World Superbikes: Ready For Kyalami

Press Release | May 12, 2010

The following is from Honda…Jonathan Rea from the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team held onto third overall in the Superbike World Championship standings despite a double DNF at last weekend’s Monza round, and he now heads to Kyalami determined to challenge for wins once again.Rea took a fabulous double at Assen in late April and knows his CBR1000RR machine is capable of more success at Kyalami. He took his first ever WSBK podium in South Africa last year in his rookie season, and has found further improvements in his overall machine set-up since that time. Championship leader Leon Haslam (Suzuki) is now three points ahead of double Monza race winner Max Biaggi (Aprilia), with Haslam 71 points up on Rea, who ties on 110 points with Carlos Checa (Ducati).Eugene Laverty took his Parkalgar Honda to his third Supersport World Championship win of the 2010 season at Monza last weekend, adding to his Phillip Island and Assen victories. Having won in South Africa last year, he now has a high level of confidence as he goes out to score his third race victory in a row this coming weekend.In the Supersport table Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) leads on 101 points, but after Kenan Sofuoglu scored a strong second behind Laverty at Monza, the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider moved to within four points of the lead. Laverty is now only ten points from Lascorz, in what is shaping up to be a close contest between the top three riders over the entire 2010 season.Honda is still in the lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship, heading up Kawasaki by 19 points and Triumph by 55.Monza race two provided a late confidence boost for Hannspree Ten Kate Superbike rider Max Neukirchner but the Kyalami circuit will be a new exam for him to pass this weekend. Max tested at the Kyalami circuit with another manufacturer a year before he joined Honda for the 2010 season, but he has yet to encounter the track close to Johannesburg in a full race situation, or on his CBR1000RR.For ECHO CRS Honda’s Broc Parkes Kyalami will be another chance to find an ideal set-up on his Superbike, having encountered chatter that slowed his progress at last weekend’s race. Parkes missed the first three races of the year through an injury picked up in training, but he is all out to continue scoring points for his privateer team from this weekend on.Squadra Corse Italia Garvie Image Honda entrant Vittorio Iannuzzo will not race at Kyalami as his team has opted not to run at this flyway race.Gino Rea has enjoyed his good early season form for the Intermoto Czech Honda team, having scored top ten finishes each time out in his rookie season. This consistency and pace has netted him 40 points and he is sixth overall, on the same current total as fifth placed rider Davide Salom (Triumph).Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Michele Pirro has undergone a season of contrasts so far, taking his first ever podium in this class at Portimao but having two DNFs against his name in the first five rounds. His championship position was improved to eighth at Monza, after he finished the race fourth. He has raced at Kyalami before and he is determined to get back into the leading group in Sunday’s race.

