The following is from Honda…Jonathan Rea from the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team had two great rides from a disappointing grid place of 11th, scorching through a high class field to go fifth in race one, then leading for all but three laps of race two, finishing behind winner Leon Haslam (Suzuki) by only 0.522 seconds.Rea was unlucky in Superpole to not be able to get into the eight-rider group that takes part in the final session of this elimination-style qualifying process, and he started from row three in each 24-lap race.The intense 4.246km circuit near Johannesburg is a challenge for all thanks to its bumps and tricky layout, but after some changes in bike set-up over the weekend and a move back to some known settings, rider and team turned things around on raceday and played a full part in a thrilling race two.Rea is now third in the standings, on the same 141 points total as Carlos Checa (Ducati). Haslam leads with 222 and Max Biaggi (Aprilia) is second on 207.Five riders finished within 1.479 seconds in race two, after a start-to-finish win for Ducati rider Michel Fabrizio in race one, from Checa, and Haslam. Biaggi was third in race two, behind Haslam and Rea.A tough weekend for Hannspree Ten Kate Superbike rider Max Neukirchner saw him 17th in Superpole, and then 19th and 17th in the races, results which left him with no points for his weekend’s efforts.ECHO CRS Honda’s Broc Parkes made some progress in machine set-up as he continues to find his way in his privateer team after missing the first few rounds through injury. Chatter, which has affected him in every round so far, was eradicated by his team this weekend but other issues conspired to prevent Parkes finishing in race one or scoring points for 18th in race two. He is currently 24th in the rankings.Squadra Corse Italia Garvie Image Honda entrant Vittorio Iannuzzo did not race at Kyalami and will also miss the next round of the championship, at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, USA, on May 31. Uniquely, that race weekend will commence on a Saturday with Superpole on Sunday and raceday on Monday.LAVERTY WINS AS HONDA RIDERS GO 1-2 IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGSUnder clear African skies at Kyalami Eugene Laverty secured his third race win in succession for the first time in his career and in doing so the Parkalgar Honda rider put himself second in the overall championship chase. He is now one place and one single point behind the man he beat into second in today’s race, Kenan Sofuoglu, from the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team. Chaz Davies (Triumph) was third at Kyalami.Laverty and Sofuoglu, first and second in qualifying respectively, were the first two off the line for the 23-lap race, and within a few corners Laverty had passed Sofuoglu for a lead that was never seriously challenged. Laverty won the race by 4.184 seconds, his fourth win of the season, but it is Sofuoglu who leads on points after six rounds, 117 to 116.Honda riders have won five of the six races so far and Honda is further ahead in the Manufacturers’ Standings now, on 145 points to Kawasaki’s 112.Sofuoglu and Laverty were aided in their chase to the top of the table by the fact that former championship leader Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) was only fifth today, and he is now on a total of 112, making the overall fight for the championship tighter than ever.Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Michele Pirro qualified third and then overcame the effects of a crash on Friday to take an assured fourth place, running fast early on but having to slow as pain and muscle fatigue in his left arm and shoulder kicked in. He is ranked sixth, tied on
47 points with Gino Rea from the Intermoto Czech Honda team. Gino was 12th in qualifying after a crash at a crucial time, but recovered to go ninth in the 23-lap race.Parkalgar Honda man Miguel Praia was struggling in 15th place in qualifying but a set-up breakthrough overnight saw him fight up to ninth for a time, before being pushed to tenth by Rea in the last corner.Massimo Roccoli was another rider struggling with a pre-race injury, suffered in warm-up this morning. He had been seventh on the grid and seventh in the race before he fell on lap 14, his painful left shoulder contributing to his crash. He remounted but had to head back to the pits.WSBK Rider QuotesJonathan Rea, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 5th and 2nd – 3rd overall. “It seems we now have a base with the bike that works everywhere. I really enjoyed the second race, it was good fun but I wanted to win so badly. Leon rode well and every time he passed me he would run deep and I was able to cut back inside. With six laps to go at the end I thought I was going to get swallowed up, because I kept watching other people’s pit boards to see who was in the group, and my mind was working overtime. With two laps to go I thought maybe it would be mine if I just covered myself, but Leon made a lunge three corners from the end of the penultimate lap.”Max Neukirchner, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 19th and 17th – 18th overall. “Race one was just a continuation of the problems we’ve have had all weekend but we were able to improve the bike a little for a better feeling in the second race.
