Previews of this weekend's World Superbike round at Monza from some of the teams:
Italy – Monza. Preview.
06 – 08 May 2011
04 of 13 race weekends
Munich/Stephanskirchen, 02nd May 2011.
In the current season to date, Troy and team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) have scored a total of 94 points for BMW. In the constructors' championship, scored on the basis of only the best individual race result, BMW has 74 points to occupy fifth place. In the riders' classification, Leon is in fifth position with 68 points, while Troy holds 12th with 26 points.
At this ultra-fast Monza circuit, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport intends building on the good performances posted by both riders during practice for the last race weekend in Assen (NED). At the two bases in Munich and Stephanskirchen, the team worked together with Leon and Troy on finding solutions to unlock the full potential of the BMW S 1000 RR for Monza.
Previously BMW's works riders posted the following results in Monza's Royal Park: Troy has a victory, five podium places, one pole position and twice set the fastest lap; Leon last year scored a podium.
"I am certainly looking forward to Monza. Last year Troy posted a podium place, and I like the circuit. In addition, I believe it suits our bike. After Assen I sat down with the team, and we worked out our plan for the weekend. We know where we stand with our bike, and what still needs to be done.
I am confident that at Monza we will take another step forward. We have already shown we can constantly race in the top five. We need to step up a bit in order to be in a position to fight for podiums and wins. Yamaha and Aprilia will be quick in Monza, but I have confidence in the package we have developed."
"Last year we had a successful weekend in Monza, managing to celebrate our first podium place for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. From a rider's perspective Monza is not particularly challenging. Here it depends more upon the performance of the bike. It has fast sectors and zones, in which we need to brake very hard.
We need to ensure we overcome the issues we suffered with our tyres during Superpole in Assen on Saturday and during the second race on Sunday. We have worked hard at eliminating these problems. Our performances on hard tyres have shown we are going in the right direction. I am confident that we will be able to build on this in Monza."
Bernhard Gobmeier, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:
"We are really looking forward to Monza. The team is travelling there with good memories, having scored BMW's first Superbike World Championship pole position there last season. This fast circuit should suit our BMW S 1000 RR again this year.
We aim to continue building on our Friday and Saturday morning performances in Assen. There Troy and Leon proved our competitiveness with some top times. We are extremely confident this will be the case as we head for Italy."
By scoring its first podium place at the famous "Autodromo Nazionale di Monza" (ITA) in Italy last year, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport achieved the first major milestone in its still-young history. The city of Monza has 120 000 inhabitants, and is situated 20 kilometres from the centre of Milan.
The Monza circuit is not known only for enormously high top speeds, but also for its long tradition. The race track in the walled ancient Royal Park was opened in 1922. Since then motor-car and -cycle events have been hosted regularly, with no circuit hosting more Formula 1 grands prix than Monza. During its long history, the circuit's layout was remodelled on numerous occasions. The original layout included an oval, which fell into disuse in 1967. However, the remnants of the steeply angled track are still visible today, providing an insight into the circuit's early days.
The character of the "Autodromo Nazionale di Monza" makes it a unique event on the FIM Superbike World Championship calendar. Here it is all about top speed. The long straights are connected by high-speed corners; however, the current layout also includes slow chicanes. Here the brakes of the BMW S 1000 RR are tested to the absolute limit at Monza.
The motorcycle needs to be set up differently to other race tracks, as it needs good manoeuvrability, particularly at slow speeds, while stability under braking from high speeds is paramount. The first chicane is very slow, making it important that riders are able to accelerate cleanly into higher gears. The braking points for both "Lesmos" corners are equally crucial. In the "Parabolica" riders spend a lot of time on the tyre sidewalls, making "edge grip" another important factor to enable maximum speed to be carried into the long main straight.
Castrol Honda Video Preview:
Yamaha World Superbike Team Aim for Success at Home Round in Monza
Next stop on the 2011 World Superbike calendar is Monza , located northeast of Milan. After the historic track of Assen, the Yamaha World Superbike team are preparing for the first of the three Italian rounds on the calendar with the racing taking place this coming Sunday 8th May. This is in fact the team's home race with the Yamaha World Superbike factory situated just a stone's throw from the track's infamous "Lesmo Curve" .
