It’s Miller Time!

Press Release | May 27, 2009

The following is from Yamaha…After a mixed race weekend in South Africa, The Yamaha World Superbike Team is heading to the Miller MotorSports Park in Salt Lake City in confident mood for the US round of the 2009 World Superbike Championship. Miller is a relatively new addition to the calendar, World Superbike visited for the first time last year. Ben Spies is no stranger to the track however, as an ex AMA Superbike multi champion both he and his crew chief Tom Houseworth know the track well. Spies has won five of the six AMA Superbike races held In Miller since the track opened in 2006. The American is clearly intent on adding Superpole and two US World Superbike race wins to his impressive rooky season tally.”It’s awesome to be back home in the USA,” said Yamaha World Superbike Team rider Ben Spies. “This is my first trip home this year, so it’s been a bit crazy. After the ups and downs of Kyalami I’m really happy to be home and looking forward to Miller this weekend. It’s a great track and one I know well. It makes a big change to be heading towards a race with good track knowledge, this will be the first time this year I’ve gone to a track I’ve raced at before, and in front of a home crowd too. The team and I are working hard on the set-up, and I’m hopeful we can bring this one home for the fans here in the states.””Kyalami certainly didn’t go completely to plan,” said Tom Sykes. “I went into the race weekend fifth in the championship and was looking for fourth place. I’m still close but now in seventh position. Anyway, that’s all done now and I’m looking forward to the USA. I think both Ben and I are going to go very well there. The track is supposed to be very similar to Qatar so I’m quite excited, hopefully the Yamaha will work very well and we’ll get two strong results to get back on track and start to build towards a strong finish to the season.”Miller Technically Speaking according to Tom Houseworth, (Ben Spies Crew Chief)

“Miller is a circuit where Ben and I have quite a bit of experience, it’s fast and flowing with just a couple tight corners and a very long straight. The only thing it has in common with Kyalami is elevation which reduces the engine power a bit. The setup we’re going to use will be a compromise between good corner entry speed and maximum grip, stable but quick transitions will be important in the fast first sector of the track. If we can get this area correct then the rest of the lap is usually good. The bikes will be set up just a bit different to Kyalami, bike 1 will use our standard base settings while bike 2 will have a different link to determine if we can achieve better grip which is always wanted. Our gearing set-up should be nearly there with just some fine tuning required. Once setup is close we’ll fine tune, you guessed it, the traction control. The start is very important at Miller. After the lights go off there is a very long straight to deal with so we will have to try many starts during practice and hope all the settings are correct to be near the front entering turn one. It’s a long race however so there is time to make our way to the front depending on the type of start we get. All in all it’s good to be home for a while, looking forward to seeing you all there!”Miller Technically Speaking according to Sergio Verbena, (Tom Sykes Crew Chief)

“I’m sure we’re not going to use the settings from Kyalami, we made a lot of changes for the South African race because of the special track, Kyalami is very slow and bumpy and we had a lot of tyre problems there so we made a small revolution in the bike setting to try to solve these problems but didn’t find the perfect solution. We’re going to start with a setting similar to Assen and Monza and see how we get on. We’re still analyzing the recent race data because something’s not been working right in the last races, so we have to find solutions for our troubles and make some more progress.Anyway, Miller is a different track, and we’ll have different tyres there so we are more confident about the next races. Tom found Kyalami tough and had a few issues but is very confident about next week-end. We also hope to go on being the only rider who consistently scores points and is always top ten in the finish this year.The main elements still to improve on the new bike this year are acceleration and top speed, but you have to remember the engine is still at a relatively early stage of its development, as it has a different firing order to a normal inline four and we don’t have data to work on from the past so it’s all new. Also we are still looking for the correct balance of the geometry of the bike. When we find it, which we will do soon, you will see a big step forward on track.”Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

