The Ducati Xerox Team heads to the UK or, more specifically, to Silverstone, the only “new” track to feature on this year’s World Superbike calendar, after a two year absence.
The upcoming WSBK tenth round is also the last event before the championship’s traditional month-long summer break; Round 11 is scheduled for Sept. 5 at the Nürburgring in Germany.
The historic Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, UK, has undergone some major restructuring during recent months and the track layout is now very different to that on which the Superbikes last raced in 2007.
The last time Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio visited the English circuit, the World SBK motorcycle racers experienced some particularly bad weather that resulted in the cancellation of Race 2. Race 1 went ahead as planned but heavy rain conditioned the outcome and while Noriyuki finished on the podium behind Troy Bayliss (race winner on the Ducati), Michel unfortunately crashed out.
Haga has raced at Silverstone on five previous occasions, and has achieved seven podium finishes over nine races, an impressive record. Michel is yet to celebrate a podium finish at this particular circuit but he, Noriyuki and the entire Ducati Xerox Team are looking forward to the challenge that the new look track will present.
At the latest round, held three weeks ago at Brno in the Czech Republic, both Noriyuki and Michel made a great start to the weekend, topping the timesheets in the early sessions. Superpole did not go as planned for either rider, but despite their grid positions, the Ducati Xerox men fought hard with Michel scoring a podium finish in the second race and Noriyuki making up many positions in both races to close in fifth and sixth.
Going into round ten of thirteen, Haga is still in fifth position in the overall standings while team-mate Fabrizio finds himself eighth. Ducati lies in third position in the manufacturers championship.
Noriyuki Haga says: “We haven’t been to Silverstone for a few years but we’ve heard that they’ve made some great track modifications and I’m looking forward to going back there. I’ve had some good results there in the past, quite a few podiums from what I remember and it was always a track that seemed to suit my riding style. We’ll have to wait and see just how much it’s changed but I’m looking forward to the event and hope we can do well.”
Haga’s Superbike form at Silverstone:
2007: Race 1 – 2nd
2006: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 2nd
2005: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 3rd
2004: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – 2nd
2002: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 10th
Michel Fabrizio says: “I’ve raced at Silverstone before of course but my results were nothing to write home about. With the changes to the track layout it will be interesting to see how everyone goes, I guess we’ll all be starting on a level playing field, and so I am confident that we can put together two great races. I hoped to do better at the recent Brno round and so will try my best to take as many points as possible this weekend to improve my position in the overall standings.”
Fabrizio’s Superbike form at Silverstone:
2007: Race 1 – DNF
2006: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 15th
Circuit length: 5.902 km
Pole position: left
Corners left: 10
Corners right: 8
Race distance: 18 laps = 106.236 km
Fastest lap – Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1’26.299 (2006).
Superpole – Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1’24.558 (2007).
Race 1 – 1. Bayliss (Ducati Xerox); 2. Haga (Yamaha); 3. Corser (Yamaha)