Previews from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams ahead of this weekend's WSBK event at the Nurburgring in Germany:
Germany – Nürburgring. Preview.
Munich/Stephanskirchen, 29th August 2011. Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport is preparing for its home race: the Bavarian team, with works riders Leon Haslam (GBR) and Troy Corser (AUS), will compete at the Nürburgring (GER) this weekend (2nd to 4th September). The tenth race weekend of the season is the first following the summer break and kicks off the final leg of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship.
After nine rounds of the season, Leon is fifth in the Riders' Championship on 158 points, while Troy finds himself in 15th place on 62 points. In the Constructors' Championship, in which only the manufacturer's best result from each race counts, BMW is fourth on 194 points. In total, Leon and Troy have already scored 220 points for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport this season.
The team and both works riders have used the break to prepare for the final phase of the season. When the action gets underway at its home event at the Nürburgring, the team is hoping to continue the good form shown at the Silverstone (GBR) race weekend, where Leon narrowly missed out on a podium finish, crossing the line in fourth place.
"I am looking forward to the Nürburgring. After a long break you are always quite keen to get back on the bike. The track has a lot of changes of directions. It is quite fast in places and has a lot of heavy braking, especially Turn 1. Those are definitely the areas of the race track where it is important to have the right setup to get the best result.
The Nürburgring has always been a good circuit for me. Last year I was on the podium there. It is a circuit where good results are possible. And clearly this is the home race for BMW, so we will obviously try to come back strong after the break and to get back on the podium where we belong. At the last race weekend we just missed out on the podium, so it would be nice to get back there in Germany."
"Last year we were doing quite well in the practice and the qualifying sessions at the Nürburgring. Unfortunately we then suffered a dip in the Superpole and ended up back on the fourth row. And then I got tangled up in a crash in the first race. But it is a track that I like.
The Nürburgring has a lot of history, and I always enjoy racing here. It has a very nice layout and is undulating. It also offers a lot of overtaking opportunities. As a result we generally have thrilling and spectacular races. I hope we can now get the bike sorted out to go and get a result."
Bernhard Gobmeier, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:
"After the long break from racing, we are pleased to get back to serious action – at our home event. As a German manufacturer, the races at the Nürburgring are obviously always a bit special. Then there is the fact that this iconic circuit is quite simply a fantastic racetrack, both in terms of its history and the unique layout.
Last year we made a very promising start to the race weekend in the Eifel Mountains. Troy clocked top times in all the practice and qualification sessions, but was then unlucky in the Superpole qualification and crashed. Otherwise, it would have been an extremely successful weekend for us. These positive aspects make us very optimistic that this circuit suits us and the BMW S 1000 RR. Furthermore, we took a big step forward at the last race weekend in Silverstone. We narrowly missed out on a podium finish there. We are confident we can continue this upward trend at our home races."
The Nürburgring is located close to the town of Adenau in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) and is one of the most iconic racetracks in Europe. The Eifel circuit opened in 1927, since when it has regularly been the scene of motorsport history. Up until the 1970s, races were held on the 20-kilometre Nordschleife circuit, which has earned itself an infamous reputation and the nickname "Green Hell". Even today, it remains a popular venue for automobile endurance races.
However, the Nordschleife became too dangerous for most race series. For this reason, the facility was given a complete makeover in the 1980s. In 1984, the 4.5-kilometre Grand Prix Circuit was inaugurated. Further modifications were made between 1999 and 2002. The FIM Superbike World Championship stages its races on this very Grand Prix Circuit. When the series made its first appearance in the Eifel, the circuit was 4.556 kilometres in length. Since 2008 it has been 5.137 kilometres. This season, the Superbike World Championship returns to the "Green Hell" for the sixth time.
The Nürburgring is an undulating track, which winds its way through the hilly Eifel landscape. The circuit boasts a number of fascinating combinations of corners, quick sections and areas that require heavy braking. In addition, there are many good overtaking opportunities. The riders enjoy the challenges posed by this circuit.
The very first corner, the "Yokohama-S", is a challenge in itself: the riders brake extremely late and must get themselves in a good position for the following section, which includes corners that become tighter as the turn progresses. It is important to enter the curve well, in order to be able to accelerate on the way out. "Bit" is the most important corner on the circuit. Those who take it well carry sufficient speed into the following high-speed section. The "NGK" chicane is another point requiring heavy braking, before the track heads uphill towards the final bend.
