The following is from Ducati…Just eight days after Noriyuki Haga’s debut win with the Ducati Xerox Team at Phillip Island, the Borgo-Panigale based squad departs for Qatar today for Round 2 of the 2009 World Superbike Championship.Both Noriyuki and his Ducati Xerox team-mate Michel Fabrizio made a strong start to the season on board their Ducati 1198 machines, as Noriyuki’s win and second place took him straight to the top of the leader board, with a 15-point advantage over second-placed rider Neukirchner, while Michel lies in sixth position after securing strong fourth and fifth place finishes in the two Australian races. Noriyuki’s results also mean that Ducati currently leads the constructor’s championship.
Last year Qatar hosted the opening round of the championship and it was not an easy weekend for either Noriyuki or Michel. Both Ducati Xerox riders will be looking out for Corser and Biaggi, the riders that have faired the best at this track since it’s inclusion on the Superbike calendar for the first time in 2005.Noriyuki Haga
A third place in 2006 is Noriyuki’s best result thus far at the Losail International Circuit.”Well I can say that I’m very happy with how things went at the first races at Phillip Island and I’ll be trying my best to have an equally successful weekend at Qatar. I am very pleased with the performance of the 1198 and my team have been fantastic so we’ll be working hard to repeat our Phillip Island success. Each of the fourteen rounds will be a big challenge for me, and I will face each one in the same way, with the aim being always to win!”Michel Fabrizio
After a third place finish in the Supersport race in 2005, Michel has not visited the podium here since moving to Superbike, his best result so far a fifth place last year.”To be honest I hoped to do better at Phillip Island but what I didn’t do there I’ll be trying to do at Qatar of course. I’ve had ups and downs at Losail and the last time I was on the podium was in 2005 so it’s about time I stepped up there again! I’m in shape, I’m feeling comfortable on the 1198 and I’m ready to race. As long as we don’t get the rain that the GP guys just experienced over there, then we’ll be fine.”THE CIRCUIT
Name: Losail International Circuit
Length: 5.380 km
Pole Position: right
Finish line length: 1068 metres
Race distance: 2 x 18 laps/96.840 kmLAP RECORDS: Best lap: Nieto (Suzuki), 1’59.156 (2008). Superpole: Bayliss (Ducati), 1’58.053 (2008).The following is from BMW…Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport head to the Losail circuit in Qatar knowing that it will be harder to get another superb top ten position than it was in the opening round of the championship in Phillip Island, Australia. In Phillip Island the team benefited from a two-day test prior to the event, but their first chance of seeing the Losail racetrack will be the first practice session on Thursday morning. The circuit in Qatar will be just the first of many tracks about which the team have no data or information from previous seasons and their task will be that much harder than that of the competitors. The first two sessions will be vital for the Troy, Ruben and the team, but hopefully the experience of the riders will help the technicians do their work smartly and provide a good platform for raceday.
“Getting an eighth in Phillip Island was a fantastic result and gave us all great hope for the season. But now we are going to a track and we have no data about if for our bike and that is going to be a big disadvantage. The race weekend in Phillip Island was real eye-opener for our team and things happened during the three days that don’t happen in tests, so the team gained a lot of experience. We all have to build on that but all the guys are very committed and are working hard to push this project forward as quickly as possible. Qatar will be an interesting test for us all, but we’re going to give it 100% and see what happens.”Ruben
“I think that Phillip Island showed that our team is going to be competitor – and sooner rather than later. If I hadn’t had two or three collisions in race one, I am sure I would’ve had a much better result and probably been able to challenge for a top ten place. But at least, I stayed on the bike and I’m happy because Troy got a great result in the first race and we managed to finish both races. Qatar is going to be harder because our bike will be racing there for the first time and so we don’t have any data or telemetry to work from. We all have to be at 100% right from the start and push all the way to end, but this is a great team and who knows what may happen?”Berti Hauser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director)
“It was great to finally start our big adventure and fantastic to get such a good result in the first race. If there hadn’t been a problem in Superpole, who knows what result would’ve been possible? Our team have a tremendous work ethic and I am so happy because I think everybody can see that we mean business and that we are going to be a competitive force before too long.”The following is from Suzuki…After their recent podiums in the opening round of this year’s Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island, Team Suzuki Alstare Brux riders Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama are looking forward to more success in Qatar this coming weekend.This is the fifth year the desert state is holding a WSBK race and Max and Yukio are hoping that the all-new 2009 GSX-R1000 K9 will prove as competitive at the Losail circuit as it did at Phillip Island.Max
“It was good to start the year with a podium and now I am looking forward to more podiums. The 2009 K9 is a very good bike and my team have worked hard over the winter and the bike is very competitive. Of course, because the bike is new, I think that there is still more to come from the K9 and it will get better and better and hopefully the results will be good also.”Yukio
“Phillip Island was a good start to the season and I am happy because neither Max nor I crashed all weekend! The team and I have worked hard with the new GSX-R1000 K9 and a podium in Phillip Island was a good reward for all the work done, so thank you to my team. I’ve had good results in Qatar before, though last year was not so good, because ended up in hospital after a collision with Checa in race two. I hope this year will be better!”The following is from Ten Kate Honda…The Ten Kate Honda team heads to the Losail circuit in Qatar this week (12-14 March) for round two of the 2009 World Superbike and World Supersport championships.On the Superbike side of the garage, Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa will be seeking to eliminate the rear grip issues that they experienced in the opening round at Phillip Island in Australia just over a week ago.Ten Kate Honda Racing’s Ryuichi Kiyonari, racing under Honda Accessories colours this season, will also be looking for a marked improvement on his disappointing start in Australia. The Japanese ace was forced out in a crash on the opening lap of race one and then suffered from a dramatically early loss of rear grip in second encounter.Meanwhile the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team’s defence of the World Supersport championship – a title it has won every season since 2002 – began in the best possible way at Phillip Island when Kenan Sofuoglu took a narrow victory ahead of team-mate and reigning champion Andrew Pitt.It was a marked contrast to the team’s opening round last season, which was held in Qatar, when Pitt and his then Supersport team-mate, Jonathan Rea, both crashed out of the race on lap two.Jonathan Rea – Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade
I like Qatar, which is lucky, because I’ve done a lot of laps here. As well as the Supersport race last year, which we’ll skip over quickly, I’ve been involved in a couple of Honda CBR launches here, so I know the place pretty well. The results at Phillip Island weren’t fantastic but if you’d offered them to me before we left, I would’ve taken them. I’m pretty convinced that we’ll not suffer the same problems here – instead of looking after the rear, it’ll be more a case of looking after the front tyre, and I think I’m pretty good at that.Carlos Checa – Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR
I really like the circuit in Qatar very much, but last year here everything was new to us, including the bike so, with the disappointment of Phillip Island behind us, we’re ready to go again. I’m looking forward to racing again this weekend – my shoulder is much better and I should be able to ride the bike without any restrictions. I believe we can be more competitive and in a position that better reflects the quality of the CBR1000RR and the hard work of the team. The Losail circuit is flat and smooth and should allow us to operate with a better combination of tyres than in Australia.Ryuichi Kiyonari – Ten Kate Honda Racing CBR1000RR
I was so disappointed after the two races at Phillip Island – especially after we had got the bike working well during practice and qualifying and we believed our race pace was good. But, after I got T-boned in the first race and had no rear grip in the second, I have had to put the disappointment behind me. Losail is not my favourite circuit but I am sure we will start over again here and get our season going with some better results.