WSBK

Josh Waters improving at Portimao

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In only its third appearance in the World Superbike Championship this year, Yoshimura Suzuki improved lap times in today's final qualifying for the final round of the World Superbike Championship at Portimao in Portugal.

Running its Suzuki GSX-R1000 Suzuka 8-Hour Race-specification machine on different tyres, Australian "Wild Card" rider Josh Waters bettered his lap times on a circuit both he and the team have never ridden.

Although failing to make Superpole, Waters is upbeat about the learning curve, different tyres and overall machine set-up, and is hopeful of a good showing for the Japanese aftermarket tuning specialist in tomorrow's two 22-lap races.

"This has been a very steep learning curve for me and the team. This is my first time here and the track is very technical and quite difficult. There are many ups-and-downs and blind approaches and so you need to know the track and have a good bike set up," Waters explained.

"I haven't ridden this bike since the World Superbike round in Miller Motorsports Park in America, and it's very different to my GSX-R1000 that I race in Australia. Also, I am having to learn how the bike behaves on Pirelli tyres as I race on other rubber at home. The bike is more-or-less the same as the Suzuka 8 hour Endurance bike I raced in July and that also runs on another brand of tyres, so we have been trying to get it dialled-in for the Pirellis and that takes a lot of work and understanding.

"I am a little frustrated - for myself and the team - because I want to do much better. There's just so much to do and not that much time to do it, but don't forget we're up against the best Superbike racers in the World and they all have so much more time and experience on their bikes than we do. It's a tough challenge, but we're improving bit by bit and I hope I can have a couple of good races and get some good results.

Yohei Kato - Team Manager, added, "I am not satisfied with our progress so far, even though the last session today was a bit better than I expected. The bike is the Suzuka 8 hour bike and we are adapting it to this race track, but there's so much work to do and things to learn. I am beginning to understand how difficult it is to get good results as a 'Wild Card'. We will keep working, of course, and hope for good results tomorrow."

Main Photo: Josh Waters

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