Ducati WSBK Report
So far the World Superbike teams have been half way around the world to Australia and back to Portimao in Europe. Valencia is the 3rd of the 13 Superbike double headers and Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio are back on their 1198 SBKs, ready to fight back and regain the ground they lost recently at Portimao.
After having successfully scored three podiums in Phillip Island, the Ducati Xerox Team unfortunately experienced a more difficult race weekend at Portimao just over a week ago. Factory riders Noriyuki and Michel had to contend with starting from the fifth row of the grid and although both battled hard throughout the races to recuperate, it was always going to be hard to reach the podium places. The two races panned out in a similar way, with Haga and Fabrizio replicating in Race 2 the eighth and eleventh place finishes they had scored respectively in the first race.
Now focus turns to Spain and the Ducati friendly track in Valencia. This is the 11th consecutive year since its inauguration in 1999 that Valencia, the shortest track on the calendar at just 4005 metres in length, hosts a World Superbike event.
Last year Nitro Nori Haga, on his eighth outing at this track, stormed to victory in both WSBK races, smashing the long-standing lap record in the process, followed by team-mate Michel who closed in second and third, his first podium successes at this particular track. Noriyuki has a good history here, having scored 10 podium finishes over 16 races, 5 of which were race wins.
Michel Fabrizio (4th in championship, 46 points)
Michel’s first Superbike podiums at this track were attained just last year when he picked up a solid second and third place finish on his 1198.
"Last year I had to battle hard against Spies and Laconi for the podium places but we were happy with the results, especially as my previous performances here were far from great! We made a strong start at Phillip Island a few weeks ago but then Portimao didn’t go according to plan and I didn’t make the points that I’d hoped to. Having said that, we’re still near the beginning of a long season and Valencia is one of the tracks where I was on the podium twice last year so I’m confident that we’ll be back on top in Spain."
Fabrizio’s Superbike form at Valencia:
2009: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 3rd
2008: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 13th
2007: Race 1 – 7th, Race 2 – 11th
2006: Race 1 – 13th , Race 2 – 10th
Noriyuki Haga (5th in championship, 43 points)
Noriyuki did the double on his Ducati 1198 at the Spanish track last year and has also won races in 2008, 2004 and 2000, success that he hopes can be repeated again this year.
"I had a great weekend at Valencia last year and scored the perfect results, it was my first double win at this track and of course I’d love to do that again this season! We need to make up ground that we lost at Portimao so from Valencia onwards we’ll be back on track and aiming for race wins! I’m confident that me and my technicians will come up with a good race set-up that will allow me to fight at the front."
Haga’s Superbike form at Valencia:
2009: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – winner
2008: Race 1 – DNF , Race 2 – winner
2007: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 3rd
2006: Race 1 – 5th, Race 2 – 5th
2005: Race 1 – 5th , Race 2 – 4th
2004: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – winner
2002: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 2nd
2000: Race 1 – 3rd , Race 2 – winner
Name: Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo
Circuit length: 4.005 km
Pole position: Right
Corners left: 9
Corners right: 5
Length of race: 23 laps / 92.115 km
LAP RECORDS: Best lap: Haga (Ducati Xerox), 1’34.618 (2009). Superpole: Spies (Yamaha), 1’33.270 (2009).
2009 RESULTS: RACE 1: 1. Haga (Ducati Xerox); 2. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox); 3. Neukirchner (Suzuki) RACE 2: 1. Haga (Ducati Xerox); 2. Spies (Yamaha); 3. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox)