Talking Monza

Press Release | May 11, 2009

The following is from Suzuki…The fifth round of this year’s Superbike World Championship at Monza will be one to forget for Team Suzuki Alstare Brux after a serious crash on the opening lap of the first race ended with Max Neukirchner breaking his right femur and suffering three broken bones in the lower leg and foot.He was in the lead going into the chicane but was hit by another bike that had crashed a few metres or so behind. The impact forced him onto the grass and it was obvious straight away that he was in considerable pain.Brendan Roberts and his bike were also involved in the crash and both riders had to receive attention for some time trackside. The race was red-flagged almost at once and six bikes were taken on trucks back to the pits.After a long delay, the race was restarted and team mate Yukio Kagayama rode fantastically to take a well-earned fourth place. In race two, he was given a ride-through penalty and was dead last when he rejoined the race after five laps. Despite some vibration from his bike, he kept going, only to finish out of the points in 17th place.Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) won the first race, much to the delight of the home fans with team mate Noriyuki Haga second and Ryuichi Kiyonari third.Yukio Kagayama – Race 1: 4th, Race 2: 17th:”I made not so bad a start and was fourth after lap one and trying to stay with the top group. I was having problems with Biaggi, because although I could close in on him on the brakes, his bike would always accelerate better than mine out of the turns. After 12 laps or so, my tyre was nearly at the limit and the grip level was not good. I just kept pushing as hard as I could without taking any big risks and managed fourth place.”In race two, I made a good start but my bike was vibrating a bit. Then I got a ride-through penalty and was last. It was difficult catching up again – especially as my bike was still vibrating – but I managed to overtake some riders and get 17th. I’m not so happy today because I thought my results would be a lot better. I cannot fault my mechanics because they have worked very well and we found a good feeling with the bike which makes me feel very positive for the next race. So thank you to my staff.”The following is from Honda…Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda Racing CBR1000RR) followed a third place qualification in Superpole with two third place finishes in the Word Superbike races at Monza, in a day full of drama and upset in the championship fight.The first Superbike race was stopped after a first chicane incident which led to three separate but related crashes involving five riders, one of whom was 21st place qualifier Tommy Hill (Honda Althea CBR1000RR). The subsequent one-hour delay caused further changes of schedule through the day, although race two started on time.Once more Kiyonari led the Honda charge, having his best day of the year so far in WSB, and moving into the top ten overall.Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) scored a fifth in race one and a fourth in race two, the latter an impressive result, just seven seconds from the winner after starting in sixth position on the grid.A day of contrast for Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR), now fourth in the overall championship, came after he improved from a qualifying place of 17 in Superpole, but was forced out of race one with a fuel problem, while in race two he rallied well and took a fine seventh.Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) suffered a lack of outright competitiveness after earning a gird slot of ninth, finishing ninth in race one and tenth in the second leg of the meeting.In race one Jake Zemke (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR), riding as a substitute for the injured John Hopkins, overcame a qualifying place of 25th to ride to 18th in race one, but was unable to keep that pace in race two, and was classified 20th.Tommy Hill finished the restarted race one in 20th place, in race two he came home 16th, just one place away from a point. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Squadra Corse Italia Honda CBR1000RR) finished race one 21st, but was forced out of race two.In the overall rankings, Noriyuki Haga is still leading, on 200 points, Monza race two winner Ben Spies is second on 146, race one winner Michel Fabrizio is third with 125. Haslam holds fourth place only 22 points behind, the last rider with over 100 points after ten individual races. Rea is eighth with 77 and Kiyonari tenth with 65.Ryuichi Kiyonari said: “I am so happy to get these results for myself and for the team. We have worked very hard to find a good setting with the CBR1000RR this season but we have not always had good luck. My start was very bad in race one but I was able to fight back lap-by-lap during the race, although I was very surprised and happy when they told me I was third. In the second race I had a better start and I must say I am a little disappointed. I had the speed to catch Fabrizio but not quite enough to get past him. But this is my best result for a long time and I hope it indicates the start of a better part of the season for me and the team.”Leon Haslam said: “I went out on my second bike today, which I hadn’t been riding all weekend, and took a bit of a gamble with it. We had some issues with the fuelling and the suspension, but we decided to stay with the set up we used in Assen. It took me a few laps to get into it, but I was able to run a good pace. The pace in the end of the race was definitely good enough for a place on the rostrum. It was a tough weekend, with bad qualifying results and a disappointing first race. To finish the second race in seventh race place is a good enough result, so I am pretty happy.”Jonathan Rea said: “We just had a few problems with the bike in the latter stages of the race, I don’t know whether it’s the light fuel load or what, but it developed a bit of chatter which was quite hard to dial out after race one. I got busted by a pretty hard move by Laconi in that race and, by the time I’d got back past him, I’d lost touch with the leading group. In Race 2 I got a much better start and tried really hard to catch Fabrizio and Kiyo, but they had a little more left in the tank at the end. Still, I’ve equalled my best Superbike result and we’ve shown that we can race at the front now.”Carlos Checa said: “It is not so exciting to fight for tenth place but this is what it is at the moment. At the beginning things were not so bad, but we were carrying some of the limitations of before. Entry points and there was still some jumping in the rear, it was difficult to get side grip on throttle opening, and I was struggling to get to the front group.”Tommy Hill said: “Race one was really very difficult for us. Immediately after the start there was a big crash in the first chicane, someone bumped into my bike and I crashed. We were able to restart the race, as I did not injure myself, although I was forced to use my second bike & I struggled with the same problems I have found during the qualifying session. I tried to ride aggressive but I couldn’t really chase the riders in front of me and the only thing I could do was try and finish the race.”Jake Zemke said: “It is definitely not the weekend that I wanted to have. I want to thank the team for all the hard work they put. They bent over backwards to get to a point were I was happy on the bike, but we just never got there.

