It’s Miller Time

Press Release | May 27, 2009

The following is from InFront Sports…The HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship will soon arrive at the Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, USA, for its annual American adventure. This year the meeting will be unique as raceday takes place on Monday May 31st – the Memorial Day Holiday – rather than the usual Sunday, with first practice on Saturday 29th and Superpole qualifying on Sunday 30th. As round seven of a 13 round season, Miller will be the halfway point for what has already been a thrilling period of competition in the Superbike class. Once again the Supersport World Championship will run alongside the bigger bikes when action gets going on Saturday.Seven different manufacturers will once more be represented by official teams this coming race, with several other top-flight privateers also capable of race wins, in what is turning out to be an intensely competitive season. From double World Champions like Troy Corser and James Toseland to complete rookies in the class like American Roger Lee Hayden, World Superbike in 2010 is a massive melting pot of rider experience and machinery, making predictions about possible winners a difficult business week-to-week. So far six riders have won races in 2010, and few think that total will not increase before the end of the year. At Miller, a track virtually no one has tested at or ridden on since last year’s race, the uncertainty about who will be in a position to win come raceday is all the more intense.

At the top of the World Championship fight since the first round, Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) reasserted his victorious pace in South Africa during round six, winning race two after fighting to a podium finish in race one. He extended his lead over Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) to 15 points in the process. Double race winner at Assen, Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Phillip Island race winner Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) are third and fourth now on identical points scores. Checa is the only current WSB rider to taste victory at Miller, scoring a double when he was a Honda rider in 2008.We had a new 2010 race winner at Kyalami, Michel Fabrizio for Ducati Xerox, while Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) is looking to get back to his best, having won in Valencia but still struggling by his own high standards elsewhere. Currently Haga is sixth and Fabrizio eighth overall. All the Ducati riders will have a three kilogramme weight reduction to their machines from the Miller round onwards, after a recent change in the balancing rules between the 1200cc twins and the 1000cc four-cylinder machines.It can surely only be a matter of time before James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and his team-mate Cal Crutchlow take their first wins of 2010, as each has scored more than one podium already. They sit fifth and ninth respectively. Toseland being in that position means that there are five different manufacturers’ machinery inside the top five places – Suzuki, Aprilia, Honda, Ducati and Yamaha. Two Aprilia Alitalia machines feature in the top ten, with full season rookie Leon Camier having already scored a podium on his way to a current ranking of tenth.The BMW Motorrad Motorsport team, led by riders Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus, has already had a 2010 podium finish for Corser to celebrate, at Monza, as they work their way to full competitiveness. Kawasaki Racing Team riders Tom Sykes and Chris Vermeulen are working hard on getting further up the leader board, with a fifth place for Sykes at Monza the high water mark so far.Many other top name regulars are fired up for Miller, including Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Alstare), Max Neukirchner (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati), Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Ducati), Luca Scassa (Supersonic), ECHO CRS Honda rider Broc Parkes, plus Roger Lee Hayden and Matteo Baiocco (both Pedercini Kawasaki). 

Points (after 6 rounds of 13): 1. Haslam 222; 2. Biaggi 207; 3. Rea 141; 4. Checa 141; 5. Toseland 125; 6. Haga 106; 7. Corser 105; 8 Fabrizio 95; 9. Crutchlow 86; 10. Camier 82. Manufacturers: 1. Suzuki 222; 2. Aprilia 213; 3. Ducati 185; 4. Honda 150; 5. Yamaha 135; 6. BMW 108; 7. Kawasaki 39.

World SupersportIn the Supersport World Championship a whole five points separate leading trio Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) and Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki on the eve of the Miller race weekend. Despite having won four races so far, Laverty finds himself second in the rankings, with Sofuoglu leading by one point only. Both Sofuoglu and Lascorz have won a race apiece in 2010, while last year Sofuoglu won the Miller round of the series. ParkinGO Triumph BE-1 rider Chaz Davies has scored two podiums this year, in Spain and South Africa, helping put him fourth; one place up on his team-mate David Salom. No fewer than five home-grown wildcard or one-event riders will be present at the Miller round; Melissa Paris (who raced here last year), Tyler Odom, Dylon Husband, Chip Yates and Jason Farrell.Points (after 6 rounds of 13): 1. Sofuoglu 117; 2. Laverty 116; 3. Lascorz 112; 4. Davies 71; 5. Salom 49; 6. Pirro 47; 7. G. Re 47; 8. Harms 43; 9. Lagrive 40; 10. Fujiwara 38; Manufacturers: 1. Honda 145; 2. Kawasaki 112; 3. Triumph 81 