Pirro is the fourth Honda rider in the top eight championship places.Gino Rea’s team-mate Massimo Roccoli had a less than satisfying 11th place finish at his home round in Monza, but with recent experience of Kyalami he is determined to get further up the field in South Africa.Parkalgar Honda rider Miguel Praia has now made a full recovery from his hard crash in practice at Valencia and has scored two top ten finishes in a row.The Kyalami circuit is the same length as it was in 2009, but a new pitlane exit has made more run off available, and there is a new spectator area outside turns two and three.WSBK Rider CommentsJonathan Rea, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR: “I am really looking forward to racing in South Africa as last year I had my first podium there. Our bike is working really well and I can say I’m excited to be riding it again. I guess I was top of the world one minute after two wins at Assen then had two non-finishes last weekend. But we are still third in the championship, which is some consolation. I hurt my wrist and ankle a little bit in my Monza race two crash but I will be 100% for Kyalami. It is nice to go there knowing that the bike is working well and that we had the pace to be right there at Monza. The real motivating factor for me is that the bike is working so well. I love riding this bike and now I am just concentrating on the track in South Africa.”Max Neukirchner, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR: “Kyalami is very different from Monza. I only tested there at the beginning of 2009 and I have never raced there, so we will see how it is. The bike definitely felt better in race two in Italy so we will try to build on that when we start work in South Africa on Friday. I like the track very much and Jonathan showed last year that the Honda can work quite well there. I’ll try as hard as possible with my team again this weekend to continue getting my riding style to match the changes we have made to the bike.”Broc Parkes, ECHO CRS Honda CBR1000RR: “Monza was hard because we did not get the chance to develop our set-up the way we wanted. Hopefully in Kyalami we will make another step again but we will make most steps when we can go somewhere to test and see exactly what is and isn’t working. But I’m sure we can go to Kyalami and be better again anyway.”WSS Rider CommentsKenan Sofuoglu, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR: “We are going to be good again at Kyalami. I think my bike is working well everywhere and I am sure we will have a good result in South Africa. I really want to win a race again. Second at Monza was not such a bad result and 20 points are good for the championship, of course. It is very close again between me and my rivals so I need to start winning again. This weekend my aim is another pole position, but this time to convert it into another win.”Eugene Laverty, Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR: “It would be good to win in Kyalami because that would give me three race victories and a row and I have never had that in any championship. I like Kyalami because our bike worked well there in 2009. It is bumpy, but we should have a good area to start from in terms of set-up. It is a lot different to Monza. At Kyalami it should be possible to make a breakaway early on, so we will see what we can do.”Gino Rea, Intermoto Czech Honda CBR600RR: “I have never been to Kyalami before but some people have told me it should be my kind of track. I am looking forward to it and hopefully I should get my head round it quickly and try to find a good set-up from the beginning.”Michele Pirro, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR: “My feeling with the bike is better now and from the next race I want to be even better and have a less of a gap to the fastest riders. I qualified on the second row in 2009. I was ninth last year and I like the layout of Kyalami. There are many bumps but that is no problem, it is the same for the other riders.”Massimo Roccoli, Intermoto Czech Honda CBR600RR: “Kyalami is a good track, I like it, but in the past two or three races I have not had good qualifying sessions or races. I hope for better luck. I will be trying for a good solution with the team for the Kyalami race to make the best result I can.”Miguel Praia, Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR: “I was happy after my race in Monza and my full fitness is back, so I am all ready for South Africa. I want to start another championship from here. We were good in the race once we got going at Monza so we will try to start the weekend quickly this time around.”The following is from Suzuki…The sixth round of this year’s Superbike World Championship takes place at the Kyalami race circuit in South Africa and promises to be yet another close fought affair for Team Suzuki Alstare riders Leon Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli. The season so far is proving to be the most competitive since the series began in 1988 and every practice, qualifying and race has been closely contested.After taking fourth and second last weekend in Monza, Leon tops the series by three points and will be looking to extend that lead at the demanding 4.263 kilometre Kyalami circuit. The track is one of the most undulating circuits on the calendar and features many changes of elevation and bike set-up and a good grid position will be crucial.In Monza, last weekend, Leon hurt his left wrist when he had a big ‘moment’ in the first race. He was spectaculary highsided, but somehow managed to stay on the bike. In the process of keeping hold of his GSX-R1000 Suzuki, he tweaked an old scaphoid and ligament injury, but still manged to get on the podium in race two.Leon

Kyalami is a physically demanding track and it is going to give my left wrist a good workout, but I don’t think it’s going to be too much of a problem. It was well strapped up in the afternoon and I didn’t feel much pain. Of course, it would’ve been good to have a bit more of a gap between Monza and Kyalami, but I shall just have to put up with it. That’s assuming of course that the volcanic ash situation doesn’t prevent us from getting there! It’s funny to think that we are all dependant on some stuff outside of our control, but hopefully we’ll all be able to get there and back! Max (Biaggi) went well in Monza, so I will have to do my best to make sure I beat him and maintain my series lead. In Kyalami last year, I qualified 10th, DNF’d in the first race and finished fourth in the second, so I will be aiming to do a lot better than that this weekend.Sylvain

