Brendan Roberts

Gregorio Lavilla To Replace Brendan Roberts For Rest Of Season

Stepping up from one series to another as champion can be very hard. Just ask Brendan Roberts. The reigning FIM Superstock 1000 Champion has struggled just to score points since moving up to the World Superbike class, despite riding a Superbike spec version of the Ducati 1098R he won the 2008 Superstock Cup on. To add insult to injury, or rather, adding injury to insult, Roberts was one of the riders caught up in the huge first-corner pile up at Monza, the Australian not breaking anything, but coming away from the incident severely battered and bruised.

At Kyalami in South Africa, Roberts seat aboard the Guandalini Ducati was taken by the former BSB champion Gregorio Lavilla. At the time, speculation abounded that the Kyalami ride was basically an audition for Lavilla, and if his results were good enough, Lavilla would take Roberts' place in the Guandalini team permanently. Lavilla finished 11th and 12th in the two South African races, beating Roberts' best finish of 13th at Assen.

That audition has been successful for Lavilla, as the Spanish veteran revealed to the Spanish magazine Motociclismo that he will be riding with the Guandalini team for the rest of the season. When asked by the magazine if he would be staying in World Superbikes, Lavilla replied: "I can confirm that I am. I am going to stay for the rest of the season." As Lavilla put it, "I've achieved my objective for the season, a return to the World Superbike series."

Back to top

WSBK Replacement List: Nieto For Neukirchner, Lavilla For Roberts, Laverty For Harms

Monza's Disney-style first chicane has decimated the World Superbike field after the multi-rider crash at the start of race one last weekend. Makoto Tamada seemed to clip Brendan Roberts' back wheel, sending the Australian's Guandalini Ducati up the rode to take out the Alstare Brux Suzuki of Max Neukirchner, while Tamada's Kawasaki veered off to hit Tommy Hill's Althea Honda, which in turn took out the BMW S1000RR of Troy Corser. After the dust had settled, Neukirchner was left with a broken femur and broken bones in his foot and ankle, Tamada suffered a fractured wrist, and examination in the local hospital found that Roberts had come away without broken bones, but was very severely bruised.

And so the World Superbike series heads to Kyalami with a host of new - or rather, different - faces filling a range of seats. For in addition to Neukirchner, Tamada and Roberts, Veidec Res Software's Robbin Harms didn't make it out of the first free practice session for the World Supersport class at Monza, and will also be missing in South Africa.

The biggest loss to the series is undoubtedly Max Neukirchner. The German was tipped as a prime candidate for the title before the season began, and entered Monza in 5th place in the World Superbike championship. The severity of Neukirchner's injuries will mean that in addition to Kyalami, the German is likely to miss the race at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, and even a return at Misano in mid-June must be considered doubtful.

Back to top

Neukirchner Breaks Femur, Out Until Misano? UPDATED

The first corner mayhem at Monza has proven very expensive for the talented young German, Max Neukirchner. Neukirchner entered the first chicane in 3rd place, but a pile up behind him meant that Brendan Roberts' bike slid across the track and slammed into the side of the German's Suzuki. Worse news was to follow, for after examination in the Clinica Mobile, Neukirchner was found to have a twisted ankle and a broken femur.

Neukirchner is likely to undergo surgery this afternoon to remedy the situation, but despite the rapid treatment, the German is likely to be out until the Misano round on June 21st, six weeks from today, and forced to miss the races at Kyalami in South Africa, and Miller in Utah, USA.

Makoto Tamada and Brendan Roberts were also injured in the crash. Tamada fractured a hand, and will miss next week's race in Kyalami. The extent of Roberts' injuries are as yet unknown, GPOne.com is reporting a suspected fractured leg, but no official word has been released. A leg fracture would be a major setback for the reigning 1000cc Superstock champion, as rumors have been swirling around the paddock that Lorenzo Lanzi could replace Roberts on the Guandalini Ducati.

UPDATE

Bikesportnews.com is reporting that Roberts is only badly battered and bruised. The Australian did not take part in either the restart of race 1 or the delayed race 2, but with only bruising to deal with, Roberts may be able to race at Kyalami next weekend.

Back to top

Lorenzo Lanzi To Replace "Underperforming" Rider In WSBK - But Who?

Intrigue haunts the World Superbike paddock at the moment, after rumors emerged that British rider Tommy Hill was to be replaced at Althea Honda. There was a quick response from the Althea Honda team, who issued a press release officially denying the story. The press release stated: "With reference to reports on several websites and forums regarding the substitution of our Superbike rider Tommy Hill with Lorenzo Lanzi, the Honda Althea Racing team wishes to deny this news, which is considered to be totally groundless."

A comprehensive denial. So what is fueling the rumor? Part of the problem is the replacement rider being named: Lorenzo Lanzi is an undeniably talented rider, and a winner at Valencia last year. The Italian started the season riding for Stefano Caracchi's KTM Scuderia Corse team in the Italian Superbike championship, but on the eve of the first round of the season, Caracchi and Lanzi have issued a joint statement announcing that Lanzi had been released from his contract to allow him to pursue opportunities in World Superbikes.

That press release is one of the things fueling the speculation, for it is refreshingly honest in why Lanzi is being released:

Back to top

Venture Petroleum Returns To The Paddock

Once upon a time, what seems like an age ago now, there was fictional oil company sponsoring a motorcycle racing team. The sponsor - Venture Petroleum - was part of the back story for a movie being made set against the background of MotoGP, and their - rather handsome - livery featured on Kenny Roberts' KR211V bike. News of the movie sparked a flurry of interest from hardcore motorcycle fans, but tragically, the film never materialized, disappearing in an argument over image rights between the production company and Dorna. The fans heaved a sigh of disappointment, and went back to hoping that one day, somebody somewhere would make a motorcycle racing film to rival the legendary Grand Prix.

That day may be closer than they think. Much to everyone's surprise, the Guandalini Racing Team turned up with their trailer sporting the following logo:

Venture Petroleum Guandalini Ducati trailer

Frankie Chili, team manager told us "we put the sticker on the bike from now on. We have some details to discuss, but they have already signed the contract with Infront Motor Sports." Asked when he thought the movie would be out, Chili said "It's hard to say for me, but we hope next year to be ready. This year we make some shots, and next we show the movie."

With Infront Motor Sports seemingly more willing to help media companies than Dorna, maybe this time the movie will finally get released. It's one event that fans have been waiting for for a long time. 

Back to top

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:

Back to top

2009 World Superbike Season Preview

After MotoGP went four stroke, there was never any doubt about which was the premier class of motorcycle racing. Coinciding with the flight of the Japanese manufacturers from World Superbikes, the combination of Valentino Rossi's charisma and roaring, smoking, sliding 990cc bikes solidified the series' position as the pinnacle of two-wheeled racing which would brook no competition. But as the Japanese manufacturers started to slowly creep back into World Superbikes, and MotoGP switched to an 800cc capacity, the balance of power has started to shift. 

Back to top

Subscribe to Brendan Roberts