“Although Kyalami was not the best result for us both riders proved to be outstanding as they rode around the issues where possible and gave everything they could. We have continued to work hard to develop the bike and are confident we can take back some of the championship points this weekend and begin to close the gap on the lead again.”Erwan Nigon will replace Yamaha GMT rider David Checa for the Salt Lake City race. Checa will return to the team again for the next Italian round in Misano.The following is from Honda…Last year Miller Motorsports Park hosted its first ever World Superbike Championship event, taking this particular class of racing back to the USA for the first time since Laguna Seca in 2004. It was a particularly fruitful visit for Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR), who took not just his breakthrough first win in WSB racing, but followed it up a few hours later with his second race victory, an outstanding double that provided an impetus to all the Honda riders for the rest of the season.Checa is back in the same colours as last year, and ready for more success in America, but his 2008 wins are still a positive thought for all the supported Honda riders in WSB racing to hold onto as the championship reaches the half-way stage this coming weekend.Miller Motorsports Park lies in the high desert floor close to the former Winter Olympics centre of Salt Lake City, and has a number of possible layouts, in addition to the 4.907km version used by the Superbike series.The seventh round of the World Supersport Championship will be the first ever WSS race at Miller, but the fact that this track is new to almost all-comers is hardly likely to dent the competitive spirit of Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR), who is only 13 points from the championship lead. He has won three races this year, and has already conquered a couple of circuit layouts that were new to him in his first full-time WSS season.Laverty is the top Honda rider in the WSS division, second, but the highest-ranked Honda rider in Superbike is fourth-placed Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) – although a first podium finish for Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) at the previous Kyalami round has brought him closer to Haslam in the overall standings. Leon has 116 points and Rea 106, with Checa tenth, on 73.Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Racing Honda CBR1000RR) has had an up-and-down season so far but like Haslam and Rea, he has already been on the podium and now sits only a single point behind Checa.Tommy Hill (Honda Althea CBR1000RR) is set to push himself and his team to greater heights in the search for a consistent and repeatable race set-up, which has prevented him from scoring in recent rounds, despite a bright start to his 2009 rookie season in WSB.Local rider Jake Zemke (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) will once more substitute for regular WSB rider John Hopkins, as ‘Hopper’ recuperates from the broken and dislocated hip he suffered at the Assen WSB race.The only top WSS rider to have raced at Miller before is former WSB rider, Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR), currently third in the standings, 19 points ahead of Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR).Mark Aitchison (Honda Althea CBR600RR) pushed his way to a podium finish for the first time at the previous round, while his fellow Australian Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) once more struggled to meet the same kind of form he has shown in this class in the early rounds of 2009.Matthieu Lagrive (Honda Althea CBR600RR), Gianluca Vizziello (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) and Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) are all looking to set this 2009 personal best finishes this weekend, as none was satisfied with their recent rides at Kyalami. For Lagrive that would mean a fifth place finish or better, as he has taken two sixth places already, one in Qatar and one in Valencia.Miller is the last of four long-haul championship rounds this year and the Misano circuit on the Adriatic Riviera of Italy will be the next port of call, between June 19 and June 21.Leon Haslam said: “The Miller track will be a new track to us, but I am confident we can get the bikes ready quickly enough, without having to play catch-up with the other teams that much. We have been successfully developing the bike and get ideas on how to improve it in every round, so it will be interesting to see what we can do at Miller. I hope I can qualify well, like I did in South-Africa, and take an even better result in the races.”Jonathan Rea said: “I’m really looking forward to this trip; there’s something about going to a new circuit that gets me really motivated. There are no negative thoughts to take with me to Miller. In fact, after Carlos’s double win there last year, it’s only positive. I’ll do a couple of laps with the team and try to pick up some tips from local riders. We’ve being doing pretty well in the last five races and I think the whole crew deserved that podium at Kyalami – but we’re here for more than that. I feel that it’s time to step up to the plate in the second half of the season and keep up the momentum we’ve found since Valencia.”Carlos Checa said: “We’ve had a few problems this season – it started with a shoulder injury and there have been some small issues with the bike. However, we approach the halfway point of the season and we bring some positives from Kyalami to Miller. Of course, Miller was good last year but I prefer to look forward and the circuit should allow us to put the CBR near the front again. I like left-handed tracks and we have some good data from last year. The Ducatis will be strong and so will Ben Spies, but I think we should be in a good position too, and we will be going for a good result.”Ryuichi Kiyonari said: “After the two podium finishes at Monza, it was very difficult to race at Kyalami just one week later and not even get into the top ten. I’ve been back in Japan since the last race, relaxing with my friends and family, and it has given me a chance to do a lot of thinking about what happened. All I can do now is go to Miller with a positive frame of mind – the kind of positive feeling that I had two weeks ago in Monza and last year when I won some races. The bike is strong, there is no doubt, and we have a good base setting. We also know that it works very well at Miller because Carlos won both races last year, so I will try my hardest to make it work for me as well. I was slow to learn the track last year but I will be stronger this weekend and aim for much better results again.”Tommy Hill said: “I came away from the last round in Kyalami extremely disappointed and so I’m hoping to have a much more positive weekend now at Miller. This is another track that I don’t know at all, so again we will have to learn as we progress through the weekend in order to find the best set-up for the races. Hopefully both my team and I will have a good weekend and we can fight for some points.”Jake Zemke said: “I am definitely excited to be back on the Stiggy Honda at Miller Motorsports Park. I was real disappointed with our results at Monza; I know that the team and myself are capable of much more than what we showed. Now with a better understanding of the team and also the Pirelli tyres, we will be looking at fighting inside the top 10.”The following is from Suzuki…Team Suzuki Alstare Brux riders Yukio Kagayama and Fonsi Nieto are looking forward to the seventh round of this year’s Superbike World Championship in USA and eager to battle for podiums at the Miller Motorsport Park. Both riders raced at the American circuit last year but, as this year’s K9 bike is all new and different to last year’s K8, both know a lot of work will have to be done during practice and qualifying. Fonsi will once again be standing in for regular Team Suzuki Alstare Brux rider Max Neukirchner, who is making good progress on his road to recovery.Yukio

