Imola Race Interviews
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Ben Spies Speaks… (4th, 5th)
"In race one we ruined our chances with the electronic side of the bike, we didn’t have enough power coming out of the bike and we struggled with grip a bit as well, it was a rough race. The second race we had the pace for sure to battle for the lead but a combination of things held us up. Rea got pretty greedy early in the race, passing me in the gravel trap three different times. I felt bad for him as I knew he had the pace to run up front but you’ve got to know when to calm down and when to take it easy for a couple of laps and let the race come in, you can’t push on every corner. I had a couple of laps where I wasn’t riding well at all then I got myself together and caught up to Simoncelli and Biaggi. They bumped and Biaggi ran off the track, when he came back on it was either hit him or go off into the gravel. I got back on and caught up to Bryne and then almost ran into the back of him and had to run off the track again. It was a messy race. There were a lot of mistakes, a couple from me and some from others. If you would have told me after the first race that we would only be losing the championship by three points I’d be happy because there were a lot of guys who could beat me this weekend."
Tom Sykes Speaks… (9th, 12th)
"I had a good start in race one but still struggled for grip as we have been all weekend with the rear of the bike. We improved it a bit for warm up this morning but in the race I still struggled. We made a change for race two but I got a bad start. The bike felt faster and more consistent though but unfortunately I kept getting caught up by a few riders cutting the chicane and I ended up losing a second here and there. Towards the end I had one lap where I was having huge slides so I was looking back at the tyre to see if there was anything on it and lost maybe two and a half seconds."
Max Biaggi Speaks…(2nd, 4th)
"It was a wonderful race," said Biaggi, "from start to finish. I tried to set the pace, but the Ducati was faster along the second part of the track, which we still haven’t resolved. I’m very happy because we achieved great
results here in Italy with our fans present. This is a circuit where we have already suffered a lot from the tests, but we did a great job with our technicians to improve the situation and as of this morning, the set-up of the RSV4 was already very good, even if things aren’t really perfect yet. We’ll try to improve for Race 2."
"When I took off, I immediately tried to stay with the Ducatis, which immediately set the pace," declared Biaggi, "so in order to recover about halfway through the race I made two mistakes that resulted in me losing a great deal of the advantage I had accumulated, so in order to do better, I did worse. I wasn’t expecting Simoncelli to enter and in order to not hit the wall or Spies, we had to do some manoeuvring to stay up. In any case, it was a very positive week-end, I would have never hoped to have recovered so many points on Rea in the world championships, considering he was always so fast both in the test runs and the trials. I would also like to compliment Simoncelli who was very good, especially in Race 2."
Marco Simoncelli Speaks… (DNF, 3rd)
"It was a wonderful and very intense week," said Simoncelli, "it was just Monday evening that I decided to participate in this SBK race and the results were excellent. When I arrived here at Imola, my objective was to enter the Top 5 in Race 1, which I managed to do until the fall at the Tosa. In Race 2 I started off much better and I set a good pace until catching up with Biaggi. I didn’t want to make the pass I did at the Variante Bassa, but I ended up long in the straightaway and in order to not end up in the gravel I took the chicane the same way and it ended up fine. I must thank my Superbike team, that 250cc and Aprilia, for the help they provided and the great opportunity that they gave me."
Noriyuki Haga Speaks… (1st, 2nd)
"It’s great to have won again, having not been in this position since Kyalami and having had some tough rounds after the Donington accident. It was a very long race, I thought it would never end, and with all that happened, I don’t even remember when I overtook Max! Over this weekend we have gradually improved and I am especially happy with the result because my father has travelled to Europe for the first time to see me race. For Race 2 I unfortunately had to go out on the second bike as we had problems with the first and we couldn’t get it fixed in time. It was a hard race and I am very tired at the end of it all. Congratulations to Michel in Race 2 of course and also to Marco (Simoncelli) and thanks to my engineer Ernesto, to my team and to Ducati. We are now back in the lead with a three point advantage but there are still four races to go so there’s still a fight ahead. We need the best possible bike for Magny-Cours and Portimao!"
