ASBK

Team Suzuki sweeps Phillip Island Australian Superbike finale

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Mildura-based brothers Josh and Brodie Waters captured a double victory for Team Suzuki in the Superbike and Supersport categories at last weekend's final round of the Australian Superbike Championship at Phillip Island in Victoria.

Former series champion Josh Waters raced to the overall victory in the premier Superbike ranks aboard the Phil Tainton Racing-prepared GSX-R1000.

The 24-year-old finished with 2-1 results in the pair of 12-lap races; however it was the point for winning Superpole qualifying on Saturday that clinched him the overall.

Waters and Wayne Maxwell had a tight tussle in the first race on Sunday, with Maxwell gaining the win by just 0.087 of a second in a photo finish, before Waters bounced back with a comfortable 3.478-second victory in the second outing.

"It was a great weekend and I was able to post the fastest times on both Friday and Saturday," Waters reflected. "In the first race on Sunday I led up until three turns to go, but Maxwell is really strong around there and he outsmarted me for the win.

"In the second race I knew I had to break them at the start and I was able to do that. I ran a lot faster pace and got the job done, so that was a great way to finish off the year for myself and Team Suzuki."

Despite contesting a limited schedule in Australia during 2011, Waters rounded out the championship in fifth position overall after winning four races and two rounds for the year.

Teammate Troy Herfoss scored his second podium in a row with third position overall, the 2010 national Supersport title winner taking out a pair of fourth places for the weekend. The result sealed Herfoss a commendable third in the title chase after a superb rookie Superbike season.

"Mixed weather conditions made it tough, but I'm happy to finish on the podium for the round and more importantly for the championship," 24-year-old Herfoss said. "I accomplished my goal of finishing every race this year and I really wasn't sure I could finish in the top three, to be honest. I'm really happy and I have to say thanks to the team and Suzuki!"

Queenslander Robbie Bugden, three times New Zealand Superbike champion, finished fifth overall in the final round at Phillip Island via 5-6 finishes for the Team Mack Trucks Suzuki satellite squad, resulting in a seventh place finish overall in the Australian Superbike Championship for 2011.

"The race weekend went pretty good even though we experienced mixed conditions during the weekend," Budgen said. "I had some really good races with Troy and Glenn [Allerton], so fifth overall was a fair result. I'm looking forward to having a good go next year but will head back to New Zealand to contest the Superbike Championship first."

Team Suzuki Supersport contender Brodie Waters narrowly missed out on the Australian championship with the GSX-R600, finishing second for the season after claiming the overall round victory at Phillip Island.

Waters, 18, also won the round thanks to scoring pole position, that additional point handing him the overall after taking 1-2 finishes in a pair of breathtaking 12-lap Supersport affairs.

"The weekend started off strong when I was quickest in free practice and then I scored pole position in qualifying," Waters said. "I had good pace in both races, put my head down from the start and pushed as hard as I could. Congratulations to Kevin Curtain for winning the championship and I'm happy that I could come back strong with a win in the last round."

Team Suzuki manager Phil Tainton congratulated the entire team on their results in 2011, proud to finish the season on a high note with wins in both classes. He was also pleased to see both Herfoss and Brodie Waters in the top three of their respective classes for the year.

"Josh was impressive again after we initially had some trouble finding a good setting with the rear shock, but once we had that sorted for Sunday he proved what he could do with a great win in race two," Tainton said.

"For Troy to finish third overall at the final round and in his rookie year overall, that's pretty good going and again shows just how talented he is considering the little experience he has in road racing.

"We went into the final round of the Supersport series 21 points off the series lead, but after Brodie won the first race and we realised he had closed the gap to nine points, it was really exciting. It wasn't to be, but that was the best I have seen him ride and we are extremely happy with him."

The team will now begin making preparations for the upcoming Phillip Island 8 Hour, Australian Endurance Championship, where Team Suzuki will contest both the Superbike and Supersport categories on 2-4 December.

Main Photo: Josh Waters and Troy Herfoss

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