Current Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) number three Wayne Maxwell remains confident that he will be able to make the grid in 2020 despite the news that Team Suzuki Ecstar won’t race-on next season.
Maxwell, 37, has been a mainstay in ASBK since his debut almost 20 years ago and has no intention to hang up the helmet following the shock news that Suzuki Motorcycles Australia has suspended its factory program.
This year saw Maxwell string together a series of race wins including the overall victories at Winton and Morgan Park aboard the Phil Tainton Racing-prepared GSX-R1000R, however, he fell short of the crown following multiple DNFs at the beginning of the season and a more difficult finale in Sydney earlier this month.
To learn the news that Suzuki would close its official team altogether came as a surprise of sorts to Maxwell, who had anticipated that the manufacturer would scale back to a single-rider effort even though both he and 2019 teammate Josh Waters were contracted through 2020 on two-year agreements. Suzuki also exited the sport at the end of Maxwell’s title-winning campaign in 2013.
“It was a bit of a surprise, but I sort of knew that they’d talked about cutting back to one rider,” Maxwell told CycleOnline. “With the year that I had, I thought I was going to be pretty safe, but with motorcycle racing, nothing’s guaranteed.
“I wasn’t too stressed either way as I would have still sort of got paid my salary from Suzuki if they had of terminated my contract, so it wasn’t a massive concern. Picking up a seat is not the hardest thing, getting paid is. It’s disappointing, you know, because last time I rode for Suzuki the same thing happened – maybe I’m the bad luck there!”
Maxwell has indicated that he intends to team up with one of the few privately-operated teams on the grid with a share of his own backing if it can be secured, but didn’t disclose who he is currently in discussions with. He has declared though that he would not be willing to pay for a factory-supported seat at this stage of his career.
“The plan is to keep going and in the current climate now I’d say the only person on a decent salary is Troy [Herfoss] on a one-year deal,” he continued. “Motorcycle racing is taking a change, so it’s coming to a time where I’m going to have to use all of my knowledge and personality to find sponsors.
“At the moment I’m more confident of being on the grid than not. It’s still early days, this news is only really a week old, so hopefully I’ll be on the grid. It took a while to put a budget together and there are some teams in place that are quite good, but don’t have the funding. We have to find a little bit of funding from me and from the team to hopefully make 2020 count.”