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."
Lavilla also told Motociclismo that although the points he had scored had been important in the decision, there was more than just the points. "In reality, it wasn't so much the results as the way we worked in the pits, even though it's obvious that if you take more points in one weekend than in the five previous races, this helps to make a decision. But I didn't approach the race like an exam."
Lavilla's move leaves Brendan Roberts out in the cold. The Australian is still recovering from the effects of the crash, having sustained a very badly swollen leg. According to Roberts' website, he is having to wait for the swelling to subside and some of the fluid to drain from his leg before a further examination on whether there is any muscle damage or not, and whether he will require surgery. As a consequence, Roberts is unlikely to be even able to start looking for ride for another couple of weeks.