What The World Superbike Boys Said

Press Release | March 14, 2009

The following is from Ducati…In the second round of the 2009 World Superbike Championship, taking place today at the International Circuit of Losail in Qatar, Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) returned to the podium after powering his 1198 to a second place finish in both of this afternoon’s races.In Race 1 Noriyuki made a great start and was up in second place behind Aprilia’s Max Biaggi for the first twelve laps before both riders were passed by American Ben Spies on the Yamaha who held the lead to take the win. Noriyuki and Max spent the last few laps battling for second and it was the Ducati Xerox rider who kept the pace to ride his 1198 to a second place finish, taking important championship points in the process. Unfortunately Michel Fabrizio had less success and after making up several places, from fourteenth to seventh, in the first seven laps, a technical problem meant that he had to deactivate the bike’s anti-spin, without which he suffered a fall.In Race 2 it was once again Noriyuki, Max and Ben who fought for the lead, with Ben ultimately winning and proving that he had the stronger package on track today. Noriyuki was determined to repeat his first race performance and finished once again ahead of Biaggi, replicating the podium of Race 1. Michel did not make the best start and was down in seventeenth place in the first lap. He tried to catch up as he did in the first race but the lack of rear grip forced him to stop in the garage where the rear tyre was changed. Michel exited once again and registered his fastest lap of the race but concluded his race early due to the two lap gap that had built up during his pit-stop.Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 – 2nd; Race 2 – 2nd)

“I am very happy with today’s results because we maintain the championship lead. Race 1 was a hard race for me, and I had to really fight hard with Ben (Spies) and Max (Biaggi). In the first laps I was holding the pace with Max no problem but then I started to have rear tyre problems and it became harder to keep up. Ben passed us both and there was no way either of use could catch him; I enjoyed racing with Max but the closing laps were hard. Race 2 was almost the same, another race against Max. I held the lead for the first five laps with Max behind but then, as before, Ben took control and got away from us both. Anyway, good results and good points for us and thanks to my team for putting together a great bike after some initial difficulties on Thursday.”Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 – DNF; Race 2 – DNF)

“Today is a day to forget; we must move on. In Race 1 I had a technical problem with the anti-spin so I deactivated it but riding without that electronic support was hard and caused me to fall. In the second race I decided to come into the box after eight laps to change the rear tyre that had caused me problems from the first lap. The tyre was changed and I went back out but the gap that had opened up prevented me from fighting for points and so I concluded my race early.”The following is from Suzuki…The Qatar round of the 2009 Superbike World Championship will not be happily remembered by Max, Yukio and the Suzuki Alstare Brux team, but they have already brushed aside all negative thoughts and are focussing on the next round in Valencia in three weeks. Max crashed heavily in this morning’s warm-up, fortunately without injury, ran off the track twice in race one and then crashed out after five laps. He recovered from all that superbly to take a tremendous sixth place in race two.Yukio had the misfortune to be hit by another rider on lap two of race one and was forced into the huge gravel trap at the first turn. By the time he was able to rejoin the track, he had lost thirty seconds and was dead last. From then on, it was a lonely race for the Japanese rider but he kept going and finished 22nd at the flag. In race two, Yukio had problems with the electronics and could not brake hard and steer the bike the way he wanted when fighting with a group of riders. But, just like race one, he kept going, battled hard and managed to get 15th place.American Ben Spies (Yamaha) won the two 18-lap races today, with Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) and Max BIaggi (Aprilia) taking second and third respectively in both.Max – Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 6th

I think my result in race two was good. I know that I could not have got any higher and, after all my crashes this weekend, it was good to leave Qatar with good finish. It has been a tough weekend for us. We made some mistakes and my crashes gave the team a lot of extra work to do. I want to say a big thank you to my team for doing all the work so quickly, but also to Yukio’s mechanics before they helped us a lot.