It’s going to be new territory for me riding the Suzuki in Kyalami and I will have to learn the track quickly and do well in qualifying. That’s something I have been struggling with recently, but I know that I have to improve my results on Friday and Saturday or else it’s very difficult to do well on raceday. At the moment, I have been finding a bit hard getting into a good rhythm in practice and qualifying and that’s preventing me from doing what I should be doing on raceday. Kyalami has many ups and downs and it’s a tough circuit at the best of times. I have to crack it early on and be in a good grid position and that’s what I will be trying my best to achieve.The following is from Ducati…Just two days after returning to base from Monza’s fifth World Superbike round, the Ducati Xerox team repacks its bags and leaves for South Africa and the circuit of Kyalami.The Ducati 1198 of the factory Ducati Xerox team proved itself a winner on the Kyalami circuit last season, with the red machines dominating a weekend that culminated in two triumphant race wins for Noriyuki Haga, and two second place finishes for team-mate Michel Fabrizio (who also registered a new lap record in the first race), with both Ducati Xerox men crossing the line more than eight seconds clear of the closest competition in Race 2.With regard to the 2010 season, Noriyuki and Michel currently lie in sixth and eleventh position respectively in the general standings of what is turning out to be an extremely close championship, based on what we have seen during the first five rounds. Ducati is third in the manufacturers classification behind Suzuki and Aprilia. Last weekend at Monza, the first of the season’s Italian Superbike events, the riders battled not only against the competition but also against the elements in what was a mixed weekend. At a track where Ducati was at more of a disadvantage compared to previous years in terms of top speed, aggravated by the extra weight and 50mm air-restrictors that limit the maximum power, both Haga and Fabrizio fought for as many points as possible, their best results being a sixth and seventh place finish respectively.Noriyuki Haga (6th in championship, 100 points)

Returning to Kyalami after a six year absence, Haga scored a perfect double win here in 2009.”I’m happy to go back to South Africa, a track where I did well last year. We’ll see if any more security measures have been put into place after Regis’s terrible accident last year; I hope so as I really like the track but it was pretty dangerous there last time. I’d like to think we’ll be in a position to fight for the podium once more.”Haga’s Superbike form at Kyalami:

2009: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – winner

2002: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 6th

2000: Race 1 – 2nd , Race 2 – winner

1999: Race 1 – 4th, Race 2 – DNF

1998: Race 1 – 7th, Race 2 – 3rdMichel Fabrizio (11th in championship, 62 points)

Michel took great points home from Kyalami last year, and set a new lap record in the process.”As long as we don’t have any travel problems in getting there, the public should look forward to some great racing. The next two rounds, Kyalami and Salt Lake, went very well for me last season and so I’m confident I can be competitive there again. It will be good to ride at a track where we’re not as disadvantaged as we were at Monza this last weekend.”Fabrizio’s Superbike form at Kyalami:

2009: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 2ndThe following is from Infront Sports…The HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship makes its second visit to the southern hemisphere in 2010 for the Kyalami round in South Africa, from May 15-16. Having seven different manufacturers and a host of potential winners on show this coming weekend, the local spectators can expect the same kind of high-speed, high quality, action which has made the 2010 edition of WSBK a must-see for racing enthusiasts all over the world.Kyalami’s 4.246 km circuit features dramatic elevation changes and mix of fast and slow corners and is therefore a real challenge for even the most experienced competitors. The teams and technical support staff also have an almost unique challenge this weekend, as the high altitude of the venue requires a change of approach towards set-up, simply because the thin air robs the engines of outright power at the very top of the rev-range.After the double win for Max Biaggi and Aprilia Alitalia at home at the super-fast Monza last weekend, the gap between Max and championship leader Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) is down to three points. Last year in South Africa the factory Ducati duo of Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio ruled the roost in each race as the four-cylinder machines struggling to keep in contact with double winner Haga and close second Fabrizio. This year the factory Ducati riders have been struggling by their own high standards and Kyalami may well be the ideal place for them to re-sharpen their competitive edges.The previous round at Monza displayed that the power-balance in World Superbike is still a very fluid dynamic, as the BMW Motorrad Motorsport team took its first ever podium thanks to Troy Corser. His team-mate Ruben Xaus also had a personal BMW best of sixth at Monza. The Kawasaki Racing Team made a breakthrough with Tom Sykes, who posted a top five finish and was in the leading hunt from qualifying onwards. Chris Vermeulen, Sykes’ KRT team-mate, is still trying to overcome the effects of his Phillip Island knee injury, but his strength is improving every weekend.With top class riders like 2009 Kyalami podium finisher Jonathan Rea and his team-mate Max Neukirchner running for the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team, and proven World Champions James Toseland and Cal Crutchlow competing for the official Yamaha Sterilgarda team, there are boundless possibilities to look at in terms of podium finishers. Crutchlow and Toseland have already been inside the top three this year and Cal has taken two Superpole wins in his rookie season in WSBK, which he entered as reigning Supersport World Champion.The pre-race complication is all the more intriguing in 2010 as unlike last year there was no official winter test at Kyalami, so everyone should at least start the weekend on level terms. Kyalami will also be a first time circuit for some in World Superbike, most notably Leon Camier, a full-season rookie on his Aprilia Alitalia RSV-4 but already on the podium at Assen, while local interest should include Sheridan Morais, on an EmTek Aprilia.Privateers have already had a great influence in the 2010 championship, with Althea Ducati rider Carlos Checa having won a race in Australia. His team-mate Shane Byrne is a talented rider looking for his first 2010 podium at a track that may suit his Ducati very well. Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Ducati) and Luca Scassa (Supersonic) are also riders to watch on twin-cylinder machinery. Kawasaki fields two privateers in the Pedercini team, American Roger Lee Hayden and Italian Matteo Baiocco, while ECHO CRS Honda makes its first Kyalami date with rider Broc Parkes, after scoring its first WSBK point last weekend.


