Wayne Maxwell has kicked off the 2020 ASBK season on a strong note, dominating the official two-day test at Phillip Island on board the Craig McMartin prepared Ducati V4R, after moving to the Italian marque for 2020 from Yamaha.
Maxwell and the new Ducati V4 proved a force to be reckoned with.
The Boost Mobile backed team worked through options with the K-Tech suspension over the two days and obviously made plenty of progress as Maxwell topped the test by almost seven-tenths of a second.
Having been the only rider to dip into the 1:32s on Day 1, Maxwell topped off the two-day test as the only rider in the 1:31s on Day 2, with a 1:31.776, well clear of fellow Ducati rider Jones, who was next fastest with a 1:32.434.
Trevor Hedge caught up with Maxwell to pick his brain on the move to the Ducati, and his thoughts on how the season is shaping up.
Trevor Hedge: So Wayne, you put a lot of fast laps in and really set the pace over the duration of this test, you must be very happy.
Wayne Maxwell: “I’m super stoked, the Boost Mobile Ducati was excellent, Craig, Adrian, Dale, Greg and the team worked really well. We were also lucky to have James here from K-Tech HQ inEngland, with some updated K-Tech components. He was here with us, helping install and finding settings that worked on the bike, so I was really happy with that. Obviously again, this week exceeded my expectations, and has put us in a really good position to be in, right in the mix for the first race.”
Trevor: How does testing here relate to the other circuits we go to during the year? We know this is ‘your’ circuit, we could probably put you on a moped and you’d still go okay, but the pace you have set here is really, really fast, do you think it will translate to the other circuits?
Maxwell: “I first tried the bike at Wakefield, spent the whole day there and it exceeded my expectations immediately and didn’t really change anything that day. We’ve got some updates and have changed a few things, and I feel really confident. Wakefield has been a circuit which has maybe eluded me, and Troy is so strong there, while I haven’t been strong enough to get it over the line there as many times as I maybe should have.
“But I’m confident and we’ve got a fast bike, so we’ll get Phillip Island out of the way and see how we shape up. We have some updates on the way with the electronics, now that’ we’ve had the ECU homologated, so it’s just step by step. We’ve got this bike and it’s good now, so we need to then start work on the new package as bits and pieces come through.”
Trevor: So you’ve ridden the other most evocative bike in the field, the cross-plane crank Yamaha a couple of season ago, sounds great, feels great, and now you’re on the V4 – another bike the really stirs the senses – what’s the comparison between the two? Looking at your bike, the riding position looks so stretched out and flat, is that apparent when on the bike?
Maxwell: “I still don’t feel 100 per cent comfortable, we’ve just sent some foot pegs back to the guys from KH Engineering to make some different ones. I don’t know how all the other Ducati riders ride the bike like that elsewhere around the world, they must do yoga 30 times a week.
“I’ll just to try and get a bit more comfortable, this circuit isn’t so bad, but other places where you’ve got to climb over the top of it a bit more with faster changes of direction, the old body will tighten up and be no good at the end of the race unless we can get the riding position a little more comfortable. So we’ll get my feet out in front a bit and be nice and relaxed. It won’t make us any faster, but perhaps more comfortable and consistent over the duration of a race.”
Trevor: Get some foot forward controls so they aren’t slowing you down perhaps…
Maxwell: “That’s it mate.”
Trevor: The Yamaha has always got out of the corner quite well, how does the V4 compare, and how does it compare to what you’ve ridden in recent years? Picking up the throttle on the way out of the turn etc?
Maxwell: “Picking up the drive it seems okay for sure, but that’s definitely not the strongest part of my riding, out of the stop-go corners, I’m more of a fast flowing sort of guy, that’s why Phillip Island is good for me. I managed to get out of the stop-go corners okay though here this week. It has really good grip with the K-Tech on the side of the tyre, and the V4 provides quite a flat and linear power. When I was a kid, my dad had a VFR750 and I always remember it taking off from home and having that V-Four sound, so it reminds me of being a kid and I’m loving it.”
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