Race one went a lot better then race two, we made some changes and thought they would help us, but they didn’t, and then the ride through penalty for cutting the chicane just finished the race for me.”The following is from Yamaha…It was a dramatic race day in Monza today for the World Superbike Championship as Yamaha rider and pole position starter Ben Spies again suffered the two extremes of racing, the victory and victory snatched away. Race one only made it to the first chicane on lap 1 as the Superbikes compressed into the tight first chicane. Tamada fell just before the corner, his bike sliding down the grass and across the track, causing collisions with Corser, Hill, Roberts and Neukirchener in the ensuing carnage. A red flag was issued and the race restarted. The race then became a battle at the front between Haga, Fabrizio and Spies for the lead. By lap nine Spies had a one second advantage over the Ducatis as they fought for second, Fabrizio ending up the stronger and closing in.Three laps from the end Fabrizio drafted Spies on the main straight to take the lead going into the first chicane, only for Spies to take it back on the penultimate lap. The Yamaha rider then led convincingly and was looking a certainty for the win until running out of fuel as he took the Parabolica corner for the last time heading for the start finish straight.He managed to coast to the line but was in 15th position by the time he passed the chequered flag. Team-mate Tom Sykes started well from tenth on the grid and was eighth by the end of the first lap. Consistent race pace saw him take two more positions over the duration, crossing the line in sixth to take more points.Race two saw Spies hungry to make up the misfortune of race one. Off the line he slipped into second behind Haga briefly before moving into the lead when Haga was struck by a bird on the first corner. From this point his win was never in doubt as the Texan put his head down and laid down lap after lap of fast perfect lines, adding a second gap per lap between himself and second position Fabrizio. As the race tipped over halfway point Spies slowed to ensure the issue of race one was not repeated, taking the chequered flag over 2.6 seconds ahead of second placed Fabrizio.British rider Sykes had another consistent race in the second outing of the day, moving up from tenth to sixth position, but was unable to find the extra pace to pass fifth placed Biaggi by the end of the race.Ben Spies leaves Monza having closed the gap to championship leader Haga, he heads to Kyalami with 146 points, 54 behind the lead. Sykes heads to South Africa having moved up to fifth in the championship on 90 points and now trails Haslam by only 13.Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team, (15th, 1st)

“Race one was a tough pill to swallow, it was a hard one to get by but that’s racing I guess. Race two I had a clear strategy and made sure I got into a really good rhythm in the first 12 to 14 laps to build a safety buffer. Obviously we had a problem at the end of race one which I didn’t want to repeat so slowed a bit there and short shifted a bit to make sure everything was good to the end. The bike was good and could have run fast times all the way through but I wanted to make sure we got this one in the bag. The Yamaha team did great regrouping after race one and me too I think! Hopefully we can keep going and improving from here. I want to say congratulations for Michel in race one, but I couldn’t give it to him so easily in race two.”Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team, (6th, 6th)

