Dan Stauffer did the double at Tasmania’s ASBK round last year, and this year he’ll aim for a repeat on the all-new Yamaha YZF-R1.
Yamaha Racing Team’s Daniel Stauffer was the dominant force at last year’s Symmons Plains round of the Australian Superbike Championship in Tasmania as he clinched a spectacular double victory, but if he wants a repeat this year he’ll have to do it on the brand new YZF-R1, which is still in its development infancy.
A back injury last week has seen the 32-year-old spend four days in hospital, but all looks to be okay for the upcoming round at Symmons, and Stauffer’s confident that it shouldn’t affect him on the bike.
Stauffer currently sits in equal fourth position in this year’s title chase after the Phillip Island opener following third and eighth place results in the pair of championship point scoring races, and is set to improve upon that ranking as the season progresses.
With the Tasmanian event set to take place on 3-5 April, MotoOnline.com.au caught up with the Queensland-based Stauffer to find out what his expectations are heading into the second round of the ASBK season.
What’s the story with your back injury and is it going to be alright for the upcoming Tasmanian ASBK round?
I actually just put it out at work. Not doing anything major and just put it out. Basically tripped a nerve and ended up in hospital because I couldn’t breathe, really, it was really bad – really difficult to breathe. But after a few days in hospital relaxing I should be okay for the races, hopefully will be all good.
How’s the development of the new big-bang R1 coming along?
So far, so good. We’re getting more and more bits for the new R1 every day basically, but overall it’s going well. It was obviously a bit of a rush for Phillip Island and we went in there with only a day on the bike. We were pretty happy with the development considering the time that we had on the track with it, but it’s just been difficult to get it all happening. I think the bike’s got a lot of potential with a bit more testing, so we’ll have to wait and see how we go with a bit more testing and track time.
Where do you think the bike has room to improve at this stage?
Mainly the handling – just set-up. The engine’s really good and we are happy with its performance, but we are just hoping to improve a few things with the handling as you need to with any new bike, but overall we are really happy with it. Once we get some more testing done it will hopefully be a really good package.
Do you think the big-bang technology in the engine configuration is a breakthrough for production-based race bikes?
Yeah, I think so. I believe it’s a great step forward. We weren’t as competitive as we would have liked at Phillip Island, but to be as competitive as we were at the World Supers considering the work that we had done on it was really good, we were really happy with it.
You were able to get a top three in one of the races at the Island and scored equal fourth overall – were you satisfied with that?
Definitely. We came out of the event in a good position considering the amount of testing that we had, so generally I was really happy with it. We will see how it goes at Tasmania with the development. I think it’s just a case of continuing with the development work that we’ve started and see how we end up.
Heading back to Tasmania now for round two, what are your expectations considering you dominated there last year?
No expectations, actually. Hopefully things will be good for us, but you know, basically we have to get the bike sorted out pretty quickly. We have one day of testing down there and we’ll see how that goes, but apart from that as long as we get the bike set up we should do well. There are a bunch of guys who are really competitive who could take it down there, so we’re looking forward to getting down there for the fight really.
Can you get this R1 developed quick enough to be contenders for the title?
I think we can, for sure. It should be an interesting day of testing in Tasmania and we’ll throw a lot at it, and we’ll see what we can come away with. After that then I think we’ll know more, but I think we have great potential – I don’t really think there needs to be a whole lot done to make it a winning bike.
What are your thoughts on having a new promoter for the ASBK series?
So far, so good. It’s a shame that we missed out on Winton as a round because it’s a track that we’ve done well at in the past, but everything seems to be running pretty smoothly. Everybody seems reinvigorated and a little bit more interested, and it’s obviously being promoted pretty well. Time will ultimately tell, but so far, so good, for sure.