However, I still couldn’t push hard enough to pass the guys in front of me. Over the last few laps, we also had a bit of a problem with weight transfer on the bike, which we also had in race one. Now we have to hope we have learned something that we can take to Miller in America, which I missed last year, but I got two podium finishes there in 2008.”Broc Parkes, ECHO CRS Honda: DNF and 18th – 24th overall. “A difficult weekend and we were still struggling with chatter up until today. It was the first time that we could start to work without so much chatter. In Superpole yesterday and in race one today we had an electrical problem. In race two I had to take the second bike and we had a big problem with no grip and we are not sure why right now.”The following is from InFront Sports…Two very different races delivered two types of riveting spectacle for the enthusiastic fans at Kyalami, with race two the pick of the day’s action. The opening race was taken by a rejuvenated Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) in front-running style. Race two victor Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare), on the other hand, battled it out right to the end, with the top four riders all within a second of each other after 24 intense laps. The net result is an extended championship lead for Haslam, now on 222 points to Aprilia Alitalia rider Max Biaggi’s 207.Race OneFabrizio took an early lead in the first race of the day at Kyalami and the factory Ducati Xerox rider did not put a wheel wrong as he dominated throughout. Behind was Carlos Checa, on an Althea Ducati privateer machine, while third went to a patient Haslam, who extended his championship lead over fourth place rider Biaggi. Jonathan Rea, from Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, made an amazing charge towards the end of the race, taking fifth place for his efforts. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) had the late pace to stick with Rea on the last couple of laps, but Yamaha Sterilgarda team-mates James Toseland and Cal Crutchlow were unable to drive as hard in the final reckoning and went seventh and eighth. Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Ducati) was a battling ninth, and right on the tail of the Yamaha duo on the very last lap. Peculiarly, Fabrizio’s winning time of 2010 was only 0.033 seconds faster than the first race time he set to go second in 2009.Michel Fabrizio: “I am very happy for Ducati and so happy to win for myself as well. I needed it. We tried our best from the very start and I rode an intelligent race to control the gap to the rider behind.”Carlos Checa: “We started with a very strong pace; 1’38 low was very fast. I was focused to be behind Fabrizio and we kept a good pace early on. Then the tyres dropped down and I thought maybe at that point I would have been able to manage the tyre better, but Fabrizio did very well. On some laps I could improve one tenth but then I would lose it. The bike is working well here.”Leon Haslam: “It was pretty tough out there, a long race doing 24 laps round here. It is really key to make the start but the biggest thing round here is that it is hard to pass, so you definitely have to get the start done. I was feeling pretty good in that race but I was having a little bit of chatter every time I pushed to try and get on the back of the front two.”Race TwoLeon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) wrapped up a magnificent race two win as five riders were covered by 1.479 seconds at the flag and any one of three were in with a real chance of winning even in the final lap. Second was long-time leader Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Max Biaggi went third for the Aprilia Alitalia team. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) completed the top five, all on different manufacturer machinery. James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) battled hard to record sixth place, with both he and Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad) overhauling a fading Fabrizio at the end. Jakub Smrz was again ninth and 2009 double race winner Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) tenth. The top Kawasaki rider was Tom Sykes, 14th, while Camier and Sheridan Morais (Emtek Aprilia) failed to finish. In the championship Haslam now has 222 points, Biaggi 207 and Rea 141, tied with Checa.Leon Haslam: “Racing is all about winning and I felt I was in a position where I was strong in a few places and I had to go for it. And it worked out. It was a high risk last few laps with the front and rear moving about but we didn’t make too many mistakes and we won.”Jonathan Rea: “It seems we now have a base with the bike that works everywhere. I really enjoyed the race, it was good fun but I wanted to win so badly. Leon rode well and every time he passed me he would run deep and I was able to cut back inside. With two laps to go I thought maybe it would be mine if I just covered myself, but Leon made a lunge three corners from the end of the penultimate lap.”Max Biaggi: “A nice and close race. In race two I made a good start and that was maybe 50% of the final result. In race one I was held up and could not go through but in race two I went away with top two guys and could match their pace. At the end I tried but my attack did not come off.”The following is from Ducati…Ducati Xerox rider Michel Fabrizio was celebrating with his squad this afternoon after dominating a spectacular Race 1 to take his first victory of the 2010 season, at the South African track of Kyalami.Michel Fabrizio made a perfect start to Race 1, moving straight into the lead by getting past Crutchlow, Toseland and Checa right off the line. The Italian rider quickly extended his lead over Checa (on Althea Racing’s 1198) and maintained a constant one second advantage for the entire duration of the race. Lap times inevitably began to increase during the final stages of the 24-lap race but nonetheless Michel carefully managed his advantage and crossed the line first, to take his first race win of the 2010 season, just over a second ahead of the Spaniard. Noriyuki had a more difficult race, struggling with a lack of grip. Although he made up a few positions straight off the start line, progressing from sixteenth to twelfth, after about ten laps the lack of rear grip began to affect his lap times which consequently caused him to lose over the final laps the positions he had previously gained; the Japanese rider therefore closed Race 1 in seventeenth position.Michel made a less impressive start to Race 2 but his reactions were quick and he made up over the course of the first lap the positions he had lost off the line. For the first eight laps he remained in fourth position, just behind Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam e Max Biaggi who battled it out among themselves up ahead. Unfortunately however, an unexpected loss of grip subsequently prevented the Italian rider from pushing and, in increasing difficulty in the final stages of the race, he eventually concluded the race in eighth place. Noriyuki meanwhile had a better race, lapping consistently fast, with lap times in the final stages that matched those of the podium placed riders. Although he continued to improve, there was too much to make up from sixteenth on the grid, and the Japanese rider had to be satisfied with tenth place.Despite two difficult races, Noriyuki Haga still holds on to sixth position in the overall standings (106 points) while Michel Fabrizio, thanks to today’s win, has started to close the gap; now eighth with 95 points. Ducati remains in third position in the manufacturers championship with 185 points to Aprilia’s 213 and Suzuki’s 222.Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 – winner , Race 2 – 8th)
“I’m really happy with the win in the first race, happy for Ducati of course but above all happy for myself. I really needed a result like this after several difficult race. It wasn’t easy however, I had to make an intelligent race, doing all I could to maintain the second of advantage that I had over Carlos. It was a great race but also a very tiring one! Race 2 went very differently; the level of grip immediately began to drop after only three or four laps and it became impossible to catch the leading group that continued to gain on me. Anyway with the points taken in race 1 today I’ve gained a position in the overall standings and now I’ll turn my attention to the next event at Salt Lake, a track I really like.”Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 – 17th , Race 2 – 10th)
“In Race 1 after about ten laps the performance of the rear tyre dropped dramatically. There wasn’t much I could to improve. I’m disappointed of course because with no grip you don’t really get anywhere. In the second race, having made some small changes to my bike but deciding to go with the same tyre, I had a better overall feeling and, from more or less mid-race, unlike race 1, I was able to push increasingly hard. The problem was that those ahead of me had already built a significant lead; I needed a few more laps to be able to catch some of them.”