My day didn’t start well because Troy (Corser) and I collided in the morning warm-up. It was on the brakes into turn one and I was lucky to escape without injury. In race one, I ran off the track twice because I missed my braking points and then crashed – probably because I was trying too hard. At least race two went well and I was happy to finish sixth after starting from 19th on the grid. We’ll have to do better in practice, qualifying and Superpole in the future, so that we don’t have to start so low down the grid. I’m going to forget about this weekend and look forward to better things in the next round in Valencia.Yukio – Race 1: 22nd, Race 2: 15th

This was not such a good weekend for me and I know we have to improve for sure. In race one I was hit by another rider and forced off the track. I think I lost about 30 seconds and by the time I got back on the track everybody had gone! The rest of the race was very lonely for me, but I wanted to complete the race so that I could give information and data to my team. All weekend I have not been so happy with my bike in the turns. I am not sure if the problem is electronics related or what, but the bike is not braking as I want and it is not accelerating out of the turns like I want. It is probably to do with some adjustments so we must find out what is happening and then make the adjustments to improve the bike. I am disappointed with this weekend because I am a racer and I want to do well. I have had some good results in Qatar in the past, but this weekend is probably one I should forget.The following is from BMW…BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus rode superbly in both the two 18-lap races in Doha today and earned themselves three top ten placings! Troy finished ninth in both races and Ruben took 13th in race one and followed that with a hard-fought for tenth in race two. Today’s tremendous results were all the more spectacular considering that Ruben and Troy had started the races from the fourth row of the grid after a problems in Superpole yesterday.But almost more special than the top ten finishes was the sight of Troy in fourth place after two laps of race two! The Aussie had blasted off the line superbly from 16th on the grid and stunned everybody by crossing the line in fifth place at the end of lap one. By lap two he had stormed into fourth – a position he held until lap four. Although he ended the race in ninth, his spell in fourth place made up for all the disappointment the past two days and gives Troy, Ruben and the whole team a tremendous boost before the next race in three week’s time.Troy – Race 1: 9th, Race 2: 9th

After practice and qualifying, we were a bit disappointed about our prospects of any good results from the fourth row of the grid. Overnight we found a solution to our top speed problem and that gave me a slim chance today. In race two, I made one of the best starts of my life, saw a gap and just went for it! It felt great to be up front with the race leaders and although I knew it wouldn’t last, it was great while it happened. At the moment, we are about half a second down on bike and chassis set-up and if we could cut that gap we’d be competitive for sure. It certainly doesn’t help starting from row four and, at Qatar, that probably means you lose seven or so seconds on the first lap and you have to spend the rest of the race playing catch up. To get two top tens today is certainly more than I was expecting before the season started and shows that the bike has real potential. After three weeks or so away, we’ll now be able to return to our workshops, analyse all the info and get the work started for the next round.Ruben – Race 1: 13th, Race 2: 10th

I’m really happy with the races today and although there’s lots of work to do, I think Troy and I did a great job. I’m very happy with race two, because I ended nearly nine seconds closer to the front then in race one. On my sighting lap for race two, I thought it might be better to go longer on the rear sprocket. I knew that it would be a problem on the start, but it was a risk I wanted to take. And it wasn’t a good start, but I soon got into a good rhythm. My biggest surprise was seeing that Troy was fourth! I was jealous because I wanted to be there! I just kept pushing hard and I managed to catch Troy towards the end of the race. I thought about trying to pass him, but thought ‘Ruben don’t do anything stupid’, so I stayed behind. Then Haslam overtook me two laps from the end and pushed me out of the top ten, but I said ‘No, no, no!’ and made sure I got past him before the finish so that Troy and I could both be in the top ten.Berti Hauser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director)

The most important thing this weekend is that we have learnt a lot, but I must also say that the results today make me more than happy. Troy did an amazing job in both races and the great work between the two riders helped us get both in the top ten in race two. Considering that our team is still learning, I think this is a great achievement this early in the championship and I’d like to thank them and riders for all the hard work here and at Phillip Island. Friday was ‘Black Friday’ for us, but today our results mean we can all leave Qatar happy.The following is from Yamaha…Yamaha rider Ben Spies lived up to the hype again in Qatar today, riding an incredible two races to take his second and third consecutive victories in the Losail heat. Dropping to fifth from the start of the first race, the three-time AMA champion moved up to third position on lap four to tuck in behind race leader Max Biaggi and second placed rider Noriyuki Haga for most of the race. The super calm Texan waited for his moment six laps from the end to make his move. As Haga moved out to look up the inside of Biaggi, Spies took the opportunity and passed him on the inside, before taking Biaggi on the next corner as the Italian race leader ran wide. From the moment he took the lead Spies win was never in doubt as he cleanly pulled away from the battle for second. Spies’ team-mate Tom Sykes had a frustrating start, dropping several places up to ninth position before fighting his way back through to finish seventh.Race two saw Spies dominate again, after initially dropping a couple of places from the start line, he moved up behind Haga and Biaggi again before moving out to take the lead on lap seven. The American superstar then put in a sensational performance of perfect laps, increasing the comfort zone until taking the chequered flag in style, comfortably ahead of second place Haga. Spies leaves Qatar in second place in the standings, ten points behind Haga in the championship. Spies also takes the new lap record for the Qatar circuit away with him this weekend.Tom Sykes got a better start to race two and fought with Yukio Kiyonari and Troy Corser in the opening laps for fifth position. Fighting behind the leading pack Sykes held his own with an impressive race pace, putting in consistent laps to finish the race in fifth position.Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team

“It was an extremely tough first race, I got an ok start and got to the back of Nori and Max after a few laps. All three of us were strong in different parts of the track so it was really interesting. It was very hard to pass them both, It was when Nori was looking up the inside of Max, that I had my chance to get inside of him, and then Max ran a bit wide so I got through. Once I got it done I got my head down and kept it clean, it was good enough to win.In the second race Nori set a really good pace first for a few laps so I just tried to keep the same rhythm. Eventually I managed to get past and just kept my head down and tried to open up a gap. It was a hard race, but a better race for me than first one as I could concentrate on riding my lines. Hopefully when we go to Valencia we’ll be up there fighting at the front again! A good weekend for the team, they’re not always like that but we’ll take them when they come.”Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team

“I was very disappointed with race one, I didn’t get the best of starts but it was turns one and two that really let me down so I played a lot of catch up and needed to make it happen. In race two we changed a couple of things on the bike and got a decent start. I tried not to get into trouble in the first two corners and got a couple of people in front of me who I didn’t want there so put my head down and eventually took them. We got a nice gap behind us and so I was looking ahead and trying to work onto a podium position. At one stage I thought we were there but struggled in a couple of places and had to override the tire so lost a bit of pace. The team has been great, we’re taking it step by step so hopefully we’ll be on the podium in Valencia!”Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