Points (after 5 rounds of 13): 1. Haslam 181; 2. Biaggi 178; 3. Rea 110; 4. Checa 110; 5. Toseland 106; 6. Haga 100; 7. Corser 92; 8 Camier; 72; 9. Guintoli 70; 10. Crutchlow 65. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 184; 2. Suzuki 181; 3. Ducati 149; 4. Honda 119; 5. Yamaha 113; 6. BMW 95; 7. Kawasaki 37.


World SupersportThe Supersport World Championship went from a close fight between three riders before the previous Monza round to an even more tightly contested struggle after Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) took his third race win of 2010 last weekend. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki and Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) have also recorded a single win each in 2010, with the current points standings showing Lascorz on 101, Sofuoglu on 97 and Laverty with 91. Laverty was a convincing winner at Kyalami in 2009, but few expect anything but another close encounter of a top three kind this coming weekend. Triumph have had ParkinGO BE-1 rider Chaz Davies on the podium already, at Portimao. With this race meeting taking place outside of the European theatre of operations, there will be no Superstock Championship classes, but there will be local 1000 and 600 races on Sunday.


Points (after 5 rounds of 13): 1. Lascorz 101; 2. Sofuoglu 97; 3. Laverty 91; 4. Davies 55; 5. Salom 40; 6. G.Rea 40; 7. Harms 35; 8. Pirro 34; 9. Fujiwara 34; 10. Lagrive 30. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 120; 2. Kawasaki 101; 3. Triumph 65