One unpredictable factor at the Nürburgring is the weather, which can change abruptly. The sun can be shining one minute, before thundery showers and rain appear the next. As such, the temperature can fluctuate enormously. A telling proverb says: "If you cannot see the Nürburg, it is raining. If you can see the Nürburg, it is not raining yet, but it will soon." The Nürburg castle sits on top of the hill above the town of the same name, close to the racetrack.
Joan And Tom Ready To Breathe Mountain Air
WSBK, Nürburgring, Germany, 30 August 2011
The hilltop circuit of The Nürburgring hosts the tenth round of WSBK this season with both Joan Lascorz and Tom Sykes ready and willing to meet the latest points scoring opportunity at full pace.
Germany's most evocative and famous circuit, located in the Eifel Mountains in the north west of the country, was the venue chosen to showcase the first public appearance of the latest Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R last year, before its competitive debut came along at the start of this season in Australia.
Both Lascorz and Sykes have had some positive results this year and each has proved to be competitive when set-up and tyre choices are in synch. Lascorz has scored two top fives in his rookie WSBK season and Sykes won the Superpole contest at Misano, then only just missed out on a podium finish by one place at the same venue.
Currently Lascorz is an upwardly mobile 11th in the championship standings while Tom is only 15 points from a top ten spot, in 14th place.
Third official Kawasaki rider Chris Vermeulen is still working on recovering full strength in his injured left elbow and will miss the German race. The 11th round of the championship takes place at Imola on 25 September, giving Chris more time to get back to fighting fitness.
Sykes is returning to action from injury, after a big fall in practice at Silverstone saw him badly beaten and suffering a chipped bone in his right ankle. He rates himself ready to race at the 5.137km long circuit in Germany, having had a month off from race action while working to get back to full fitness.
Joan took part in a British Superbike Championship round at former WSBK venue Brands Hatch, shortly after the Silverstone weekend, to keep himself race fit and get more valuable track time during his debut WSBK season. Without the pressure of trying to score championship points he learned more lessons he hopes to put into action at Nürburgring this weekend.
Kawasaki Pedercini Team riders Mark Aitchison and Roberto Rolfo will once more be out in race action this weekend as they look for season-best results again on their ever-improving Ninja ZX-10R machines.
Joan Lascorz: "It was interesting to race at Brands Hatch in the BSB series recently but finding the right bike set-up was a little more difficult compared to some other circuits. It was not so easy to control on the gas but steering and going in the corners was very good. It was just a very intense circuit and I think it was good preparation for the Nürburgring race, which we come to this weekend. It gave me the chance to practice more on the bike and feel good for the German race. We will see how things go in Germany as this will be my first time there on a Superbike, but I think if we can have a good period of practice we can make good results."
Tom Sykes: "My ankle is getting stronger all the time, so I will be ready for Germany. The Nürburgring is definitely one of my favourite circuits - one of two or three I particularly like on the current calendar. It is quite unique in some ways. It goes up and down a lot, it is quite flowing and I like those sections where the corners roll into each other. When you get the 'Schumacher S' right-hander nailed it is very rewarding as a rider. Also, in the fifth gear right kink you can make up quite a bit of time. That part takes quite a bit of courage in some ways and the circuit in general lends itself to my style of riding a bit more than some. I hope I can pick up where we left off before my injury at Silverstone."
Winning Races The Aim For David And Broc
WSS, Nürburgring, Germany, 30 August 2011
Kawasaki Provec Motocard.com Ninja ZX-6R riders David Salom and Broc Parkes will each be out to fight for the win this coming weekend in Germany to eat into the championship lead held by Chaz Davies.
Currently the impressive high-speed consistency of Salom has taken him to second place in the rankings, some 42 points behind Davies with four rounds remaining. David is still looking for his first win but two podium places and the unerring ability of rider and team to score points have lifted him the top of the chasing pack after eight rounds. David has secured two pole positions along the way, his most recent at the previous round in Silverstone.
Germany is where Broc's adventure with the Provec Motocard.com team started last year and he was on the podium straight away. This year he has three podium finishes to his credit so far, including a win at Misano, plus a pole position start at Aragon. Currently fourth in the standings, 51 points behind Davies, Broc is out to take wins all the way to the end of the season, having regained his early season confidence after a fruitful test in Spain last week.
Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki riders Massimo Roccoli and Vittorio Iannuzzo are currently tenth and 15th in the standings respectively, as they face the ninth round of the year.
David Salom: "I have had some time off but I have been training hard and I also made a test last week in Spain. It was just to stay sharp after the long break in the summer, not a test of the bike or the set-up. I am ready to go again in Germany and I think it is a good track there. The last part, the chicane and the final corner, I am not so happy about. Last year, on a different bike, I was not able to go fast in those parts but with my Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R I think it will be different and better. I think it is still possible to catch Chaz in the championship but it is very difficult as the gap is 42 points. If he has some bad luck then it is possible - all is possible - but I go to the last four races only thinking about my performance, not the other riders."
Broc Parkes: "Germany was the first race I had with the team last year, so it will be good to return to action there. I want to go into the last four races with a clear mind and race for wins and podiums. Mathematically I still have a chance to win the championship at the moment but it will be difficult, so I am just going out to try and win some races. We will have a different bike set-up for the race after a test last week, so we will take that to the Nürburgring and work to get back up the front where we belong. I'm really looking forward to getting back into action with the team."
Yamaha World Superbike Team Gear up for the Nurburgring
Yamaha World Superbike riders Marco Melandri and Eugene laverty are heading back on track this coming weekend after a long five week summer break. The coming weekend's racing action will take place at the famous Nurburgring circuit situated amidst the Eifel Mountains in the West of Germany, marking round 10 of the 2011 World Superbike Championship.After the lengthy rest from racing, both Yamaha World Superbike riders are eager to get on board their YZF R1s and take up where they left off, with the success of the last round in Silverstone where Melandri and Laverty claimed an impressive double podium a head and gained valuable championship points.
With just four rounds remaining to fight for the championship title, both riders will be looking to impress and continue to battle for the championship lead. Melandri sets out for the Nurburgring for the first time in his career but he has proved in previous rounds that new tracks are not an issue for him. The Italian will take on the German circuit with the intention of pushing up to second place in the standings ahead of fellow Italian, Max Biaggi. Team-mate Laverty aims to capitalize on progress made at his home track in Silverstone and fight for another extraordinary double podium. The challenging 5.137 km German track has brought him success in the past, just last year he delivered an impressive race win in the WSS category.
The Nurburgring, also known as the "Green Hell", is considered to be one of the most demanding purpose – built racing tracks in the world. There are many changes in elevation, six left turns, 11 right turns and few opportunities to overtake.
Yamaha World Superbike Team
"The Nurburgring is another new track for me this year, but I'm looking forward to experiencing it. I'm glad to be getting going again after the summer holidays and I'm determined to do my best and keep fighting until the end of the championship. I like the look of the track from what I've seen on TV. It's quite technical and I'm sure it will be a lot of fun. The weather forecast doesn't look so good for Sunday but it changes from day to day so I'm hoping between now and then it'll improve a little. We'll soon see."
Yamaha World Superbike Team
"I've been off the bike for a long time now and I can't wait to get riding my R1 again. Nurburgring is a track I quite like and I've good memories there following my win in Supersport last year. I've just come from a double podium in Silverstone and that's what I'm aiming for again at the Nurburgring. It's not out of the question to complete the season in the top three and that's what I'd like and what I'll be aiming for, even though it won't be easy to reach my team-mate."
The Nurburgring, technically speaking according to Silvano Galbusera
Marco Melandri's Crew Chief
"Nurburgring is yet another new track for Marco. It's technically very difficult, possibly the most difficult track on the 2011 calendar and will prove challenging. We'll spend the first few sessions getting acquainted with the circuit so we can see where to go with the chassis set up ahead of Sunday's races. I hope we find a good tyre solution to enable us to perform to our potential. Let's hope the weather is also good and the rain holds off."
The Nurburgring, technically speaking according to Frankie Carchedi
Eugene Laverty's Crew Chief
"After another solid weekend at Silverstone we have worked hard over the summer break to further improve the bike for Eugene. We will start with one bike similar to Silverstone with a new improved rear brake system. With the other bike we will try another step in the geometry to further improve bike turning. Nurburgring is a riders favorite, many elevation changes and technically difficult. It requires very good front end feel and is as hard on brakes as Monza. There are many changes of direction so it is also important to have a good handling bike and keep corner speed up."
Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
"Nurburgring is a very important race for the Yamaha World Superbike team. Following the earlier announced decision for Yamaha Motor Europe to withdraw the team at the end of this season, I'm confident that the team and riders motivation will be evident and everyone will be pushing even harder for deserved results. After such a long summer break we're looking forward to getting back to business and have made a few technical modifications to the engine, chassis and electronics of the bike, in order to provide both riders with an even more competitive machine to fight for the race win. We expect Eugene to confirm the excellent performance evident in Silverstone, especially due to the fact that he took a race win at the Nurburgring in WSS just last year. It's Marco's first time on this track, but we have seen that he can quickly learn new tracks, so we're not worried and are confident we'll be fighting for the podium on Sunday."
Jonathan Rea to return at Nurburgring
Jonathan Rea will make his long-awaited comeback to the Castrol Honda team in this weekend's (2-4 September) tenth round World Superbike championship event at Nurburgring in Germany.
The Northern Irishman has been out of action since a raceday warm-up crash at Misano in Italy on 12 June. In addition to fractures to his arm and collarbone, Rea required complex surgery to repair ligament damage to his right wrist following the crash.
After completing a successful two-day test at Assen in the Netherlands last week, Rea, 24, has chosen a favoured circuit to make his return. In the last two visits, he has taken his Honda CBR1000RR to two wins, a second and a fourth place at the 5.137km Nurburgring, which sits 70km south of Cologne, adjacent to the famous Nordschleife road circuit.
Rea will be joined for the weekend in the Castrol Honda World Superbike Team by Japanese rider, Makoto Tamada, who returns to the series for the first time since riding as a replacement in the final round of last season's championship.
Tamada will replace Ruben Xaus, who is still suffering the after effects of his race one crash at Brno in the Czech Republic in July. Despite testing on the first day at Assen last week, Xaus's back injury prevented him from completing more than a handful of laps and the Spaniard has opted to miss Nurburgring.
Hailing from Ehime in Japan, Tamada, 34, completed two full World Superbike seasons on Kawasaki machinery in 2008 and 2009 following five years with Honda in MotoGP, which resulted in two Grand Prix victories. Earlier in his career, he also scored three wildcard World Superbike victories at Sugo in Japan in 2001 and 2002 and is a regular podium visitor in Japan's famous Suzuka 8 Hour race.
I can't wait to get back on the bike in a race weekend situation at Nurburgring. The test at Assen last week was great for me to ride and work with the team again, but I'm really looking forward to doing it for real again this weekend. Assen was also good from a confidence point of view, because the lap time was pretty good and I was able to complete a lot of laps without any pain from the wrist. Unfortunately, I've missed a few races because of the injury, but I've got a new target for the end of the season and I know what I need to do to achieve that. The good thing is that the guys have been working really hard back at base since I've been away, and there were some good new things to test last week. I'm really looking forward to using them this weekend.
It's great to be back racing in the World Superbike series. I want to thank Castrol Honda for giving me this opportunity. I am looking forward to working with the team and Jonathan, and I'm also looking forward to meeting my European fans.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
Everyone is really happy that Jonathan is back for this weekend. He did a race simulation at Assen, which showed that he's quite fit again. It's certainly been a troublesome mid-season with injuries, but we've had good results with Jonathan at Nurburgring in the last two years, so we're all thrilled to have him back for this one. We're also looking forward to welcoming Makoto Tamada back to the championship. His level of experience will provide good feedback on the bike since we are already looking ahead to 2012. We are working on the development of new parts for next season so it will be good to hear his opinion, too.
Yamaha ParkinGO Team set out for round 9 of the WSS Championship at the Nurburgring
Fresh from the traditional August break, the Yamaha ParkinGO team is raring to get back to action at the Nurburgring, Germany this coming weekend for round nine of the 2011 World Supersport Championship. After five long weeks off from racing, Chaz Davies is eager to be back on his powerful R6 and take up where he left off at his home round in Silverstone, where he delivered a fantastic race win for his team. The Welshman is now leading the championship with a 42 point advantage over Salom in second place. With just four races to go, Davies heads to the historic Nurburgring circuit intent on bagging yet another victory and extending his current championship lead. Cal Crutchlow rode the same R6 to victory at the Nurburgring in 2009 and the Yamaha ParkinGo team is confident that the machine will be equally successful this year.
