The following is from Ducati…So far the Superbike circus has been half way around the world to Australia and back, to Portimao. Valencia is the third of the thirteen Superbike rounds and Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio will be back on board their 1198 bikes, ready to fight back and regain the ground they lost recently at Portimao.After having successfully scored three podiums in Phillip Island, the Ducati Xerox Team unfortunately experienced a more difficult race weekend at Portimao just over a week ago. Factory riders Noriyuki and Michel had to contend with starting from the fifth row of the grid and although both battled hard throughout the races to recuperate, it was always going to be hard to reach the podium places. The two races panned out in a similar way, with Haga and Fabrizio replicating in Race 2 the eighth and eleventh place finishes they had scored respectively in the first race.Now focus turns to Spain. This is the eleventh consecutive year since its inauguration in 1999 that Valencia, the shortest track on the calendar at just 4005 metres in length, hosts a World Superbike event. Last year the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana on his eighth outing at this track, stormed to victory in both races, smashing the long-standing lap record in the process, followed by team-mate Michel who closed in second and third, his first podium successes at this particular track. Noriyuki has a good history here, having scored 10 podium finishes over 16 races, 5 of which were race wins.
Michel Fabrizio (4th in championship, 46 points)
Michel’s first Superbike podiums at this track were attained just last year when he picked up a solid second and third place finish on his 1198.”Last year I had to battle hard against Spies and Laconi for the podium places but we were happy with the results, especially as my previous performances here were far from great! We made a strong start at Phillip Island a few weeks ago but then Portimao didn’t go according to plan and I didn’t make the points that I’d hoped to. Having said that, we’re still near the beginning of a long season and Valencia is one of the tracks where I was on the podium twice last year so I’m confident that we’ll be back on top in Spain.”Fabrizio’s Superbike form at Valencia:
2009: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 3rd
2008: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 13th
2007: Race 1 – 7th, Race 2 – 11th
2006: Race 1 – 13th , Race 2 – 10thNoriyuki Haga (5th in championship, 43 points)
Noriyuki did the double on his Ducati 1198 at the Spanish track last year and has also won races in 2008, 2004 and 2000, success that he hopes can be repeated again this year.”I had a great weekend at Valencia last year and scored the perfect results, it was my first double win at this track and of course I’d love to do that again this season! We need to make up ground that we lost at Portimao so from Valencia onwards we’ll be back on track and aiming for race wins! I’m confident that me and my technicians will come up with a good race set-up that will allow me to fight at the front.”Haga’s Superbike form at Valencia:
2009: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – winner
2008: Race 1 – DNF , Race 2 – winner
2007: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 3rd
2006: Race 1 – 5th, Race 2 – 5th
2005: Race 1 – 5th , Race 2 – 4th
2004: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – winner
2002: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 2nd
2000: Race 1 – 3rd , Race 2 – winnerThe following is from Suzuki…Team Suzuki Alstare riders Leon Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli are both looking forward to this weekend’s third round of this year’s Superbike World Championship in Valencia for different reasons. Championship leader Leon is hoping to maintain his lead in the series and Sylvain is looking to recover from his disappointment in Portugal and get back to the superb form he displayed in the opening round in Phillip Island. The 4.005 kilometre circuit is very technical, is compactly designed and is one of the best tracks for spectators in the championship. For many years, Valencia’s series of second and third gear corners have favoured twins, but Leon did particularly well there in testing in December and is confident of doing well again this weekend.Leon
I really like the track and I think I showed that when we tested here in December. It’s a very technical track and it’s important to get a good set-up as early in the weekend as possible and then have a good qualifying. The twins have gone well here before, but I’m sure we can give them more than a run for their money this weekend. It’s going to be another hard fought weekend, but I’m confident that we’re going to be very competitive and will be going all out to make sure I finish the weekend still at the top of the standings.Sylvain
Like Leon, I also like the track and, over the years, I’ve done well here, though this will be my first time racing it on a Superbike. It’s a technical circuit and a bit like a big go-kart track and you spend a lot of time trying to keep the front wheel down. After Portimao I sat down and thought a lot about what happened during the weekend and tried to work out what had gone wrong and why. I realised that actually I was not that far off, but this championship is so competitive that even if you are just a little bit off, you suffer a lot. It’s so important to do well in practice, do well in qualifying, be on the first two rows of the grid and then put everything together in the races. If you don’t, then it becomes a big battle just to get into any sort of contention. I think Valencia and the next race in Assen should be good for us and I am looking forward to both tracks and getting back to the kind of form I showed in Australia.The following is from InFront