The final round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship was packed with action at Magny-Cours in France, with Yamaha Sterilgarda R1 rider Cal Crutchlow taking Race 1 and Aprilia Alitalia’s Max Biaggi taking Race 2.
The 2010 Champion Biaggi also delivered Aprilia their first WSBK title since entering competiion two years ago on the RSV4. The Italian’s fourth-place finish in Race 1 allowed Aprilia to clinch the title in Race 1.
Crutchlow was joined on the podium in Race 1 by Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000 rider Leon Haslam and Althea Ducati rider Carlos Checa. In Race 2, Biaggi was joined on the podium by Crutchlow and Ducati Team rider Michel Fabrizio aboard the 1098R.
Here’s what the riders were saying after the final round of World SBK in Magny-Cours on Sunday:
Max Biaggi says: “Race 2 was really hard. We were a lot stronger than in the first race and yet the competition was always right their snapping at our heels. My cold didn’t let up at all and after the halfway point of the race I was struggling to breathe and sincerely couldn’t wait to get to the last lap. It’s nice to end this season with a win after the first place in the rider and manufacturer standings: the celebration was for me at Imola, but today it’s my Team’s turn. They have worked hard and they deserve this success from the mechanics to the engineers from Noale who follow me track after track.”
Michel Fabrizio says: “The first race didn’t go as planned and front tyre wear gave me a lot of problems, preventing me from catching those ahead. In Race 2 I had a great battle with Guintoli. I was braking as hard and as late as possible in order to make up what I was losing on the straights and I had to attack for third right on the last lap. Sylvain wanted the podium because it’s his home race but I wanted it for my team and to wrap up the last three years with the Ducati Xerox team in the best possible way. I thank Ducati, my entire team, the sponsors and the fans; this is our day and I’m going to enjoy it with my team.”
Noriyuki Haga says: “I was expecting a much faster second race to tell the truth. In Race 1 I was having problems with the rear tire and so I thought that the changes we made before the second race would improve the situation. But in Race 2 it was difficult to push because I didn’t have great balance. Anyway, I want to thank my team. The guys have been absolutely fantastic, especially before yesterday’s Superpole and ahead of this morning’s warm-up when they performed miracles to prepare my bike in time. We close this chapter sadly but for the Ducati Xerox Team I have an incredible respect that I will always carry with me.”
Luca Scassa says: “It ‘s been a good weekend where we have achieved an overall very positive outcome. Unfortunately, on this occasion we were less efficient in qualifying but in the race then we rebuilt, especially in the second. In the first I had no grip on the tire front and I just had to think about defending myself, but I rode really well in subsequent fighting with his teeth until the end. The seventh place, which equals the best performance obtained in my first race in the USA, is dedicated to the boys team for the great work they have done during the year. Unfortunately, our paths diverge, but it was really an exceptional year. I thank the team, the whole team, Daniel, Philip and all the guys who made this fantastic adventure.”
Carlos Checa says: “Race 1 was fantastic. We put on a great performance and in the end I was able to profit from Max’s error, also thanks to the fact that I took a totally different line to him. It was a tight race, I tried to make up ground in my braking while the four cylinders gained in acceleration. At a certain point I thought that I had got away from them but they were straight back again and we fought for the podium until the very last metre. In the second race, after a difficult start, I made up positions and in the end was able to take enough points to secure third place in the championship. I am very happy, and thank the team, the sponsors and everyone that has been close to us during a 2010 full of satisfaction.”
Cal Crutchlow says: “It was two really close and enjoyable races today. All credit to Max, he rode really well. To have +0 on the board every lap is a big pressure so he did fantastically. He is the championship winner so to be battling with him at the end is good for me. Finishing fifth is not too bad, I’m Rookie of the Year as well. I came into the championship with high expectations, Yamaha has done a great job and I’m pleased with the end results. The team have been fantastic so I owe them all a big thank you along with all the sponsors and everyone that’s made it possible for us to go out there and give it our best this year.”
James Toseland says: “Today has not been the finale that I’d hoped for at one of my favorite circuits but that just seems to be the way that this year has gone. I’d like to thank Yamaha Sterilgarda and all of the team for their hard work throughout the season and the support from the fans, I’ll be back.”
Leon Haslam says: “The first race was the kind of race I love: Full of fighting and everything on the line. I am so happy to get second and so happy to have beaten Max. On the last lap, Max defended his line going into the final two turns, but I was determined to get the better of him and dived underneath him!”
“That surprised him and he wasn’t able to recover in time. It was a pretty hard move, but racing’s a hard game and sometimes you just have to be tough. I was particularly happy to get on the podium because I didn’t get a very good start. I had just worked away and gradually got back into contention. Throughout the whole race I had to make some pretty odd moves, but that’s what I had to do to get into the situation of challenging for the podium. The Championship might have been over, but I always want to win races and that’s what I set about doing.”
“So, although I was on row three of the grid, I knew that a podium was also a possibility in race two. That is until, JT’s highside right in front of me! All weekend, he’s been riding a bit desperate. The third row of the grid is one thing, but finding yourself in 16th, with the pack long gone is another matter because I had lost so much time going on the grass after avoiding JT.”
“Tenth is not how I wanted to season to end, but that’s racing.
