World Superbikes: Back In Action

Press Release | June 16, 2009

The following is from Ducati…Having spent the last weeks making long-haul trips to Africa and America, the Ducati Xerox squad can now enjoy a local trip, from Bologna as far as the Italian Adriatic Coast, for the eighth round of the World Superbike championship, taking place this weekend at the Misano World Circuit.The “home” track for Ducati in recent years, with the absence of Imola from the Superbike calendar, the Misano circuit generally also proves to be the hottest appointment of the season. Five different riders finished on the World Circuit podium in 2008, with then Ducati riders Bayliss, Xaus and Biaggi among them. This year’s Ducati Xerox factory riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio will be looking to reaffirm the strength of the Ducati Superbikes on home turf, with Noriyuki planning to return to form and strengthen his lead and Michel hopeful that two positive results can see him regain second position in the championship standings.At the last round held in America two weeks ago, of the two Ducati Xerox riders it was Michel to come away with the most points, doing exactly what he set out to do and improving on his results of last year at the Miller Motorsports track by taking a second and a third place finish. Noriyuki meanwhile struggled and suffered his least successful weekend of 2009 to date with an eighth and a ninth place finish.With half of the 2009 Superbike races now completed, Noriyuki holds 38 more points than last year’s leader, former Ducati Xerox rider Bayliss, held at the mid-way point and also has a greater points advantage over the second placed rider at this stage. If he makes the podium of both of Misano’s races, he will reach obtain the 100th podium finish of his Superbike career. Michel has already collected 201 championship points this year, compared to the 106 he held at this point in 2008. There is however still a long way to go, as Noriyuki and Michel both realise, and the key to success is clearly consistency.Last year’s Misano podium finisher, former Ducati Xerox rider and current World Champion Troy Bayliss will also be visiting Misano over the weekend in his role as Ducati ambassador, participating in signing sessions and assisting with prize-giving duties.Noriyuki Haga (1st in championship, 265 points)

This weekend will be Noriyuki’s tenth World Superbike event at Misano and the 34-year old Japanese rider is determined to bounce back after the somewhat disappointing results of Salt Lake.”The Misano track is very small and tricky with high-speed corners that require aggressive braking. I prefer the new layout but it remains nonetheless a difficult track for me, I don’t really know why. It’s always so hot there too, so the tyre choice really comes into play. Anyway, it will be good to be back in front of the Italian crowds, Misano has been the “home” race for Ducati in the last years so I’m sure it’ll be crowded with Ducatisti! After a crash and the less than perfect results at the last round of Salt Lake, I plan to be back on form and fighting to win at Misano.”Michel Fabrizio (3rd in championship, 201 points)

Michel has not had an easy time of it at this Italian track in the last three years; this needs to change in 2009.”Misano is not one of my favourite tracks as I’ve had a lot of bad luck there over the years and have never been able to get strong results. Having said that, the support of the fans there is always huge so I hope that this season they will spur me on to achieve my best ever Misano results! I’m back in third place in the championship but, after Salt Lake, me and Ben are extremely close now so I’ll be looking to bring home as many points as possible from the track this weekend.”The following is from Suzuki…Team Suzuki Alstare Brux rider Yukio Kagayama may be battered, bruised and nursing broken bones in his foot, but is determined to put on the best show he can in Misano this weekend. After seeing specialist Dr Ting in California, after the race in Salt Lake City, Yukio had been working on a rehabilitation programme in order to be as fit as he can for the San Marino round. Last year, Team Alstare Suzuki rider Max Neukirchner took a superb win in race one, but the young German is still sidelined through injury, so his place will be once again be taken by Spaniard Fonsi Nieto who will be having his third outing on the bike.Yukio

Each day I get better and although my body will not be prefect in Misano, it will be a lot better then it was on raceday in Salt Lake City. This season has been a tough one for our team and it’s not so common to have so many injuries, but we have to get on with and do the best we can.Last year my results at Misano were not wonderful (11th and 12th), so this year I wanted to do much better. Misano is not an easy track and if the weather is very hot, it is going to be a hard weekend for us all. But my job is to race and I want the best results I can get.Fonsi

Misano will be my third time on this bike and each time I go out on the track, the feeling gets better. The 2009 Suzuki is very different to the bike I rode last year, but I am getting very good support from the team and they are helping me understand this bike quickly.

