Waters edges Maxwell in Superbike finale
Josh Waters got the better of Wayne Maxwell in an enthralling game of cat-and-mouse today, winning the final round of the QBE Australian Superbike Championships at Phillip Island.
The point for pole position, earned in difficult conditions yesterday, proved crucial as Waters and Maxwell rode to a win and second place each.
The Team Suzuki rider led from start to just moments before the finish in Race 1, when Maxwell, biding his time, made the race-defining move over Lukey Heights.
Waters attempted to come back at Maxwell on the fast front straight but missed out by just 0.087 seconds.
Their pace was unmatched, with newly-crowned champion Glenn Allerton crossing the line on his Procon Maxima BMW almost 15 seconds behind.
A difficult qualifying result was compounded for Team Honda rider Jamie Stauffer, who was lucky to re-mount his bike after a dramatic highside crash exiting the Turn 4 hairpin.
Despite his best efforts, Stauffer would go on to DNF a few laps later, along with Ben Attard whose i-Style Natural Aprilia suffered a mechanical problem mid-race.
Race 2 was shaping up as a carbon copy of the opener, but as the laps ticked down the GSX-R1000 stretched its legs and began to gap the CBR1000RR.
Waters went on to win by 3.478s, with Stauffer a courageous third.
“The bike was fast in practice and qualifying and it was great to be able to get away from pole position today,” said Waters.
“Race 1 was a real battle with Wayne, he stayed with me the whole time and got the job done on one of the last corners of the race.
“When the tyres go off like they do in these races its hard to make ground, so I thought if there was any time to make a break, it would be in the first laps of the second race.
“It’s a great way to finish off the year.”
Maxwell was disappointed to miss out on a second race win and vowed to work harder than ever in the off-season to hit the ground running in 2012.
“It’s a pretty strong finish to the year after our 200km/h crash on Friday, I’m happy just to be here let alone get a race win and a second,” said Maxwell.
“Josh has had form for the last few races and it’s hard to stop that, we’ll push on for 2012 and try to bridge the gap because there’s definitely some work to do.”
Both Waters and Maxwell scored points in just 6 of the 8 rounds, with Waters absent on World Superbike duties and Maxwell suffering a spate of DNFs.
They made solid progress up the championship standings today to both finish in the top five.
Wrapping up third for the round and the championship was Team Suzuki’s Troy Herfoss.
Herfoss has impressed in his rookie year, and rued a mid-season slump as a missed opportunity to challenge Jamie Stauffer for second overall.
He finished just a point shy of the runner-up place and has made his intentions clear as a championship challenger in 2012.
“It’s been a great weekend at Phillip Island,” said Herfoss. “It’s been stressful, the wind today and the different conditions over the last few days.
“We’ve been in a tight battle for second, third and fourth with the two Honda’s and I was lucky enough to come away with third today and in the championship.
“I got a bit lost but have come back strong and have exceeded my own expectations in first year on the Superbike.”
A courageous showing by Stauffer saw him finish third in the second race, despite the obvious discomfort from his earlier crash where he severely grazed his chin.
In the 2011 QBE Australian Supersport Championship, Kevin Curtain was confirmed the Champion.
Final Superbike Championship Standings
1. Glenn ALLERTON (VIC), 327
2. Jamie STAUFFER (NSW), 259
3. Troy HERFOSS (VIC), 257
4. Wayne MAXWELL (VIC), 255
5. Joshua WATERS (VIC), 243
6. Craig COXHELL (VIC), 242
7. Robert BUGDEN (QLD), 210
8. Ben ATTARD (QLD), 196
9. Ben HENRY (QLD), 176
10. Cole ODENDAAL (NSW), 123