Wayne Maxwell looks towards ASBK Championship decider at Winton
Trev caught up with Wayne Maxwell at Winton during testing and had a chat about the season so far, the season closer at Winton and his plans for 2017.
During the recent ASBK Test Maxwell was only present on a previous model YZF-R1 to get some track time, was by himself and was not going to try and set a competitive lap time against his competitors who had their latest specification machines and full team support. Maxwell and the Yamaha Racing Team tested at the circuit by themselves earlier in the month.
Last year Maxwell had the wood on Herfoss, and everyone else for that matter, at Winton. But that was in the rival Swann Superbike Series, on the Dunlop control tyre. This year it is under the auspices of ASBK, and there is a tyre war waging between Dunlop and Pirelli, Yamaha on Dunlops, which in ASBK are a much gripper variety of rubber compared to the Dunlop control tyre in Swann Superbike, and the leading Pirelli riders which include Herfoss, Stauffer and Jones. Herfoss set the fastest ever motorcycle lap of Winton during testing last week. Herfoss is also coming to Winton on the back off a dominant performance at Morgan Park.
Wayne Maxwell leads ASBK heading into this weekend’s championship decider. His buffer is slim, only seven points separate him from Herfoss, while Glenn Allerton is also ready to capitalise on any mistakes and has been somewhat of a quiet achiever in 2016, but he is right there and ready to pounce. Mike Jones will also likely be strong at Winton and while unlikely to be in the final contention for the title, could act as somewhat of a spoiler and shake up the results enough to be a major factor in who is crowned champion.
Wayne, it’s been an up and down season, but you’re in a strong position heading into the final round. So it all comes down to Winton. Last season here, Troy was visibly frustrated in Parc Ferme as no matter how he tried you were untouchable here last year, when you were fighting in the Swann Australasian Superbike Series. None of your Yamaha teammate could get anywhere near you either, and Troy rode so hard to be on your tail in all the races, but comparatively you looked to be doing it easy and had the perfect set-up. Obviously you are hoping things go that way again this coming weekend…?
“Last year we came in with a bit of an upper hand because we tested and Herfoss didn’t. But Troy has a bit of momentum at the moment, so it’s a lot more level playing field this year. We’ve had more ups and down this year, so we have to try and work on the positives from this season. As Troy would say, sometimes you don’t get the reward for the effort, but you’ve got to keep putting in the effort and hopefully the reward is there in the end.
“I don’t think it’s going to be easy. I never thought it was going to be easy here last year, but it just sort of ended up that way. So we will just get here on the weekend and go through with it. The test (Yamaha only test a couple of weeks ago), I would say wasn’t the best test that we have ever had. I had a crash and I didn’t have the confidence that was needed.”
“Then when I did gain the confidence the conditions weren’t there at the track, it was three weeks ago now and it was a bit colder in the start of September. At the race it is the same for everyone though. So we’ll come here and go through the motions. I’ve had success here… on the Yamaha and on the Honda. Hopefully I can have success again and try to clinch this championship.”
What is your biggest disappointment about season 2016 thus far?
“My biggest disappointment this year, I guess, would be the lack of preparation going into the season, not having ridden a bike since the last race in December. I had my son Archie in January, so I missed the test. To go into the first race with no testing, the guys had a couple of days in Sydney which I missed and when it gets down to the last races it makes a big difference. The DNF at Wakefield too, but it has been a good season. Every race I’ve finished, I’ve finished on the podium… I’m the only guy to do that and that itself shows the level we are at.
“The highlights were probably Sydney, that was pretty special as it’s my home track. But also Wakefield, so those few races… At Wakefield coming out and winning the second race after a crash. It was an emotional day.”
So what’s the biggest advantage of the R1?
“I like the chassis on the R1. It flows. That’s why I think I struggled at Morgan Park. But at Eastern creek where it flows and even at Wakefield where it flows, it all sort of connects together. The same here at Winton, so hopefully I can get the most out of the R1 and at least make it a good contest for the fans and put in all on the line for the team.”
And listening from the sidelines, the engine braking control seems to be very good on the R1, does that translate to speed or does it just make your job easier?
“It definitely translates to speed, if you have the bike settled on the entry it does translate to speed. But you have to have the chassis sorted first, because if you don’t have the back wheel on the ground, you can have all the engine breaking in the world and it won’t make any difference. It’s all about balance. So you have to go through the process and that’s what we’re going to have to go through for the race.”
And last year we were on a control tyre and this year we have had a bit of a tyre war, with Dunlop and Pirelli, what’s your take on that?
“I think it’s been pretty even. The evenness of the race victories has been pretty good. If we are going to a control tyre in the future, it has to be for cost savings… If there is no cost saving then there’s no use, but I am open to those ideas.”
Trev – And where do you think the Honda might have an advantage over the Yamaha.
“They balance each other out. The Honda is perhaps a little nimbler in the tighter stuff. It’s got that low end… that older style… you know, no fly-by-wire. It might have a little more punch off the corners, as you get those first few gears off the corner. At Winton there’s a couple of longer straights, where the R1 might have a little more but the way Troy has finished the tests here, we are going to have our work cut out for us.”
“It’s a hard thing to lead… when you’re not leading it’s like a mindset, it’s pressure, do you protect, do you attack. I think I’ve done a good job since I took over the championship lead, I sort of extended the lead, but now Troy has come back into it which has made it a bit tighter. It’s great for ASBK and there’s three guys that can win the championship and other guys that can still put the cat among the pigeons.”
I guess next weekend it comes down to may the best man win! And what about your plans for next year?
“There’s whispers that we are staying in ASBK for next year and that’s the plan. I’d like to stay at Yamaha and continue on here. We need to have a debrief and look at what we have done well and look at what we can improve on. The level of racing in Australia is quite high, we’ve had lap records broken at every round this year by substantial amounts, so we need to keep working away on it and look at where we can improve and also remain strong where we already are.”
2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship
ASBK Championship Standings after Round Five
- Wayne Maxwell 216
- Troy Herfoss 209
- Glenn Allerton 205
- Daniel Falzon 137
- Mike Jones 137
- Cru Halliday 124
- Brayden Elliott 120
- Jamie Stauffer 115
- Ben Burke 114
- Sloan Frost 98