The previous round in Assen did not bring the results Melandri and Laverty were hoping for but was essential in that the weekend provided vital insight for development in their YZF- R1's. The team have since been working hard and can now hit their home track intent on capitalizing on their recent progress, confident of their potential for success and motivated to provide a spectacular display of skillful racing for their numerous local fans.
Monza will host the WSBK Championship for the 18th time since the track first welcomed the superbikes in 1990.The autodrome was originally built track in 1922 and is the oldest fixed European race circuit. Following a series of accidents in the early days as a Formula One track, it has undergone several changes and modifications, mainly to improve safety by introducing several tight curves where speed is reduced sensibly, complying with the FIA security regulations.
The classic Monza race track is unique for several reasons but mainly because it's the fastest track to appear on the World Superbike calendar with riders often reaching speeds of over 320kph on the start/finish straight. The legendary high speed track is now 5.973KM in length and combines flat out straights, fast corners, a variety of chicanes and intense braking.
Yamaha World Superbike Team
"I'm not really familiar with Monza, it's a new track to me and I'm really curious to try it out on my R1 and see how it goes. I rode the track once in 1996 but I can't even remember it now! It's a very fast flowing track with some tight corners and I'm really looking forward to riding it this weekend. The team have been working hard on the data we picked up in Assen and let's hope that we've found an improved set up. I'm sure I can be as competitive as anyone and can be back on the podium again this weekend."
Yamaha World Superbike Team
"I'm really Looking forward to this weekend in Monza. In 2010 I won the World Supersport race and I'm now curious to try it on the Superbike. It's the fastest track on the calendar and I'm excited about the thought of reaching speeds of even up to 330km/h. Assen went well in so far as we made progress on the set up of the bike and the team have since made further progress. I'm pretty sure we can show our true potential in Monza and I'm confident that the package is worthy of a podium at the team's home race. I'm looking forward to a good weekend!"
Monza technically speaking according to Silvano Galbusera
Marco Melandri's Crew Chief
"Monza is the fastest track on the calendar where the set up of the bike is very important and we intend competing at the front of the bunch. We are planning on using the soft tyres. Ducati normally has an advantage here as a 2 cyclinder engine character in general adapts better to soft tyres, but with our crossplane crankshaft engine we also have a strong weapon for that. Marco doesn't know the track, even if I think he rode here many years ago with a 125cc. We will make the most of the first free practice session to get acquainted with the circuit and test the set up of the bike and the tyre resistance. Monza requires a stable bike to take the fast curves and an agile bike that reacts well to the change of direction the track frequently offers as well, particularly in the first corner, the "Roggia" and "Ascari", three very important areas."
Monza technically speaking according to Frankie Carchedi
Eugene Laverty's Crew Chief
"Assen was a very positive result for Eugene, qualifying front row and topping a number of the sectors in the race. Unfortunately we suffered when the rear tyre spun on the rim mid way through the race causing chatter in the bike. For Monza we will be trying a different handlebar position to help Eugene change direction a little quicker. Monza is the fastest race on the calendar with some very hard braking and a number of chicanes. It also requires good rear set-up as the last corner can wear the tyre very quickly. We will modify our set-up from Assen a little, to take this into consideration."
Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
"This is a very important race for the team which has experienced both highs and lows on the historic track in the past. The change of direction and speed are fundamental and make all the difference. Rider's race behavior and concentration is vital, the technique of slipstreaming can present surprises, particularly on this track in Monza. We are super prepared for this uniquely characteristic track and are capable of being extremely competitive. Further motivated by the fact that this is our home race, we want to guarantee a memorable weekend to our numerous fans. Monza is one of many tracks on the calendar that Marco is unfamiliar with but he is perfectly capable of quickly adapting to new circumstances. Eugene has learned a lot in the last two races in Assen and is very motivated. I expect he will also be on top form and in a position to show his true potential this weekend."
Yamaha ParkinGO Team Head to Monza Seeking Fourth Consecutive Race Win
Yamaha ParkinGO Team head to round four of the 2011 World Supersport Championship in Monza on 6-8th May, intent on bagging their fourth consecutive race win of the season. Yamaha riders Luca Scassa and Chaz Davies are currently topping the Championship standings, sitting comfortably in first and third respectively, with Davies just 2 points off second.