For sure, Misano will be hot and when that happens it seems that our bike is more sensitive to the conditions than the other bikes. But we have to just work hard and see what we can get. I hope that it will be better than last year, when I got a 12th and a 10th.The following is from BMW…Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus are happy to be back on European soil and looking forward to the eighth round of the Superbike World Championship at Misano circuit this coming weekend. After a tough couple of flyaways, the team have been able to get the bikes back to their workshops for the first time since the Monza race and analyse all the data and feedback they received.For Troy, the gap between the USA round and now has given him a chance to find out what has been troubling his right shoulder during the Salt Lake City race weekend. He found out that his shoulder had been partially dislocated in the horror crash in Monza and that’s why he had problems with it every time he went out on the track. Since the discovery, Troy has been on an intensive programme of physiotherapy and his condition is now improving.Neither he nor Ruben are under any illusions about the task ahead and their continuing work, but both are keen to work on developing the S 1000 RR and getting back to good points scoring finishes. Both have good memories of Misano, with Ruben’s win last year the most recent, and both will be fighting for top ten finishes this weekend.Ruben

Well, I won a race in MIsano last year and of course it would be great to do that again, but this bike is new and we have a lot of work to do to put it on the podium this weekend. That’s not to say, it’s impossible, but the important thing is that we are improving the bike every time we go out on the track and as long as we are doing that, then my feeling is very positive. The bike has a lot of potential and it will not be that long before Troy, I and the team can show it.Troy

It’s good I found out that there was a problem with my shoulder because I had the feeling something was wrong – especially as I couldn’t lift my right arm above my shoulder! I’m not sure if it was fully dislocated or what, but I do know that it wasn’t in the right place. When the doc started manipulating it, he told me that putting it back in the right place might be a painful, and he was right! But after that, we started working on massages and physio and it began to get better.It’s been good for the team to get the bikes back to the workshops and look at all the info from South Africa and USA. I am sure they will have some ideas about which direction we should take at Misano and I think we will start improving again and the results will follow.Berti Hauser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director)

Being back in Europe has given us a chance to do a lot of work and get back to how we were before the long flyaway trip. It’s also been good that Troy has found out what his problem is and good that the right steps are being taken to improve his condition because we need both our riders to be strong. Even though Kyalami and Miller were not so good, in results terms, the great spirit of our team means that we want to fight hard and achieve the best results possible. We are all feeling very positive about Misano and looking forward to it.The following is from Infront Sports…After the overseas double-header in South Africa and USA, the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship returns to European soil for the start of the second half of the 2009 season. Round 8 of 14 will be held this weekend at the Misano World Circuit on Italy’s sun-kissed Adriatic Riviera, with the event holding the denomination of San Marino Round. The circuit in the Romagna region, a stone’s throw away from world-famous seaside resorts Rimini and Riccione, measures 4.226 km and has been the venue for 17 editions of the championship. It underwent a major restyling in 2007 with changes to the layout and sense of direction, which is now clockwise.Misano is a circuit where Ducati has always dominated. The Italian manufacturer has taken its twin-cylinder machines onto the podium 26 times in 34 races, leaving the other manufacturers with the crumbs: Honda 3 wins, Aprilia 2, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki 1.

