Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia and Josh Waters have won the 2017 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) in convincing fashion during the weekend’s seventh and final round of the season at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria.
After qualifying third on Saturday with a scorching 1m32.740s lap-time, Waters piloted the brand new GSX-R1000R to victory in race one and took charge of the points lead in the process. His winning margin of 3.759s enabled him to stretch a 13-point margin at the top of the points table with just one race remaining on Sunday afternoon and in front of a live television audience.
That advantage saw Waters start race two in ‘championship mode’ of sorts, understanding what it would take to seal the crown in glorious afternoon sunshine at the world-famous 4.445km circuit. He led lap one but soon settled into a rhythm as the 12-lap duration ticked down, eventually crossing the stripe in fifth position to cement the number one plate.
It was a special victory for Waters in what was his first full season of ASBK since winning with Team Suzuki in 2012. His first-career championship was won way back in 2009 as a rookie and once again equipped with GSX-R machinery.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to win another ASBK title in my first year with Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia and also with the new GSX-R1000R,” Waters said. “At one stage we were near 60 points down, so to turn that around and even be in the position to challenge for the championship at the last round was an achievement for everyone. It’s just unbelievable - I still can’t believe it!
“The championship is that tough at the moment, so this is pretty special. The aim was to win race one and then in race two I knew what I had to do, but it wasn’t easy and I had about a trillion things going through my head. It just feels really good to win this title and it played out the way we needed to, so thank you to everybody who has supported us and all of the team’s partners as well.”
Owner of Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia, Dale Brede, congratulated Waters and the entire team on the championship, proud to achieve the ASBK premier class title in their first attempt as Suzuki Motorcycles Australia’s official race team. He says it’s a testament to the GSX-R1000R’s capabilities on-track.
“It’s just a great result considering we weren’t even thinking about the championship at all this year!” Brede explained. “I think that’s actually helped us, because we have just been focusing on developing the bike and next year was always the goal in terms of the title. But in the back-end of this year Josh’s performances have been unbelievable, Phil [Tainton] has produced an amazing machine and Suzuki has provided a fantastic platform for us to compete with.
“To come away with the championship was very unexpected, but unbelievable and just unreal for Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia. They’re are a great team of people we have and I’m really proud to be part of that also. Working with them is a real pleasure and everybody at Suzuki has been great as well, so thank you to everybody who has made this possible.”
Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia was a late addition to the series for this season, officially announced during February’s world launch of the GSX-R1000R at Phillip Island. Waters ultimately scored five race wins and two overall victories throughout the course of the season en route to a third-career crown.