2009 Qatar Night Test - Rain In The Desert

The night test at Qatar got off to a frankly bizarre start on Sunday night. The test, which was due to run from 6pm to midnight local time, got off to a difficult start, after rain in the morning left the track greasy, and then rain at around 7pm called proceedings to a halt for a while, with riders sitting in the pits for an hour or so, before going out again. But it wasn't just rain that was causing the problems: Sand had been blowing onto the track and both reducing grip while paradoxically increasing tire wear, making the whole exercise of rather dubious value.

That was certainly the opinion of a number of riders: Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa decided to sit out the evening, not wanting to risk further injury to their recovering wrist and knee respectively. Loris Capirossi did not even bother to start, while Valentino Rossi came straight in after an out lap. Jorge Lorenzo recording a single lap before coming back in again.

The two riders who recorded the most laps were the two riders who need the work the most: Nicky Hayden is still battling to come to terms with the Ducati, and find a solution to the rear wheel pump that everyone except Casey Stoner seems to struggle with. Stoner suffers it just as much as all the other Ducati riders, he just seems to cope with it better, perhaps by ignoring it completely.

Marco Melandri is still to sign his contract to ride the "Hayate", or The-Bike-Formerly-Know-As-The-2009-Kawasaki. But he put in a fair stint of testing, to try and get a feel for what the bike is like. According to GPOne.com, Melandri said that TBFKAT2K is better than the 2008 Kawasaki, which must come as a relief. The team is to be run by technical guru Ichiro Yoda, with former team boss Michael Bartholemy having been pushed aside.

2009 World Supersport Championship Standings After Round 1, Phillip Island

Championship standings for round 1, 2009

2009 World Superbikes Championship Standings After Round 1, Phillip Island

Championship standings for round 1, 2009

2009 World Superbikes Round Phillip Island Report - Glorious Arrival

The opening round of the World Superbike championship had a lot to live up to. Billed as the most open championship for many years, the series once again looked completely unpredictable, and capable of producing close, exciting racing. And after a long, dark winter, the fans would not be disappointed, in either the World Superbike or World Supersport classes.

In World Superbikes, all eyes were on Ben Spies. Still an unknown quantity with no points of reference between his native AMA championship, where the Texan is coming off three consecutive titles, and the current World Superbike field, one of the biggest questions in the paddock was just how good Spies would be once the flag dropped. Taking pole position in the new Superpole format had proven that Spies was fast, at least over a limited number of laps and with a clear track, but WSBK fans were yet to be convinced of Spies' ability to stand his ground amidst the hurly burly of an average World Superbike race. Taking on a single rider, even one of the caliber of Mat Mladin, is one thing; taking on the charging horde of Haga, Biaggi, Neukirchner, Checa, Rea, Corser, Fabrizio et al is quite another.

World Superbikes Race 1

Race results and championship standings

Francis Batta: "The Aprilia Is Illegal In WSBK"

The World Superbike season has barely started, and already the controversy has started. The first blow was landed before the first race had even started: Alstare Suzuki team boss Francis Batta complained to the Italian press that the Aprilia RSV4 that Max Biaggi used to grab the runner up spot in Superpole was illegal. "The Aprilia is a prototype, and as such, is not allowed to race here in SBK. We will wait until after the race to make a formal complaint," he told the Italian broadcaster La7.

In the hours since the race, word of any official protest being lodged is yet to emerge, and so the statements made by Batta should probably be put down to the flamboyant Belgian's hot temper, rather than a genuine statement of intent. And given the results of Sunday's two Superbike races, where both Max Biaggi and Shinya Nakano finished outside the top 10, Batta may have decided to keep his powder dry, and wait for a more opportune moment.

But even if the Alstare boss does go ahead with his complaint, it is likely to fall on deaf ears. The Aprilia RSV4 1000 Factory has been homologated and approved by the FIM, making them officially legal in World Superbikes. According to Twowheelsblog.com, Batta's complaints center around the Aprilia's fuel injection system, which Alstare mechanics are claiming is the system as homologated. According to the FIM rules, the race bikes must use the same fuel injection system as used on the homologated machine. But any violation would be immediately apparent once the scrutineers get their hands on the machines at the technical inspection.

