Features 22 Nov 2022

Debrief: 2022 ASBK Rd6 Phillip Island

Overall winners Waters and Bramich recall sixth round in Victoria

Boost Mobile Ducati with K-Tech’s Josh Waters continued his strong run of form on the V4 R, taking pole at round six of the 2022 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) with a new qualifying lap record, then securing a race win and the overall at Phillip Island, as Tom Bramich (Yamaha) delivered in Supersport to secure the victory and keep his title hopes alive. CycleOnline caught up with both riders after the races for this Debrief feature. 


Image: Foremost Media.

It’s been a great start to your stint with Boost Mobile Ducati with K-Tech. Was what you achieved – pole, a race win and the overall –  the expectation you placed on yourself entering the weekend? 

I thought I would be competitive, I knew that the guys that I raced against on the MotoGP weekend would have improved, because they would have gone back and worked on the areas that they were weaker. So I thought it was going to be tougher.

With qualifying, that was an incredible lap that you managed to deliver – a 1m31.286s which was a new ASBK qualifying lap record at the circuit. Was there anything more left in that? I remember you posted that lap relatively early in the session. 

My first flying lap… for that round they [Pirelli] had two tyres. They had the X which is a softer one, and we had the A which was the race tyre. With the weather, it looked like on the radar that it was going to rain, so there was an X in the bike and then before the session I said put the A in, then at least I know. I had only tried the X once, the day before out of the whole time I have riding that bike, so I was like put the A in, I know what it does. My lap, I went out and there were people trying to jump on the back, and I was like I’ve got to go. I honestly was hoping that it was a 1m32s as a first flyer, then I saw the dash and I was over the bloody moon. I should have tried again, but I don’t know if I could have gone better or not. I went back out and I went a little bit quicker in the first sector, but then the other sectors I buggered up. I should have kept going after I did that lap time. It wasn’t the soft tyre, it was the A.

With race one being wet, how did you approach that encounter seeing it was the first time you competed on the V4 R in the wet?

At the grand prix, the first session was wet, so I got to ride it there. Then I missed the sighting lap for race one the weekend, so the warm-up lap was the first lap that day, and every time you ride in the wet, it’s different. The track was really slippery, but definitely, if it rained again, the bike would have been a lot better. I was wrapped to get on the podium.

Can you talk us through race two from your perspective? You got out front, then Wayne [Maxwell] was on a mission after race one. What was going through your mind and did you know it was him who was closing in behind you in those last few laps? 

You just need to look at Wayne’s history at Phillip Island, you know that he is going to be that one. I knew he was coming, he was on it so it was a great result for the team, 1-2.

I remember you somewhat jokingly saying after your success on the grand prix weekend that Craig [McMartin] approached you and said we need to sort something out so you can be on the bike at the last two ASBK rounds. After your success at round six, has that conversation happened about riding the bike next year? 

I think there are a few people trying to get on that bike, and all I can do is what I did on the weekend. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, hopefully with how that went, obviously I click with the bike.


Image: Foremost Media.

Congratulations on securing the Supersport overall! Can you talk us through the feeling and what it means to get the victory at Phillip Island? 

It was very relieving and very satisfying to finally get a couple of wins in Supersport. I was obviously very happy for myself, but I was more happy for my mechanics, my crew chief Scott who have been unreal and have helped me so much and never given up. It was really satisfying to be able to please them and give them their first wins as well. It was a really good weekend, to get pole, a couple of race wins and a second, it was almost perfect.

Race one in tricky conditions, starting on slicks then a few laps in rain starts coming down. What was it like navigating that, probably not easy with yourself being in the leading group and one of the test dummies in a sense as the conditions got worse?

It’s very unnerving riding slicks in the rain, like typical Phillip Island, only half of the circuit was getting absolutely poured on and the other half was bone-dry. So for about two laps, one-half of the circuit was dry so everyone was going back to full race pace in the dry sections to get their tyres back up to temperature for when you hit the water at the top end of the circuit. I had a gauge, I had Jack [Passfield] in front of me when it got wet, and I thought… we didn’t complete the two-thirds race distance, I thought it was going to be restarted on wets so I didn’t really see the need because of how much water there was, I knew it would be red-flagged sooner or later. I thought it was going to be restarted on wets, so I didn’t see the need to be first and take all of the risks. But anyway, it didn’t get restarted and half points were awarded, it was the same for everybody, it was tricky for everyone to stay upright on slicks on a wet track.

Looking at the final race, you got to the front and stretched out a little bit of a gap, and then Jack came back and was able to get back in the lead. Was it a do-or-die situation for you at that point to try and make something happen and get back to P1, ensuring you would secure the overall? 

Nah not really. When he came past, I wasn’t so stressed, I actually felt comfortable behind him. I think he came past on lap eight of 10, and it felt like he pretty much came by and crashed so I didn’t really have much of a… I think I had half a lap or maybe three-quarters of a lap or something behind him before he crashed. But yeah, it was unfortunate for him and actually it would have been better for the championship if he stayed on and I won because it would be more points in between me and my competitors. But unfortunately for Jack, he went down, but it made my last lap a bit easier and it was nice to take the win comfortably in the end.

Looking at the championship standings, you are 26.5 back from John Lytras.  I remember you being quite strong at round one, also at Phillip Island. With The Bend being similar to Phillip Island in that it’s a world-class, GP-style track, you’ve proven on those types of tracks you can be fast. Does that give you confidence heading into the final round at The Bend?

Yeah for sure, it is always nice coming off of a win, going onto a new track and you can take that confidence with you. I do like The Bend, and I love the more GP circuit style races I suppose. At the same time, FP1 on Friday everyone will start again, we will go back to our normal format of three practices, a couple of qualifyings and two races. Everyone will start again, there’s nothing really you can take from Phillip Island to The Bend in that aspect I suppose.