Sports…The Circuito Ricardo Tormo is a well-established and welcoming stop-off point for the SBK paddock in its global wanderings, with this year’s Spanish race weekend the third in a 13-round season.After two astoundingly close events so far, in Australia and more recently in Portugal, there have been three different race winners in four individual races. Of the seven manufacturers involved in WSB in 2010, three have scored a victory already, and two more have podium finishes to their credit. With the 4.005km circuit Valencia being a different type of challenge to either Phillip Island (venue for round one) or Portimao (round two) there are some new possibilities for all involved this coming weekend.There have been 20 individual points scoring races at Valencia in recent SBK seasons, with winners including current riders Noriyuki Haga, Lorenzo Lanzi, James Toseland, Ruben Xaus and Troy Corser. Haga did the double here in 2009 and Valencia is a circuit that throws up double wins more than most; six in total in ten previous visits.OPENING SALVOES HIT THE SPOT: The 2010 entry list, running to 14 official entrants from seven manufacturers, plus top quality privateers throughout, promised a lot of close competition and variety during the off-season. And even at this early stage of the year that promise has been delivered, over and over again. So far, the margins of victory in the four SBK races have been 0.004 seconds, 0.307 seconds, 0.200 seconds, and 0.191 seconds. A cumulative 0.702 seconds separating all of the first and second place riders, after two hours and 24 minutes of intense racing. Our understanding of close competition has been redefined in the Superbike World Championship of 2010.BIG SEVEN IN ACTION AGAIN: The seven competing manufacturers this year – Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha – all have proven winning riders and strong overall efforts to their credit as they approach Valencia. Suzuki, Ducati and most recently Aprilia have won races this year, thanks to Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare), Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia). Appropriately enough, these three riders now lead the championship table, with Haslam on 85, Portimao double winner Biaggi on 69 and Phillip Island race two victor Carlos Checa on 60.Behind the leading bunch, Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) and Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) hold fourth and fifth respectively, while top Honda rider so far is Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) in sixth place after scoring one podium and one DNF in Portimao last time out.One new WSB sensation Sylvain Guintoli (Alstare Suzuki) leads another Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia), in seventh and eighth places. The top BMW rider in the rankings so far is Troy Corser, ninth, with Ruben Xaus regaining his footing in the championship table last time out. Now 14th overall on his BMW Motorrad Motorsport machine, Xaus is another home favourite. Tenth placed rider Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda Team) took his first podium for Yamaha at Portimao and he shares 25 points with his team-mate James Toseland and another British force to be reckoned with, Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati).
TESTING FOR TOM, HOPES FOR OTHERS: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has already tested at Valencia recently, and made progress towards the top ten as his team-mate Chris Vermeulen continues his fight for race fitness after a knee injury he picked up in Australia. Max Neukirchner (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) is another rider hoping to get back to his best at round three. Privateers riders are many and varied in 2010, with Roland Resch (Reitwagen BMW) scheduled for a return after breaking his collarbone in Australia, Jakub Smrz (B&G Pata Racing Ducati) looking to get back into the points in Spain, while Luca Scassa (Supersonic Ducati) is searching for some good luck in only his second meeting of 2010. Broc Parkes, injured in pre-season training, will miss this round, meaning that South African hope Sheridan Morais will ride for ECHO CRS Honda once again.Points (after 2 of 13 rounds): 1. Haslam 85; 2. Biaggi 69, 3. Checa 60, 4. Fabrizio 46; 5. Haga 43; 6. Rea 39; 7. Guintoli 33; 8. Camier 32; 9. Corser 29; 10. Crutchlow 25. Manufacturers: 1. Suzuki 85; 2. Ducati 71; 3. Aprilia 69; 4. Honda 40; 5. Yamaha 32; 6. BMW 29; 7. Kawasaki 7The following is from Honda…Honda’s top runner in the Superbike World Championship after two rounds is Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) and after finishing third at Portimao two weeks ago he took his first podium of the year. Sixth overall is his current reward for three points scoring finishes from four races as once more he competes with leading riders on Suzuki, Aprilia and Ducati machinery, in a class with seven manufacturers represented in total.In the Supersport World Championship division, both points leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) and third placed Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) have won a race already. They and Kawasaki rider Joan Lascorz have already formed a strong leading trio after only two rounds, with Valencia imminent and then ten more races to go after that.After a season ruined by injury in 2009, Rea’s Superbike team-mate Max Neukirchner (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) looks to Valencia as a weekend of real opportunity, given his recent race prowess at the 4.005km Spanish track. Still adapting to his new machine since he rejoined the Honda pack for 2010, Max is a quality rider working hard to find that one missing link to get him back into contention for podiums.Both Jonathan and Max remained behind at Portimao after the last race to find even better