World Superbike Championship leader Leon Haslam is looking forward to this weekend’s fifth-round at Monza in Italy; one of the most-famous and historic circuits on the calendar.
For many, the Autodromo Nazionale is the place of legends and a Mecca for motorcycle road racing worldwide: The 5.793 kilometre racetrack is renowned for its flowing nature, high speeds and fast bike riders can hit velocities over 300 kph.
Suzuki Alstare rider Haslam, on the GSX-R1000 SBK, intends to keep up the pressure on his rivals with another pair of top performances and leave Italy still in command at the top of the standings, before heading off to the two flyway races in South Africa and USA.
His team mate Sylvain Guintoli is also keen to do well at Monza and will be aiming to kick his season back into life after a pair of disappointing rounds.
Leon Haslam says: "Monza is steeped in history and it is always a pleasure going there and seeing the remnants of its past. The old banking is amazing and it’s hard to believe how people got round it so fast! Fortunately, we don’t have to try and do that, but the track we race on is pretty fast also. It’s a track where tactics are very important and you have to be able to get your slipstreaming just right. It’s easy to be leading a pack of riders going into the Parabolica just before the start-finish straight and end up second, third or fourth! Although there are some very fast bits, there are also some slowish corners where hard braking is called for, so it’s important to get a good set-up on the bike. Last year I was on a different bike: I qualified 17th, scored no points in race one and got seventh in race two, so I will certainly be looking for a big improvement this time."
Sylvain Guintoli says: "I have never been to Monza before so this is going to be a new experience for me. I know that it is a high-speed track and that slipstreaming can play a crucial part. Obviously my first job will be to learn the circuit and then try and qualify well. That has been a bit of a problem for me recently, but I aim to turn up with my race head on and find a good rhythm right from the start. Anything less will be a problem, so I have to get down to it as soon as I can. Although it is a new track for me I am looking forward to a good weekend and an upturn on my recent results."
’09 World SBK Race Results
WSBK Race 1: Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati), 2 Noriyuki Haga (JPN-Ducati), 3 Ryuichi Kiyonari (JPN-Honda). Leon Haslam (GBR-Honda) RET.
WSBK Race 2: Ben Spies (USA-Yamaha), 2 Fabrizio, 3 Kiyonari. 7 Leon Haslam.