2009 World Superbike Phillip Island Race 2 Results

Full results of Race 2 from the 2009 Phillip Island World Superbikes Round:

2009 World Supersport Phillip Island Race Results

Full results of the 2009 Phillip Island World Supersport Round:

2009 World Superbikes Phillip Island Race 1 Results

Full results of Race 1 from the 2009 Phillip Island World Superbikes Round:

2009 Phillip Island WSBK And WSS Qualifying - The Perils Of Superpole

The brand new Superpole format adopted by World Superbikes for the 2009 season threw up a great many conundrums at Phillip Island on Saturday, as well as a few surprises. But perhaps most of all, it also threw up confirmation of what some had suspected, and many had hoped.

The format is relatively simple, and borrowed from Formula 1:

  1. The 20 riders who set the fastest times during the two ordinary qualifying practice sessions go through to the new Superpole;
  2. At the end of the afternoon, Superpole is run, consisting of three 12 minute sessions, with a 7 minute break between the sessions. The riders are given two qualifying tires, which they can use at any time during any of the three Superpole sessions. But only two super-soft qualifiers spread over three sessions means that they will have to use race tires only in at least one of the sessions;
  3. At the end of the first Superpole session, the 4 slowest riders are excluded, and grid positions 17 through 20 assigned in order of time;
  4. At the end of the second Superpole session, the 8 slowest riders are excluded, and grid positions 9 through 16 are awarded in order of the time set in the second session;
  5. In the third and final Superpole session, the 8 remaining riders compete against each other in a straightforward fight for grid positions, with places awarded based on the times set in this third and final session.

Easily understandable, but the subtleties and difficulties arise in the interplay between the number of qualifying tires and Superpole sessions. And those subtleties claimed their first victims in the very first session: both BMWs failed to make it through to the second session, after gambling on a soft race tire, and saving their qualifiers for later on. As it happened, neither Ruben Xaus nor Troy Corser ended up using them, the race tires leaving them just short of making the cut. They were joined by Roberto Rolfo and Tommy Hill, Hill victim of an earlier blown engine, and not enough laps to set a fast time. 

2009 WSBK Phillip Island Superpole - New Boy Swipes First Ever Knockout Superpole

119B. SpiesUSAYamaha YZF R11'31.069
23M. BiaggiITAAprilia RSV41'31.402
365J. ReaGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'31.596
496J. SmrzCZEDucati 1098R1'31.600
584M. FabrizioITADucati 1098R1'31.837
691L. HaslamGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.112
77C. ChecaESPHonda CBR1000RR1'32.537
855R. LaconiFRADucati 1098 RS 091'32.649
956S. NakanoJPNAprilia RSV41'31.843
109R. KiyonariJPNHonda CBR1000RR1'31.860
1171Y. KagayamaJPNSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'31.867
1266T. SykesGBRYamaha YZF R11'31.881
1341N. HagaJPNDucati 1098R1'31.907
1476M. NeukirchnerGERSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'31.916
1567S. ByrneGBRDucati 1098R1'32.119
1623B. ParkesAUSKawasaki ZX 10R1'32.719
1711T. CorserAUSBMW S1000 RR1'32.873
1844R. RolfoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'32.997
19111R. XausESPBMW S1000 RR1'33.152
2033T. HillGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'33.363
2124B. RobertsAUSDucati 1098R1'33.588
22100M. TamadaJPNKawasaki ZX 10R1'33.709
2386A. BadoviniITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.174
2425D. SalomESPKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.194
2531K. MuggeridgeAUSSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'34.341
2699L. ScassaITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.390
2777V. IannuzzoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'35.767
2815M. BaioccoITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'36.363

2009 WSBK Phillip Island FP2 Result - Rea Edges Smrz

165J. ReaGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.217
296J. SmrzCZEDucati 1098R1'32.388
319B. SpiesUSAYamaha YZF R11'32.676
476M. NeukirchnerGERSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'32.717
59R. KiyonariJPNHonda CBR1000RR1'32.740
63M. BiaggiITAAprilia RSV41'32.811
791L. HaslamGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.842
871Y. KagayamaJPNSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'32.875
984M. FabrizioITADucati 1098R1'32.882
1056S. NakanoJPNAprilia RSV41'32.965
1167S. ByrneGBRDucati 1098R1'32.973
1241N. HagaJPNDucati 1098R1'33.015
137C. ChecaESPHonda CBR1000RR1'33.281
1411T. CorserAUSBMW S1000 RR1'33.288
1523B. ParkesAUSKawasaki ZX 10R1'33.453
1644R. RolfoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'33.479
1766T. SykesGBRYamaha YZF R11'33.484
1855R. LaconiFRADucati 1098 RS 091'33.711
1924B. RobertsAUSDucati 1098R1'33.902
20111R. XausESPBMW S1000 RR1'34.182
21100M. TamadaJPNKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.213
2225D. SalomESPKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.301
2333T. HillGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'34.492
2431K. MuggeridgeAUSSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'34.641
2599L. ScassaITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.847
2677V. IannuzzoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'36.759
2715M. BaioccoITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'36.779
2886A. BadoviniITAKawasaki ZX 10R2'09.514


2009 WSS Phillip Island QP2 Result - Sofuoglu Stakes His Claim

154K. SofuogluTURHonda CBR600RR1'34.320
226J. LascorzESPKawasaki ZX-6R1'34.689
31A. PittAUSHonda CBR600RR1'34.786
435C. CrutchlowGBRYamaha YZF R61'34.875
550E. LavertyIRLHonda CBR600RR1'34.962
699F. ForetFRAYamaha YZF R61'35.063
751M. PirroITAYamaha YZF R61'35.086
824G. McCoyAUSTriumph Daytona 6751'35.187
98M. AitchisonAUSHonda CBR600RR1'35.263
1077B. VenemanNEDSuzuki GSX-R6001'35.401
11127R. HarmsDENHonda CBR600RR1'35.466
1213A. WestAUSHonda CBR600RR1'35.585
1369G. NannelliITATriumph Daytona 6751'35.644
14117M. PraiaPORHonda CBR600RR1'35.680
1514M. LagriveFRAHonda CBR600RR1'35.795
1621K. FujiwaraJPNKawasaki ZX-6R1'35.862
17105G. VizzielloITAHonda CBR600RR1'35.871
1855M. RoccoliITAHonda CBR600RR1'36.028
195T. PraditaINAYamaha YZF R61'36.341
2096M. SmrzCZETriumph Daytona 6751'36.350
2183R. HollandAUSHonda CBR600RR1'36.379
2219P. SzkopekPOLTriumph Daytona 6751'36.546
237P. VostarekCZEHonda CBR600RR1'37.021
249D. Dell'OmoITAHonda CBR600RR1'37.075
2530J. GuntherGERHonda CBR600RR1'37.170
2628A. VosNEDHonda CBR600RR1'37.344
2732F. LaiITAHonda CBR600RR1'37.719
2878S. GeronimiAUSSuzuki GSX-R6001'38.590
2971J. MorillasESPYamaha YZF R61'38.638
3088Y. GuerraESPYamaha YZF R61'38.977


2009 WSBK Phillip Island QP2 - Jumpin' Johnny Leads The Pack

165J. ReaGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.161
23M. BiaggiITAAprilia RSV41'32.306
396J. SmrzCZEDucati 1098R1'32.312
441N. HagaJPNDucati 1098R1'32.377
511T. CorserAUSBMW S1000 RR1'32.397
684M. FabrizioITADucati 1098R1'32.491
719B. SpiesUSAYamaha YZF R11'32.500
855R. LaconiFRADucati 1098 RS 091'32.508
966T. SykesGBRYamaha YZF R11'32.509
1076M. NeukirchnerGERSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'32.525
119R. KiyonariJPNHonda CBR1000RR1'32.602
1291L. HaslamGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.623
1371Y. KagayamaJPNSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'32.704
1467S. ByrneGBRDucati 1098R1'32.708
1533T. HillGBRHonda CBR1000RR1'32.884
1656S. NakanoJPNAprilia RSV41'32.928
177C. ChecaESPHonda CBR1000RR1'32.947
18111R. XausESPBMW S1000 RR1'32.992
1944R. RolfoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'33.055
2023B. ParkesAUSKawasaki ZX 10R1'33.104
2124B. RobertsAUSDucati 1098R1'33.588
22100M. TamadaJPNKawasaki ZX 10R1'33.709
2386A. BadoviniITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.174
2425D. SalomESPKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.194
2531K. MuggeridgeAUSSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91'34.341
2699L. ScassaITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'34.390
2777V. IannuzzoITAHonda CBR1000RR1'35.767
2815M. BaioccoITAKawasaki ZX 10R1'36.363

2009 WSS Phillip Island FP2 Result - Lascorz Finds His Feet

126J. LascorzESPKawasaki ZX-6R1'34.625
254K. SofuogluTURHonda CBR600RR1'35.003
335C. CrutchlowGBRYamaha YZF R61'35.143
424G. McCoyAUSTriumph Daytona 6751'35.323
51A. PittAUSHonda CBR600RR1'35.498
650E. LavertyIRLHonda CBR600RR1'35.565
78M. AitchisonAUSHonda CBR600RR1'35.801
851M. PirroITAYamaha YZF R61'36.069
999F. ForetFRAYamaha YZF R61'36.070
1014M. LagriveFRAHonda CBR600RR1'36.127
1121K. FujiwaraJPNKawasaki ZX-6R1'36.322
1213A. WestAUSHonda CBR600RR1'36.332
1377B. VenemanNEDSuzuki GSX-R6001'36.451
14105G. VizzielloITAHonda CBR600RR1'36.516
15127R. HarmsDENHonda CBR600RR1'36.582
16117M. PraiaPORHonda CBR600RR1'36.685
1755M. RoccoliITAHonda CBR600RR1'36.819
1819P. SzkopekPOLTriumph Daytona 6751'36.884
1969G. NannelliITATriumph Daytona 6751'36.981
2083R. HollandAUSHonda CBR600RR1'37.152
2130J. GuntherGERHonda CBR600RR1'37.207
2232F. LaiITAHonda CBR600RR1'37.327
2396M. SmrzCZETriumph Daytona 6751'37.329
247P. VostarekCZEHonda CBR600RR1'37.471
255T. PraditaINAYamaha YZF R61'37.723
269D. Dell'OmoITAHonda CBR600RR1'37.767
2728A. VosNEDHonda CBR600RR1'38.656
2871J. MorillasESPYamaha YZF R61'38.696
2978S. GeronimiAUSSuzuki GSX-R6001'39.627
3088Y. GuerraESPYamaha YZF R61'39.865


The Dornasaki Saga, Pt 2^64 - Melandri: "Nobody Asked Me!"

How could we be so naive as to think the on-again-off-again saga of Kawasaki's withdrawal from MotoGP had reached its final conclusion? The official announcement from The Team Formerly Known As Kawasaki (and now to be called Hayate, according to Motorcycle News) that they would be fielding a single bike in MotoGP next year, came as news to Marco Melandri, the man supposed to be riding it. Speaking to the Italian press,  Melandri claimed that nobody had spoken to him about it. "It was a surprise to me too!" Melandri told Sportmediaset.it. "I wasn't expecting it, because until yesterday, I knew they were looking for a new name for the team, and that's all ... I need some time to examine the situation, and to get confirmation from Japan, because nobody has called me about this."

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