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 Speaks… (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 – 7th
Michel Fabrizio Speaks… (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 – 6th
Name: The Nürburgring
Circuit length: 5.137 km
Pole position: left
Race distance: 20 laps = 102.74 km
LAP RECORDS: Best lap – Haga (Yamaha) 1’56.892 (2008). Superpole – Neukirchner (Suzuki) 1’55.471 (2008).
2008 RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Haga (Yamaha); 2. Bayliss (Ducati Xerox); 3. Neukirchner (Suzuki) Race 2 – 1. Haga (Yamaha); 2. Corser (Yamaha); 3. Neukirchner (Suzuki)