“In race one I got away ok, but the problem was getting stuck in that first chicane as I was starting from row three. As soon as it bottled up everything got spread out and unfortunately the lead group spread a long way and was hard to catch. I got past a couple of people and to be honest I thought I was going to catch them but halfway through the race I suffered from some brake fading. It was very unfortunate. In race two I got off the line fairly decently and had good race pace, I was looking quite strong but not able to get that last little bit. I guess it was one of those weekends, I’ve been fairly fast and consistent but spoilt it a bit with the qualifying. I’m very confident in the bike and the team, especially for Kyalami and hope to have better memories after the race than when I tested there! All in all good weekend, two more scores on the board and moving up to fifth in the championship is great.”Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

“The first race was very frustrating for us but I think Ben proved what he is capable of. A big thank you to him because he answered race one in the best possible way. We seem to have either 25 points or 0 in races at the moment! I am very optimistic about the next two races because in South Africa Ben was really fast with an almost standard bike, and now we know the performance of the R1 is better so we think we can do a really good job. Miller should also be good as it’s a home track for Ben. In the end we have reduced the leadership gap to Nori which is good. Tom was really consistent today, he’s coming better and better every race weekend and without making mistakes in the race. I think as the second part of the championship approaches he will get stronger and stronger. A big thanks to the team and also the suppliers who helped us to be ready with the new colours in time for this weekend.”The following is from BMW…Ruben Xaus gave Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport their best result so far with a superb seventh in the first race at Monza today. He then followed it up with a solid ninth in the second race to make it his best weekend in five rounds and shows that he and the bike are making progress every time out.His team mate Troy Corser was involved in a horrific crash on the opening lap of race one, when he was hit in the neck and back of head by another rider’s fallen bike. Troy was winded and was stretchered off, but fortunately he was able to get back to the pits under his own steam. Despite being bruised and battered, Troy decided to take part in the restarted race, but suffered another crash on the approach to the Parabolica on lap one. Luckily he was not injured seriously but he and the team decided to err on the side of safety and therefore not take part in race two.Italian Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) won the first race, much to the delight of the home fans, with team mate Noriyuki Haga second and Ryuichi Kiyonari third. American Ben Spies (Yamaha) won race two, to make up for the disappointment of running out of fuel in race one whilst contending the lead. Second was Michel Fabrizio , with Kiyonari third again.Ruben – Race 1: 7th, Race 2: 9th

I am happy to give the team our best result of the season so far and happy that I managed another top ten finish in he second race. My seventh place result is also for Troy and the whole team because everybody has worked so hard for this. My race two result could’ve been better, but I made a really bad start and then got nudged by somebody in the chicane. I recovered and was happy fighting for eighth with Smrz, Parkes and Laconi but I just couldn’t get past Smrz for eighth.

But generally, my race pace was good today and I think our result is also very good considering how little time we have in practice and qualifying. If we continue to make this good progress, we will be fighting for places even further up.Troy – Race 1: DNF, Race 2: DNS

I got hit by another bike on the first lap of the first race and was lucky not to get hurt. I was on my knees and a bike caught the back of my head and forced my helmet down on to the tarmac and gave it a big thump. I managed to get off the track and on to the grass, but I was winded so I just laid down on the grass. I could see that some straw bales were protecting some other riders and I thought that there would be a red flag. I just wanted to get my breath back, but the marshals insisted on putting me on a stretcher and taking me to the ambulance. As soon as I had got my breath back, I got up and walked back to the pits for the restart of the race. The team didn’t put any pressure on me to start the race, but I felt OK and decided to try. Unfortunately, I got sucked into a four or five rider draft going into the Parabolica and found myself going in a bit too hot. I tried to brake as normal and drift a bit wide but Muggeridge came across and I had to choose between hitting him or braking harder than normal and possibly crashing. I put more pressure on the brakes and I guess you know what happened then! Yep, a crash. I went along the tarmac and then the gravel feet first, flipped a couple of times and was very lucky not to hurt myself any more. I felt pretty bruised and battered and we decided not to risk anything by starting the second race. It was all a big shame because I thought we’d get some good results today. But anyway, congratulations to Ruben for getting seventh and showing everybody that we are improving all the time.Berti Hauser (Director BMW Motorrad Motorsport)