The last round in Assen saw a dramatic and eventful race day. After several riders crashed out of contention in the opening laps, the race had to be red flagged on two separate occasions. The third attempt was not fortunate for Scassa who was unable to complete the race after colliding with another rider mid way. Scassa now heads to his home round in Monza, more motivated than ever to make up for the disappointing weekend and continue the victorious trail he had commenced in the first two rounds of the Championship.
Team-mate Davies brought home his first race victory of the 2011 World Supersport Championship in Assen after completing the 16 laps over seven seconds ahead of his competitors. His skillful display of racing proved how competitive a package Yamaha has to offer and is evidence that both Davies and Scassa are strong contenders for the championship title.
Praia targets best ever result at Monza
PARKALGAR HONDA'S Miguel Praia is aiming for his best ever result in the World Supersport Championship race at Monza in Italy and the fourth round of the series this weekend.
Fellow Parkalgar Honda ace Sam Lowes is recovering from a broken collarbone sustained at the previous round when dicing for the lead. He is confident he will be close to full fitness at Monza. There are practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday before the race takes place at 1330CET on Sunday 8th May.
Miguel: "I did finish in the top 10 at Monza last year so it is a good track for me. Also, after a good result in Assen I think our confidence is building. I am looking forward to Monza. I want to try for the first time this season to target the top five. It would be fantastic to make it there, my confidence is much higher, all is going well and the boys in the team are doing a fantastic job."
Sam: "My collarbone is not too bad, it is getting better everyday - it is healing naturally. I am not as strong as I like, but I will be OK, I am at 98% and happy enough that we can race and push at the front this weekend. I raced at Monza in 2008 and it was awesome. Even though I have only been there once it was a good atmosphere and it is fast; I really like high-speed circuits and they suit me. I am looking forward to Monza."
Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: "After treatment, Sam is recovering well and our target remains the same to fight at the front of the field for the podium.
"Miguel has had another confidence boosting finish at Assen, we are now looking for him to challenge further up the field. It is a high speed circuit and we have the package to deliver."
Muresan looking for more points
PTR ROMANIA HONDA'S Robert Muresan is looking to score points when the fourth round of the World Supersport Championship takes place this weekend at Monza in Italy.
Robert scored a point on his first finish for the team at Assen and is brimming with confidence. He is getting to know his team and the PTR Romania race bike better with every session but is under no illusions that to get into the points at a circuit he does not know will be difficult.
There are practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday before the race takes place at 1330CET on Sunday 8th May.
Robert: "This will be my first time at Monza. It is a quick circuit with straight lines and chicanes and I will have a lot to learn. I hope to get points again after scoring at the last round. I want to get a good result for our sponsor Ursus that is attending. It's going to be an exciting weekend."
Simon Buckmaster, PTR Romania Honda Team Manager: "It is fantastic that Robert scored his first point at Assen in his first race for us. We are looking to build on this at Monza and will be welcoming one of our major sponsors Ursus to its first event."
WSBK at Monza: from the Cathedral to the Temple
Rome (Italy), Tuesday 3 May 2011: The FIM Superbike World Championship moves on from Assen's Cathedral of Motorcycling to the Temple of Speed this weekend, with the upcoming round at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, with its legendary slipstreaming battles and its 200 km/h average lap speed.
Wind ‘Title Event Sponsor' at Monza
Wind, Italy's third-largest mobile phone operator and one of the few European companies to offer integrated mobile, fixed and Internet services, will be teaming up this weekend with the Superbike World Championship, the leading global production-derived racing series. In line with their new slogan "Più vicini" (Closer), Wind aims to get close to the hearts of the fans by bringing its brand inside the Superbike Village to entertain fans with promotions and commercial activities in the three Italian rounds of the championship. The first appointment therefore is at Monza, which will now be called the "Wind Italian Round - Monza 2011".
