The following is from Ducati…The Nürburgring (Germany), Tuesday 1st September: The Ducati Xerox Team are back from their holidays and now pack their bags for round 11 of the World Superbike Championship, the action taking place this time at Germany’s legendary Nürburgring. Since the last round at Brno, the Superbike circus has taken its traditional summer break, six weeks in length this year, giving the riders a substantial period in which to rest and recuperate in preparation for the final push. Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio have enjoyed the time off, Noriyuki returning home to Japan to see family and friends and Michel passing the time at home in Rome.Both riders, who between them have put the Ducati Xerox Team on the podium in nineteen of the twenty races held so far, are fighting fit and ready for the all important final four rounds of the World Superbike Championship.Last time out, on the Czech track of Brno more than a month ago, Michel crashed out of Race 1 but climbed onto the podium in the second race, consolidating his third place position in the overall rider classification. Noriyuki, less than 100% fit and riding with fractures to his right ulna and left shoulder blade, knew that it would be hard to fight for podiums and finished the races in eighth and sixth position, taking valuable points that means he maintains his championship lead going into the eleventh round.The infamous Ring returned to the Superbike calendar in 2008 after an eight year absence. The June appointment saw two wet races, the first restarted and the second cut short due to the adverse weather conditions. On board the factory Yamaha, Noriyuki powered his way to the double win at the Ring last season, also taking the lap record in the process, and the Ducati Xerox squad is hopeful he can do a similar job with his Ducati 1198 this year. Michel’s first experience of the track was last year’s race weekend, and although the Italian rider came away with good points, he will be looking for a big improvement this year, to maintain the performance level that has seen him finish ten of the last twelve races on the podium.Noriyuki Haga (1st in championship, 326 points) “I got a great result at Nürburgring last year and hope to be able to do the same again this time around. It’s a really nice track though last year was pretty wet for race day which made things interesting! Anyway I’m feeling much stronger than I was at Brno and, after a relaxing holiday back home in Japan, I’m totally ready to continue the fight for the world title.”Haga’s Superbike form at the Nürburgring:
2008: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – winner
1999: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 6th
1998: Race 1 – 5th, Race 2 – 7thMichel Fabrizio (3rd in championship, 273 points) “Brno didn’t go to plan and so in the last four races, starting at Nürburgring, I really need to make up points, with the aim to be on the podium every weekend. I’m in good shape and after the long break I’m more than ready to get back on the bike and try to maintain my recent run of podiums.”Fabrizio’s Superbike form at the Nürburgring:
2008: Race 1 – 7th, Race 2 – 6thThe following is from BMW…This year’s eleventh round of the Superbike World takes place at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany and will see a new face in Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport. Ruben Xaus has been advised by his doctors not to race this coming weekend, so the team are giving a chance to young Briton Richard Cooper to ride with Troy Corser.Twenty-six year old Richard has been racing in the British Superstock 1000 Championship this season, but also had a one-off British Superbike ride at Mallory Park, when he finished a superb 5th after leading the race for three laps. He is no stranger to BMW, having raced the BMW HP2 Sport in the World Endurance Championship last year and has also been a regular competitor in the BMW Boxer Cup. He tested the S 1000 RR racebike at the Eurospeedway Lausitz recently, but the Nürburgring will be his first ever WSBK race.Troy
I like the Nurburgring and it has been a good circuit for me in the past and, after a recent tests and the race in Brno in the last round, I am really looking forward to this coming weekend. There is going to be a lot of interest and attention on us this weekend because it is the team’s ‘home’ race and all of us want to do well for our fans and our sponsors.
It is a shame that Ruben cannot race this weekend but I’m sure that the right decision has been made. It’s far better for him to return when he is stronger and fitter. I’m happy that Richard is stepping in this weekend for Ruben. I have met him a few times, especially at Brands Hatch recently. He’s young, fast and good prospect for the future and I’m sure he’ll do a good job for the team. I’ll give him whatever helps he needs and although he’s young (and looks even younger!) he’s pretty experienced already, so maybe he won’t need it!Richard
It’s a great honour to be asked by the team to ride in place of Ruben and I will do my very best for sure. This ride is like a dream come true, but I am under no illusions about the massive task waiting for me this weekend. I have never raced at the Nurburgring before, but at least I have tested the S 1000 RR racebike, so I have some knowledge of it before going out for my first laps.My first impressions of the bike were very good and I was surprised and pleased how smooth it felt and how good the power delivery was. I will be under no pressure from the team this weekend and all they want me to do is ride the bike and try and enjoy the experience.