This has not been an easy season for me and my team and we have to keep on working at improving this year’s bike so that we can challenge for the podiums. I want podiums every time I race, so I am a bit frustrated at the moment, but my team is working hard and I am trying my best. Last year in MIller, my results were so-so and my goal this year is to do better and catch the podium. Miller is a big, safe track but, like all tracks, you have to have a good bike set-up if you want good results. We need a good race set-up and then do well in Superpole, so that we have a chance of making good races.Fonsi

First, I want to wish Max a speedy recovery from his injuries. I am happy to help the team in the meantime and will do my best for them of course. Although the K9 is a very different bike to the K8 I rode last year, at least I know the team well and can rely on their hard work and help throughout the weekend. I didn’t like Kyalami at all, but Miller is a very different type of track and I am looking forward to racing there again. Although I have only ridden the K9 for one weekend, it does seem to require more work at finding a good set-up. But, unlike Kyalami, at least I know which way round the track goes and so I am hopeful of much better results.The following is from BMW…Round 7 of this year’s Superbike World Championship takes place at the Miller Motorsport Park, near Salt Lake City in USA and hopefully will produce better results for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport than the last round in South Africa. This is the second year that the Superbike World Championship visits the 4.907 kilometre Miller Motorsport Park in Utah and is the last flyaway race of the year before a busy June and July. After his absence in Kyalami, BMW Motorrad Motorsport rider Troy Corser is keen to get back into action and eager to get good results at a track where he finished runner up in the first race last year.Ruben

Kyalami was such a big disappointment for me and the team because we all felt we could get some good results there. To be taken out once is bad, but to be taken out twice was incredible! But we have to forget about Kyalami and focus on USA.