Despite not winning at Assen, the reigning World Champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) hauled himself back into overall second behind leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) with a brace of second places. The Spaniard, who has won four of the six races held so far this season, now comes to a circuit that on paper does not appear to be favourable to his Ducati. The last win for the twin-cylinder machine was in 2009, when Michel Fabrizio won race 1, but the 1098R could struggle on the long Monza straits, where the fours appear to have the upper hand. However Checa's superb form and the excellent overall performance of the Ducati in this early part of the season might help to tip the balance in his favour. For his part Max Biaggi, after a double win here last season, is raring to cut loose at Monza as last year the Italian set an all-time record top speed of 330.2 km/h down the long straights.
Just a stone's throw from the parkland track can be found the base of the Yamaha World Superbike Team, which has always had good results there. In the last four years at Monza, the R1 has won four times, three with Noriyuki Haga and one with Ben Spies. These results are a boost for Marco Melandri who will be aiming to go considerably better than a fourth place in race 1 at Assen and not lose too many points to Checa.
And still with the fours, the favourites at Monza could also include the three Brits: Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda), Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team). Honda however has not won here since 2005, when Vermeulen took the spoils but Rea comes off the back of a win and a podium in the Netherlands. BMW are still looking for their first WSBK win and Haslam is giving his utmost to achieve it for the German outfit. Unfortunately Leon has only stepped onto the podium once, at Phillip Island, but last year he was second here for Suzuki. Camier is also on the right path this year and at Monza 2010 scored a couple of good results.
A return to Monza awaits BMW Motorrad Italia's former champion James Toseland (second last year), while Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) will be counting on his GSX-R1000's previous glorious form – first with Neukirchner in 2008 and Corser in 2005, as well as Haslam's 2010 podium - to help project him to the top. The other men to watch on official machinery include the Kawasaki Racing Team trio of Chris Vermeulen, Joan Lascorz and Tom Sykes, with top privateers Jakub Smrz and Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert-Liberty Ducati) and Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) also anxious to get amongst the spoils.
The grid will be completed by Kawasaki Pedercini machines for Mark Aitchison and Roberto Rolfo, Italian Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK), Maxime Berger (Supersonic Ducati) and the only wild-card entered at Monza, Fabrizio Lai (Echo Sport Racing Company Honda).
Points (after 3 rounds of 13): 1. Checa 132; 2. Biaggi 89; 3. Melandri 85; 4. Rea 79; 5. Haslam 68; 6. Camier 50; 7. Smrz 49; 8. Fabrizio 47; 9. Laverty 35; 10. Haga 34; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 136; 2. Aprilia 106; 3. Yamaha 97; 4. Honda 79; BMW 74; 5. 38; 6. Suzuki 47; 7. Kawasaki 43.
A crash at Assen for Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) brought an end to the Italian's winning streak but has failed to dent his confidence. Scassa is still on top of the points stack, but now has an advantage of just three over Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) and five over team-mate Chaz Davies, who scored his first win in the last race. Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Team Honda) is lying fourth and David Salom (Kawasaki Motocard.com) fifth. Monza could see the return to the top of the Hondas, which so far this year have not won a race. The most successful Supersport team ever, Hannspree Ten Kate, have had some up and down results with Fabien Foret and Florian Marino, Frenchmen both, occasionally fighting for the top positions. Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) hopes for a further improvement to move up on his seventh place, while two Brits who promised much at the start of the season, Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) and James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) have both been knocked about somewhat by injuries and are yet to get into full Supersport flow.
Points (after 3 rounds of 12): 1. Scassa 50; 2. Parkes 47; 3. Davies 45; 4. Harms 37; 5. Salom 34; 6. Foret 20; 7. Roccoli 19; 8. Ellison 19; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Yamaha 75; Honda 52; Kawasaki 47; Triumph 9.
Last Sunday's win by Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock Team) in the CIV domestic championship has given fresh impetus to the team in view of the second round of the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup. Last year BMW dominated with Ayrton Badovini and this year they will try and repeat the feat with Zanetti and Sylvain Barrier, third at Assen. Other BMW S 1000 RR machines will be in the hands of wild-card Michele Magnoni (Baru Racing Team), second in 2010. In the Netherlands the win went to the Ducatis, which finished first and second in the hands of Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) and Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team), while Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing) finished fourth. Monza should also see a return to form by Kawasaki and Honda, with all eyes focused on the talented Australian Bryan Staring and Italian Marco Bussolotti (Pedercini Kawasaki).
Points (after 1 round of 10): 1. Giugliano 25; 2. Petrucci 20; 3. Barrier 16; 4. Baroni 13; 5. Staring 11; 6. Antonelli 10; 7. La Marra 9; 8. Ten Napel 8; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 25 ; 2. BMW 16; 3. Kawasaki 11; 4. Honda 10; 5. Yamaha 4.
In the opening round of the Superstock 600 championship a Dutchman, a Frenchman and an Australian dominated proceedings, with Michael van der Mark (Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) taking the honours at his home track ahead of Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France) and Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Team Yamaha). More of the same nail-biting action is expected on the high-speed Monza circuit, with this time a few top talented Italians thrown into the fray for good measure. These will include Bernardino Lombardi, fourth in the Netherlands for Martini Corse, team-mate Francesco Cocco and Riccardo Russo (Trasimeno Yamaha).
Points (after 1 round of 10): 1. Vd Mark 25; 2. Lanusse 20; 3. Metcher 16; 4. Lombardi 13; 5. Cocco 11; 6. Calero Perez 10; 7. Russo 9; 8. Duwelz 8; etc.
The weekend programme is completed with the second round of the European Junior Cup, reserved for youngsters on Kawasaki Ninja 250R machines.
FABRIZIO READY FOR MONZA HOME WSB
Team Suzuki Press Office - May 2.
The fourth round of this year's Superbike World Championship takes place at the historic Autodromo Nazionale di Monza circuit and will be one of three 'home' races for Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio this year.
The Italian's recent best performances in Monza were in 2009, when he won the first race and took runner-up spot in the second, so he is no stranger to the podium there. The circuit is one of the quickest on the calendar, even though there are a couple of chicanes where the bike's brakes get a heavy workout.
"Racing in my home country is always fun and I don't see this as extra pressure because I always want to do well. Monza is one of the most famous circuits in the World and is known to fans everywhere. It is very interesting to have a look at the old part of the circuit and see the steepness of the banking. It's hard enough to walk up it, so I cannot imagine how they ever raced round it!
"The circuit we use is probably one of the fastest in our series and one where slipstreaming plays such an important part. It is possible to be fourth or fifth exiting the Ascari Chicane and still win the race by clever use of slipstreaming. That is, if you are in a tight group. If you have something like a 200 metre lead, then it's unlikely that you will be caught, especially as the finish line is now much closer to the exit of the last turn (The Parabolica) than it used to be.
"Of course, I will be riding at Monza for the first time on the Suzuki, so I and the team will be working very hard right from the start of the first free practice to get a good set up. I have spent the last few years racing a twin cylinder bike at Monza and I'm really looking forward to seeing the difference on a four. I'm hoping that it is going to be as much fun as I think it will be and that I qualify well and give myself a chance of being with the leaders right from the start. World Superbikes is so competitive these days that you cannot afford to qualify anywhere but the front two rows of the grid if you want good results. My aim is to qualify well and then enjoy myself in the races on Sunday - hopefully in front of all my fans!"
HONDA RACING INFORMATION
FIM SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 04 MAY 8 MONZA, ITALY.
REA HEADING TO MONZA IN SEARCH OF MORE RACE WINS
Castrol Honda rider Jonathan Rea approaches the fourth round of the season at the evocative Monza circuit in Italy safe in the knowledge that he has already proved he can win races in 2011 and with an obvious desire to take more full-points scores to improve his current championship position of fourth.
Rea has scored points in every race so far and took his first win last time out, gaining a victory in race one at Assen and following that up with third in race two. Last season's Monza race was a difficult one for Rea, with two crashes ruining his race-day, but the popular rider from Northern Ireland sees the Monza race weekend as a genuine opportunity to add to his career totals of 20 podiums, including seven race wins.
Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) is one of the most experienced riders on the grid, but was only signed to the team this season. The Catalan rider has scored eleven WSBK race wins in his career, but is still easing into his role within his new team, albeit at top speed. Ruben is 14th in the championship fight, one of no less than four riders tied on 26 points, ranged out from 11th place to 14th.
