Team Suzuki member Josh Waters of Mildura has captured the 2017 Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance Superbike Championship, in what was an epic showdown at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit at the weekend.
Waters said he had stated a "million times" that he never thought he would be in contention for the championship halfway through the season.
“To win the championship for Team ECSTAR Suzuki is awesome,” he said.
“Big thanks go to the team, sponsors and everyone that’s stood by me - I can’t believe it as the turnaround from the start of the season has been huge.
Improved weather conditions hovered around Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit this morning after a downpour earlier on, providing the perfect backdrop for Sunday’s season decider to play out in. After a barnstorming qualifying session yesterday, crowds expected an action-packed day of racing and the riders delivered a spectacle for the ages, with Troy Herfoss, Waters, and Wayne Maxwell (all within 14 points of each other.
In Race One When bikes headed to the grid for their first race of the weekend, the track temperature was sitting at 25 degrees and there was an undeniable championship buzz in the air.
Pole position getter, Maxwell didn’t get a very good start and Waters shot into the lead, with Daniel Falzon second and Herfoss in third.
Waters quickly made a break for it, while Maxwell has moved up several places, as far as making his way up to second by lap two.
Herfoss had a disaster of a race, retiring after nine laps with an oil leak forcing him to come into the pits. The retirement effectively wrecking his championship chances.
From there, Waters was able to keep it upright, stretch out his lead to 3.7 seconds, and scream down the straight to take a win
Waters had played down his chances all weekend so far, but he was simply unstoppable in Race One and set himself up in prime position to take the title in the afternoon.
YMI Superbike Race One Provisional Results
1 Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
2 Wayne MAXWELL (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1)
In race two when bikes screamed off the start and in to the first turn, it would be Falzon and Waters to lead the way.
Maxwell had another disappointing start from pole position and was not as aggressive in the opening laps and found himself in the battle pack.
Waters soon overtook Falzon at the hayshed on lap two with Maxwell in fifth.
With clear air in front of him, Waters was setup well to try and break away from the field.
Staring overtook Waters at Pirelli corner and Maxwell soon followed suit.
Maxwell quickly took the lead on lap three and he thundered past Staring on the main straight.
On the last lap it was Maxwell, followed by Herfoss, Staring and Allerton. Maxwell managed to hold on to win by 1.26 second over Herfoss, Staring and Allerton.
Waters would be relieved to finish fifth as it meant he had secured enough points to be declared 2017 YMI Superbike Champion.
But the man of the moment was simply Waters, his smart and consistent ride saw him take the 2017 YMI Superbike Championship with 261 points.
Second in the Championship went to Maxwell and Herfoss in third. The 2017 YMI Superbike Championship marks Water's third title and puts him amongst an exclusive group of Australian riders.
Race Two YMI Superbike Provisional Results
1 Wayne MAXWELL (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1)
2 Troy HERFOSS (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, Honda CBR1000SP2)
3 Bryan STARING (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, Honda CBR1000SP2)
4 Glenn ALLERTON (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1)
5 Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
YMI Superbike Championship Top Eight
1 Josh WATERS 261
2 Wayne MAXWELL 257
3 Troy HERFOSS 246
4 Daniel FALZON 220
5 Robert BUGDEN 219
6 Cru HALLIDAY 206
7 Bryan STARING 184
8 Michael BLAIR 138