Wayne Maxwell Interview – Transcribed from RRR interview
RRR: The main man on the recent Swann Australasian FX Superbike at Winton Motor Raceway weekend was of course Wayne Maxwell and he joins us on the show. Wayne congratulations on the round victory, but I suppose probably more in your mind more so than the round victory and the race win in race two is the fact that you’ve not got a 14-point Championship lead over your teammate Jamie Stauffer with two rounds of the Championship to go.
Wayne: I’m very happy to currently have the Championship lead after such a, you know, well not really a shocker in Queensland, one race was a bit of a shocker there but then to come away from Winton with the lead, I was hoping to peg some back on him but yeah, it’s a great outcome.
RRR: I’ve got to say that there was a fair bit of talk at the Queensland round about parity, I think coming into the Winton round it was always going to be the Honda’s best round because of that unique demands of the Winton circuit that certainly favour bikes with an excellent chassis, and what we’ve seen so far this year is that that’s certainly the case with the Honda and not only that, the way that the team works to make maximum use of that chassis as well.
Wayne: Yeah, the crew, my crew chief Waz has been unbelievable at setting up the chassis, we’ve been running the chassis a certain way for quite a while and the rest of the team has pretty much adapted to that, and as well as that Troy has been coming from strength to strength and yeah, it was great to have a battle with such a good mate on the weekend.
RRR: The fact that your made teammate Jamie Stauffer come into the round with a broken ankle shows just how good he’s riding as well I suppose when he can get the good results that he got over the weekend. I guess that field that we’ve been is so very strong, all the way back to 15th place, if you saw any of those guys on the podium it wouldn’t be a real big surprise.
Wayne: There is a very strong field and all the rest of that, but as I said before, the parity of the bikes and all the rest of that, I don’t want to harp on about it, but I mean Winton’s a real rider’s track, the CBR works good there and yeah, the gap from first-second to the rest of the field was astronomical really when you look at it lap time wise and to break the lap record by over one second, you don’t do that every weekend.
RRR: And I guess the fact too that at one stage when Trevor and I were commentating the Internet feed on Sunday we were commenting on the lap times that yourself and Troy had pulled out a massive gap in pretty much all of the races, were a second ahead of anyone else in the field.
Wayne: Yeah, exactly and I mean we were pushing the limit, obviously Troy made that one tiny mistake, and when you’re on the limit when you make one tiny mistake, unfortunately he went down, and that handed me the round victory, he was the better rider on the weekend, I’m not going to deny that, and I have to play it smart and I need to build my momentum back and Winton was a great start to that as we head towards finishing the season.
RRR: Speaking of great starts Wayne, a lot of the riders seem to not take the Saturday round of the AFX-SBK Championship all that seriously. Of course we know that the fastest lap on Saturday qualifies you for pole position on Sunday, but the one thing that you’ve been very strong at all year is racing on the Saturday and getting your head up to race pace essentially what it looks like here, and all of the rounds you’ve come out incredibly strong on the Sunday after putting in the hard yards on Saturday. Is that a strategy that you’ve employed that maybe a lot of the other riders haven’t so much employed?
Wayne: Well someone has to apply the pressure at the front on Saturday and push the limit, bearing in mind that we’ve only had one bike through the whole year until this Winton round so we couldn’t be too silly on the Saturday because we didn’t want to end up not having a race bike for Sunday, but I mean it’s good to suss out where everyone else is at and have a bit of a ride around, which worked well and I guess coming in last to me… you know, we’ve agreed with Honda that we’re going to race, and it’s common knowledge that we don’t get paid for those Saturday races, and yeah we’ve agreed that we’re going to race them and I’ve honoured that part of it, you know it doesn’t look good for the manufacturer when you’ve got bikes that are a lap down or starting from pit lane it’s not a good look, and most of all it’s pretty sad for the fans that have paid to come in and watch racing when riders aren’t racing.
RRR: One last question that I wanted to ask you Wayne is that the first round of the Championship was at Wakefield Park, and first time out on that specification of motorcycle for you for quite a long time, the tyres were all different, Wakefield Park is a track that you haven’t been to for many, many years, I think 2004 was the last time that you raced there, but by the end of the weekend you were on the pace and really up there, fighting for the race lead in that sensational last race. How confident are you going back there again now that you’ve got an excellent chassis set up on the Honda, you’ve got the testing and development for the entire year under your belt, you’re a lot more familiar with the motorcycle, you’re a lot more familiar with the tyres and of course you’ve had a recent round there at that very tricky track that’s certainly got its own little attributes.
Wayne: I’m a lot more confident than I was heading in at the start of the year, because you never know what to expect. Obviously all the Hondas were very similar at the start of the year, Josh wasn’t there, Troy was filling in for him but he claimed the pole position and I guess yeah, some guys that have struggled last round, they’ll be looking to bounce back and as you said I can think five or six guys off the top of my head that can probably be strong and I’ve just got to basically stay out of trouble, stay smart and try to stay in front of my teammate Jamie Stauffer and hopefully that will be enough to take us into the final round.
RRR: One thing I did want to ask you Wayne and I forgot to ask you so far in this little chat is that the Suzuka 8 Hour race was only a few weeks ago, of course you had a stint over there with your Yamaha Austria Racing Team outfit that you’re doing the World Endurance Championship with, how was the Suzuka 8 Hour for you? And congratulations on a top 10 finish, at Suzuka a top 10 finish is a very commendable effort.
Wayne: Super stoked for the top 10, it was Pirelli’s first top 10 at Suzuka and you know… that was the first, there ran only two bikes there, Monster Energy Yamaha team, one bike on Bridgestone and one bike on Pirelli, so I was super happy to ride with Tommy (Bridewell) and Rick (Olson) and get away, we had a pretty clean race and we got a top 10 and do some of the lap times we did, it was a great result and it’s a great building process. The last time I walked away from the Yamaha I was on a pair of crutches, but this time I got a little bit more confidence and hopefully that will take me into the next round in Oschersleben in a few weeks’ time.
RRR: Do you think also that the fact that you were able to lap at about the same pace as Tommy Bridewell, who’s a frontrunner in the BSB, may also get some interest over there in other championships?
Wayne: Yeah, hopefully, I mean it’s not a bad thing, there’s a lot of people from the UK paying attention and he’s a fairly consistent top 5 runner in British Superbike, so hopefully that can pay off and looking to going one of the BSB rounds after the Le Mans race in France and having a bit of a look around and see what interested is there.
RRR: Wayne, congratulations on a fantastic effort on the weekend and hope to see you back on track very soon, can’t wait for Wakefield Park Raceway.
Wayne: No worries, guys, and thanks for your support, we’ll catch up soon!