race settings, and test new electronics in readiness for the Valencia weekend.Vittorio Iannuzzo (Squadra Corse Italia Garvie Image CBR1000RR) will also have new electronics on his Fireblade at Valencia, and more knowledge of them to help him find an advantage against the other private riders.Injured Superbike regular, Broc Parkes, will be replaced by Sheridan Morais (ECHO CRS Honda CBR1000RR) once more, as the South African star starts his seventh and eighth career WSB races this coming weekend.New Honda Supersport man for 2010, Michele Pirro (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR), tasted champagne in Portugal for a hard-fought third, making up for his disappointing no score in round one. Now a rider to be feared by even his more experienced rivals, Pirro will be starting his 17th WSS race on Sunday.A no-score at his home race last time out makes Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) all the more motivated this weekend, while Massimo Roccoli (Czech Intermoto Honda CBR600RR) is going for his first Spanish podium in Supersport this weekend.Roccoli’s team-mate Gino Rea (Czech Intermoto Honda CBR600RR) knows Valencia well from his Superstock 600 career, as he looks for his third top ten finish in as many career WSS races.The Valencia circuit, 4.005km of twists and turns with one really fast left hand corner, is far more tricky than the compact layout may indicate, which makes qualifying well up the grid an advantage that all the Honda riders understand from their previous experiences in Spain.HONDA WSB RIDER COMMENTSJonathan Rea: “Valencia is a circuit that I’ve never really gone well at but we had a decent test there last December. It’s going to be really interesting to roll out the new electronics package that we tested after the races at Portimao last week. I’m excited because they felt pretty good in the test and I’m intrigued to see how they go at Valencia. The start to the season has been OK; apart from that technical problem we had last time out. I’ve been getting steady points so far, but now we need to be at the front.”Max Neukirchner: “After the disappointing results at Portimao I actually felt OK and was looking forward to a full day’s test on the Monday, but the rain stopped the work we wanted to do. We found something, but didn’t really have enough dry time to develop it any further. It was in a completely different direction to what we had on race day. I felt pretty comfortable with it and I was able to go faster on old tyres. I was on the podium last year at Valencia and I nearly won a race there in 2008, so I hope to be fighting at the front again this weekend.”Sheridan Morais: “We made progress with the bike in Portugal and that will stand us in better stead for the next race in Valencia. I am looking forward to the next race. We will have pretty much two bikes with the same spec for this round. That should make a big difference to how much useful track time we can have in each session.”Vittorio Iannuzzo: “We made improvements even between race one and race two in Portimao so with another couple of weeks we are already further ahead. We did not try our new electronics on the track yet, only the dyno, but we are going to try it out on Friday. I think Valencia will be a good track for the Honda.”Honda WSS Rider CommentsKenan Sofuoglu: “My bike is now one of the best on the track and we can improve it because we have a lot of new electronics for the next race. I was so happy to win the race at Portimao, and it was good to give something back to my team who have worked so hard since last season to make the CBR600RR a winning bike again. We weren’t able to do much work at the test at Portimao because of the rain but I am very comfortable on the bike and able to push hard. I was on the podium last year at Valencia, but it was a difficult race for us.”Eugene Laverty: “I am looking forward to Valencia even though it was a hard one for us last year. We have a new ECU this year and there is some fine-tuning still to do, so there are still improvements to come at Valencia. We have already made an improvement to one aspect of the front-end set-up that had frustrated me all last year. I am looking forward to Valencia and the points gap is small at this early part of the season.”Michele Pirro: “We had a good race last time and it made up for the bad result in Australia. My first World Supersport podium at Portimao was a dream for me. Since I joined this fantastic team at the end of last season, I have known that it is possible, but in Australia we had two races and two pieces of bad luck. Everything went OK in Portimao and now I want to aim for higher positions in every race. I hope to do that in Valencia this weekend.”Miguel Praia: “Fifth was possible last time out but we had a problem and had to stop. I can take some positives from the Portimao race weekend and I was on a comfortable race pace, so we can look forward to a good result when we get to Valencia. I am ready to go again and we need to start he weekend with the same fighting spirit as we started with in Portimao. This is exactly what we will do. After Portimao we have learned something and will improve for the future.”Gino Rea: “We have progressed at each race, tenth to eighth and the team are working hard to help me find a good set-up. At Valencia and I hope we can continue our progress and get an even better result.
Nearly all the teams tested at Portimao pre-season and also at the end of last season, so to be close to them here was very positive for us. Bring on Valencia!'”Massimo Roccoli: “We have had some problems with the bikes to get the ideal set-up so far but we are in a good position. I like Valencia, I was on the podium in Superstock a few years ago, and was sixth last year. I had a good race despite running off track near the end, so I think Valencia will be a better track than Portimao was.”