Multi-time champion has high expectations for Honda signing.
Domestic motocross legend Craig Anderson says 2017 is a make or break year for Todd Waters as part of the Crankt Protein Honda Racing team, where he undertook a mentor role for a portion of last season.
Coming up short on the Motul MX Nationals MX1 title multiple times in his career, it’s time for the 27-year-old Waters to put the pieces of the puzzle together aboard the all-new 2017 CRF450R according to Anderson.
Waters is Honda’s headline signing for the upcoming Australian season, marking his return to the Victorian-based factory fold – now operated by Motologic – for the first time since 2011. The sole objective is to take the number one plate from longtime rival Dean Ferris at the conclusion of the 10-round series.
“I think it’s obviously a bit of a change for him going back to Honda,” Anderson explained to MotoOnline.com.au. “But he knows the people and he’s worked with Jay Foreman before, so I think he’s definitely going to be a top guy – they just need to get him comfortable.
“It definitely is his time to step up, he obviously has a good team behind him and I guess this is his make or break year. Last year he had the team built around him and for whatever reason it didn’t work. This year I think he’s made some big changes and gone with Honda, so it’s definitely a make or break year.”
With decades of experience spanning both domestically and internationally, Anderson remains aware of the nature of the sport and admits anything can happen with such a strong line-up of riders in the premier class. And if Waters doesn’t get it done this time around, he still has more attempts to his advantage.
“Anything can happen,” he added. “He could lose this year and win next year, it’s such a fine line between first and third – the three or four guys are all going awesome at the moment and they’re all committed.”
Anderson also commented on 450 class newcomer, Luke Clout, expressing his expectations of the former MX2 champion returning home from a season in the US as he prepares to enter his rookie MX1 season with the factory Honda team.
“I expect Luke to do really well, I actually like his attitude towards racing and he seems very hungry,” Anderson explained. “Watching him riding recently he looks comfortable and he’s definitely gelling with the bike, so I think he’s good enough to be top five, but he’s just really got to make sure he’s committed to the job and make sure he’s fit enough.
“Riding a 450 in 30-minute motos is definitely a lot harder than riding a 250, so he’s definitely got to be strong enough and fit enough. I think if he can learn on-the-fly he will be a really good rider and a great asset to Honda.”
Waters, already claiming the 2017 Woodville Grand Prix in New Zealand, will remain there to contest their upcoming motocross series, while Clout is expected to remain in Australia during his pre-season program.