While Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell has been steadily racking up the points this year, the 35-year-old has of late not displayed the sort of speed that he needs to win races.
The biggest negative of Maxwell’s season came at the Phillip Island season opener, a DNF meant no score in that opening bout but he bounced back with conviction later that same weekend to take victory in race two, before backing that up with a fourth place in the last race of that triple-header weekend.
Wakefield Park witnessed Maxwell take 1-2 results before the last of this season’s triple header rounds in South Australia saw him take yet another victory for a 1-3-3 score. He left The Bend only 19.5-points behind Penrite Honda’s Troy Herfoss.
Darwin proved a little more testing as Troy Herfoss and Honda had clearly taken a step forward in speed, as had DesmoSport Ducati and Troy Bayliss. Maxwell battled hard to a 4-3 score at Hidden Valley, while Herfoss again won the round, the gap had grown by another ten-points.
Most recently Maxwell took a pair of third places at Morgan Park, but that result on paper is perhaps more flattering than the actual race pace displayed. Troy Herfoss and Bayliss again clearly had the wood on the rest of the competition at Morgan Park.
Herfoss took another 15-points out of Maxwell in Queensland after scoring a perfect 51-point haul from two wins and pole position.
This week YRT, along with most of the ASBK regulars, are testing at Winton ahead of the penultimate round at the 3.0 km circuit on the second weekend in September, 7-9. This test will be a crucial one for the YRT squad if they are going to get #47 back on terms with his prime championship rivals.
The gap between Herfoss and Maxwell is now out to 44.5-points, so it is a tough ask from here. There are, however, still 102-points up for grabs so it is a long, long way from over. It’s motorcycle racing, anything can happen…
Wayne Maxwell on Winton…
“Winton is a track where I have enjoyed several wins, including 2015 and 2017. A couple of years ago we lost a championship at this track but overall, it’s been kind to us. Obviously, we have to work very hard and make some improvements. At Morgan Park, we were a little closer than we have been in recent rounds. At Winton, we have to return to the front, where we belong.
“The flowing nature of the track is very enjoyable and you really have to link everything together for the perfect lap. My style is very precise, so it suits this circuit. I don’t particularly enjoy the point and shoot tracks, nor do they suit the Yamaha. The YZF-R1M prefers the fast and flowing corners. I really think we can mount a challenge at Winton and take the Championship down to the final round.”
The season thus far….
“Very frustrating. We have only had one DNF this season that came in the first race at Phillip Island. You take that out of the equation and the gap wouldn’t be as large to Herfoss. Even if I managed to finish that race and score a few points, it would have helped. At times, we have been very fast and other times off the pace. Hidden Valley was never going to be a great track for us, but I feel we could have been better at Morgan Park. Two third places is not a disaster, but we need to do better.”
The others have got quicker since The Bend…
“We haven’t got everything right and the others have improved. It’s easy to make excuses, but I have to look in the mirror and take some responsibility. The guys at Yamaha Racing Team have been working super hard to make improvements. We have a two-day private test at Winton coming up, so hopefully we can hit the ground running and take it from there.”
Championship hopes from here…?
“Even if I win all the remaining races and Troy has a DNF, it will still be very tight. I’m just taking the approach to take it corner by corner and session by session. That’s all I can do. Hopefully if I put the work in, I can keep Herfoss honest. Bayliss has also been strong and we all know what Waters can do when he’s in form. It’s going to be an interesting end to the year, that’s for sure!”
Where can YRT find the speed you need...?
“We’ll try new things with the R1M for the final rounds, obviously it’s got some very advanced electronics and I think we have to take more advantage from that. We haven’t quite identified where we’ve been struggling the past couple of rounds. So that will be the priority during the test. It’s going to be a few big days of hard work, but the team are up for the challenge and so am I…”
ASBK Championship Points Standings
Troy Herfoss 256.5
Wayne Maxwell 212
Troy Bayliss 194
Daniel Falzon 186
Josh Waters 185.5
Bryan Staring 171.5
Alex Phillis 127
Glenn Allerton 124
Matt Walters 112
Mark Chiodo 83.5
Arthur Sissis 79.5
Kyle Buckley 72.5
Ted Collins 65
Mitch Levy 65
Michael Blair 63
Mitch Rees 61.5
Corey Turner 60
Jamie Stauffer 60
Glenn scott 39
Aaron Morris 37
2018 ASBK Calendar
Round 6 – Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla, VIC September 7 – 9
Round 7- Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC October 12 – 14
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