Michel Fabrizio Speaks… (3rd, 1st)
"What races! I really wanted a win today so I am extremely happy. In Race 1 the problem was that after just a few laps I was having problems with my left arm and it was hard to change gear, I had kind of cramps in my hand. By the end I was really hanging on by two fingers with no feeling in my arm. So all things considered third place was a good result. After the first race I got my trainer to do some work on my arm and it obviously did the trick because it wasn’t a problem in Race 2, and when I got past Noriyuki I knew I could win. I’m happy also for my son, who is here and always asks me why I don’t win more! Thanks to the whole team, to my trainer Leigh "Rok" Bryan, to Ducati, to Xerox and to the spectators who have been amazing this weekend. All of Ducati’s top management were here today too so I hope that our results demonstrate that Nori and me deserve to have had our contracts renewed for next year."
Leon Haslam Speaks.. (6th, 8th)
"Yes, it was hard work out there today. The set-up was better in race two but we went with the wrong tyre for the second race, my decision because the temperature had gone up. Plus Johnny (Rea) put me across the grass about four times, and that cost us a lot of time. If we had worked together we could have got up to the back of the group that actually got to the podium. Eighth in race two was not the best of results, but sixth on race one was better. We have had a few issues this weekend, but we have overcome them and we were running as fast as the leaders in the mid-part of one race. All-in-all, we improved over the weekend."
Ryuichi Kiyonari Speaks… (5th, 17th)
Race one was very positive for me and it felt really good to be doing quick lap times at the end of the race, as well as at the beginning. Fifth was a good result for me from where I started on the grid. In race two, I think I got a little bit too excited. I could see Ben Spies at the back of the leading group and I pushed a little too hard trying to catch him. I had no problems before I crashed but I lost a bit of confidence when I got the bike going again. If I had finished where I should have finished race two, it would have been a really positive weekend.Troy
Corser Speaks… (11th, DNF)
Today was very frustrating for me and the team because we had all expected more. Practice had gone well and our times on race tyres would’ve meant top seven or eight finishes for sure. In race one, the brakes started giving problems after about six laps and I was going about 20 kms faster into the turns than I wanted to whilst using much, much more brake pressure. I tried to keep out of trouble and not cause any problems to the other riders and try and keep going as best I could. In the end, I was lucky to finish 11th. Brembo and the team changed the brake system for race two, but this time the problem was worse and maybe air had ingressed. After running off the track a few times and nearly crashing, I decided it would be safer to pull in. The last thing I wanted was to crash and take somebody else out, so withdrawing was the best, and only, option. Hopefully the problem will be sorted out and everything will be OK for Magny-Cours next weekend.
Ruben Xaus Speaks… (12th, 13th)
I am so happy to be back with my team, because I have missed them all so much in the past few weeks. I couldn’t have raced here today if it had not been for all the tremendous work by BMW’s doctor Vicenzo and Dr Llobet and physio Ricard Huelamo in Spain. It’s a shame we lost time on Friday, because the new specification of my bike means that it is like learning a new machine for me, especially as I haven’t ridden for eight weeks. So, all in all, I am pretty happy with my performance today, but I think it could’ve been better if I hadn’t had to take to the dirt to avoid hitting Fonsi (Nieto) in the second race. At that point, I was chasing a top-ten place, but things like this happen in racing. Now, I am looking forward to Magny-Cours next weekend and getting to know my ‘new’ bike better.
Jonathan Rea Speaks… (7th, 6th)
It’s been a disappointing day, as I felt we were in good shape for a win here. At the start of race one, the pace seemed quite slow and as I drew alongside Fabrizio to line him up for a pass he must have hit a curb or something. He sat up suddenly and pushed me wide, and I had to run straight into the gravel. Race two was not so good. I got a bad start and it turned into a bit of a dog fight, with people chopping me off and letting the brakes go again when I’d passed them. I made a few mistakes after that, but something also happened with the brakes, which had a bad vibration and the power was inconsistent. I had my heart set on a win but the results aren’t the end of the world – I’ve been fast here and the package was good.
Carlos Checa Speaks… (DNF, 10th)
Well the crash in race one came after a few problems on that corner, but we used a different front tyre and maybe that was the problem. Race two was better than the first, of course, but I struggled in the chicanes, the set up wasn’t quite right and I just struggled to find a way to go faster. My riding was not fluid and I couldn’t get on the pace. There were some positives from the weekend, however, and we will put these together with the good results from Brno and Nurburgring and take a better feeling to Magny-Cours next weekend.