Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell has triumphed at round five of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship at Queensland’s Morgan Park Raceway on the weekend by finishing with a 1-2 result, which handed him the overall round win.
The stunning turnaround in results at a drama filled round at Morgan Park also catapulted him into the championship lead and the series is set for a grandstand finish with two rounds remaining.
The former Australian Superbike champion didn’t make things easy for himself after he qualified in seventh position on Saturday. Maxwell admitted after qualifying that it wasn’t the best outcome as he was hoping for, as ideally, he needed to be on the front row of the grid to be able to have good track position for the two sixteen lap races on Sunday.
Race one saw Maxwell having an ‘OK’ start and had decent track position but with the lead group beginning to break away, Maxwell had to step up his game if he wanted to stay in race contention.
By lap three, Maxwell moved into fifth. On lap seven he claimed another two riders and moved to third. By lap thirteen, the Victorian rider got himself into the lead of the race and went on to win by .931 seconds.
“I just chipped my way through the pack and the leading riders were not really coming back within striking distance at first,” explained Maxwell after race one. “Then suddenly they just started coming back like three or four tenths a lap.”
“I found a rhythm and lucky enough Cru made a mistake between turn one and two which allowed me to get by and take the win.”
The second race saw Maxwell involved in a four-way dice for the lead throughout the race duration. This time around Maxwell got a better start and was holding down fourth in the early stages. He quickly made his way to third, before pouncing his way to second and knowing a 1-2 finish was good enough to claim the round win.
Thanks to Maxwell’s 1-2 finish, it sees him leading the championship fight for the first time this year. Maxwell managed to turn a 22-point deficit into a five-point championship lead at Morgan Park.
“I was so disappointed after yesterday,” expressed Maxwell. “Seventh position in qualifying wasn’t ideal and I just felt like I couldn’t put a lap together and was riding well below my level.
“We changed a few things on the bike plus I really wanted to redeem myself after qualifying and combined we were able to turn around our weekend,” he ends.
It was a welcome return to racing for Glenn Allerton, who managed to finish in a solid fifth position, scoring 9-5 results.
The New South Welshman was still not 100% fit as he would have liked to be, but put in a gutsy performance all weekend aboard the number 14 Yamaha YZF-R1M machine.
Like Maxwell, Allerton had his work cut out for him as he qualified in eleventh place but was hopeful of better results in the two races contested.
Allerton described the race one as a really tough one for him. Always the competitor, he battled on bravely despite his wrist and shoulders straining under brakes and leaving him with little strength when the pace is really on.
Race two proved a little lucky as several riders in front of him had issues and allowed Allerton to finish slightly higher up the leader board in fifth place.
“At this point in time, my injury is what it is and I’m just going to have to deal with it and do the best that I can. I know I’m still a long way off at the moment and I would like to be closer to the front but I just have to keep working on my injuries and hopefully be closer again at the next round.
“Fifth place in race two was good and quite happy to have scored fifth place overall, but I got lucky. Not a lot of riders like to admit when they get lucky. But I’m happy to put my hand up and say heaps of people fell off in front of me which is why I ended up in fifth.”
YRT’s team manager John Redding did expect Maxwell to be competitive at Morgan Park Raceway after he was very fast at the official ASBK test a few weeks prior to round five.
“Wayne was able to put down some very fast times over a race distance, which is why we expected to do well here this weekend,” explained Redding. “It was unfortunate that Glenn had a crash here during the test, which made things a little bit harder for himself,” added Redding.
“Overall as a team we have to be pretty happy with how the day panned out for us. We are also certainly happy with Cru [Halliday]’s performance as well. Cru has definitely come up leaps and bounds coming off a difficult fourth round in July as well.
“We are now looking forward to the final two rounds of the championship to see what pans out the Yamaha Racing Team,” concluded Redding.
The Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship now heads 798km south to Sydney Motorsport Park for the penultimate round, which will be held from 8-10 September.
Round five Results – Morgan Park Raceway, QLD
1st Wayne Maxwell – 45 (YRT)
2nd Cru Halliday (YRT supported) – 44
3rd Josh Waters – 34
4th Corey Turner – 33
5th Glenn Allerton – 28 (YRT)
Championship Standings after Round five
1st Wayne Maxwell – 193 (Yamaha R1)
2nd Troy Herfoss – 188
3rd Robbie Bugden – 172
4th Daniel Falzon (YRT supported) – 171
5th Josh Waters – 169
Credits: Russell Colvin