THE CIRCUIT: Miller Motorsports Park is a fascinating venue, built near Salt Lake City in the high desert of Utah. It should be completely flat in layout, but in fact there were several points of elevation built into its original design, making it a real challenge for riders in all classes. The 4.907km track skirts around the perimeter of the facility for the World Superbike meeting, but nonetheless it is one of the longer circuits on the 2010 calendar.Miller is, like Kyalami last time out, a high altitude circuit (elevation 1341m) which means the awesome WSBK machines will be down on power in the thin air of the Utah plains. This is the third visit of World Superbike to Miller in three years, and Miller is the most recent of three American venues to host World Superbike racing.The following is from Ducati…A busy month for the Ducati Xerox Team that, having already raced at Monza and Kyalami, now travels on to Salt Lake City, where the seventh World Superbike round is scheduled for the coming weekend at the Miller Motorsports Park. The Superbike races, in a change to the traditional schedule, will take place on Monday 31st May, Memorial Day and a national holiday for the American people.The Salt Lake circuit has looked kindly on Italian rider Michel Fabrizio who, in the last two years, has scored four consecutive podium finishes at the American track. Team-mate Noriyuki Haga on the other hand has not been so lucky at Miller; his best result until now a sixth place finish in 2008, with an unfortunate crash during qualifying conditioning his races last year.Coming at the end of an intense month, in which the team have already competed at Monza and Kyalami, the Salt Lake round marks the middle of the 2010 championship, with six rounds already completed and six still to go. The Ducati Xerox riders have experienced highs and lows during the first half of the season, highlights coming at Valencia, with a race win for Noriyuki, and at Kyalami where Michel scored his first win of the season.The Ducati Xerox riders currently lie in sixth (Noriyuki) and eighth (Michel) position in the overall classification while Ducati is still third in the manufacturers standings.Noriyuki Haga (6th in championship, 106 points)

Miller is one of only two tracks where Noriyuki failed to reach the podium last year.”I’ve had some bad luck at Salt Lake and so I can’t say it’s my favourite track. Two years ago I broke my collarbone and then I crashed again there last year, hurting my back which made the races difficult. I hope we can do better at Miller this season as we need to make up lost ground at this point.”Haga’s Superbike form at Miller:

2009: Race 1 – 9th, Race 2 – 8th

2008: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 6thMichel Fabrizio (8th in championship, 95 points)

Four out of four podiums for Michel at Miller so far; the Italian would like to consolidate those results with a race win at the American circuit.”I’m looking for a great weekend at Miller as I like the track and the American crowds and I’d love to be back on the podium there, maybe even on the top step this time! I don’t know why but the track seems to suit my riding style and I’m really looking forward to going back there again. I’m in eighth position but with good points I hope to be able to catch the riders immediately ahead of me in the standings.”Fabrizio’s Superbike form at Miller:

2009: Race 1 – 3rd , Race 2 – 2nd

2008: Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 3rdCIRCUIT DATA:

Country: USA

Name: Miller Motorsports Park

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Circuit length: 4.907 km

Pole position: Right

Race distance: 21 laps = 103.047 kmLAP RECORDS: Best lap – Spies (Yamaha) 1’48.768 (2009). Superpole – Checa (Honda) 1’48.193 (2008).2009 RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Spies (Yamaha) 2. Checa (Honda) 3. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) Race 2 – 1. Spies (Yamaha) 2. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 3. Rea (Honda)The following is from Suzuki…Team Suzuki Alstare riders Leon Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli have their own reasons for wanting to do well in the seventh round of this year’s Superbike World Championship at the Miller Motorsports Park, near Salt Lake City in Utah. After his superb performance in the last round in Kyalami, Leon is fired up and ready to claim another pair of podiums and make up for last year in MIller, when he finished 10th in race one and DNF’d in race two.Sylvain didn’t race at Miller last year, so once again he will have to learn a new circuit and try and get down to competitive business right from day one. It’s a task that has caused a few problems for the Frenchman this season, but Miller is a more straightforward track than Kyalami and Sylvain is looking for a big improvement in qualifying and on raceday. Like Kyalami in the last round, the similarly high altitude will affect the performance of all the bikes, so a good set-up will be crucial.The race in Miller on 31st May will be unique because it will be the first time in WSBK history that a race takes place on a Monday. Monday is Memorial Day in USA and commemorates the United States men and women who died in military service.Leon

Kyalami was a tough one and I’m looking forward to Miller because it is an easier circuit to deal with. Having said that, the altitude will make our bikes feel slow and we need to get them dialled in as soon as we can for the track and then push hard. Last year Miller was not such a good event for me, so I am really looking forward to showing what I and the Suzuki can do and hopefully get another couple of podiums. Max (Biaggi) is a threat and I want to make sure I either beat him or at least leave USA still in the championship lead. May is a busy month for us, with three races on three different continents, so it will be good to end it on top of the standings (with a good lead maybe?) and have a good break before the next round.Sylvain

