SBK Race Report
Jonathan Rea took sixth and fifth place finishes in today’s two third round World Superbike championship races at Valencia in Spain as Leon Haslam and Noriyuki Haga took the wins.
Rea’s Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Max Neukirchner, endured a frustrating day, taking 13th in race one at the 4.005km Ricardo Tormo circuit, and 17th in race two.
Starting from the second row, Rea lost places at the start of the opening 23-lap encounter, finishing the first lap in 10th place. The 23-year-old once again fought his way past a number of riders, however, moving up to sixth at the flag.
His race two start was better, and Rea was in a leading position when the race was red flagged after two laps due to oil causing a major crash on the start-finish straight. With results subsequently based on aggregate times, Rea’s result moved him up to fifth place in the championship standings.
Despite a fourth row starting position, Neukirchner felt positive about the progress made during practice and qualifying at Valencia. Although, the German rider suffered unexpected rear chatter problems, he still managed a points scoring finish in race one.
His team made a small change to his CBR1000RR Fireblade for race two, but the adjustments didn’t work and Neukirchner crossed the line in 17th place on aggregate.
Jonathan Rea (placed 6th and 5th) says: “We’ve had a few gremlins this weekend, which ended up costing us time but I feel I’ve got a lot out of both races today. It’s been a difficult weekend and it’s been clear we didn’t have the pace of the front runners, but we’ve found out how to make the bike better. The new electronics have definitely made the bike easier to ride but we’ve had problems getting acceleration and grip on corner exits. It’s still early days with the electronics, though, and we know what to work on when we test at Assen this week. I’m really looking forward to that and the next race there, and I’d really like to thank my team for all their efforts this weekend. When morale’s been low, there’s always been a smile on their faces and I’m very grateful for that.”
Max Neukirchner (13th and 17th) says: “You can probably imagine the words that I’d really like to use after today. It’s frustrating because I felt quite positive after qualifying and we didn’t make any changes to the bike for warm-up this morning. We used exactly the same settings for the first race but for some reason we suddenly got rear chatter problems on corner entry. We made a small change for race two and then another during the red flag delay but it just made everything worse! What’s really frustrating is that we don’t understand the problem, so we need to look at everything and work very hard at the test this week.”
Ronald ten Kate (Team Manager) says: “Not good, not bad – just kind of medium results for Jonathan. Valencia is historically quite a difficult track for us so I guess, considering that, we have to be satisfied. However, from now on we really need podiums to be in a position to challenge for the title. With Max, we have to admit to being a little lost at the moment, but fortunately we have a two day test at Assen this week which will allow us to try a lot of new settings and prepare for our home race in two weeks.”
2010 World Superbike championship – round three – Valencia, Spain (4.005km – 23 laps) – results
WSBK Race One
1. Leon Haslam (GBR) Suzuki36’47.723s
2. Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia +1.757s
3. James Toseland (GBR) Yamaha +3.621
4. Troy Corser (AUS) BMW +4.209
5. Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Ducati +4.378
6. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +9.834
13. Max Neukirchner (GER) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +25.676
WSBK Race Two
1. Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Ducati 36’51.500s
2. Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati +0.025s
3. Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia +0.299
4. Leon Haslam (GBR) Suzuki +10.100
5. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +12.811
6. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Suzuki +13.459
17. Max Neukirchner (GER) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda +43.450
Championship points after three of 13 rounds: 1 Haslam 123, 2 Biaggi 105, 3 Checa 80, 4 Haga 79, 5 Rea 60, 6 Toseland 50.
Next round: Assen, Netherlands – 23-25 April