News 3 Aug 2016

Fulltime comeback the target for Waters following Suzuka

Top five finish has former ASBK champion ready to return.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Two-time Australian Superbike Champion Josh Waters is eyeing a fulltime return to racing after claiming fifth-place in last weekend’s 39th Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8 Hours.

Waters was part of the Team MotoMap Supply Suzuki squad alongside Nobuatsu Aoki and Yoshihiro Konno in the Japanese round of the Endurance World Championship, playing a starring role in the result.

Competing as Bridgestone’s 17-inch tyre development team, rather than utilising the favoured 16.5-inch option, and aboard a more standardised-spec GSX-R1000, it was a strong result for the private local effort.

“For 2016 the eight-hour was the focus for me, so it was great to finish in the top five there,” Waters told “The team I was riding for is a good one, but the spec of the bike is lower than some of the others.

“For example, the electronics are the same as I ran in 2009 when I won the ASBK title and we were the Bridgestone development team, so developing the 17-inch tyre. It’s a good tyre, but the 16.5 is the one you want to be on at this point.

“Still, it was a trick bike, had some good pieces on it, and the crew was really, really good. Their pit stops were flawless and they have a lot of experience, even in the MotoGP development team, so it was a really enjoyable experience to race again.”

Waters is hoping the glowing result will springboard him back into the frame of securing a fulltime ride again for 2017, eager to rejoin the ASBK series in which he won the title in 2009 and 2012 for Team Suzuki.

“Pretty much at the end of last year I left my run a bit late when trying to get anything, because I had a difficult season,” he explained. “I’ve enjoyed my time back here and yeah, I really miss racing and want to do it again.

“The ASBK is getting better and better, so I’d love to join back in there and do some stuff like I did this year in Japan – that would be perfect for me. I want to race, I think I can still go alright and proved that on the weekend that I’m not bad.

“There is another World Endurance race coming up for this season, which could be an option, but I really want to look forward to 2017. My main focus had been Suzuka, so now I can turn my attention to next year and hopefully be an option.”

Waters completed three hours of the eight on Sunday, setting the pace amongst the MotoMap Supply Suzuki squad and driving the team forward from outside the top 10 into fifth position during the gruelling eight-hour duration.