THE CIRCUIT: Kyalami is no stranger to World Superbike and this is the seventh weekend of South African action for WSBK since the first visit in 1998. This year some widening of run-off areas at turns two and three, and a modified pit exit, will be welcome novelties for the Superbike and Supersport riders to encounter. The bumpy and venerable tarmac surface is another characteristic the teams will have to allow for. A traditionally large and enthusiastic crowd can get close to the action all around the circuit, thanks in part to its many contours, making for a special atmosphere on raceday at this icon of African Motorsports. A new spectator area has been created at turns two and three, using materials removed from the area around the new pitlane exit.The following is from Paul Bird Motorsports…The Kawasaki Racing Team heads for round six of the Hannspree World Superbike Championship at Kyalami, South Africa this weekend where riders Tom Sykes and Chris Vermeulen are looking to continue the good form shown at Monza last weekend.Aboard the Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Sykes recorded a season’s best 5th place in the second of the two races in Italy whereas Vermeulen battled against injury to claim more points for the team also.The Kyalami circuit holds good memories for the Penrith based team after an impressive performance last year by riders Broc Parkes and Sheridan Morais and both Yorkshireman Sykes and Australian Vermeulen will be hoping to repeat the feat this weekend.Whereas Sykes is upbeat following eight points scoring rides in the last ten races, former MotoGP winner Vermeulen is still troubled by a persistent knee injury which he sustained in the opening round, but hopefully the pair can continue the good work in recent rounds.Tom Sykes: “I’m really looking forward to this weekend in Kyalami as it’s coming straight off the back of a good weekend in Monza for us which gave the team and myself a big boost in time for the busy part of the race calendar. We have been making steady progress over the past few races and we were over the moon to have come away with a top five and inside the top ten finishes at the last race. The Kawasaki appeared to do fairly well here last year with Sheridan and Broc so I’m looking forward to jumping on the bike again and facing the challenge of this old-school circuit. The key now is to continue our consistency and maintain the level of results from the previous few races.”Chris Vermeulen: “After my return in Assen I was determined to make up some ground but unfortunately my knee is still not 100% and I found it more difficult in Monza than I would have liked. I’m continuing to work hard on rehabilitation and physiotherapy and I am certain however that the more I ride, the more movement I will have in the knee. I have high expectations of myself but I have to be patient and work away at getting back to the platform where I think we are at. I have raced in Kyalami before in World Supersport but I can honestly say that I don’t have much of a memory of being here so I will more or less treat this as a new track and hope that I can bounce back to consistent point scoring finishes.”The following is from Yamaha…With just two days rest from the Monza round of the World Superbike Championship, the Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team have shipped out to South Africa for the next race of the season, round six at the Kyalami circuit. The team are looking to make up for the bad luck that struck in race two last weekend at Monza where both riders were unable to finish the race, having performed strongly all weekend and both being on the podium in race one. Toseland escaped unhurt from a big crash at the start of the race, a trip to hospital and two scans revealing no damage following his fall although still a bit bruised. Team mate Crutchlow was also blighted by bad luck, having a stone flicked up from the bike in front strike his oil cooler and force his retirement from the race.”I just want to get back on the bike as soon as possible and race again,” said Cal Crutchlow. “I couldn’t believe how unlucky we were at Monza to get a stone in the oil cooler when we were running so well. I enjoyed racing at Kyalami last year in Supersport, I fought hard for a good second place on the podium, so this year I want to win in Superbike!””I think we’ve definitely had our share of bad luck for the season now!” said James Toseland. “Last weekend was very frustrating for me, the team have worked so hard and we now have an extremely competitive bike to take the fight to the front with, so to crash out on the opening lap was disappointing. It’s made it tougher to bridge the gap to the lead of the championship, but there are still sixteen races to go so I’m going to keep my head down looking for podiums.”Kyalami technically speaking according to Frankie Carchedi, James Toseland’s Crew Chief

“Kyalami is a high altitude circuit so all bikes are down on power. It’s quite a tight and twisty track so no six gear long straights as in Monza so we’ll modify the gearbox again for this. It’s a very bumpy track so the front forks and rear shock have to be able to follow the bumps to get good traction which makes it smoother for the rider. We need a good qualifying result as it is a difficult place to pass. We tried some different settings at the Misano test purposely for this circuit, we weren’t so fast in Misano with them but we’re confident they will be perfect for here in absorbing bumps and giving good traction. The main changes are a different link and different fork and shock settings.”Kyalami technically speaking according to Marcus Eschenbacher, Cal Crutchlow’s Crew Chief

“After the Monza race we saw that we had reached a good level of performance with Cal to bring here. We know the circuit is difficult because of the grip levels, the altitude and the bumpy track conditions. We will try to make the bike suit this by working on changing the suspension set up to be more comfortable over the bumps, we also need to find a better grip level, maybe we will have to compromise a bit of steering sharpness to get the best out of the bike for this conditions. We’ll probably go for a softer chassis set up and softer damping than normal to start with and see how we get on in the first session on Friday.”Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager

“This circuit was one of the more difficult ones for our bike last year. I’m confident that in one year we have made enough improvements and developments to be even better this time. We intend to start the weekend as we finished the first race in Monza. I’m really happy that James will be ready for Friday, we are lucky that he received no serious injuries last weekend. We proved in Monza with both riders that we were one of the strongest teams in the paddock, we are confident that the development undertaken over the year means we are capable of fighting at the front for race wins, every race.”

By Press Release