Good starts and promising speed through the mud and technical ground of Maggiora helped Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna’s Todd Waters to third position at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
And the 24 year old became Australia’s first podium finisher in the premier class since the switch to the four-stroke formula in 2004. “It is hard to talk with the smile I am running right now,” he said in the post-race press conference.
Like fellow podiumee at Maggiora, Kevin Strijbos, the first trophy for Waters has come at an excellent time with most of the factory and satellite teams deep into their planning and contract formation for 2016.
#47 allegedly has another term to run on his current deal as part of a multi-year agreement with KTM but his position next to Max Nagl in the IceOne crew is apparently not yet confirmed.
Waters is only half way through his first full season in Grand Prix after a rookie year in 2014 was wrecked after just five rounds due to a practice crash leading to a broken leg. “Last year I had quite a big injury and Antti Pyrhonen [Team Manager] and the IceOne team have been working so hard to get us back to where we should be,” he explained. “This is how it should be [on the podium] and we’ve been pushing for it extremely hard.”
Waters’ 4-4 meant his personal best moto results in just 14 GP appearances, although he had to work in the second race to deflect a charging Shaun Simpson. “In that second moto there were a few emotions when the team wrote on the pitboard ‘Podium Position’ so I started to stretch those throttle cables for sure,” he recounted. “It was what I wanted. I knew I had a big freight train behind me and Simpson was on the hammer. I knew I had to go for it.”
Australia has previously seen Dean Ferris successful in MX2 with a maiden podium at Qatar in 2013 and victory in Belgium that same season. Andrew McFarlane was also an MX2 GP winner back in 2005.
Waters joins a small group of Aussies who have burst through at the top level and claims he has not felt any extra pressure running out of the same awning as Max Nagl who has led the championship since round five. “I’ve been trying to do my own thing and Antti has been great at letting me do what I need to,” he says. “We have worked on [the mantra] that if you work hard then the results will come. It is great for the team to see Max doing so well and I have learnt a lot from him because he’s such a nice guy. He does things in different ways compared to other riders I’ve seen.”