World Superbike Misano: Preview Quotes

Superbike Preview

The eight round of the HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship in 2010 and will take place at the Misano Race World Circuit between 25 and 27 June.

There will a full card of motorcycle races at the popular track close to Misano Adriatico, as the championship returns to Europe for the first time since the Monza round on May 9th.

Several of the top World SBK teams have taken advantage of the long break between the previous Miller Motorsports Park meeting in the USA and the San Marino race weekend to make their own tests, many at Misano itself.

New championship leader Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) also leads the 2010 win count with six as we enter the second half of another exciting year in WSBK, all of the four-time 250cc GP Champion’s victories coming in twos. Max has scored doubles at Portimao, Monza and most recently Miller.

Hot on his heels is long-time leader Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare), now eager to make up for a crash in the USA that cost him his championship advantage. Both top protagonists, plus their team-mates Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) and Sylvain Guintoli (Alstare Suzuki), tested at Misano recently.

Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and his talented team-mate Max Neukirchner made their own private tests at their team’s home circuit of Assen last week. The Honda duo will be keen to return to Misano in race mode however, as each has taken a victory at the ever-evolving Misano World Circuit, Rea last year and Neukirchner the year before.

Jonathan Rea says: “I got to Misano a little earlier than normal to soak up some sun, but the weather has been that bad I might as well have stayed at home. It’s improving though, and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in again at the weekend. It’s certainly going to be tough as our main rivals have tested here and have four days on us, but it’s a circuit I like very much and I’ve had some success here, including my first Superbike win last year. The guys have been working hard on our weaknesses back at the workshop and we had a reasonably good test at Assen over two days last week. We needed it though, and we won’t really know how much better the bike is until I start riding it around Misano on Friday. I’ll dig deep again and try to get the best results that I can – a repeat of last year wouldn’t be too bad.”

Max Neukirchner says: “We got through a lot of work at the Assen test last week and we found a way forward. It’s not the complete answer to all the problems we’ve been having but I am looking forward to seeing how the CBR works at Misano this weekend. We know the bike was already working well at Assen but, by putting some more weight on the rear of the bike, I’m hoping we can go better than in recent races. We’ll do some more work on the front forks on Friday to try to get the weight transfer and overall balance feeling better. I like the Misano circuit very much and had a win there in the first race in 2008 and I will try my hardest to get some good results this weekend.”

Rea is currently third in the championship standings, ten points ahead of the desperately unlucky Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) who was forced out of the lead in each Miller race. Carlos will have his usual high level of motivation going into Misano, and like his team-mate Shane Byrne he has tested at Misano as well, as part of the recent World Ducati Week festival.

Genesio Bevilacqua (General Manager of Althea Racing) says: “We come to Misano aware of our potential and with a strong desire to rebuild after the unlucky Miller round. Carlos and Shane will undoubtedly be able to get the best out of their Ducatis, having demonstrated in America that they can keep pace with the factory bikes. We trust, almost superstitiously, that our dose of bad luck has been used up in America.”

Official Ducati riders Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) also tested at Misano during that period, and there could be no better place for the talented duo to get back to their very best winning form. It has been a tough year on occasion for Michel and Nori, but they have each taken a race win; Nori in Spain and Michel in South Africa.

Nori Haga says: “I’m hopeful that after the podium at Salt Lake, things are getting back on track for us. We had a tiring but productive time at WDW and I’m now looking forward to the Misano race with confidence. Last year didn’t go to plan as Race 1 was surprisingly wet and this caused me some problems. I’ve had highs and lows at Misano over the years and it’s a track I’ve never won at; I don’t know if that will be possible this time around with the level of competition that we are seeing this year, but I will try my best as always.”

Michel Fabrizio says: “We’ve just tested at Misano, during World Ducati Week, and the sessions went well. It was very hot, as I’m sure it will be for the race too, and so I feel that we are now better prepared for the coming weekend. I’d like to improve on last year’s performance of course and am very aware that although I have taken wins at Monza and Imola I’ve not yet managed it at Misano – rest assured that I’ll be doing everything in my power to change that this season.”