Obviously I need to improve, especially in practice and qualifying and be in a better position on raceday. I have never been to Miller before, so it will be another new track for me to learn. But it looks less difficult than Kyalami in the last round, so I think I will be able to get on with it much better on the first two days of practice and qualifying and then be on the first two rows of the grid on raceday. As I said before, this championship is so competitive that the smallest of errors in qualifying can make a big difference to your grid position come raceday. Starting from way down the gird is never easy, but with so many good riders and good bikes it is almost impossible to get a good result if you begin from the third or fourth row. Hopefully, this time I will not be in that position!The following is from Honda…Everyone in the Superbike and Supersport World Championship circus is about to start a new adventure together as they head to Miller Motorsport Park in Utah for round seven of the 13 round series. This is the first time that the feature races will be held on a Monday, as opposed to the traditional Sunday.Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathan Rea, a product of the British Superbike Championship in his earlier career, has raced on Bank Holiday Mondays in the UK many times but this time around it is the American Memorial Day holiday that means racing will get underway on Monday 31st May, with first practice on Saturday 29th and Superpole qualifying on Sunday 30th.A podium finish in the previous round at Kyalami has helped Jonathan to maintain his third place overall in the championship after six of

13 rounds have been completed. His second place in South Africa was his fourth podium of the year, two of which were wins at the Assen circuit in the Netherlands. Championship leader Leon Haslam (Suzuki) now has 222 points, Max Biaggi (Aprilia) has 207 and Rea is on the same 141 total as Carlos Checa (Ducati). Because he has outscored the Spanish rider on wins, Rea is credited with third.Eugene Laverty has been on spectacular recent form on his Parkalgar Honda, winning three races in a row and four of the six so far. The podium consistency of Portimao race winner Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), however, means that it is he and not Laverty who leads the championship. Kenan has 117 points to Laverty’s 116, but it is still very much a three horse race as Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) has

112 points.Hannspree Ten Kate Superbike rider Max Neukirchner is looking to podium memories of Miller from the 2008 season to get himself back to his best after a tough first half of the year. Honda riders have a good record at Miller, with Carlos Checa winning the double for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda first time out in 2008 before he and Rea each took one podium apiece last year, when they were riding in Hannspree Ten Kate Honda colours.ECHO CRS Honda’s Broc Parkes believes this will be the first race in which his lingering pre-season leg injury will play no part of his overall effort, but he also hopes for improvements in machine set-up to allow him to compete for the better points scores.Squadra Corse Italia Garvie Image Honda rider Vittorio Iannuzzo will once again miss a round of the Superbike series.Hannspree Ten Kate Honda Supersport rider Michele Pirro had a great run to fourth place at Kyalami, despite still suffering shoulder pain from a pre-race crash, and he now ties on 47 points with Gino Rea from the Intermoto Czech Honda team. Pirro is sixth and rookie Rea seventh overall, with the next-best official Honda rider proving to be Massimo Roccoli, Rea’s team-mate.Parkalgar Honda rider Miguel Praia has the same 29 points as Roccoli after finishing tenth at Kyalami, with Roccoli 11th overall and Praia 12th.After the final extra-European race of the year, Misano beckons for round eight, on Sunday 27th June.WSBK Rider CommentsJonathan Rea, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR: “I feel optimistic about the races at Miller. Our bike has typically gone well there in the past. That’s not necessarily the case year-to-year, but I am just looking forward to having a strong Saturday morning, getting a good base setting on the bike and working towards two podiums. We are at that midway point of the year where we need to start putting races together every weekend and get working towards the championship again. I am just looking forward to it now.”Max Neukirchner, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR: “I like Salt Lake, it is a nice track. In 2008 I was fourth in one race and then second, so it is a good place with good memories for me. We learned a little bit more about the bike in South Africa and we want to try the chassis like we had it set in race two at Assen, when we finished inside the top ten.”Broc Parkes, ECHO CRS Honda CBR1000RR: “I have been trying as much as I can to prepare myself for the American races. I have been working hard on my fitness at home in Andorra and I think my injured leg should be 100% better by Miller. It is a big, fast, open track; it’s unreal. I qualified well at Miller last year and it was a good track for me, so hopefully I can restart my season there.”WSS Rider CommentsKenan Sofuoglu, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR: “I won in Miller last year and I hope to do so again this year. I know that in the last part of the year my bike will be better than the early part. Last year we changed the suspension after half the season and so far we have not had any data from the previous year to start working from. So after the next couple of races we should be stronger again. At the moment we have to take as many points as we can.”Eugene Laverty, Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR: “This bunch of races I have really been looking forward to. I have won the first three and now go to Salt Lake and Misano knowing I really like them and last year got on well there, right from the word go. I expect it to be a tougher race than Kyalami, as Joan will be back in the mix with Kenan and myself. I think most people will prefer that, as it may be a more exciting race, but to be honest I like the races where I get away in front and have time to admire the scenery.”Michele Pirro, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR: “I feel OK after my crash at Kyalami and I should be OK for Salt Lake. I have raced at this track before and it has a very long straight and fast corners. I hope for a good result because Kenan won there last year and I liked it. It seems a good track for the Honda and our chassis works well. We have had some problems this year, and some good results, but after Monza and Kyalami I am happy.”Gino Rea, Intermoto Czech Honda CBR600RR: “I have never been to Miller before but I have been watching DVDs of the previous races over and over, learning little bits and pieces about it, preparing as much as I can beforehand. It should be very different from Kyalami, from what I have seen.”Massimo Roccoli, Intermoto Czech Honda CBR600RR: “I had a big crash in warm-up at Kyalami and then fell again in the race so I have been glad of the weekend off so I can get my strength back. I want to make up for the disappointment of Kyalami when we get to America.”Miguel Praia, Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR: “My hopes are high for America, I really enjoyed the track and the whole event last year, right until I crashed, and even after I crashed. I am capable of the top eight I think. My Parkalgar Honda is good and suits the circuit well.”The following is from Yamaha…Yamaha Sterilgarda riders Cal Crutchlow and James Toseland are gearing up for the U.S round of the World Superbike Championship this coming Monday at the Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City. Last year the team saw a double victory here at the hands of rider Ben Spies, success they will be looking to repeat in 2010 with British riders Crutchlow and Toseland.The Salt Lake City round is the seventh of the 2010 Championship, with six rounds now remaining before the finale in Magny Cours in October. Toseland heads into this weekend in fifth place in the championship on 125 points, 16 points behind Carlos Checa in fourth. Team mate Crutchlow sits in ninth with 86 points, nine points behind Michele Fabrizio in eighth.”I’m really looking forward to Salt Lake City,” said James Toseland. “It’s a brand new track for me. I got to drive a couple of laps in one of the Miller Racing School’s Mustang’s this week which has given me an idea of the track layout, but there’s nothing like actually riding it on a bike to understand it. I’ve always enjoyed coming to American tracks to race, I love Laguna Seca and Indianapolis so I’m looking forward to the challenge of learning this one and getting up to speed as quickly as possible. I hope we don’t have the grip level problems as we did in Kyalami.””It’s great to be back here again,” said Cal Crutchlow. “I loved racing here last year on the Supersport bike; it’s a great track so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it on the R1. I know the bike works well here, so I’m confident we can get up there and fight to be at the front to finish the weekend on the podium.”Miller technically speaking according to Frankie Carchedi, James Toseland’s Crew Chief