Both riders know that Monza is probably the only remaining circuit on the WSBK calendar where slipstreaming becomes more than an occasional means of passing a rival, but can be a continuous process throughout the entire race. At Monza, with its frequent long straights and fast curves, slipstreaming is virtually a necessity to keep with what is normally a multi-rider fight for race wins on the last lap.
The Superbike riders will head to Miller Motorsports Park in the USA for the fifth round, between May 28 and May 30, but the Supersport World Championship teams will not be competing at Miller this season.
WSBK Rider Comments
Jonathan Rea, Castrol Honda says: "I always look forward to racing at Monza and it will be interesting to see what the guys have come up with in the workshop. Our bike should be fast and I want to take it to the opposition this weekend. Last year at Monza it started off great, front row start and pretty much fastest in most sessions, but in race one I got a terrible start, made my way towards the front and had my first big DNF of the year. Then another rider collected me after a few hundred meters off the start line. But I love the circuit and it is one of the tracks where you can sense the speed of the bike and how fast the engine is. We are going into some circuits now where we can hopefully claw points back on the lead."
Ruben Xaus, Castrol Honda says: "Monza is a very fast track, technical and old fashioned. It is very exciting because it has long straights, short chicanes, high speeds, and the forest of trees is around you all the time. It is a really fascinating place and lots of fans come there to cheer. You can often hear them in the chicanes. The last corner is very important because it builds your speed on the final straight, so there are some very important points there. We are closer to the top ten so step-by-step I am growing with this bike and this team."
World Supersport Preview
Honda riders prepare for annual carnival of slipstreaming
Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda) will lead the Honda charge in the Supersport World Championship class again, this time at magnificent Monza in round four of the 2011 series. The Danish rider has been fast and consistent and now sits fourth in the championship rankings, only 13 points from the leader Luca Scassa (Yamaha).
Harms' often quoted desire to get back onto the podium in this class may have to wait until after this round as the privateer rider may find himself simply outgunned in terms of fighting for a top three place, but with six Honda riders in the current top 11 places, there will be no shortage of possible candidates to give the CBR600RR a top three at this most unique of all current racetracks.
The long straights should help Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) go for another podium after his second place finish at Assen last time out, especially as his early season back and hand injuries are healing up with every passing weekend. Foret is now sixth in the championship standings and is the second-top Honda rider.
Eighth through to 11th places in the current standings are covered by Honda-mounted competitors, the best of that bunch at present being James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda). Despite a few complications and injuries to the start of his season he believes that Monza may well be a good race for him and his machine, and being only one point and two places behind Foret, his opportunities for advancement are clearly visible.
Foret's Hannspree Ten Kate team-mate Florian Marino has been fast in his rookie year, and was incredibly unlucky to have been taken out by one of his rivals under braking at Assen, preventing the 17-year-old French rising star from challenging for an eventual podium at the previous round.
Gino Rea (Step Racing Team Honda) and Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) are tenth and 11th respectively at present. Each has been a podium finisher already in 2011, and each has injuries to drag along into the next race. Lowes is waiting to see how his broken collarbone copes with the demands of Monza, but the gritty English rider is still determined to race if he possibly can. Rea is still recovering from his thumb ligament injury.
Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) is 13th in the rankings after a good eighth place finish last time out, tied on the same points as fellow Honda man Alexander Lundh (Cresto Guide Racing Team Honda).
Balazs Nemeth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) completes the top 15 riders in the points' standings, the young Hungarian rider having scored inside the top half of the finishers at every race so far, with a best of tenth at Assen. Vladimir Ivanov (Step Racing Team Honda) also made good work at Assen with ninth place, making up for two early season no scores. He is now 17th in the overall rankings.
Ondrej Jezek (SMS Racing Honda), Imre Toth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) and Bastien Chesaux (MACH - Moto Academy Swiss Honda) round out the top twenty riders, with Pole Pawel Szkopek (Bogdanka PTR Honda) now also a points' scorer in 2011.
WSS Rider Comments
Robbin Harms says: "I have some great feelings about Monza because I had my first podium there, but also come crashes that I escaped! It has been ups and downs for me there. My expectations for Monza this year are difficult say because we are not the fastest bike on the grid and at Monza you really need a lot of engine power. I think it may be one of the most difficult on the calendar. Qualifying is very important because I will need to use the slipstream to keep in contact with any leading group. We do not have special parts or systems for Monza, different exhausts or anything like that, but we can make the same changes to the engine settings like other people can make. We have to use what we have to try and find some more top speed."