As for riders, the most successful at Misano is three-times world champion Troy Bayliss with 6 wins, while Giancarlo Falappa, Regis Laconi and Ruben Xaus all have three apiece. Out of all the riders who have won at Misano, only two will be on the track this coming weekend, the BMW pairing of Troy Corser (2 wins) and Xaus, who was the last to take a victory, in race 2 twelve months ago. Both Régis Laconi (Ducati DFX) and Max Neukirchner (Suzuki), who have also won at Misano, the German in race 1 last year, are currently out of action with injuries.HAGA’S MISANO JINX – The splendid double win by Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) at Miller has reopened the title battle, which after South Africa appeared to be heading the way of Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox). The Japanese rider, bruised and battered in the Utah Round, still has a healthy lead over his rivals (53 points over the American and 64 over team-mate Michel Fabrizio), but is arriving at a circuit that is his ‘pet hate’ seeing as he has never won there. In 18 appearances, Haga has only scored three podiums at Misano, his best being in 2007 when he finished runner-up in race 2 behind Bayliss, while in the first he ended up on the ground after a contact with Max Biaggi, while they were fighting for second place.TWO’S COMPANY – Both Spies and Fabrizio are aiming to take away further points from the championship leader and they arrive at Misano as the riders most in form. The Texan doesn’t know the circuit but so far has always demonstrated that he has no problems in this area, and he is backed up by an ultra-competitive Yamaha YZF-R1. As for Fabrizio, the rider from Rome has made a quantum leap in quality recently, proving that he can fight for the win at every circuit, and he will be aiming high this time around.MISANO OUTSIDERS – At Misano, Superbike can often produce some major upsets and the heat will surely have a major effect on men and machines. The outsiders this weekend include Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing), who has been putting together a string of top 5 results recently. The RSV4 machine is getting closer to the top and the Italian will surely be a difficult opponent for everyone. The Noale manufacturer should bring some new material to Misano and Biaggi will be hoping to upset the applecart in front of his home fans.ON THE WAY UP – The Honda riders are now emerging as front-runners as well after a difficult start to the season. Jonathan Rea, Ryuichi Kiyonari, Carlos Checa (Ten Kate) and Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing) have all been on the podium at least once and the Miller race showed that the CBR 1000 RRs are not that far away from the level of Ducati and Yamaha. All eyes will in particular be on Rea, who is fast becoming a true contender. Progress is also being recorded by Kawasaki, who will enter American Jamie Hacking once again in place of the still convalescent Makoto Tamada as team-mate to Broc Parkes.SUZUKI AND BMW – The Suzuki Alstare team will again be present at Misano without the injured Max Neukirchner, who is expected to be back for Brno at the end of July. The team’s progress will continue to revolve around Yukio Kagayama, who is not exactly 100% fit after crashing in the USA, and Fonsi Nieto who is struggling to find the best possible feeling with the GSX-R 1000. Attention will also be focused on the BMW Motorrad team, which had a difficult time overseas, but the German squad has had an opportunity to analyze everything back in the factory workshop and both Corser and Xaus will be looking for improvements this weekend.SUPERSPORT – The Miller round saw Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) right back in contention, and now there are three men fighting for the world title: the Turkish rider, together with points leader Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) and his closest rival Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda). This trio of riders must be the favourites for the victory, together with Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), who won here last year and who also won his only Superbike race here as well. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) is called upon to give a further demonstration of his progress this season, while two Italian riders to watch at their home track include Michele Pirro (Yamaha Lorenzini) and Massimo Roccoli (Intermoto Honda), who scored his only World Supersport win at Misano in 2006.With the half-way point of the World Superbike and World Supersport Championships now reached the next race, at the Misano World Circuit this weekend, will be followed closely by the British round at Donington between 26 and 28 June.

Normally the Misano event is one of the hottest and most gruelling on the 14-round World Superbike calendar, with track surface temperatures usually the highest of the year.The following is from Honda…The forthcoming Misano race, officially the San Marino round, will feature a host of potential race winners in Honda colours, with Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) fourth overall and thus the highest placed Fireblade rider in Superbike. Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) sits second in the World Supersport Championship, only nine points from the lead.Rea and his team have overcome some early season issues with their machine set-up and all the Ten Kate riders underwent a further test session at Magny Cours, France recently, in order to take another step up the ladder of consistent competitiveness. Jonathan has two podium finishes to his credit so far in 2009, his debut season.Laverty is the closest Honda challenger to WSS series leader Cal Crutchlow, but after a superb late charge to victory at the Miller Motorsports Park in late May, Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) took his second win of the year, the overall championship fight opened up again. Laverty has three wins of his own now, with Crutchlow the winner of the remaining two races.The Superbike class has been as competitive in the midfield as could be expected in a season with large numbers of experienced riders and ambitious teams, which makes Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) particularly happy to have made such an early impact for his team, which is experiencing its first WSB season on top of existing WSS commitments. Haslam is sixth in the rankings after Miller, 11 points behind Rea.The top ten, in a championship with an impressive level of competition right down through the top 20 this year, has two more Honda riders in it, Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) in eighth place, and Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) ninth.John Hopkins (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) is set for his race return at Misano, having now recovered sufficiently from the broken hip he suffered at Assen in April.Matthieu Lagrive (Honda Althea CBR1000RR) has moved from the Supersport class to the Superbike class, to replace the outgoing Tommy Hill, allowing Italian rider Flavio Gentile (Althea Honda CBR600RR) to take over Lagrive’s Supersport ride. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Squadra Corse Italia Honda CBR1000RR) returns for this race after missing the two recent fly-away rounds in South Africa and America.Like his WSS team-mate Sofuoglu, Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) is on the way back to full competitiveness, having started the season well, then tailing off until recent rounds. He is fourth, tied on points with Spaniard Joan Lascorz, but Pitt has a better podium finishing record.A great start to the year by Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) has not continued the way he had planned, most recently because of lowly qualifying performances leaving the Australian rider too much to do in races to recover and fight for top positions. He is still inside the top six of the championship itself, thanks to podium finishes in Australia and Spain.Third at Kyalami was a breakthrough podium finish for Mark Aitchison (Althea Honda CBR600RR), as he sits eighth in the points table right now, despite his no score in America. Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) is out for his first top ten finish, despite the lingering effects of injury carried over from a crash at Miller.

