Honda Superbike: Xaus Out, Muggeridge In

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2011 World Superbike

The Castrol Honda World Superbike team hasn’t had the best of luck in the 2011 WSBK season.

First, pilot Jonathan Rea fractured his wrist during a warm-up crash in Misano, causing him to miss that round and the subsequent two at Aragon and Brno.

Castrol Honda had a substitute rider for Rea in Brno, Alex Lowes. The Brit finished 14th in race 1, and suffered a DNF in race 2 in the Czech Republic. Lowes will again ride for the Rea at this weekend’s World Superbike round in Silverstone.

But he won’t be the only new face in the Castrol Honda paddock at Silverstone; Australian Karl Muggeridge will be substituting for Ruben Xaus, who injured his leg in a race-1 crash at Brno. The injuries forced Xaus to withdraw from this weekend’s Silverstone race, Round 9 of 13 in the 2011 World Superbike Championship.

Honda says although initial scans did not reveal any major injury, continual pain in his back prompted Xaus to seek further medical advice last week, which revealed a fracture to vertebra L3. He expects to be fit for round 10 of the series at Nurburgring in Germany in early September.

As for Muggeridge, he’s a 2004 World Supersport Champion, taking the title aboard the Castrol-supported Ten kate Honda Team. He also competed with the Ten Kate squad in World Superbike during 2005-2006.

The 36-year-old from Tweeds Head on Australia’s Gold Coast has been racing a Honda CBR1000RR in the IDM German Superbike championship. He took the IDM title last year, and is currently second in points.

As for Lowes, he continued to develop his Superbike skills during a two-day test in Assen last week aboard the Castrol Honda CBR1000RR>

During that test, Castrol Honda says the 20-year-old from Lincoln in the UK completed 119 laps on the first day and, although day two was affected by rain, Lowes was delighted to have an opportunity to spend more time on the bike in preparation for the Silverstone round this weekend.

Alex Lowes (Castrol Honda CBR1000RR Superbike) says: “I had a great time at Brno but it was all a massive learning curve for me and the test at Assen last week was the perfect c hance to spend some more time on the bike.

“I managed to pick up where I left off in terms of adapting my style and racked up quite a few laps. We changed a few things and got to test some stuff to try to improve the feel of the bike mid-corner. By the end of the second day it was beginning to feel like my bike, so I was really happy, and the last couple of runs were pretty good. Now I can really look forward to Silverstone this weekend – I love the track and it’ll be a home race for me, so I’ll work as hard as I can from Friday morning and try to deliver two solid results for the team.

Karl Muggeridge (Castrol Honda CBR1000RR Superbike) says: “I was actually on holiday with the family in Italy when the call came through from Ronald, but I’m really happy to get this opportunity to join the team again.

“I actually rode for the Castrol Honda British Supersport team way back when, so it’s good to be back with that iconic racing name again, too. The World Superbike paddock is a place where I feel completely at home, but there’s definitely a big job ahead for the weekend. I don’t want to set any unrealistic targets, and I’m not going to Silverstone to re-invent the wheel. I’ll just aim to work hard and ride strong all weekend and hopefully get a couple of decent finishes in the races.”

Ronald ten Kate (Castrol Honda Superbike Manager) says: “Going to Silverstone with two replacement riders was definitely not in our plans but of course we wish Ruben a speedy recovery.

“We offer Karl a big welcome back to the team after he rode with us way back in 2000 and then from 2003 to 2006, so we have quite a lot of racing history together. He’s been doing a great job in the IDM series where he is the reigning champion, so we’re looking forward to working with him again. Young Alex is starting to gel more and more with the CBR1000RR and two days of testing away from a race weekend was definitely good for all of us. Combining that with a home race for him at Silverstone means we’re going to be working flat out to collect more points.”

2011 Silverstone World Superbike Championship Schedule (local times):

Friday, July 29

  • 11.30 Free practice (60 min)
  • 15.30 Qualifying practice (60 min)

Saturday, July 30

  • 10.45 Qualifying practice (45 min)
  • 13.45 Free practice (45 min)
  • 15.00 Superpole 1 (14 min)
  • 15.21 Superpole 2 (12 min)
  • 15.40 Superpole 3 (10 min)

Sunday, July 31

  • 09.20 Warm-up (15 min)
  • 12.00 Race 1 (18 laps – 106.236km)
  • 15.30 Race 2 (18 laps – 106.236km)

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