Two of the fastest riders at the recent Misano tests were James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and his team-mate Cal Crutchlow, who are looking to score their first wins of the year.

Cal Crutchlow says: “I really enjoyed racing here last year even though it was a red flag race. I know what it’s like to fight and win here on a Supersport bike so I’m looking forward to finding out what the battle is like on a Superbike! We’ve been working hard to get a really good set up for the track, so we have every reason to believe we’ll both be up there fighting at the front.”

James Toseland says: “I had a pole here in 2006 in Superbike and although there were circuit changes in 2007 I’ve tested twice here this year so I know the circuit well. That combined with all the hard work my crew chief Frankie and the Yamaha Team have been doing to get the best possible set up for the track gives me confidence that we’re on for a good result. We’ve proved we can be very fast here even on used race tyres so I can’t wait to get on the bike and kick off the weekend.”

BMW Motorrad Motorsports’ Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus were not quite at the level of the fastest riders in the Misano sessions, but Corser in particular was very close on times, and looks to one of his favourite circuits to be able to show his podium quality again on the ever-improving S1000RR.

Xaus has put in some outstanding rides at Misano and the most recent of his 11 career race wins came there in 2008.

Troy Corser says: “The Italian fans certainly make themselves heard at Misano. They love their motorcycle racing and welcome us with open arms. I’ve competed at the circuit many times, and it’s a real fixture of the Superbike World Championship calendar. In 2000 I won both races here for Aprilia in their home event – that was my best weekend here so far. Modifications were made to the circuit in 2006 and we now race clockwise. That was a nice change; although this was a familiar venue for the riders, we all had to start from square one again.”

The track is quite twisty and there are a few bumps, but it’s still pretty fast. Returning to sea level means we will have more power again.”

Ruben Xaus says: “I’m really looking forward to the races at Misano and am a big fan of a circuit where I’ve won three times. At Misano every area of the track is important – it’s one of those circuits where you can’t afford to make a single mistake. The moment you slide off line, that’s it. Bike set-up is about compromise. There are bumps, fast and slow corners, and a long back straight. Engine braking is an important factor going into the hairpins at the end of the long straights.”

One of the few top teams not to test recently is the Kawasaki Racing Team, but Tom Sykes and Chris Vermeulen are very much up for a fight in Italy, with Vermeulen now getting on top of his long-term knee injury and Sykes having had to rest his body after a heavy crash in America.

Tom Sykes says: “Coming away from the Miller race wasn’t so good for us as the results we were expecting just didn’t happen, but we continue to make progress with the Ninja ZX-10R machine and we are learning all the time. I’m happy with the team and the way we work together as we know when we find a good direction we make the most of it. Coming to Misano, it’s a really nice track and I enjoy racing here. I will start fresh and will look forward to seeing what we can achieve. I have high expectations of myself and the team so it’s just about finding the combination to make the package strong and seeing what we can achieve out of the bike. Hopefully we can make another step forward.”

Chris Vermeulen says: “I’ve had some decent results at the Misano circuit over the years with a mix of podiums in both WSB, WSS and MotoGP, but never the top step. Unfortunately I don’t think this year we’ll have the package to reach the top step of the podium but I do hope that I will be able to make a significant leap up as the long break has done me good. My injured knee is coming along and I’ve been working hard on my training and physio treatments in Australia since Miller, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Misano brings to us. The Misano event is always a favourite amongst motorsport fans, with the sunshine and Italian passion for racing, so I hope we can put on a good show and improve on our current form.”

In the kingdom of the true privateers, Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Ducati) and Luca Scassa (Supersonic) have been battling it out for the title of most impressive rider so far.

Scassa may be nearer to home ground, and have tested at Misano recently (as did the DFX Ducati team) but Smrz can count on memories of being the 2009 Superpole winner at Misano to boost his pre-race hopes. Lorenzo Lanzi returns to action for DFX Ducati this weekend.