Ruben and I are very different physically – I am a lot shorter and weigh a lot less – so my first job is to get the bike set up for me. It’s not nice stepping into somebody else’s shoes, and I wish Ruben a speedy recovery, but this is a great opportunity for me and I will be giving it my best shot.Ruben
I saw my specialist today and he advised me not to race and, for once in my life, I am going to be sensible and do what a doctor says! It was always going to be difficult getting fit enough to race at the ‘Ring and although my physio and rehabilitation has been going better than expected, I think the decision not to race is the right one. I didn’t want to come to the Nurburgring and ride at only 80%. I am still on crutches at the moment and cannot put my full body weight on my right leg, so it is better that I sit this one out because I will then have another three weeks and be much stronger for the Imola race at the end of September. It would be a disaster, if I raced this weekend and did some more damage, but I shall miss getting on the bike for sure – especially as it is the team’s ‘home’ race. I would like to wish the team all the best this weekend and hope that Richard does well and enjoys himself.The following is from InFront Sports…The 2009 Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship is back in action following the summer break with the eleventh round of the championship taking place at Germany’s legendary Nurburgring circuit, an hour or so from Bonn. The German Round is the first in a series of the final four (the others being Imola, Magny-Cours and Portimao), which will lead to the crowning of the 2009 world champion. The eventual winner will now come from a short-list of three: points leader Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox), Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) and Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox).The Nurburgring circuit is one of the most spectacular in the world, with its 5.137 km layout offering numerous unique features. Each lap is made up of 17 curves, some of which, in particular the three after the start-finish line, are extremely tricky from a technical point of view, while the track surface is exceptional in both wet and dry conditions.World Superbike has been to the Nurburgring three times: twice before the track underwent modifications (1998-1999) and then last year. The winners were Aaron Slight (Honda) and Pierfrancesco Chili (Ducati) in 1998, while the following year Ducati scored a double with Carl Fogarty and Troy Corser. Nine years later the German track was witness to another double win, this time by Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia), who pulled off this incredible feat just two weeks after breaking his collarbone in the previous US Round at Miller Motorsports Park.STAR WARS – The memories of Haga’s amazing performance twelve months ago could be just what the Ducati rider needs to galvanize him into action, as he arrives in Germany in a similar position due to his recovery from the injury he suffered two races back at Donington. The Japanese rider will have to be on top form indeed to hold off his closest rival Ben Spies, who is currently on the crest of a wave with three wins in the last four races. There are just 7 points between the two at the moment and the German Round could see a sensational changeover at the top. Ducati Xerox team-mate Michel Fabrizio could also play a key role in proceedings this weekend. Not only is the young Italian in the midst of the title battle, albeit 53 points behind Haga and 46 behind the Texan (with 200 points still up for grabs), but team strategy could also play a major role. At Brno he unwittingly took Spies out of the action thus allowing Haga to keep the championship lead, but in Germany he could easily take away points from the American with careful race tactics.APRILIA ON THE MOVE – After the last round Max Biaggi and Aprilia will now surely be key players at the German track. The win at Brno helped to boost morale in the Italian team and even though it came at a circuit where the RSV4 had already been tested, it goes without saying that the four-cylinder machine from the Noale factory is making major progress towards the top in its return season in WSB. Biaggi raced here last year and can undoubtedly give the right indications to the Aprilia engineers to get the RSV4 machine to the top this time around.WATCH OUT FOR HONDA – The Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team have had an up and down season so far but at least they have seen the rise of Jonathan Rea, the only winner for the Japanese manufacturer this year and surely one of the men to watch in WSB in the future. Rea is a true fighter and the German track, which he is familiar with after racing here in Supersport, is another chance for him to shine. Carlos Checa has shown signs of a renaissance in recent races, while over in the Stiggy Racing Honda camp Leon Haslam aims to put in another solid performance to become top Honda man ahead of Rea. Further possible surprises could come from Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati), who is having an excellent second half of the season.BMW PLAY AT HOME – The BMW Motorrad men showed major improvement at Brno, with Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus both capable of getting onto row 2 in Superpole and the Australian bringing home the best result of the season for the team with a fifth place finish. The German squad is working hard to close the gap on the frontrunners, and with their home round ahead BMW obviously want to make a good impression. It hasn’t been an idle summer for Kawasaki either as the Paul Bird Motorsport team raced successfully in a BSB round at Brands Hatch, giving an opportunity for Broc Parkes to try out some new material, while the injured Makoto Tamada remained at home to recover for the race. Over in Suzuki Alstare the Belgian squad cannot count on their top rider Max Neukirchner, who was injured again in Imola testing. After racing singleton at Brno, Yukio Kagayama will be flanked by Karl Muggeridge, released from his contract by the Celani team, which will not be present in Germany.Points (after 10 of 14 rounds): 1. Haga 326; 2. Spies 319; 3. Fabrizio 273; 4. Rea 206; 5. Biaggi 200; 6. Haslam 180; 7. Sykes 150; 8. Checa 145; 9. Byrne 134; 10. Smrz 132. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 412; 2. Yamaha 362; 3. Honda 306; 4. Aprilia 207; 5. Suzuki 133; 6. BMW 87; 7. Kawasaki 53SUPERSPORT – Just when everything appeared to be going Cal Crutchlow’s way, the gremlin that sidelined the Yamaha man at Brno has meant the battle for the title is wide-open once again. The Coventry rider now has just a 17 points advantage over Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda), the only man who can take the title away from him. Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) is still in with a mathematical chance but the 2007 champion is 57 points down with four rounds remaining and has little chance of making up that disadvantage. Crutchlow can count on the full support of his team-mate Fabien Foret, who scored his first win of the season in the Czech Republic. Another surefire frontrunner will be Spain’s Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Provec), who is having an excellent season, while following his re-emergence at Brno, Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda) will be hoping to continue his good run of form. Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) officially abdicated the title he won in 2008 one race ago, but wants to salvage something from this season in a race he won last year. Other Supersport men to watch will be evergreen Garry McCoy on the dark green Triumph ParkinGo 675 bike, and Italians Massimo Roccoli (Intermoto Czech Honda) and Michele Pirro (Yamaha Lorenzini), who comes to Germany just days after taking his first-ever domestic title in the category.Points (after 10 of 14 rounds): 1. Crutchlow 185; 2. Laverty 168; 3. Sofuoglu 128; 4. Lascorz 122; 5. West 95; 6. Foret 88; 7. Pitt 85; 8. Mccoy 63; 9. Aitchison 61; 10. Fujiwara 52. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 211 2. Yamaha 210 3. Kawasaki 133; 4. Triumph 77; 5. Suzuki 30The following is from Suzuki…YUKIO AND MUGGAS TAKE ON THE ‘RING.
The eleventh round of this year’s Superbike World Championship takes place at the Nurburgring in Germany and Team Suzuki Alstare Brux will have to do without the services of Max Neukirchner. The young German underwent two operations a few weeks ago and his doctors have advised him to give the race miss and continue his rehabilitation. It is a particular blow for Max, for not only is it his home race, but last year he took two podiums at the event and has been looking forward to repeating the feat. In his absence, former Alstare Supersport rider Karl (Muggas) Muggeridge will race the GSX-R1000 K9 and support Yukio Kagayama. Yukio
Last year I missed the race because I broke a bone in my hand after crashing in the Saturday free practice session, so this year I hope that I will be able to do both races at the very least! We have had a long break since the last race and I am itching to get back on my bike again and hungry for some good results. It is a shame that Max will not be racing this weekend and I would like to wish him a speedy recovery. Nurburgring is not an easy circuit because there are many changes of elevation and some slow corners, but I hope we can find a good bike set-up early on, have a good Superpole and then a good day on Sunday.Muggas
Firstly I would like to wish Max all the best and say, ‘get well soon mate’. This coming weekend is a nice opportunity to work with Alstare again. The last time was when I raced Supersport for them in 2001 and it’s good to see that many of the mechanics are the same ones I knew then. That will make my life easier when we start working with the bike on Friday for sure. The team are not putting any pressure on me at all and have told me to just ride the bike and do the best I can. I have spent some time with the Alstare mechanics and have seen the differences between the bike and the Suzuki I raced earlier this year. I think that the biggest difference will be the handling and the electronics . These days it takes quite a lot of time to understand the electronics and the changes that can be made and the quicker I can understand them, the better it’ll be. I’m really looking forward to the weekend, even though I know it’s not going to be an easy one, but whatever happens I will give it my best shot.Max
Firstly I would like to wish Yukio and Karl all the best for this weekend and hope the results will be good. I will be at the Nürburgring and supporting the team, even though it’s going to be a bit frustrating just watching. A few weeks ago I went to my specialist and then had two operations – one on my back and one on my side. The operations went very successfully and now I am able to carry on my rehabilitation with static cycling and swimming again. I had some screws put in my back and a metal plate in my side and now I do not have to wear a body cast anymore, which makes life more comfortable. It has been a bit frustrating at times, but now I am much more happy because I can train again and can look forward to getting back on my bike. I will come to the Nurburgring and discuss everything with Francis about the next couple of months and I hope to also meet a lot of my fans. I have had great support from my fans and sponsors and many good wishes from others, including a nice one from Ruben Xaus. Same to you, Ruben, and take my advice and don’t come back until you are properly fit!The following is from Honda…Round 11 of the World Superbike Championship takes place at the 5.137km Nürburgring circuit in Germany this coming weekend with three Honda riders inside the top eight positions; the highest placed being Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) in fourth.WSB rookie Rea took his debut race win at Misano in June and now has a clear target in mind for Germany, and the rest of the championship rounds, mixing it with the podium riders each time out.Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) made up ground in the overall championship fight in the World Supersport class at the previous Brno round, cutting long-time leader Cal Crutchlow’s advantage to 17 points. Laverty has never raced at the Nürburgring before, but was able to complete a short test session recently, which should allow him to save time in practice for what is yet another crucial round.Nürburgring now hosts WSB for the second time in the most recent history of this race series, although it has been used before in earlier times. Located immediately adjacent to the former GP venue of the Nordschleife, the ‘new’ Nürburgring is something of a modern classic, with a great variety of corners and elevation changes.Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) has experienced some strongly contrasting fortunes this year, having posted two fine wins yet struggling unexpectedly at some other rounds. He is currently third in the rankings, 40 points from second place and 57 from the lead.Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) was the top ranked Honda rider for some time this year, but has recently slipped back to sixth place overall. His most immediate target is Max Biaggi, 20 points ahead in fifth place. Haslam arrives in Germany looking to add to his total of four podium finishes in 2009 so far.A remarkable ride to second place at Brno last time out was the best finish for Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) since a runner-up spot in round three at Valencia. His 20 Brno points helped place him fifth in the championship, just ahead of race winner, Fabien Foret.Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) rode well at Brno on his ever-improving technical package to go eighth overall, with his fellow Ten Kate rider Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) now 11th in the standings. Checa was second in race one at Brno, jointly his best individual result of the year.American star John Hopkins (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) has had good reason to enjoy his summer break, as he used the time to help his seriously injured hip heal back to its previous strength. He is another Nürburgring new boy, as this is his first WSB season.A great, if unexpected, mid-season introduction to WSB for Matthieu Lagrive (Honda Althea CBR1000RR) has seen him improve his go 19th in the standings after only three rounds.In Supersport reigning champion Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) is out to regain the form and machine set-up that allowed him to secure two podiums in the first two races of the year. He won the Nürburgring race last year, on his way to his second world championship success. Mark Aitchison (Althea Honda CBR600RR) is two places behind his countryman Pitt in the current order, ninth overall.Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) is one of the riders who has good memories of the Nürburgring track from last year, while some new technical parts will also help the challenge Gianluca Vizziello (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR), who is currently 16th overall.Round 12 of the 14 round season for both WSB and WSS classes takes place at Imola, between 26 and 28 September.WSB Rider comments:Jonathan Rea: “The Ten Kate Honda package in Brno felt really good, so we’ll just concentrate on fine tuning it for Nürburgring when we go out on Friday after this long break. The guys back in the workshop never stand still though, and I know the data boys have been looking closely at the electronics package, so there’ll be some new things to try for sure. I’ve had one race win this year and, although it wasn’t gifted and I rode well to earn it, it’s not enough. There have been three guys on it all season and I want to be in that group for the rest of the year and finish each race on the podium. I’m really motivated to make that next step now and I’ll try to start on that this weekend.”Leon Haslam: “Brno was a tough weekend for us and we ran into a few issues, so we are looking to eliminate a lot of them this weekend. The Nürburgring will be a new circuit to learn for me but from what I have seen on TV it looks it like it should be a good one for the Honda. The summer break was needed, but it went on a bit too long so I am looking forward to getting back on the bike in Germany.”Ryuichi Kiyonari: “I’ve had a good holiday, lots of relaxing every day at home, but now I’m really looking forward to racing again. Nürburgring was not so good for me last year and it was not an easy track for me to learn. I did learn a lot though and I think we can start the weekend in a better position. In race two at Brno, I felt a definite improvement in the bike and the new suspension.”Carlos Checa: “I’ve had a good few weeks off, cycling and trekking in the Pyrenees and just relaxing. But I’m really looking forward to getting back on the bike and continuing the progress that we found possible at Brno. I like the Nürburgring very much, it’s one of my favourite circuits, but we struggled to find the right grip levels last year. This year, with the new Öhlins suspension, you could say we are starting again from zero, but actually the faster parts at Nürburgring are not so different from Brno and the bike felt really good there.”John Hopkins: “I have never been to the Nürburgring before but have seen the racing there on television. I have tried to learn the track by playing video games and will hopefully adapt to the track as quick as I can this weekend. It looks like a cool track to ride, and I would definitely like to get a good result for my team and prove the Honda can work well there.”Matthieu Lagrive: “I like the Nürburgring a lot. It’s a circuit that I have a good feeling for, even though I have never been on the podium there. We have some work to do and we’ll try to find a good setting as soon as possible. I’m happy with the development that the team has made on my CBR1000RR and will be trying very hard for some positive results in the last part of the season.”`