racing.”

#34 Josh Hook
Round 1 was a successful one for the Superbikes this weekend with #27 Jamie Stauffer going into the next round of the Superbike Championship at Hidden Valley in 3rd in the championship and #47 Wayne Maxwell taking the race win in Race 2 this afternoon in a spectacular effort.

Consistently strong lap times in qualifying and strong Superpole laps from both riders, placed #47 Wayne in P2 and #27 Jamie on P3 on the grid for today’s races. The results of the weekend do, however, reflect the up and down nature of motorcycle racing when in Race 1 today a hole in the radiator caused Maxwell to retire early from the race, Stauffer finishing 4th.

Race 2 saw the Honda CBR1000RR’s at the front of the field for much of the race and with a fierce determination to turn his weekend around, Maxwell raced to a very convincing victory. It was Stauffer who took the lead on lap 5 and held it until lap 8 when Maxwell passed him and did not look back. Maxwell won Race 2, Stauffer finished 3rd and recorded the fastest lap of the race on lap 2, a 1:33.804 sec.
Maxwell: “What a weekend of highs and lows! When we thought we were good to go this weekend for the races, something out of our control turned things around dramatically in Race 1 and I could not finish the race. Full credit to the team to get things back under control and give me a bike to be able to bounce back and show our 2012 championship intentions with a race win.”

Stauffer: “Round 1 for the season and we come away in a really positive position going into Round 2 at Hidden Valley. We were fast in practice and qualifying and although I’m never happy unless I’m winning races, to be 3rd in the championship at this point is fine.”

Team Principle Paul Free views the opening round of the ASBK as a strong one for Team Honda Racing.

Free: “Once again, racing threw everything at us. Wayne looked so strong in the opening Superbike race only to be taken out of the race by a simple problem. Full credit to him to bounce right back and win Race 2. Jamie was strong all weekend and achieved some solid results. He will definitely be a championship contender. Josh was brilliant on the 600. For Honda to be able to re-enter the 600 Supersport Championship so strongly is full credit to rider and machine. We have a very strong package in Josh and the CBR600RR. The whole team worked really well together this weekend with some new staff onboard and I know we will have an extremely strong season.”

– BMW Report

The 2012 ASBK season started positively for Procon Maxima BMW S 1000 RR riders, Glenn Allerton and Linden Magee. Both achieved podium finishes at Phillip Island.

Glenn Allerton, the 2011 Australian Superbike Champion, riding the new 2012 BMW S 1000 RR, qualified in 5th position for the first round of the championship.

In blazing heat, Allerton and the Procon Maxima BMW Team came to grips with the new bike and had it set-up for Glenn to defend the title he won so convincingly last year.

Before the large and enthusiastic Phillip Island crowd and an even larger TV audience, the 2012 season was underway. Glenn had his BMW S 1000 RR straight into the action. The battle raged for the race distance with Glenn moving clear to take 2nd place.

Race 2 was again raced with the sun beating down and a strong wind blowing straight down Gardner Straight. Glenn battled hard with deteriorating tyres to grab 5th place and finish in 2nd position overall for Round 1.

“The 2012 BMW S 1000 RR is a very different bike than the one I rode last year. The team worked hard in setting the bike up. Winning is always the aim but second in Race1 and second overall was a reasonable start to the season. The new bike is an improvement on what was already a great motorcycle and it will only get better” said Glenn.

Linden Magee riding in the highly competitive Prostock class had the perfect start to the season with his new team. He dominated the race from the start and pressed home his advantage to take the win and finish in 7th place outright, ahead of several Superbikes.

Race 2 also started well for Linden with his powerful BMW S 1000 RR working perfectly. Into lap 7 Linden was unfortunately involved in a racing incident at Turn 1. This caused loss of the front-end traction and a trip to the gravel trap; Race-over. Linden was uninjured and the RR suffered only minor cosmetic damage.

“To win the first race was fantastic. The BMW S 1000 RR worked perfectly. Being part of the Procon Maxima BMW Team is great. The team have the experience and expertise that is vital at this level of competition. The downside of the weekend was the DNF in Race 2. Very disappointed as I felt the bike was performing better than in the first race” said Linden.

Procon Maxima BMW Team Principal, Wayne Hepburn is pleased with the start to the year. “We have a great team and the 2012 BMW S 1000 RR is a fantastic motorcycle that has potential far above the previous RR. We always like to win but both riders can be satisfied with their Round 1 results”, said Wayne.

