Features 15 Aug 2013

Catching Up: Robbie Bugden

We talk confidence and championship aspirations with the in-form Suzuki pilot.

With the focus from rounds four and five of the Australian Superbike Championship on Wayne Maxwell’s four-race sweep, the efforts of his Suzuki teammate Robbie Bugden may have somewhat gone under the radar.

Not only did the Queenslander score a pole position, he also finished second outright for both rounds, and made up some considerable ground in the championship.

We caught up with Robbie to discuss his current purple patch and find out his plans for the remaining two rounds.

Robbie Bugden was blisteringly quick around Sydney Motorsport Park. Image: Andrew Gosling/TBG Sport.

Robbie Bugden was blisteringly quick around Sydney Motorsport Park. Image: Andrew Gosling/TBG Sport.

The Sydney Motorsport Park outing was a super-successful one for Suzuki. We’ve focused on the efforts of your teammate, Wayne Maxwell, and spoken to team boss Phil Tainton about what he describes as one of the best weekend’s the team has ever had. On a personal note, it was also a breakthrough weekend for you, wasn’t it?

Yeah definitely. We had to play catch up early on, I hadn’t been there for quite a long time, so to get up to speed as quickly as we did was a really good start. Obviously from a team perspective it doesn’t get better.

We didn’t really get beaten all weekend – we had a pole, both round wins, both round 1-2 finishes. That was great. For myself to come away with second position for both rounds and pole position, plus a new outright lap record, and fastest lap of all time on a bike – I’m told – that was pretty good.

My only concern would be that Wayne has quite a handy lead in the championship now. I’ll definitely have to try to turn that around and see if I can claw a few points back in Darwin.

As you mentioned, Wayne took the 100-point haul on offer and it has really boosted his championship chances. You’re right in there though, and find yourself running a strong equal second with two rounds remaining. Can you factor in the fight for this title?

Without a doubt. I’m definitely riding a wave of confidence right now. I’ve got the best bike in the Suzuki and the best team in the paddock behind me. I’ve been strong in Darwin pretty much every time we’ve gone there.

From my perspective I’m in a pretty good place. I guess Wayne has got to go up there with a few different ideas, does he try to maintain the lead or does he try to push for wins? They’re some of the questions he’ll be asking himself up there.

But for me I’ve just got to go there and win two races, that’s it. I don’t have a lot of options if I don’t want to let Wayne run away with it. I’m going there with one goal in mind.

Glenn Allerton and Robbie Bugden are currently tied on points. Image: Andrew Gosling/TBG Sport.

Glenn Allerton and Robbie Bugden are currently tied on points. Image: Andrew Gosling/TBG Sport.

Earlier in the season we focused on the sporting rivalry developing between yourself and Glenn Allerton. Ironically, you left Sydney tied on points. Is this rivalry in the back of your mind going into the last two rounds?

Obviously we’ve disagreed on a few different things, or have had different points of view, I should say. For sure, obviously at the start of the year Glenn was the man showing plenty of form so he was definitely one you wanted to beat.

He’s just one competitor though, you’ve not got to beat just one person, you’ve got to beat everyone, I’m not going to get too caught up there in what he’s doing, he’s clearly got his own problems, so we’ll just focus on what we can do. I’ve got the best team behind me and the best bike and the Dunlop tyres are showing that they’re the goods. Darwin’s a tough round with the heat, but I’ll be ready, that’s for sure.

The current title fight is centred around Team Suzuki and Next Gen Motorsports. Are you wary, though, of Team Honda? Towards the end of the Sydney weekend both Jamie Stauffer, who has been managing an injury, and rookie Josh Hook, were quick. Do you feel they will buy into the battle at Hidden Valley?

I think they’ve got to, don’t they. I got caught in quite a battle with them in that last race in Sydney. As you say, Jamie’s been injured, and it’s never fun riding with an injury. And Josh seems to be getting quicker all the time.

It’s the business end of the season so if they want to get up and battle for wins they’ll have to step up there. For me, I’m just focusing on beating everyone, no one in particular. If I can win two races then that puts me in the best possible situation to go to Phillip Island in.