SBK Race Report
James Toseland put in a solid performance in race one today on his Yamaha Sterilgarda R1, starting from ninth on the grid the British rider made short work of the field to take second by the ninth lap. He was hotly pursued by Aprilia rider Max Biaggi for the entire race duration and fought off a number of attacks, holding on to second until just two laps from the end.
He finished the race in third, claiming his well deserved first podium of the year, just 3.6 seconds off the race leader. Team mate Cal Crutchlow had a tougher first race. A less than perfect start saw him drop from pole to seventh going into the first corner of the race. He fought hard for the duration despite suffering from a lack of grip, riding as high as fifth before dropping back to claim seventh at the line.
Race two was marred with incident, three laps in a high speed crash into the pit wall caused the race to be red flagged. After a delay it was restarted under aggregate timing with Crutchlow and Toseland in ninth and 12th respectively. The hot track temperature proved challenging for grip levels, with both riders fighting hard for position. Toseland crossed the line in seventh having challenged for several positions, whilst team mate Crutchlow hung on to take ninth at the chequered flag.
Toseland goes to the next round in Assen with 50 championship points having jumped up the table from 11th to sixth. Team-mate Crutchlow remains in tenth as he heads to the Dutch round with 41 championship points.
James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team, placed 3rd, 7th) says: “Race one was great, it’s always nice when the team work so hard to be able to repay them with a result. I was probably the widest man out there because I certainly wasn’t the quickest after half race distance, I was finding a few things a bit difficult with the bike. It was great though to dig deep and get a podium, my first podium this year and my first since Brands 2007 I think. It’s been a while since I took a trophy home so I was very happy. The team is working unbelievably hard, we’ve got some issues but we’re making up a lot of ground in a short space of time. In the second race I got an average start when the clutch grabbed early on the line. I don’t know where the front guys got their pace from on the re-start, mid 34’s was a second faster than it was in the first race. Assen is next which is fast and flowing which will suit the bike better. We need to keep improving until we’re strong at every track.”
Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team, placed 7th, 9th) says: “Race one was ok, I was just disappointed I lost the tow to the leaders at the start. We’ve got bad rear tyre problems again, seem to be spinning a lot more than the other competitors from the go. The higher grip levels in Portugal suited us better. We’re looking forward to hopefully improving it at the next race in Assen. A difficult weekend, the second race was much the same, no grip from the start.”
Massimo Meregalli (Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager) says: “We’ve had an up and down weekend. We had some issues on Friday then came back with the Superpole yesterday. It was great to see James achieve a podium in the first race, he really worked hard and deserved it. The second race was not so good for us, it proved to be more challenging for the riders with less grip levels on the circuit. For sure this weekend we’ve learnt some more about the bike and we’ve definitely improved since Phillip Island. We’ll study the data from this weekend and we’ll come to The Netherlands with something new.”
Circuit Length: 4.005
Weather: Hot and Sunny
Lap Record: 1’34.618 (Noriyuki Haga, 23/04/2009)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1’33.270 (Ben Spies, 05/04/2009)
Last Years Winner: Noriyuki Haga