Miller racetrack is very different o Kyalami and has hardly any change of elevations. It is fairly flat and the run-offs are big, so it is a safe circuit. Although Troy and I raced there last year, we are now both on new bikes so will have to start the race weekend afresh. We have no data with our bike at this track and will have to try and get a good set-up as soon as we can. If we can find good set-ups quickly, do well in Superpole and get on to the third or even maybe the second row of the grid that would be a good base for the races.Troy

Missing Kyalami has given my hand a chance to get better and although I don’t like missing any races, I think it was the right decision because Kyalami is such a physical circuit. It’s going to take a bit of time for the hand to heal fully, but at least Miller is not such a demanding track. That doesn’t mean that it is an easy track, just that it is not so bad as some others. At Miller, we will have the usual problem of racing at a circuit from which we have no previous data for our bike. It’s our usual disadvantage and we have to try and get a good set-up for the race, a good set-up for Superpole, and qualify better. We have been having to work so hard in the early part of the races so far, because of our grid positions, so it would interesting (and a nice change) to see what would happen if we could qualify on the second or third row of the grid.Berti Hauser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director)

Another new track for us and a lot of work to do – as usual. We are happy to welcome back Troy and hope that he and Ruben can keep our improvement going in the right direction. Kyalami was a weekend to forget, regarding the race results, but our technicians received a lot of feedback and information from both Ruben and Steve and this helps our good progress to continue. At the moment, our improvement is not reflected in our results in Superpole qualifying and that is something that we have to work on. We have been very close to getting on to the second or third rows of the grid and if we could manage that, I’m sure the results would be better.The following is from Ducati…A busy month for the Ducati Xerox Team that, just back from Africa, now prepares to leave for the fifth continent to feature so far on the 2009 World Superbike calendar: America, and more specifically, Salt Lake City, the appointment that sees the international championship reach the half way mark, the seventh of fourteen rounds. At the last race which took place at Kyalami (South Africa) just eight days ago, the Ducati Xerox factory riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio couldn’t have ridden their 1198 bikes to a better result, scoring a double one-two in the day’s two races. Fabrizio has moved up to second place in the classification as a result, 85 points behind his team-mate, championship leader Haga. Ducati continues to hold the lead in the constructors championship ahead of second-placed Yamaha.This, the only Stateside event to appear on the World Superbike calendar, has been streamlined this time around with no AMA competition taking place during the race weekend. The majority of the World Superbike riders, including Noriyuki and Michel, got their first chance to race at this track this time last year and most came away with very favourable opinions of the circuit and its facilities. In 2008 Michel Fabrizio faired very well at this track, “new” to nearly all the riders, and put his 1098 on the podium in both of the day’s races. Noriyuki meanwhile, on board the factory Yamaha, had a more difficult weekend, suffering a crash and a resulting broken collarbone during the practice sessions. Although he bravely put up with the pain to race regardless of his injury, it was not easy an easy race day for the Japanese rider.Noriyuki Haga (1st in championship, 250 points)

Noriyuki does not have the best memories of last year’s inaugural Miller round, but hopes to consolidate his lead there this year, now he is on board the Ducati 1198.”I didn’t have a good time at Miller last year, and it was very painful to ride with a broken collarbone but I needed to fight for more points so I went ahead with the races. I hope to have a better time of it there this year and Iìm looking forward to riding my 1198 at Salt Lake. Although Ben will surely be the favourite to win at his home track, I intend to be up there fighting with him for the victory.”Michel Fabrizio (2nd in championship, 165 points)

A track that really seems to suit Michel’s riding style, he’ll be looking to improve on the two thirds he scored last year.