Fabien Foret says: "I am really looking forward to Monza because I had a reasonably good race in Assen and also we found a better set up compared to earlier in the year. I am now looking to see if those settings also work well in Monza. My back still a little bit sore, not too bad, but my injured hand is now pretty much OK. It is not a big issue on the bike, but maybe a little more uncomfortable for doing everyday things. I think any problems will be less at Monza anyway. It's not the most physical track in some ways, and it is usually a good track for me anyway. I am more than happy to be racing there."
James Ellison says: "We found a few problems with our settings at Assen and that may explain why we could only finish down the order a little. I was still seventh, but that was not the result we went for. Now we have found out what the problem was and corrected it, I think for Monza and through the rest of the year we should be competitive. Things have closed up at the top of the championship after Assen, so that is part of the reason why I have put our Assen result behind us and are now looking forward to Monza. We are not in all that bad a position now. I think as an all round package the Honda is the better bike and we have to use that to get a good qualifying position at Monza."
Florian Marino says: "It was good to see that in Assen I had the potential to fight for the podium and I think this is good for me and the team. Now I can only think about Monza and I will try to do my best to fight for the top three like we did last time."
Gino Rea says: "I think we proved at Assen that I still have the speed to challenge for race wins and podiums as we were battling for second place for a while. We just need to get the whole package to come together and head to Monza looking for the best result we can get."
Sam Lowes says: "My collarbone is not too bad, it is getting better everyday - it is healing naturally. I am not as strong as I like, but I will be OK, I am at 98% and happy enough that we can race and push at the front this weekend. I raced at Monza in 2008 and it was awesome. Even though I have only been there once it was a good atmosphere and it is fast; I really like high-speed circuits and they suit me. I am looking forward to Monza."
Miguel Praia says: "I did finish in the top 10 at Monza last year so it is a good track for me. Also, after a good result in Assen I think our confidence is building. I am looking forward to Monza. I want to try for the first time this season to target the top five. It would be fantastic to make it there, my confidence is much higher, all is going well and the boys in the team are doing a fantastic job."
Busy Weekend Ahead For Paul Bird Motorsport
The Paul Bird Motorsport Team will be in action on both two wheels and four this weekend meaning a busy time for the Penrith-based team.
The Kawasaki Superbike Racing team heads for the historic venue of Monza in Northern Italy for round four the World Superbike Championship hoping to make up for the poor showing at Assen last month whilst team owner Paul Bird will be hoping to make history by becoming the first driver to win the Manx National Rally three years in succession.
Last time out, the Kawasaki Superbike Racing Team duo of Yorkshireman Tom Sykes and Spanish rider Joan Lascorz were looking strong but a combination of problems resulted in lowly finishes aboard their respective Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10Rs so they, along with Australian Chris Vermeulen who is continuing his recovery from injury, hope to make amends at the track near Milan.
Meanwhile Bird heads over to the Isle of Man to contest the Manx Telecom Rally at the wheel of his Frank Bird Poultry-sponsored Ford Focus WRC which he will share with Scottish co-driver Kirsty Riddick.
The former National Rally Champion took the victory laurels in 2009 and again last year so is hoping that a third successive victory is on the cards which will place him into the history books as the first driver to accomplish that feat on one of the toughest events on the calendar.
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "We were very disappointed with the results at Assen and hope that we can improve at Monza. The track should suit our bikes and hopefully Tom, Joan and Chris can do themselves as well as the team and the bikes justice this weekend. I'll be keeping a close eye on things whilst contesting the rally and hopefully we can have a dual celebration this weekend!"
The opening WSB race gets underway on Sunday 8th May at 12.00 with race two at 15.30 and British viewers can catch the action live on British Eurosport.
NEXT STOP MONZA FOR WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER CARLOS CHECA (ALTHEA RACING)
Monza (Italy), Wednesday 4th May 2011: on the back of three very successful rounds, the Althea Racing Team now heads to Monza, for the first of three Italian events to feature on the 2011 World Superbike calendar.