Four-cylinder private entries from ECHO CRS Honda rider Broc Parkes, and Pedercini Kawasaki riders Roger Lee Hayden and Matteo Baiocco are in place once more, and there will be a wildcard in their midst this weekend as well.

Matteo Baiocco says: “Misano is my home circuit because I live less than an hour away. This is a track I really love and my best memory is from 2007 when, on the new circuit, I set pole and went on to win the Superstock 1000 race as a privateer. Here I expect to make it into the top fifteenth. Getting into Superpole and into the points would be fantastic. I also want to make sure all the people of my Fans Club at the Quercia curve have a good time”.

Roger Lee Hayden says: It’s been a nice break to go back home for a few weeks to get refreshed. Misano is another new track that I will learn starting from Friday, hopefully we can get up to speed very quickly. The team and myself made good progress last few races and hopefully we can keep getting closer to the people in front of us. The Italian fans are so passionate and I look forward to racing in front of them again”.

Regular CIV competitor Federico Sandi (Gabrielli Racing Team) will join the grid at Misano on his Aprilia RSV4 machine.

Points (after 7 rounds of 13): 1. Biaggi 257; 2. Haslam 242; 3. Rea 151; 4. Checa 141; 5. Haga 135; 6. Toseland 132; 7. Corser 127; 8. Camier 115; 9. Crutchlow 107; 10. Fabrizio 102. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 263; 2. Suzuki 252; 3. Ducati 214; 4. Honda 162; 5. Yamaha 158; 6. BMW 130; 7. Kawasaki 45

SUPERSPORT: The intense battle for supremacy in the Supersport World Championship will continue at Misano, with leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) on 142 points, second placed Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) only six points behind and Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki now 14 points back in third.

The top three have monopolised the 2010 season wins in this class but others will look to Misano as another chance to secure their first victory. ParkinGO Triumph BE-1 rider Chaz Davies is a clear fourth in the rankings, with Sofuoglu’s team-mate and local rider Michele Pirro fifth, on the same points total as Spanish star David Salom.

Former 1000c Superstock champion and recent WSBK regular Vittorio Iannuzzo will now ride for the BE-1 Triumph team. A total of nine additional riders will compete at Misano in the Supersport class, as well as the regular competitors.

Points (after 7 rounds of 13): 1. Sofuoglu 142; 2. Laverty 136; 3. Lascorz 128; 4. Davies 84; 5. Pirro 58; 6.Salom 58; 7. Rea 54; 8. Harms 51; 9. Fujiwara 48; 10. Lagrive 44. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 170; 2. Kawasaki 128; 3. Triumph 94

SUPERSTOCK 1000: Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) has been making the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup category his own this year, having taken all four wins so far, the most recent at Monza back in May. Michele Magnoni (Honda) heads up a fabulously tight battle for second with 47 points, Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Racing Junior Honda) has 46, Davide Giugliano (Team06 Suzuki) 45 and Sylvain Barrier (Garnier Junior Racing BMW) 40.

Points (after 4 rounds of 10): 1. Badovini 100; 2. Magnoni 47; 3. Berger 46; 4.Giugliano 45; 5. Barrier 40; 6. Petrucci 30; 7. Antonelli 28; 8. Baz 27; 9. Bussolotti 26; 10. Tutusaus 25. Manufacturers: 1. BMW 100; 2. Honda 73; 3. Suzuki 52; 4. Kawasaki 30; 5. Yamaha 29; 6. KTM 25; 7. Ducati 22; 8. Aprilia 13

SUPERSTOCK 600: In the 600 Superstock division, Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha) heads up the pack, having never been off the podium so far, collecting two wins on the way. Twenty points behind, his fellow Frenchman Florian Marino (Ten Kate Junior Racing) is second, with Federico D’Annunzio (Martini Corse Yamaha) now third.

Points (after 4 rounds of 10): 1. Guarnoni 86; 2. Marino 66; 3. D’Annunzio 51; 4. Karlsen 47; 4. Lombardi 38; 5. Lanusse 30; 7. Calero Perez; 8, Fanelli 25; 9. Le Coquen 19; 10. Major 20.