ASBK

Triple podium for Team Suzuki at Symmons Plans

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Team Suzuki placed all three riders on the podium at Symmons Plains' seventh round of the Australian Superbike Championship on 11-13 November in Tasmania, highlighted by a win in race two for Josh Waters.

Alongside the V8 Supercars in the final 2+4 round of 2011, former ASBK champion Waters raced to a dominant victory in Sunday's second 16-lap affair, scoring a new lap record of 53.387 on lap nine of 16 in the process.

The victory handed Waters and his Phil Tainton Racing-prepared GSX-R1000 second overall for the round, a result that was salvaged despite a technical problem that forced him out of the lead on lap 11 in Saturday's opening race.

Come Sunday it was a determined Waters who made his way to the front on lap seven before sprinting away to a commanding 1.850-second victory. The 24-year-old Mildura resident was pleased with his performance.

"The weekend was a really positive one for me and I felt the best that I have in a long time on the bike," Waters explained. "It was disappointing to have the dramas in race one when the bike was stuck in sixth gear, but I circulated to 11th and those points were important overall.

"Race two was great. I had a gap on the field and then ran off the track at the Hairpin when the real wheel came off the ground, so it was cool to work my way back to the front and also break my own lap record. I feel like I've learnt a lot racing overseas this year, so now I want to finish the year off on a high note this weekend at Phillip Island."

Rookie teammate Troy Herfoss enjoyed one of his best weekends to date in the premier class, sealing third overall via 2-3 finishes. The current Australian Supersport Champion again proved his talent despite a steep learning curve, content to join Waters on the podium in a successful weekend for Suzuki.

"I felt like I rode better than I have all season in the races, but to be honest I didn't feel like my pace was quite as fast through qualifying," said the 24-year-old. "In race one I got pretty lucky to take second, but you have to take that luck when you can get it.

"In race two I felt I really made good progress. I showed some aggression at the start and got to the front before leading half the race. After that I managed to stay within a couple of seconds of Josh when he was breaking lap records and I finished third. I'm happy to finish third overall and also stay in the fight for second in the series."

Herfoss moved up to third in the Superbike standings and is right in contention for second with one round left to run, while part-time ASBK pilot Waters is currently ranked sixth.

Team Mack Trucks Suzuki satellite rider Robbie Bugden claimed sixth for the weekend, taking out fifth on Saturday and sixth on Sunday during two action-packed Superbike races. The Queenslander now sits eighth in the title chase.

"It all went pretty good and I had the Suzuki toward the top of the timesheets for most of the weekend," Bugden said. "In race one I came together with Glenn [Allerton] at the Hairpin, which was kind of disappointing because I felt like we had the speed to run away with the win after Josh went out.

"In the second race I had a bit of trouble with lapped riders, but all in all there were a lot of positives to take away from the weekend and I'm satisfied with my speed. I plan to carry that into Phillip Island this weekend."

In the Prostock Challenge it was Team Suzuki's Brodie Waters who dominated proceedings in the sub-category amongst the Superbikes, riding his superstock-specification GSX-R1000 to pole position and two victories during the weekend.

Waters, 18, battled amongst the premier class regulars and finished with 6-8 results outright on track, again gaining great experience on his way to second in the Challenge despite not competing in the first of four rounds.

"I struggled at first in practice, but I got it together for qualifying and got a new qualifying record for the class," Brodie reflected. "I had some luck on my side in race one with a few crashes, but I was really happy with my race time and consistency.

"Race two was much the same and I rode as hard as I could against the Superbikes. I was able to get into eighth outright on the last turn and I was happy with that. Phillip Island is my favourite circuit, so this weekend I look forward to returning to Supersport on the new GSX-R600 and hopefully winning both races."

After a positive weekend that received free-to-air television coverage on Saturday during race one on Channel Seven, Team Suzuki manager Phil Tainton said the goal is to finish the season off strong at Phillip Island's finale this weekend.

"I'm really happy with the weekend, although I could have been even happier if we didn't have the mechanical problem with Josh's bike in race one," Tainton said. "Nobody was going to touch him and we would have cleaned up the weekend, but overall all of our riders scored good results and showed that they are improving on track all the time.

"Now we are looking to take the momentum into Phillip Island and the boys have been showing some real strength there during testing. If lady luck is on our side, I'm confident that we'll be looking at a 1-2 finish in the Superbike category."

The final round of the Australian Superbike Championship will be contested this weekend at Phillip Island in Victoria. Practice commences on Friday, qualifying takes place on Saturday, and race day will be staged on Sunday, 19 November.

Main Photo: Josh Water on his way to a race win

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