The all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000 made its racing debut at the first round of the Australian Superbike Bike Championship (ASBK) with the newly formed Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia and dual ASBK champion Josh Waters.
Hosted alongside the opening round of the Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island, the 30-year-old Mildura native Waters took to the track immediately demonstrating the potential of the all-new GSX-R1000 qualifying seventh fastest with a top speed of 298km/h on what was essentially a stock street bike with slick tyres and a set of race fairings.
In Race 1 Waters got away to an excellent start and very quickly a lead group had formed. Waters' race experience showed as he pushed his competitors to their limits, resulting in a group of five riders successfully opening a substantial gap on the rest of the field. The 11 lap race was set to go down to the wire until Waters fell victim to a shower of oncoming stones flicked up by an offline rider forcing him to retire from the race.
Josh Waters Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia
"I've had less than an hour seat time on the new GSX-R1000 and it was keeping up with the leading pack, no problems! The racing was that close, that when the Honda riders touched in front of me, one ran a little wide the on the straight, causing a stone to flick up and pierce a hole in my radiator, as well as smashing a few other things on the front of the bike."
Race 2 was action packed, with the opening laps having the top six riders going side by side as they battled for the lead, Waters again mixing it up with Australias best as they started to gap the rest of the field. As the race went on Waters managed to set his fastest time for the weekend a 1.33.637, hitting 299 Km/h down Gardner Straight when doing so to secure 5th position and picking up some valuable points for the championship.
With limited time on the new bike Waters was able to provide valuable feedback to the team after Race 2 enabling them to try and improve the setting for the third and final race of the weekend.
Race 3 saw another brilliant start from P7 with Waters and the all-new GSX-R working their way up to P2 on the opening lap. Waters was holding down second position until the race was red flagged on lap 3 due to another rider going down on turn 9.
The restart was not as successful with Waters battling with the pack and despite the strong headwind Waters managed 1:34.006, the second fastest lap of the race and overall top-10 finish despite the Race 1 DNF.
Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia will return at the second round of the Australian Superbike Championship at Wakefield Park March 17-18.