It’s been a great year. I only had a couple of DNFs – one my fault and one not – and I’ve scored 14 podiums. I’m very happy with the season and would like to thank everybody at Alstare Suzuki for all their hard work and support. They made this all possible – the best season I’ve ever had!”
Jonathan Rea says:
”It’s not been a great weekend in Magny-Cours but my championship was pretty much over at Imola with the injuries I picked up there. My surgeon back in Manchester said it would be a pretty dumb idea to ride here but that it would cause no more injuries, only pain. The plastic cast they made helped to get me out there and I had quite good pace, but not for more than three or four laps. Then we had a bit of a freak accident in warm-up this morning with one of the hose clamps on the water pump coming loose and putting water all over the back tyre. It caused me to ha ve a big high-side and I landed on my ass, which really hurt. It wasn’t so bad and they patched me up pretty well but race one just drained all my energy and concentration and I was in quite a lot of pain.”
“The difference between third and fourth was not that much and I know this is a winning team and I’m a winning rider. I learned a lot last year, which I brought to this, and a lot this year which I’ll take into next. I’m going under the knife on Tuesday to start the repairs, so I just want to thank all the team and my fans who have made me strong.”
Max Neukirchner says: “Of course today I finished in the points twice, but like most of this season I didn’t really find a good feeling with the bike. In the beginning there were some problems with grip levels and some electronics problems in race one. Of course, it has been a difficult season for all of us and I hope next season will go better. I’d like to say thank you to all the guys in the team, who are great. The relationship has always been really good, but the bike and I didn’t really work together very well.”
Sylvain Guintoli says: “To be honest, I’m absolutely gutted! I fought like an animal today and half my effort was ruined because of a black flag. That was in race 1, when I was happily fighting in the top four. I did accidentally cut part of a chicane, but made sure I didn’t gain any positional advantage, but it seems that I was supposed to rejoin in some marked area. I didn’t see any area, so just assumed all was OK. Later the black flag with my number came out, but by then it was too late. I got disqualified because I was adjudged to have not respected the black flag.”
“Race 2 is why I race. It was brilliant! I made a great start and led the first eight laps. I was comfortable in the lead, in fact I felt more comfortable at the front than when I am in a pack of riders. I had a really good battle with Fabrizio in the closing stages. We must have overtaken each other four times on just one lap! Also, he hit me a couple of times, but it was all just a good fight.”
“I did my best to get past him and stay there, but just couldn’t manage it. I’m very disappointed not to have got on the podium.
”I’ve had a fantastic season. I have learnt so much from this team. They’ve pushed me, made me change as a rider (for the better) and helped me grow. I have felt part of the Alstare family from the beginning and I would like to thank Francis and the whole team for this wonderful experience.”
Jakub Smrz says: “I’m satisfied with my performance in both races. Although I took a few hits on the first two laps and lost a few positions, I didn’t give up and fought back twice. I ended the season with two strong races, despite having our ups and downs. We had to start from scratch halfway through but I did some good things nonetheless. I would like to thank the team for their commitment and hard work and I wish them all the best”.
Tom Sykes says: “Overall we’ve completed this weekend with two point scoring finishes and some decent results. We knew it was going to be difficult to repeat our Imola results but we’ve managed to improve on our qualifying position in both races which was my target. This circuit has a lot of changes of direction which is a challenge for our package but having said that I gave it my all and I don’t think we could have achieved much more. I’d like to thank Paul Bird Motorsport, Kawasaki and the lads, for putting in an outstanding effort this year. I think we have done a great job. I’m now looking forward to continuing my partnership with Paul Bird Motorsport and Kawasaki for 2011.”
Ian Lowry says: “I’m happy to have achieved two point scoring finishes today as that was mine and the Teams target at the start of the weekend. We had a few niggling issues and an up-and-down qualifying but more time on the bike would have ironed out a few problems but it’s the end of the season now so we’ll have to settle for the job done today. It’s been a great experience for me to work with this Team and race in World Superbikes for the last part of the season and I’d like to thank Paul Bird personally for giving me this opportunity and I hope that I have done a reasonable job.”
Troy Corser says: “It has been a really hard weekend for us. We have had some issues with the set-up, which has prevented us from taking advantage of two good starts in today’s races. Sadly a technical issue brought an early end to both races, but I know we have the package to succeed in the long term. On the whole it has been a good year for the team, and we can now look forward to next year and developing the 2011 bike. Hopefully we can learn from today and improve so we are ready for the start of next season. I would like to thank the entire team for all their hard work and commitment over the season and I am really looking forward to next year.”
Ruben Xaus says: “This is not the way I want to finish the season, and I am really sad. Nevertheless, I am not 100 per cent physically fit, and we decided jointly it would be better for me not to start race 2. I will now recover to be ready for the challenges ahead.”
Roger Lee Hayden says: “Two difficult races for me today. In race one I had to re-enter the box because of some technical problems. Unfortunately we had some brake problems also during the fifteenth lap of the second race which prevented me from getting a good position and some points for my championship standing. I am very disappointed because we could have fought for a good result here and I’m sorry for my team because we didn’t finish with a good result. I want to thank all my crew for their great job during the entire Superbike season.”