Kawasaki reflects on Symmons round of ASC
Kawasaki Racing Team was on the pace at Symmons Plains Racetrack in Tasmania for Round Five of the Australian Superbike Championship, with Wayne Maxwell making the most of what were difficult track conditions in both Practice and Qualifying.
Maxwell was impressive in the wet conditions, as he made easy work of the slippery, rain effected track. Displaying confidence onboard his ZX-10R, Maxwell posted the fastest times in Practice, recording a 1.03:08 and qualified third fastest, recording a 54.03.
Still nursing ligament damage in his right hand after his Round Four accident at Mallala, team mate Shannon Johnson was having difficulty re-opening the throttle after braking and the restricted hand movement hindered his racing performance. Johnson placed seventh fastest in Practice and qualified in eighth place for Race One and Two.
In the opening Superbike race, both riders didn’t get away to the best of starts, but determination saw Maxwell hold onto fifth place in the opening race and Johnson held onto a top ten finish. Maxwell, who had the pace to run up front all weekend, got away to a reasonable start in Race Two, but his race set-up proved better suited to Saturdays warmer track conditions and didn’t favour the cooler track temperatures of Sundays second race. Maxwell finished Race Two in seventh place.
Unfortunately for Johnson, a component malfunction in the final race forced him to return to the pits in Race Two and he was unable to get back out onto the track before the end of the race. The weekend now has Maxwell stationed in fifth place in the Australian Superbike Championship on 140 points and Johnson placed in seventh on 126 points.
In the Supersport Class, both riders showed promising form in both the wet and dry conditions in Practice and Qualifying. Johnson qualified in sixth place in 56.64 and Maxwell qualified in eighth place on 56.80.
In Race One onboard his Kawasaki ZX-6R, Maxwell got away to a good start and rode a consistent race to come home in eighth place and in Race Two he finished in twelfth position. Unfortunately for Johnson, a misfortune on the opening lap forced him to retreat to the pits and retire from the race. Johnson decided to sit out the second Supersport race, to save further aggravation of his injured hand, so he would have the best opportunity to challenge for maximum Championship points in the final Superbike Race. Maxwell currently holds onto seventh place in the Supersport Championship on 104 points and Johnson sits outside the top ten on 61 points.
Team Manager David Cullen believes it was a very testing weekend for both riders and the Team. “Both riders performed well in Practice, with Wayne featuring predominantly at the top of the time sheets, which demonstrates that the ZX-10R is a manageable race machine in very difficult conditions,” said Cullen. “We started well with a fifth place in the opening race, however we didn’t maintain the level of progress we wanted over the course of the weekend.”
“The Team and I were very disappointed for Shannon’s misfortunes over the weekend, as we know how much effort he put into trying to expedite the recovery process so he would have the best opportunity to score maximum points in the Superbike Championship.”
“We are confident that we can push forward from here and get our results back on track at the double header event, Rounds Six and Seven, at Queensland Raceway next month.”
“We are looking forward to testing the new performance parts, which we have been eagerly awaiting for the new ZX-6R, at Eastern Creek this weekend and then again at the combined test day on the 7th and 8th of June.”
“We believe we have both the ZX-10R and ZX-6R handling well and with more engine development we will be back up, competing at the front field at the double header event.”