Wayne Maxwell has momentum behind him heading to P.I.
Momentum. It’s a powerful thing in motorsport, or any form of sport for that matter.
When a rider scores a couple of big results in succession, their confidence has a way of snowballing, in such a fashion it can make them unstoppable. And it’s this sort of momentum 2013 Australian Superbike Champion Wayne Maxwell is carrying into the last two rounds of season 2019.
Returning to Suzuki after several seasons at Yamaha, Maxwell’s campaign got off to the perfect start with a win in the opening round at Phillip Island.
An unfortunate tangle with Aiden Wagner saw Maxwell chalking up an unfortunate DNF in Race 2, but he recovered to finish sixth in the third and final race of the weekend.
A consistent run at Wakefield Park netted Maxwell third overall. A DNF in the opening race at The Bend after contact with Daniel Falzon was the last real blot on the scorecard for him so far this season.
Since then though, Maxwell has not finished a race outside the top three, and after overall wins at Morgan Park and Winton, he is arguably the form rider heading into the all-important final two events.
“It’s been fantastic being re-united with Suzuki,not just with some of the old guys from my last stint with the team, but I’ve also enjoyed working with some new faces like (team-owner) Dale Brede,” he said.
“The start of the season was a bit up-and-down. We obviously started well at Phillip Island, but the incident in Race 2 dented our momentum.
“At Wakefield Park, I struggled with a bit of fitness and at The Bend, it was very much a tyre war, but we ended the weekend as the top Pirelli runner.
“At Morgan Park, I was very pleasantly surprised – I felt it would be my weakest track, so to come away with the round win was fantastic, it certainly gave me a lot of confidence heading to Winton, where we were very fast also.”
Maxwell said the Suzuki’s characteristics are well-suited to his riding style.
“Compared to the Yamaha, the Suzuki is a bit more stable, and I like the acceleration with the variable cam timing,” he said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time with Yamaha and won lots of races, but by the end I felt like I had exhausted all the set-up adjustments. This year has been good to start fresh with a different bike, and to be able to try different set-ups.”
This season, Maxwell has also been riding alongside a new team-mate, Josh Waters. He said the relationship has been trouble-free.
“Josh and I have been friends and rivals for a long time, and so far we’ve worked well together,” he said.
“We both like completely different set-ups, but our feedback on the bike and how it’s behaving has been similar.”
Maxwell and his Suzuki team now head to Phillip Island, a circuit where both rider and team have excellent form. But Maxwell is refusing to take anything for granted.
“We tested at the Island on Monday and the bike was very fast out of the box, so I’m feeling positive,” he said.
“But the series this year has been so competitive – it’s probably the deepest field since I started racing in ASBK. Some of the riders like Cru Halliday and Mike Jones have become a lot more consistent, and if all the front-runners fire on their day, it’s a very difficult challenge to win races. It’s great for the category and the fans.”
Kawasaki Superbike Championship Points
2019 Motul Pirelli ASBK Calendar
- Rnd 6: Phillip Island GP Circuit, VIC – 4-6 October 2019
- Rnd 7: Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW – 1-3 November 2019