This weekend was one of both shadows and sunshine, but I am happy that Troy survived the horror crash in race one and was able to take part in the restart. I’m also happy that he didn’t hurt himself when he had the second crash and the decision not to start race two was definitely the right one. He has been riding with an injured hand all weekend (a crack in the bone of his left hand) and there was no point risking any further injury. The sunshine was Ruben’s seventh in race one and a ninth in race two. He’s improving for sure and it shows that we are pushing hard, going forward and getting more and more competitive. I want to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to Max Neukirchner and hope he has a speedy recovery after that terrible crash.The following is from Ducati…the Italian public were witness to a first race that finished in the best possible way for the Ducati Xerox Team this afternoon at the Italian circuit of Monza. Michel Fabrizio took his first ever Superbike win and his team-mate Noriyuki Haga followed him across the line to take second. Noriyuki did not have such a fortunate time in Race 2 but Michel meanwhile returned to the podium, this time in second, concluding his most successful Superbike weekend yet.Race 1 was spectacular right from the opening seconds as, immediately after the start an accident occurred involving several riders as they rode through the first curve, necessitating a red flag and a restart. Nearly an hour later the race began again and both the Ducati riders got off to a flying start. For the first four laps Michel and Noriyuki led the race in first and second place respectively. They were then passed during the fifth lap by an ever faster Spies, yet they were able to hold second and third, both doing their utmost to catch the American rider. Having closed the gap significantly by the last couple of laps, neither rider expected that Spies’ bike would come to a stop just short of the finishing line, allowing Michel to cross the line first, followed two tenths of a second later by his team-mate Noriyuki.In Race 2 both Ducati Xerox riders made another strong start with Noriyuki in the lead after the first corner but at the very next bend he was hit by a bird that caused an immediate loss of sensation in his right arm. He continued on for another lap despite having lost many positions but the blow that he had taken was so strong that he was unable to break at the Parabolica causing his to come off. The ensuing battle between Michel and Kiyonari allowed Spies to increase his lead, but Michel was not giving up and won the battle with the Japanese rider to finish once again on the Monza podium, this time in second place.The doctors of the Clinica Mobile saw Noriyuki immediately after his accident and Doctor Corbascio declared that Nori has suffered from a severe contusion to his right bicep, but that there are no fractures, just a laceration of the muscle.Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – 2nd)

“I am so happy with today’s results. It’s gone well all weekend so I knew I had the chance to fight for the win and at last I’ve done it! Mid way through race 1 I was having trouble with the gears, especially when Ben passed me, but I didn’t give up and fought till the end. It’s a shame for Ben that the race finished as it did because it makes mine a bit of a false win but I’m very pleased of course. Race 2? Well Ben deserved the win in the first race so I’m pleased he took it instead in Race 2. I had to ride the second bike in Race 2 and for some reason I found it tricky at the start, I didn’t have a great feeling and couldn’t push but after a few laps I just concentrated on reaching the podium again and then it became easier. I thank my whole team for giving me such a fantastic bike this weekend. The double win I’ll leave for the next race!”Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – DNF)

“Right at the start of Race 2 I was hit by a bird on my right arm; it hurt a lot and I lost all sensation, with strong pain and pins and needles in my right arm and hand. I tried to continue to race but it was too difficult to ride and as a result I unfortunately fell. Yes it hurts but I should be back in top shape very soon. Race 1 went much better for me of course and I really enjoyed the racing against Ben and Michel. I though at the end that I would surely end third but then Ben’s bike stopped so close to the finish line and I finished in second as a result. I’m sorry for him as he deserved the win and this year me and him will continue to battle it out. Despite the Race 2 result I still hold a 54 point advantage and so I’m satisfied with that.”Filippo Preziosi – Ducati Corse Technical Director

“We saw two exciting races today and it’s great that Michel is finally celebrating his first race win after so many second and third place finishes in the past. To take the win in Italy obviously makes victory even sweeter. I’m sorry for what happened to Nori, a very unusual occurrence, but I guess this is racing. We know that we have two extremely strong riders and we are very satisfied.”

By Press Release