“Kyalami proved to be a tough weekend for the team, but James gained some valuable points towards the championship. Miller is a new track for James, so the key will be for him to do as many laps as possible in the first few sessions and learn the track. The second day we will work hard on the setting so that James can again fight for the top three places. Miller racetrack is very different to Kyalami and has hardly any change of elevations. We will work hard on making sure we can also maintain good grip levels for the whole race, as this is a key factor for us. We have some good data from last year and we will use this to our advantage to work towards an optimum set up as quickly as possible.”Miller technically speaking according to Marcus Eschenbacher, Cal Crutchlow’s Crew Chief

“The circuit has two or three different characters, and at least two different tarmac surfaces to deal with. You have the fast flowing part and then the last part which is more twisty with a different tarmac surface so we have to see what the grip situation is and what our level of traction is. We will start with one bike on our base set up and the second bike we will try something new. We want to have more dynamic transfer on the bike so we will adjust the bike to achieve this which will hopefully give us more traction without compromising steering. We will also try a new clutch to see if we can improve on our starts.”Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager

“Miller Motorsports circuit seems to be one of the good circuits for us, last year we ran very well here with no problems so we’re preparing for the weekend with confidence and determination, we believe we can achieve good results. After South Africa we haven’t worked on our bikes as they came directly from Kyalami to here but we are ready with a good base set up to begin on Saturday with the first session.”The Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team riders will be looking to build on the current run of victories by both the R1 and the R6 in the USA national championships. Team Graves Yamaha R1 rider Josh Hayes took double AMA Superbike wins in California two weeks ago, with fellow Yamaha Pat Clark Motorsports R1 rider Ben Bostrom taking two second places behind him to make it a double Yamaha one-two on the podium. The R6 was also dominating the AMA weekend, with podiums by Tommy Aquino, Josh Herrin and Dane Westby. In AMA ProSupersport, the Saturday saw five of the top six places taken by the R6 whilst Sunday saw it take the chequered flag.

By Press Release