France World Superbike: Pre-Race Quotes

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World Superbike

Riders will meet for the final time of the 2010 World Superbike Championship at “Circuit de Nevers” in Magny-Cours, a town south of Paris, France.

Aprilia Alitalia rider Max Biaggi can ride with a mind free from heavy competition due to already clenching the WSBK title at Imola last weekend. But the Italian will surely push his Aprilia RSV4, a bike he will be riding for the next two season.

The only man that was able to capture Biaggi before the Imola round, Suzuki Alstare rider Leon Haslam, blew his motor last week during Race 2, and wasn’t able to catch Biaggi. He will maintain his second-place position in the championship, and will still be looking to beat Biaggi at Magny-Cours.

In third is Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathan Rea. Fourteen points behind is Althea Ducati rider Carlos Checa, who doubled at Imola last week. Rounding out the top five is Yamaha Sterilgarda rider Cal Crutchlow.

World SBK first raced at Magny-Cours in 1991, but wouldn’t return until 2003. The track has been on the World Superbike schedule ever since.

Here’s what the riders are saying leading up to the final round of WSBK:

Leon Haslam says:
 “Obviously I am disappointed how things turned out last weekend, but that has gone now and I prefer to focus on Magny-Cours and beating Max. But for a small mistake, I am sure I could’ve won the first race and that would have put a bit more pressure on Max. He still would have had a good lead in the points going into Magny-Cours, but the gap would’ve been less and it would’ve been an interesting race day for sure.”

“I had some good results last year at Magny-Cours on a bike that was not as good as my Suzuki this year, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be thinking about podiums this weekend. The circuit is not so technical, but there are lots of tight turns onto long straights and a lot of heavy braking. ”

“I’ve only had two rounds this year where I have missed out on a podium and that’s something I don’t want to repeat at Magny. At the moment, I lead Max by 14 podiums to 13 and my aim is to still be ahead of him on Sunday night.”

Sylvain Guintoli says: “I am excited about racing at Magny-Cours because it is my home race and obviously I would like to do well there. I know that a lot of family, friends and fans will be there, so I would like to get a podium or two. I feel I have very close to that elusive podium many times, so now it is up to me to make my mark and get onto those steps.”

“This might be a home race, but I haven’t raced at Magny-Cours since 2000 and that was on a 250! The track had a slightly different layout then, so the first thing I will have to do is relearn the track. If I can do that quickly and get a decent grid position, then I have a good chance of some good results. Hopefully, I will also have recovered from whatever I had last weekend and be fully fit and raring to go right from the first practice on Friday.”

Cal Crutchlow says: “I’m all set to go this weekend after Imola,” said Cal Crutchlow. “The last Italian round was tough with the strange starting grid, but we had a great set up on what was a difficult track. I was really happy with the podium we scored and I’m confident if we can get a good grid start on Sunday in Magny Cours I can end the year with the Yamaha superbike team on a high with more podiums!”

James Toseland says: “It was a really disappointing race weekend in Italy,” said James Toseland. “I am determined to go to Magny Cours for my last two races on the R1 and deliver good results. I have always been lucky at the French circuit, after a year if lots of bad luck I think we deserve some good luck here! We had really good pace at Imola in the races and had found a great set up so I want to use that to score in France.”

Noriyuki Haga says: “I have always done well at Magny-Cours and hope that the coming weekend is the best yet. I would like to thank Ducati, the team and the sponsors for these last two years. I have had a wonderful experience with the Ducati Xerox team and hope to thank my technicians by scoring two great results on Sunday.”

Michel Fabrizio says: “I want to collect as many points as possible this weekend, to see if I can improve my overall final result. I was sorry not to have done better at Imola and now I need to score two great results in France for my team. I still can’t believe that this will be the final weekend for the Ducati factory team. We’re all very emotional.”

Jonathan Rea says: “I flew back to the UK on Monday to get a detailed diagnosis on the injuries. To be accurate, I’ve ripped the scapholunate ligament between the scaphoid and lunar bones and that has broken a bit of bone off the scaphoid. There’s also been a dislocation of the AC joint in my shoulder, but it’s the wrist that’s the problem. We’re going to see how things go and make a decision on Friday about riding at Magny-Cours with a carbon cast for support and special Alpinestars glove.”

“It feels like the season ended at Imola last weekend and there’s just no way I want it to end like that. Third place in the championship is still up for grabs so I’d really like to ride at the weekend for that, for the team and for all my sponsors and supporters. However, it’s also important that I’m in good shape to start testing for next season as soon as possible so I’ve already got the operation booked for the Tuesday after Magny-Cours.

Max Neukirchner says: “Obviously it has been a frustrating season for me but I am looking forward to the last race in Magny-Cours. I want to finish the year with some good results for both myself and my team. I like the circuit a lot – I have done many laps there and I enjoy riding. I was on the podium in the 24hr race in 2007 and fourth in the Superbike that year. But in October the weather can be a little difficult sometimes so I hope it will be OK through the weekend.”

Tom Sykes says: “I am keeping my feet firmly on the ground to see where we end up this weekend. We have a good little base setting working now, which was good in Germany and in Italy. So it is now more a case of fine-tuning the set-up of the bike around our optimum setting for the Magny-Cours round, and hopefully the bike will work well again. We will see what the weekend brings.”

Ian Lowry says: “I am looking forward to the weekend, and have just been resting for a couple of days since Imola. Magny-Cours will be the only WSB venue I have actually been to before starting qualifying. I raced in a one-make series there, I think in 2006, so I won’t have to spend the first session working out which way the track goes! Because of that I hope I will be a bit better this weekend.”

Troy Corser says: “I’ve always gone pretty well at Magny-Cours and have taken a few pole positions and podiums there down the years. In 2005 I won my second World Championship title at the track. It’s a very distinctive circuit and actually made up of three different sections. The middle section flows nicely, but at the start and end of the lap you’ve got some real stop-start corners. One critical part of the track is the hairpin at the end of the first long straight. Here it’s important to have very good braking stability, or you can lose a lot of time. In fact, you can easily concede half a second through this corner. The hairpin before you head down the long downhill straight is also a key area.”

“This circuit has a bit of everything, and it’s extremely tricky to find the perfect set-up. You need a bike that works well over the whole circuit. Here it’s not necessarily the fastest bike that will be successful, but the one with the best handling. The machine has to have good brakes and react well to changes in direction. This can also be a treacherous place with the weather you normally expect at this time of year. It’s pretty cool now and there could well be rain. That would be less than perfect, as it makes the track conditions pretty dicey. However, I think our bike should go well with the settings we’ve been working on. I’m looking forward to it!”

Ruben Xaus
says: “I like Magny-Cours; it’s a great track, the surroundings are nice and there’s also a good atmosphere here. The only problem whenever we go there is the weather. If it’s warm and fine then riding there is fantastic. In these conditions the track offers a lot of grip and the mixture of fast and slow corners is really good fun. But when it’s cold and raining, it all gets a bit nasty – as we saw last year. So we’re hoping the weather is good this time around!”

“I’m aiming to say goodbye to my crew and the BMW Motorrad Motorsport team as a whole with a successful weekend. Hopefully the weather conditions will be ok, then we can give our best once again. We aren’t far away from getting some top results now, we just need to take one more small step. And I hope that we can do this in the final races of the season at Magny-Cours.”