Magny-Cours Superbike: France Preview

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World Superbike

Although Aprilia rider Max Biaggi clenched the 2010 World Superbike Championship at Imola, the final round this weekend at Magny-Cours in France will decide the outcome of the manufactures’ title and quite possibly some contracts for 2011.

Going into the final round, Aprilia leads the manufacturers’ race with 433 points, 41 ahead of Ducati. As for the contracts, many riders have not yet been signed for the 2011 season, and their final point outcome may help decide who signs with who.

As for Biaggi, he earned the 2010 WSBK title after winning nine races in 12 rounds, including double wins at the Portimao, Monza, Miller, and Misano rounds.. The “Roman Emperor” became the first Italian in the series’ 22-year history to win a World SBK title. And even before he clenched the title, the 39-year old extended his contract with Aprilia for two years.

Up to Imola, Suzuki Alstare rider Leon Haslam was the only rider capable of catching Biaggi, but when the Brit’s motor went on his GSX-R1000 during the final race in Imola, his championship hopes were finished. It was announced this week that Haslam will be joining Troy Corser on the BMW Motorrad team, contesting on the BMW S1000RR  next season.

Haslam will finish in second for 2010, due to being 62 points ahead of the man in third place, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathan Rea. The Northern Irishman was unable to contest at both races in Imola after breaking his collarbone and wrist during a qualifying crash.

Rea attempted to rejoin the racing at Imola on his spare CBR1000RR Fireblade, but was unable to control the machine, and thus withdrew from the race. As of Tuesday, it is unknown if Rea will compete in France.

Althea Ducati rider Carlos Checa is coming off another great weekend, the Spaniard doubling at Imola. He is 14 points behind Rea in fourth place, and depending on results and Rea possibly not competing, Checa may easily take third in the championship.

Only one point separate the riders in fifth and sixth place, Yamaha Sterilgarda rider Cal Crutchlow and Ducati Team rider Noriyuki Haga, respectively. Crutchlow, who will be moving to MotoGP in 2011, has 238 points, and Haga, who is without a ride for 2011, has 237 points.

Haga had double podiums at Imola, and will be looking to overtake Crutchlow in France, even under the stress of knowing all factory Ducati efforts are pulled in 2011.

Crutchlow’s teammate, James Toseland, didn’t receive any points at Imola due to two DNFs, which places Suzuki Alstare rider Sylvain Guintoli only three points behind in a home race. Rounding out the top ten are Ducati Xerox rider Michel Fabrizio with 169 points, and Corser with 165.

World Superbike says Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) missed the Imola round through injury. Leon is another British rider fighting to be fit to race in France, as he recovers from surgery on his broken right scaphoid. Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati) had two good top ten finishes last time out in Italy and is now only ten points adrift of Camier. Ruben Xaus (BMW Motorrad Motorsport), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Jakub Smrz (PATA B&G Aprilia) complete the top 15 with one round and two races to go.

World Superbike says a quite fabulous home round for DFX Corse Ducati privateer Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Corse Ducati) saw him finish second in race one at Imola, and he is now 16th in the rankings, only six points behind Smrz. Lanzi is a former race winner at Magny-Cours, a fact he will no doubt be reminding himself of all the way to the line for Sunday’s races. Luca Scassa (Supersonic Team) and Max Neukirchner (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) are having their final races for their respective teams at Magny-Cours, and will want to go out with strong results.

The American Roger Lee Hayden and Matteo Baiocco (Pedercini Kawasaki) are looking for season best finishes this weekend, which would mean 12th place or better for the American and 13th or higher for the Italian. Fabrizio Lai is out to do what he did in race two at Imola, score points for his ECHO CRS Honda squad.

2010 World Superbike Point Standings (after 12 of 13 rounds):
1. Max Biaggi 413
2. Leon Haslam 350
3. Jonathan Rea 288
4. Carlos Checa 274
5. Cal Crutchlow 239
6. Noriyuki Haga 238
7. James Toseland 187
8. Sylvain Guintoli 184
9. Michel Fabrizio 169
10. Troy Corser 165.

Manufacturers Standings:
1. Aprilia 433
2. Ducati 392
3.Suzuki 379
4.Yamaha 307
5.Honda 305
6. BMW 201
7. Kawasaki 100