Double Win For Team Yoshi Suzuki
Team Yoshimura Suzuki rider Craig Coxhell claimed two thrilling race wins on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 in front of a record Australian Superbike Championship crowd of 12,500 spectators at Queensland Raceway's double-header round.
Team Yoshimura Suzuki rider Craig Coxhell claimed two thrilling race wins on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 in front of a record Australian Superbike Championship crowd of 12,500 spectators at Queensland Raceway's innovative double-header round on 28 June-1 July, moving to second on the championship points table with one round left to run.
In an impressive outing for all three Team Yoshimura Suzuki riders at the Ipswich (Qld) circuit, Coxhell, Shawn Giles and Josh Waters continued their recent run of strong form in the 2007 Australian Superbike and Supersport Championships with two race wins, a lap record and six further podium results in both classes at the double-header event.
The double-header concept at the 3.12km circuit saw Round Six's two 16-lap races for each class conducted on Saturday, with Round Seven's two races held on Sunday.
After both qualifying on the Superbike front row, Coxhell and Giles were quick to show they had every intention of adding another Australian Superbike title to their respective CVs in Saturday's opening race, Coxhell taking a thrilling 0.061sec win over reigning champion Jamie Stauffer, with Giles third in the typically tough and aggressive Superbike racing that has characterised this year's championship.
Both Coxhell and Giles recorded times below the previous Superbike lap record, although it was eventually Stauffer who claimed the new mark as he chased Coxhell for the race win.
Coxhell's win in race one was backed up by a third placing in Saturday's race two for second overall for Round Six, the 24-year-old's Team Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 repeatedly topping the speed trap times with 270kmh at the end of the back straight.
Just 24 hours later a win and a fourth placing in Sunday's two races gave the 2003 Australian Superbike Champion second overall for Round Seven, and catapulted the Shepparton (Vic) rider to second on the championship points table.
Giles, a three-times Australian Superbike Champion (2000, 2001, 2002), backed up his third in Saturday's race one with sixth in race two, then added sixth and eighth placings on Sunday as he battled with the bumpy nature of the Queensland circuit, in the process consolidating fifth place on the series' points table.
Joshua Waters continued his impressive results aboard the Team Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R600, with second-place finishes in each of Saturday's two 16-lap Supersport races, backed up by second and third placings in Sunday's two 16-lappers.
Waters set a new Supersport lap record of 1:11.689sec in Sunday's opening race, only to see it bettered just over three hours later in race two by just 0.047sec by Jason O'Halloran.
The points haul from four podium finishes from four starts strengthened Waters' hold on third place on the Australian Supersport Championship points table, and gave the 20-year-old a shot at claiming the title in his first season aboard the Team Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R600 as the series heads to the final round at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway on 17-19 August.
Robbie Bugden, third in the 2006 Australian Superbike Championship and the 2007 New Zealand Superbike Champion, had a frustrating meeting by his high standards on a satellite Team Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 at his home round. The Queenslander's best results came in Saturday's two races with seventh and fifth placings, a poor qualifying result leaving the 26-year-old with the challenge of a spirited charge through the field in each 16-lap race from his third-row grid position.
The eighth and final round of the 2007 Australian Superbike and Supersport Championship takes place at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway on 17-19 August.
PHIL TAINTON – TEAM MANAGER
"It's been a good weekend for the Yoshimura Suzuki team with Craig's two race wins, and Josh breaking up the blue team at the front of the Supersport field.
"This year's Superbike and Supersport championships are the most competitive for many years, which makes Craig's wins all the more satisfying.
"I'm extremely happy with how all the riders performed over the four days of the double-header event in conditions that were demanding on everyone. We had eight races to prepare for, and varying temperatures over the two race days that placed a premium on bike set-up and tyre selection.
"Josh's races in Supersport were exceptional as the GSX-R600 is a brand new bike for us this season, and we don't have the same amount of development time behind us as the other teams. Josh showed he could run at lap record pace on a bike that is still being developed.
"Shawn and Robbie had up and down meetings by their standards. We're still working on getting a set-up on the 2007 bike that Shawn feels comfortable enough with to challenge for race wins, with third in race one proof that we're heading in the right direction. Robbie had a hard task after qualifying back on third row, but his race pace on the 2006 bike was good once he got clear track.
"Congratulations to Jamie Stauffer on his two overall round wins on the weekend and clinching the 2007 Superbike championship."
"To win two races and to finish the weekend second overall in both rounds is a great result for the team – as well as moving into second in the championship.
"Thanks to the work by Phil and the guys my bike's got a lot of horsepower, but trying to hold on to it around this circuit with all the bumps isn't that easy.
"While I'm happy with the two wins, I'm disappointed that I let the other two races get away from me with bad starts.
"The Australian championship is extremely competitive, and I knew it was going to be tough coming home after three seasons in Europe. You can't give these guys a start in the early laps and then expect to haul them in."
"The bike had good speed all weekend, and I can't say enough about the team.
"I got good starts and was well-placed in the early laps, but I had trouble maintaining a race-winning pace.
"The layout of this circuit requires a bike that drives well off the turns, and I struggled to find a set-up that gave me the confidence to push hard into the corners, and then get hard on the throttle on the way out. It's hard work fighting the bumps here on a Superbike.
"The level of competition this season is as high as I can remember in the Australian Superbike Championship."
"I'm pretty happy with four podium finishes in the four races this weekend, but I really want to win – not come second or third.
"I was down in the dumps after qualifying on second row as it's so hard in the Supersport class if you have to come from behind. You're really up against it.
"We've got good race pace with the Suzuki GSX-R600 now, but there's still more to come – it's only our sixth race meeting on the bike, and it's getting better with every outing.
"I was stoked with getting the lap record in Sunday's first race, as the Supersport class is so competitive. I couldn't believe it when I was told it was a 1:11.689.
"Once I got clear track in Sunday's final race I tried to chase down Jamie (Stauffer) and Jason (O'Halloran), but I could see from my pitboard that I wasn't gaining fast enough so it was better to go for points."
"It's good to finish all four races and get some points on the board, but I made it hard for myself with a bad qualifying session and a third-row start.
"The racing is unbelievably close this year. It's so competitive out there it's important to have the bike set-up spot-on.
"I went from 13th to sixth in the final race on Sunday, so my race pace was good. There's no doubt my bike had good speed, but I certainly made it hard for myself this weekend.
"Sixth overall for each round – Saturday and Sunday – wasn't a bad result considering."