As he heads into Round 4 of the championship, Althea Racing flagbearer Carlos Checa holds a 43 point advantage over Biaggi, the second-placed rider. Having clocked up four race wins and two third place finishes, Checa's results also help place Ducati at the top of the manufacturer's standings.
Aware that the Monza track may present the biggest challenges of the season thus far, the Althea Racing squad is determined to throw everything they have at the track and defend its championship lead.
In the Superstock 1000 category Althea men Davide Giugliano and Lorenzo Baroni will be looking to consolidate their positions in the standings. At the first STK event which took place in Assen, it was Giugliano who dominated proceedings, snatching his first win of the season, while team-mate Baroni just missed out on a podium place, closing in fourth.
"I will face Monza just as I have the other races. Up until now we have had great results and so we won't be changing much technically speaking. This is of course a different kind of track and we will have to work hard to not lose too much ground on the straights. There are some difficult sections of track and so we must interpret the circuit well and concentrate on the tough parts. I feel in great shape and am ready to give my all. My team is extremely motivated and with their help I think we can make two great races."
Checa's Superbike form at Monza:
2010: Race 1- 14th, Race 2 – 11th
2009: Race 1 – 9th, Race 2 – 10th
2008: Race 1 – 8th, Race 2 – DNF
Italian job for Bogdanka at Monza
BOGDANKA PTR Honda heads to Italy and the famous high-speed circuit of Monza for round four of the World Supersport Championship with James Ellison confident of being amongst the front runners following his seventh position at Assen.
Pawel Szkopek is looking to build on his and Poland's best ever World Supersport result when he finished 12th at Assen, while the team's Superstock 1000 rider, Marcin Walkowiak, hopes for a trouble-free weekend in Italy after a tough start to his season in the Netherlands.
James Ellison: "We need to make up for Assen and I want to be higher than seventh. The team worked really hard in the workshop after the last race and there's no reason why we shouldn't be back up front like at Donington Park. Monza is a historic place and it's such a good track. I've got some good memories after winning there in the Superstock class and I enjoy it."
Pawel Szkopek: "I'm relaxed and feeling good so I'm confident and looking forward to Monza. I want to build on our result at Assen and while I'm still not putting my goals in any numbers, I want to do well again. Monza is a very fast circuit where precision in the chicanes is the key to success but I really like that aspect of riding. It's a very fast track too, with lots of heavy braking points and it's fun to ride."
Marcin Walkowiak: "On paper Monza looks like an easy track which is mostly about straights but in reality it's very difficult and getting out of the chicanes is crucial in putting a good lap together. I have a great bike and team behind me, so hope I can have a trouble-free weekend and repay the team with a good result."
Simon Buckmaster: "There is no question James has the ability and the package to run at the front in Monza and that is where we expect to see him this weekend.
Pawel comes off a confidence boosting result and we expect him to build on that and go for more points at Monza. Again, the Bogdanka PTR Honda is good and will give him every opportunity.
Marcin suffered a massive crash in Assen and didn't show his real potential. We will be looking for a more considered approach at Monza and the target is to get into the points."
STONEX Joins Yamaha World Superbike Team as Partner for Monza Round
For round four of the 2011 World Superbike Championship which will take place this coming weekend in Monza, Yamaha World Superbike Team is proud to welcome onboard STONEX as official partner for the event. STONEX, based close to the track in Monza, have chosen to back the Yamaha World Superbike Team at their home race, welcoming the unique opportunity to exchange valuable technological input and reach out to the increasing vast number of dealers in Italy and throughout Europe.
STONEX offers solutions for surveying, construction and industrial measurement. STONEX is a modern leading company spread in more than 50 countries, integrating the latest technologies, including the use of GPS and satellite signals, and is constantly developing new trends in the global surveying community.
C.E.O Stonex Europe
"We are proud to have this opportunity to be associated with the Yamaha World Superbike Team. STONEX has been associated with motorcycle racing for some years now and we are confident that the brand awareness we can obtain from a factory racing team such as Yamaha, particularly at the home race in Monza will be optimal. We are looking forward to experiencing the WSB Championship together with one of the top teams."