Former champion samples 2019 ASBK contender in Victoria.
Words: Russell Colvin
Two-time Australian Superbike champion Wayne Maxwell had his first taste of the Team Suzuki Ecstar Australia-prepared GSX-R1000R yesterday in a shakedown test at Victoria’s Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
After not having ridden a Suzuki GSX-R1000 since 2013, which was the year when Maxwell stormed to his maiden ASBK crown, Maxwell admitted that yesterday’s outing felt foreign and different throughout the initial stages.
However, straight away the 36-year-old Victorian rider managed to get down to a lap-time that he anticipated, ultimately clocking an unofficial best 1ms33.8s around the 4.445km seaside circuit.
“It was a very positive day as the team and I worked through a range of particular things, including testing a new range of the 2019 Pirelli spec tyres,” Maxwell explained to CycleOnline.com.au. “I worked closely with Warren [Monson] and we managed to get the setting a lot better towards the end of the day. I believe now we have a direction where we want to go with the bike set-up.”
“I’m just really looking forward to getting back on the bike on the first weekend of February for the official ASBK test next year. I don’t believe we are quite there yet, but it’s realistically where we are at right now. At the end of the day, it’s a ride day. There is a fair bit of traffic on track, so to be able to get consistent laps becomes difficult.
“I need to improve and simply just build my confidence up. Along with that, I just have to familiarise myself with the team and they have to exactly work out what I want. It does make it difficult when we are testing stuff which they are unfamiliar with as well. I don’t have the best of feedbacks as I’m not familiar with the new Suzuki GSX-R1000R. In saying that, it’s only going to get stronger and stronger.”
When speaking of the GSX-R1000 he piloted to the 2013 championship, the only characteristic Maxwell was able to relate to the 2018 GSX-R1000R the fact that both Suzuki GSX-R1000’s had strong power.
“The Suzuki GSX-R1000 have always produced smooth power,” he added. “On top of that the bike does handle very well and holds its line and is extremely stable in the corner. Apart from that, the 2013 bike has obviously changed a lot to the current spec GSX-R1000R. The 2018 bike has all the latest and greatest electronics, traction control and other stuff.
“It’s a very different package to what I rode in 2013. In saying that, Phil [Tainton] and the team have done a great job in developing the bike since they’ve had it. I believe now with a bit of my input and what they already know, Josh [Waters] and I as team can move forward.”
Next time Maxwell and Waters will be out on track will be at the official ASBK test, which is scheduled for 2-3 February at the Island ahead of the curtain raiser, which takes place on the final weekend of February running alongside the opening round of the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK).