The four cylinder bikes struck back during the final session of free practice at Kyalami, with Cal Crutchlow and Leon Haslam setting the fastest times of the session, less than five hundredths apart. The Sterilgarda Yamaha and Alstare Suzuki lead a bevy of Ducatis, though, with Michel Fabrizio ahead of Carlos Checa and Jakub Smrz.
Once again, Jonathan Green and Steve Martin join David Williams of OnTheThrottle for the usual wrap-up of news and reviews before this weekend's World Superike race from Kyalami. Informative and interesting as ever, get into the swing of Sunday's races by hearing what WSBK's official commentating team have to say.
The Czech rider Jakub Smrz sits on provisional pole before this afternoon's Superpole session at Kyalami, the Pata S&G rider taking over the lead from Xerox Ducati's Michel Fabrizio in the last few minutes of QP2. Fabrizio, who did not improve his time from yesterday, finished the two qualifying practice sessions as second fastest, ahead of Sterilgarda Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow, who also did not improve his time, and HANNSpree Ten Kate's Johnny Rea, who did better his time from yesterday, but only but a few hundredths. Championship leader Leon Haslam was 5th fastest, while his closest contender, Max Biaggi, was down in 8th.
After a morning dominated by Ducatis, the four cylinders struck back at Kyalami, a Yamaha, Honda, BMW, and Suzuki getting to the top of the pile, leaving only one Ducati in the top 5. That Ducati sits on provisional pole, though, Xerox Ducati's Michel Fabrizio just edging out the Sterilgarda Yamaha of Cal Crutchlow to set the best time. HANNSpree Ten Kate's Johnny Rea is in 3rd, while the BMW's improvement continues, Troy Corser putting the S1000RR on the provisional front row of the grid.
Alstare Suzuki's Leon Haslam heads up the second row, ahead of the privateer Ducatis of Carlos Checa and Jakub Smrz. Max Biaggi, who was so fast this morning, could only manage the 8th time, after the Roman Emporer dropped his Aprilia RSV4 towards the end of the session.
Michel Fabrizio was the fastest rider out of the box at Kyalami, the Xerox Ducati rider leading for most of the first session of free practice for World Superbikes in South Africa. Fabrizio led a veritable onslaught of Ducatis, with Pata S&G's Jakub Smrz 2nd and the Althea Ducatis of Carlos Checa and Shane Byrne 4th and 5th. The only real fly in the ointment was Max Biaggi, the Alitalia Aprilia rider carrying the momentum from his double victory at Monza down to South Africa. Championship leader Leon Haslam is in 8th, while Noriyuki Haga is down in 10th.
One thing that loyal readers may have noticed is that MotoMatters.com does not usually carry press releases. This is a conscious choice, as most press releases are a little too bland to be of much great interest, albeit for a number of very good reasons.
There are always exceptions, however, and the outspoken Parkalgar Honda World Supersport team manager Simon Buckmaster is very much one of them. In his latest Simon Says column, which the team sends out as a press release, Buckmaster covers a number of extremely interesting points. He discusses the reasons the World Supersport grid is so thin this year, the options the Parkalgar team is considering for 2011, and the strange qualifying schedule that has been foisted upon the World Supersport class. A very interesting read indeed.
When Troy Bayliss decided to retire at the end of the 2008 World Superbike season, there were many people who believed that the three-time world champion had made the decision in haste. Although Bayliss was 39, he had just won his third World Superbike title, and was looking as strong as ever. But, he told reporters, it was time to settle down in Australia, and he had promised his wife Kim that his racing days were over.
Or maybe not. Retirement, it seems, is not sitting well with Bayliss, and the Australian legend could well be about to return. A reader emailed rumors of a possible return a couple of weeks ago, but we dismissed those rumors out of hand. How wrong we were, for in interviews with both Superbikeplanet.com and GPOne.com, Bayliss has spoken freely about a return to racing.
With two free weekends between Jerez and Le Mans for the MotoGP riders, a couple of prominent riders took the time to visit the World Superbike races at Monza, and catch up with friends and family. While Ben Spies was in the Yamaha garage catching up with some of the team members he won the WSBK title with last year, Nicky Hayden was in the Ducati hospitality, hanging out with his brother Roger Lee, currently racing with the Pedercini Kawasaki team. While he was there, the voice of World Superbikes Jonathan Green caught up with Nicky for OnTheThrottle, to talk about how Roger Lee is getting on, about how Nicky is getting on with the Ducati and whether the Kentucky Kid has any plans to join the World Superbike paddock.
Back in the days of the Roman Empire, the ruling class would stage contests whereby gladiators would fight to the death for the entertainment of the unwashed classes. The citizenry would typically get the day off from their labors for these "holidays" and these rituals of blood and death became extremely popular, so much so that the term "Roman Holiday" became a metaphor for the concept of deriving entertainment from the suffering of others.
Yesterday at Monza, a modern-day Roman, Max Biaggi, made his fellow competitors suffer and there's no doubt that the man called the Emperor and his paisanos in the audience, Italian or otherwise, enjoyed every second of his double win at the venerable northern Italy track.
Monza. It's a name that fairly quivers with racing history. There has been organized road-racing on this site since the early twentieth century and the bones of the old banked track still linger in the shadow of the modern cicuit, covered in vegetation, redolent with the vibrations of bygone triumph and tragedy. Italian is a musical language and names like the Curva Parabolica , Curva di Lesmos and the Variante Ascari are like the lyrics of a song whose accompaniment is the staccato rise and fall of finely tuned internal combustion engines.
It's the Monday after the latest World Superbike round at Monza, and as ever, Infront Motor Sports have highlights of the two World Superbike and one World Supersport races from the Temple of Speed at Monza up on their Youtube channel. So grab a coffee and start your working week off with a bang, as you enjoy the best parts from this weekend's races.
If the abbreviated, 2 minute versions have whet your appetite for more, and you want to see the full races, you can head on over to the website of the Italian broadcaster La7, and watch the races in full. Being screened on Italian TV, the races of course come with Italian commentary, which may be a problem for anyone unfamiliar with the language. However, given the strong results for the Italian World Superbike contingent, it shouldn't be necessary to be able to actually understand what the commentators are saying. Their tone should be informative enough. You can catch WSBK race 1 here, and WSBK race 2 here.
Monza World Superbike Race 1 highlights
Results and summary of World Superbike race 2 at Monza:
Results and summary of World Superbikes Race 1 at Monza:
Monza Superpole report and results - Updated and finalized: