Kyalami (South Africa) Tuesday 11th May: Just two days after returning to base from Monza’s fifth World Superbike round, the Ducati Xerox team repacks its bags and leaves for South Africa and the circuit of Kyalami.
The Ducati 1198 of the factory Ducati Xerox team proved itself a winner on the Kyalami circuit last season, with the red machines dominating a weekend that culminated in two triumphant race wins for Noriyuki Haga, and two second place finishes for teammate Michel Fabrizio (who also registered a new lap record in the first race), with both Ducati Xerox men crossing the line more than eight seconds clear of the closest competition in Race 2.
With regard to the 2010 season, Noriyuki and Michel currently lie in sixth and eleventh position respectively in the general standings of what is turning out to be an extremely close championship, based on what we have seen during the first five rounds.
Ducati is third in the manufacturers classification behind Suzuki and Aprilia. Last weekend at Monza, the first of the season’s Italian Superbike events, the riders battled not only against the competition but also against the elements in what was a mixed weekend.
At a track where Ducati was at more of a disadvantage compared to previous years in terms of top speed, aggravated by the extra weight and 50mm air-restrictors that limit the maximum power, both Haga and Fabrizio fought for as many points as possible, their best results being a sixth and seventh place finish respectively.
Returning to Kyalami after a six year absence, Haga scored a perfect double win here in 2009.
Noriyuki Haga (6th in championship, 100 points) says: "I’m happy to go back to South Africa, a track where I did well last year. We’ll see if any more security measures have been put into place after Regis’s terrible accident last year; I hope so as I really like the track but it was pretty dangerous there last time. I’d like to think we’ll be in a position to fight for the podium once more."
Haga’s Superbike form at Kyalami:
2009: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – winner
2002: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 6th
2000: Race 1 – 2nd , Race 2 – winner
1999: Race 1 – 4th, Race 2 – DNF
1998: Race 1 – 7th, Race 2 – 3rd
Michel took great points home from Kyalami last year, and set a new lap record in the process.
Michel Fabrizio (11th in championship, 62 points) says: "As long as we don’t have any travel problems in getting there, the public should look forward to some great racing. The next two rounds, Kyalami and Salt Lake, went very well for me last season and so I’m confident I can be competitive there again. It will be good to ride at a track where we’re not as disadvantaged as we were at Monza this last weekend."
Fabrizio’s Superbike form at Kyalami:
2009: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 2nd
Country: South Africa
Name: Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit
Circuit length: 4.263 km
Pole position: left
Corners left: 11
Corners right: 6
Length of race: 25 laps = 106.575 km
Lap records: Fastest lap – Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 1’38.548 (2009). Superpole – Spies (Yamaha) 1’37.288
2009 results: Race 1 – 1. Haga (Ducati Xerox); 2. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox); 3. Spies (Yamaha). Race 2 – 1. Haga (Ducati Xerox); 2. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox); 3. Rea (Honda)