Team Suzuki Press Office – January 2.
Josh Waters reflects on a late plan to enter the 2017 Australian Superbike Championship aboard the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 that turned into victory for the new machine and a third series victory for him.
“The 2017 Australian Superbike series ended-up being like bit of a fairy tale for me. Like I said in my last blog in TSR Magazine, the plan came together very late to compete this year. Each round we improved and by round four we were on the pace, winning both races. The next two rounds were also very good for me, taking wins, and come the final round, I had a real chance of winning the championship.
“The weekend of the final round started good for me; in the top-three in practice and qualifying. There were three of us that could have won the ASBK Championship, so come Sunday morning the pressure I had on myself was quite high. To make me even more nervous, in normal Phillip Island-style, it decided to rain about an hour before the race. Half an hour later though the sun was out and but was very windy, so there was a chance it would dry-out come race-time. Sitting on the grid after the sighting lap I said to my crew chief, Phil Tainton – the man who took me to my two previous championships – that ‘it was still dodgy on the final bit of the circuit.’ He said to me, ‘you know what to do, just don’t leave today wishing you’d done this or you’d done that. You’ll be disappointed.’
“I got a great start and in the first two laps I had a three-second lead and that was the race that helped me win the championship. For race two I knew where I had to finish – a top-five would clinch the championship. I came fifth and that was enough to become the 2017 ASBK Champion. It was such a special feeling crossing the line and then coming into the pit and seeing the team, family and friends.
“Two weeks later was my final race of the year in the support races at the Australian MotoGP™ at Phillip Island. The weekend went almost perfectly; I was fastest in practice and qualifying. I then went on to win three of the four races then in the final race I chose dry tyres and it rained! My mistake but I was still able to win the weekend and I was so happy with how it went.