“I really got on well at this track, which was new for us all last year. Although I didn’t know the place, I went better there than at many of the other circuits last season, finishing third in both races, it seemed to be something of a “lucky track” for me! Now that I’m second in the championship, I plan to consolidate that position at Salt Lake, by taking the results I scored here last year and improving on them this year.”The following is from Miller Motorsports Park…When the HANNspree Superbike World Championship arrived at Miller Motorsports Park last year for its first North American appearance since 2004, there were no Americans competing in the series full-time.Things are different this year.Ben Spies, a 24-year-old from Texas, made the jump to the world stage for 2009 after winning three consecutive titles in the AMA Superbike Championship. He has taken the series by storm, winning pole position at all six events to date, all at tracks he had never raced on before in his life. Out of 12 races (two per event) to date, he has five wins, one second and one third and is currently third in the championship.His results have, admittedly, been somewhat feast-or-famine. When he hasn’t finished on the podium, he has crashed (twice, once while leading and once while running third), been run off the track (twice), run out of fuel while leading on the last lap (at Monza, Italy) or had his shift lever break while leading (at Kyalami, South Africa).Despite that, where once pundits were wondering whether he would be able to win a single race in his rookie World Superbike season, now they are wondering whether he can win the World Championship.Coming to Miller Motorsports Park should offer some reassurance for the tough Texan. In the six AMA Superbike races held here since the track opened in 2006, Spies has won five. Since the HANNspree Superbike World Championship Utah USA round is the series’ only North American appearance of the season, this is for all intents and purposes Spies’ “home” track.”It’s going to be good to be on a track I’m familiar with,” Spies said of Miller Motorsports Park. “It’ll be nice to go back and spend a little time at home and catch up with friends and family. I’m confident we can have a good result at Miller. I want to do what I can to win as many races as possible and see if by some miracle we can make a comeback in the series.”Not only will he be racing on a track he knows well, there will also be some familiar faces in the field. AMA star Jamie Hacking, one of Spies’ best friends, has been tapped as a replacement rider for injured Makato Tamada on the factory-backed Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki team. Hacking, who raced in World Superbike as a Wild Card entry at Laguna Seca in 1998 and 1999, finished second to Spies in both AMA Superbike races here last year.”I rode World Superbikes back when I first started racing, at Laguna Seca,” Hacking said. “Obviously, a lot has changed and I have more experience. I can’t really say what a realistic expectation would be without riding the bike, but Miller does seem to suit my style. Last year, it was our best track on the ZX-10R and I hope that we can try for a top ten.”Also, Honda rider Jake Zemke, the only man other than Spies to win an AMA Superbike race at Miller Motorsports Park (2006), will be riding in relief of injured fellow Californian John Hopkins for the privateer Stiggy Honda Racing team. Hopkins, who raced in MotoGP for the past eight years, moved over to World Superbike at the third round in Valencia, Spain, becoming the second full-time American in the series. Unfortunately, he crashed in the opening practice session at Round 4 in Assen, The Netherlands, suffering a dislocated hip and fractures in his ankle and foot that have sidelined him since.With three well-known American riders in the field, plus such well-known international stars as Japan’s championship-leading Noriyuki Haga (Ducati), Italy’s Max Biaggi (Aprilia), Australia’s Troy Corser (BMW) and Spain’s defending race winner Carlos Checa (Honda), fans are in for what is shaping up to be the best motorcycle racing weekend of the year in North America.The HANNspree Superbike World Championship Utah USA Round gets underway Friday, May 29. Support series will include the Supersport World Championship and the Larry H. Miller Superbike Challenge. Friday will include practice sessions, with additional practice and qualifying on Saturday as well as a race for the Larry H. Miller Superbike Challenge GTU class. Races for the Superbike World Championship, Supersport World Championship and the Larry H. Miller Superbike Challenge GTO class are scheduled for Sunday.Tickets for the World Superbike weekend are priced as follows: General Admission tickets are $27 Friday, $37 Saturday and $47 Sunday, or $77 for the weekend. Grandstand tickets are $42 Friday, $52 Saturday and $62 Sunday, or $122 for the weekend. Paddock Passes are $10 per day, or $25 for the weekend.For ticket information, visit

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