“The weekend went really well for us, both races were fantastic for Ben and Tom also did a very good job. We are improving and getting closer to the championship lead. Thanks to everyone as what we’ve done is the result of a really great team; here, the riders, Japan, everyone is working very well together so a big thank you for everybody.”The following is from Honda…Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) came within 0.223 seconds of his first 2009 podium finish in race two at Qatar today, making up for his disappointment at qualifying 12th in Friday’s Superpole. His fourth place in the second race was the single best result by a Honda Superbike rider in the second round of the championship, although Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) came close to matching it in race one.In the first 18-lap contest Checa finished fifth from his seventh place qualifying position in Superpole. Kiyonari’s dreadful start delayed his push forward but he lapped consistently to move up to eighth at the end of the race.Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) and Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) battled it out for 11th in the opener, with Haslam getting the better of his fellow ex-BSB rider. Tommy Hill (Hannspree Honda Althea CBR1000RR) took the final point for 15th, while Roby Rolfo (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) entered the pits to retire with only three laps gone. He would also retire in race two.Behind Kiyonari’s impressive push forward in race two, Rea managed to secure an eighth place finish, ahead of a tight group of three riders, only one second behind him. One of those riders was Haslam, who took his second 11th place finish of the day from an 18th place grid start.Checa was being held back by chatter problems in right hand corners in race two, but persevered to finish 13th. Rolfo and Hill failed to finish after suffering technical problems. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Squadra Corse Italia Honda CBR1000RR) was 20th in race one and 21st in race two.After four races in the opening two rounds, Noriyuki Haga leads the championship on 85, with today’s double race winner Ben Spies second, on 75 points. Haslam remains the highest placed Honda rider, in fifth spot, with 36 points. Rea is eighth, on 30. Kiyonari and Checa share a 21 point total, 13th and 14th respectively.The 18-lap Supersport race in Qatar was a fabulous multi-rider fight throughout, just like the opening round at Phillip Island two weeks ago. There was a different victor this time, with Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) capitalising on his second place grid spot and winning from fellow front row qualifier Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR).Today’s win was the first for Laverty in World Supersport, and also the first for his Parkalgar Honda team. He was riding a 2009 specification CBR600RR, with Pitt and Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) on 2008 machinery. Pitt posted a new lap record, 2’02.577, on lap 12.Pole man Cal Crutchlow was third on his Yamaha, with Sofuoglu third in qualifying but fourth in the race, albeit only 0.711 seconds from the win. He suffered in the race somewhat after crashing twice earlier this weekend.In the championship chase, Pitt’s two runner-up places so far put him on 40 points, with Sofuoglu on 38, and Laverty on 36.Privateer Robbin Harms went fifth in the Qatar race on his CBR600RR, with Matthieu Lagrive (Hannspree Honda Althea CBR600RR) sixth in both race and qualifying at one of his favourite circuits.Phillip Island podium finisher Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) had a tough time by comparison today, ninth in the race after being 12th on the grid.Laverty’s team-mate Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) worked hard through practice and the race to take 12th place, from a qualifying spot on the fourth row.Mark Aitchison (Hannspree Honda Althea CBR600RR) looked set for a top six finish but he crashed out, and restarted to finish 15th, securing a single point. Gianluca Vizziello (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) moved up from 19th pre-race to 14th in the final classification.All eight Supported Honda riders finished in the points today and Honda now has a 21-point lead in the Manufacturer’s Championship after two rounds.WSB Rider QuotesRyuichi Kiyonari said: “In race one I had a very bad start and had to push hard at the beginning. After that it was difficult to keep the lap times. We changed the tyre for race two and things felt much better, but, again, I had to push very hard and was maybe a bit too aggressive with the throttle at the beginning, trying to catch the leading group. When I reached Biaggi, I didn’t have enough left to get past him.”Carlos Checa said: “I had quite bad chatter again in race one. We thought we had eliminated this problem after Phillip Island, but it was back and gave me quite bad arm pump. Unfortunately, it was even worse in race two and I also had a bad start, which meant I had to try to pass many other riders. With the problems we had, I didn’t really have the confidence to push as hard as I wanted. We’ll work on everything before we get to Valencia and hope for better things there.”Jonathan Rea said: “Today has been one of mixed emotions. In fact, it’s been quite a weird weekend. We were right up there on Friday and Saturday morning, but went the wrong way and Superpole was not good. So, we went back to Friday’s settings for the races today and I got a pretty good start in the first one, but got bad arm pump. The guys in the Clinica Mobile sorted it out for race two and everything felt much better; but from 17th on the grid, I couldn’t quite catch the leading group so I had quite a lonely race.”Leon Haslam said: “The race pace has proved that we could have definitely run in the top five. I had terrible starts in both races and obviously running off the track in race one didn’t really help, but coming through in eleventh in both races with the pace I ran I have to be happy with that.”Tommy Hill said: “Race one was a little bit harder than everyone planned. After a good start I pushed very hard and I found a fast pace. I was able to overtake some riders but during the middle race I was losing rear grip and I just could not run the pace of the guys in front of me. I had a bit of a battle with Haslam but riding over the limit meant I made a couple of small mistakes and he passed me. My second start was as good as the first one, but starting the fifth lap I felt some vibration coming from my bike and we had to stop.”Roby Rolfo said: “Both races were very complicated. I had an electrical problem in the first race when the bike just suddenly stopped. I felt quite confident after my start in race two. For five or six laps the feeling with the bike was really good and felt I could improve my position. Then the bike started to vibrate in the front and I had difficulties cornering. I just got slower and didn’t manage to hold onto my position. Then I lost speed and dropped back before I had to retire completely.”

By Press Release