General Manager BMW Motorrad Australia and New Zealand, Tony Sesto, was one of the many thousands on hand to watch the BMW S 1000 RR action in both the Australian and World Championships.

“It was a good start to the year for both Glenn and Linden and I wish them all the very best for the season ahead” said Tony.

– Gas Honda Report

GAS Honda Racing’s Nicholas Waters has taken out the first round of the Australian Prostock Championship at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on the weekend; showing everyone that he means business.

The youngster from Mildura in Victoria finished the round on a solid 45 points, starting off his season in the best possible way.

A steady start to Race one saw Waters in 4th place with some work ahead of him. Once settled he managed to work his way through the field into second place which is where he finished the race.

Six Laps into the race he had noticed some rear tyre problems which turned out to be several large holes in the tyre making the second place result even more impressive.

Keen to improve on his race one result Waters put his head down in race two. A solid and consistent ride saw Waters take a convincing win in the Prostock class; setting the fastest lap of the race along the way.

Waters: “The first round went a lot better than I thought it would. The weekend started off slow, but I got my act together and once I calmed down I found some consistency; which helped out big time in the races. I’m over the moon to have the ‘Tool Chrome Company’ GAS Honda on the Podium in both races and to be heading to round two at Hidden Valley with the points lead.

“Sure, there is still a lot more to come out of the new bike and myself but we are heading in the right direction. A big thanks to all the guys at GAS Honda, The tool Chrome Company, Garry House and Jodie Pitt for all their hard work.”

Two great results and an overall round win is a credit to all who have been involved in getting the ‘Tool Chrome Company’ GAS Honda to the track, so thank you to you all.

The next Round of the ASBK will be held at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin on the 20-22nd of April.

– Kawasaki 250 Production Report

Kawasaki Ninja 250R riders Luke Burgess and Olly Simpson have gotten their 2012 Australian 250cc Production Class Championship campaigns off to a successful start by taking 1st and 2nd respectively at the series opener at Phillip Island on Friday 24th February.

In what proved to be some of the closest and most hotly contested racing of the WSBK weekend, Mackay Kawasaki’s Luke Burgess posted the fastest lap time of the race on his way to the race and round win.

Luke Burgess say’s, “I was pretty confident that I was going to do well .I’ve raced the Ninja 250r quite a bit before but they’ve been restricted for this series to be more competitive so I wasn’t sure how the bike was going to go. I ended up coming away with the win after some close racing so it was a good result. I’d like to thank Kawasaki Australia, Mackay Kawasaki, United Fasteners, Tomsey Racing, S&S Polishing, JP Piping Systems and Shell Oil.”

After qualifying in pole position, 15 year old Olly Simpson from SA took 2nd place on his Ninja 250R, just .091 seconds behind Burgess. Burgess and Simpson were in a league of their own at Phillip Island finishing the race 24 seconds ahead of 3rd place.

Olly Simpson say’s, ““Luke (Burgess) and I had a good battle. I was hoping to win and was unlucky. I think I have a very good chance at winning the Championship. I know I have to be consistent, not crash and get some race wins. I’d like to thank Kawasaki, Contour Camera’s and SA Motorcycles.”

The Kawasaki Ninja 250R has proven to be the clear motorcycle of choice in the new Australian 250cc Production class with 9 out of the 14 entrants at Phillip Island competing on board the Kawasaki model. Kawasaki contributes this to the strength and reliability of the Ninja’s Parallel-Twin engine, the sales success of the motorcycle (the Ninja 250R has enjoyed 3 years as the country’s highest selling Learner motorcycle) and also the Kawasaki provided contingency program for riders in the class.

Kawasaki enjoyed a highly successful weekend at Phillip Island with multiple podiums in multiple classes including the premier World Superbike and World Supersport classes and also the Australian Prostock 1000 class where New South Welshman and 2010 Australian 600 Superstock Champion Matt Walters took 2nd overall with 4-2 results. Kawasaki also leads the Manufacturers Championship within this class, a class that Kawasaki is the official naming rights sponsor of.

Matt Walters say’s, “It was a good weekend and a great start to the Championship for me. The first race wasn’t so good but we made some changes for the 2nd race that paid off. We’ve had really limited bike time coming into the season so this is a positive result and we’ll look to build on this. Thanks to Kawasaki, Kawasaki Connection, Austar coal mine and Rover Coaches for supporting me in 2012.”

250cc Production class riders Luke Burgess and Olly Simpson and Pro Stock 1000 rider Matt Walters now prepare for the 2nd round of the Australian Superbike Championship at Broadford, Victoria on 23-25 March.