Australian Josh Waters will not make his AMA Pro Road Race debut in the series’ finale at Barber Motorsports Park after being ruled out of this weekend’s race of his home series at Phillip Island.Waters, who suffered serious injuries, including head trauma, during a testing crash at Willow Springs on July 7, was hopeful of making his return to racing on the undercard of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in late July. But once on track he realized he couldn’t concentrate and withdrew from the weekend. Four weeks later, the reigning Australian Superbike champion also missed the Aug. 20-22 round of the Australian Superbike Championship at Queensland Raceway. That withdrawal essentially ended his chances of retaining the number one plate.Waters arrived at this weekend’s penultimate round of the championship at Phillip Island intent on racing, but knowing that he’d have to pass a physical. Unlike the AMA series, the Australian championship has a permanent medical facility which has the power to decide on a rider’s fitness. Waters didn’t pass the physical and will now have to wait for the ASBK season finale on the Nov. 12-14 weekend at Symmonds Plains.There were other factors involved. The Phillip Island round is a 2&4 race, which means the motorcycles share the track with cars, and therefore have less track time. In addition, the weather forecast is for lashing rains and wind.Given that he’s still not ready, it wouldn’t be worth the gamble to make the trip for the Sept. 24-26 Barber event.”Josh (Waters) has been ruled out for Phillip Island this weekend,” Yoshimura Suzuki team manager Peter Doyle said. “I understand he’s close, but not quite ready. With that in mind, it’s not worth him coming to Barber if he is not going to be 100%.”With that in mind, Barber won’t happen. We do hope there will be opportunities that open up down the road where Josh can come back again to race.”Waters had been impressive in his test at Barber, clocking the fourth fastest time behind teammate Tommy Hayden, Team Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes, and Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom. It was at that test that Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young broke his back. He made a successful return to racing this past weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park and will be supporting Hayden in his championship quest.Hayden will arrive in Alabama at a deficit of 22 points to Hayes, who comes in riding a three-race winning streak. With a comfortable points gap to third-placed Jake Zemke (National Guard Jordan Suzuki), one of those two is guaranteed to win his Superbike title.
Josh Waters Out of Barber
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.