Gianluca Vizziello (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) who came close to a top ten finish at Valencia, is looking for a better result than that in his second home race of 2009.Immediately after the Misano race, the teams head cross Europe once again, to Donington Park in England, for round nine.WSB Rider Comments.

Jonathan Rea: “It’ll be really cool to go to Misano – it’s a nice place to be and a good track that I enjoy riding at. I was on the podium there in Supersport last year. I really need to work on improving my qualifying because in the last few races, we seem to have had the pace all weekend but then, for one reason or another, ended up off the front row after Superpole. I’ve not started from the front since Australia but, if you’re not there, it makes the first lap really difficult.The bike development has been going in the right direction for me recently and that really motivates me and the rest of the crew to do the best job we can possibly do. We’ve just passed the halfway stage of the season and it’s important to deliver consistently good results now and, at some point, take it up to the next level. There’s still a gap to the guys ahead of us, but it’s a gap that we’ve managed to reduce slightly and that’s what we’ll keep working on.”Leon Haslam: “I am looking forward to the Misano event this weekend, for me it is another circuit I have not been to before. It looks like a great track to me, and it will be another challenge to quickly learn the track and get the bike competitive. After returning from the US, I have spent some time in Italy with my engine company Oral. They have made some further improvements to our engines and I am looking forward to testing the hard work on the track this weekend.”Ryuichi Kiyonari: “It was a little bit frustrating in America because the team worked so hard to give me a bike to put on the front row.

We showed that we had the pace to run at the front but the problems that appeared only in the races did not allow us to do that. But I think we have made good progress in the last few weeks and I want to continue that in Misano by returning to the podium. The results there last season were not so good but so far this year, things have been better when I return to a track that was new last year. As always I will try my best for a good result.Carlos Checa: “I like the circuit at Misano a lot, although we suffered from quite a bit of chatter there last year. It would be good to get back on the podium again, after the first race at Miller two weeks ago. The second race there was not so good but the feature of the circuit where I crashed is not something you find anywhere else. The important thing from the last race is that we had enough pace to fight for podium finishes. The bike felt really good and we want to carry that to Italy and through the second half of the season.”John Hopkins: “Misano is a track I do like a lot. I had some decent results there in the past, and got on the podium in the 2007 MotoGP race. It is a circuit I enjoy well, and the audience is always great. People really take a liking towards the World Superbike series, and I expect the atmosphere to be similar to the one we received at the MotoGP races. It is going to be an exciting race and hopefully I can be out there from the start. Right now, I am not going to make any promises of running at the front of the field. I am just taking it step-by-step and focus on getting a good feeling with the bike again and set the best possible results for the team and myself.”Matthieu Lagrive: “This will be my first race with the Honda Althea Superbike team. I never raced in World Superbike before and so I will have to familiarize with my new CBR1000RR starting from Friday’s free practices. I have already raced with an Endurance spec Fireblade, but I know this will be a completely different bike. I know the team’s technical staff and I’m sure they’ll help me adapt quickly to the new machine.”

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