Features 28 Mar 2017

Five Questions Why: Wayne Maxwell

Yamaha Racing Team front-runner on the ASBK season and more.

It’s never a dull conversation when you get to interview Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell. The 2013 Australian Superbike and 2014 Australasian Superbike champion is one of the most high profile racers in the country on a domestic level and is coming off a second-place result at Wakefield Park’s second round of the 2017 season.

Image: Keith Muir.

Why can 2017 be the year that you deliver the ASBK crown back to Yamaha?

I think that this can potentially be a good year for Yamaha – we’ve had so much work going on in the background. I said at the end of 2016 that, you know, we’re working as hard as anyone else, but we just need to work smarter and that’s starting to happen now. Its not a light-switch and it is a bit of a pipeline, so I think the results are going to start to come out in the next few races.

Why did Yamaha Racing Team opt for Pirelli tyres prior to Wakefield Park?

Obviously we’ve had a long relationship with Dunlop, both Yamaha and I have, personally. They’ve delivered so many times before, but it just seems at the moment that the development path is a little bit lost and the best option for us is to go with the majority and the switch to Pirelli happened.

Why has Warren Monson remained your mechanic from Suzuki (2013), to Honda (2014) and now at YRT (2015-2017)?

Yeah, look, I obviously had a fantastic year in 2013 with Warren at Suzuki and we carried that winning formula into 2014. I guess it’s a hard one, because Warren doesn’t work full-time at the team, so we have to work with what’s happened in between the races at the workshop. Sometimes it’s not everything that we need, so he’s just good at communicating with me and I am good at communicating with him… it’s just something that’s hard to explain, like a bond that either works or it doesn’t. He’s worked under Phil Tainton for a long time and learned a lot from that, plus now he’s alongside Kev Marshall he’s learning a lot more about the Yamaha.

Image: Alex Gobert (Foremost Media).

Why have you placed so much emphasis on personal branding over the years?

The personal branding is hugely important, not only for me, but also the Yamaha corporate brand. I’ve spent a lot of time with Supercars guys and watching the likes of Jonathan Rea in World Superbike, because they’re so good at marketing themselves. For me, on the track I aim for the level of my riding to be high, but I also try to aim off the track to have a high level of professionalism. It’s important and I think it’s where we need to aim within the sport.

Why do you think Maverick Viñales been so strong at Movistar Yamaha already?

Obviously he had that time at Suzuki and did a fantastic job of developing the bike. It had its strong points, which we saw the other day with [Andrea] Iannone, but Viñales has come to Yamaha now and the bike is well-developed. It’s a fantastic bike, the M1, and he has that little bit of extra power on the Yamaha now, as well as some other things. Knowing that he’s on a bike that can win the championship, he’s giving it everything he’s got.