Luca Scassa was less fortunate at Silverstone and is now setting out for German race track for a fresh start after the summer holidays. The Italian will be looking to gather more valuable points and climb up the championship standings. Scassa is now in fifth place with 83 points, 12 points short of Parkes in fourth.
WSBK title rush under way with Nurburgring round
Nurburgring (Germany), Tuesday 30 August 2011 – Just one month after the last round, held at Silverstone, the 2011 Superbike World Championship gets down to the usual hectic action once again with the first of four rounds in a month and a half that will lead to the crowning of this year's champion. The first of these rounds will be held on Sunday at the 5.137 km Nurburgring, a famous name for all two and four wheeled motorsports fans and a worthy modern heir to the legendary and historic Nordschleife track.
In the last three editions of the German Round since the circuit returned to the WSBK calendar the points leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) has never been able to take a win, although last year he did finish runner-up to race 1 winner Rea. The same can be said for Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team), another rider still to open his scorecard in Germany: in his victorious 2010 season, the Italian started from pole, but could only finish fourth and fifth. These two are the two main contenders for the 2011 title, with the Spaniard currently holding a 62 point lead.
Still in with a slim chance of final honours is Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team), but the Italian will maybe also now have to focus even harder following the announcement of the retirement of the Japanese manufacturer's official team from the series.
Two hundred points are still up for grabs in this year's championship, but it is clear that none of the top contenders can afford to miss out at the Nurburgring. Should Checa increase his lead in Germany, the title race can virtually be considered as cut and dried. But further elements to be added to the end-of-season mix will surely include contract renewal, the search for a competitive ride for the following season as well as a desire to finish this year on a high.
Riders amidst in the latter category undoubtedly include Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda), a two-times winner at the Nurburgring in the last couple of years, who returns to the pack after his Misano crash and injury and an appraisal of his physical condition in two days of testing at Assen last week. Alongside Rea will be an old hand of the Superbike World Championship, the expert Japanese rider Makoto Tamada, who has been called in as a replacement for the still convalescent Ruben Xaus following the Spanish rider's own crash and injury at Brno.
Also aiming to cut a fine figure in Germany at their home race will be the BMW Motorrad Motorsport team, which is still searching for the big breakthrough. Leon Haslam and Troy Corser, who won race 2 back in 1999, will try and turn BMW's season around this weekend. And still with BMW, this time in the Motorrad Italia team, expectations are high for the performance of Ayrton Badovini, and above all James Toseland, who celebrates his 200th World Superbike race in Germany.
A surprise could also come from Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia), who has won three of the six races held in the last few years at the Nurburgring and who last year was the protagonist of a superb race 2, which he won from Jonathan Rea.
All eyes will be on Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team), Supersport winner here in 2010 and also on the lookout for a new team next year. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) on the other hand will be aiming for a couple of good results following his disappointment last year.
Points (after 9 of 13 rounds): 1. Checa 343; 2. Biaggi 281; 3. Melandri 272; 4. Laverty 208; 5. Haslam 158; 6. Camier 146; 7: Fabrizio 141; 8. Badovini 118; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 355; 2. Yamaha 320; 3. Aprilia 320; 4. BMW 194; 5. Suzuki 158; 6. Kawasaki 137; 7. Honda. 113.
After his win at Silverstone – the fourth this year - Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) will be going for a fifth triumph this weekend, strong in the knowledge that he has a 42 point lead over David Salom (Kawasaki Motocard.com) and 45 over Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda).
Australian Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) is not that far behind either, 51 points down, but early season frontrunner Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) now appears to be out of contention in the title battle.
The German Round might end up by being decisive for the title, given the Welshman's lead, but both Kawasaki and Honda – the former with Parkes and Salom, and the latter with Foret, Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) and Gino Rea (Step Racing Team) – will be trying to put a spanner into the works and the outcome, as so often happens in Supersport, is anything but certain. Two more contenders for the top placements are likely to be Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service R.T. Yamaha) and Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki).
Points (after 8 of 12 rounds): 1. Davies 146; 2. Salom 104; 3. Foret 101; 4. Parkes 95; 5. Scassa 83; 6. Lowes 73; 7. Rea 62; 8. Harms 59; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Yamaha 176; 2. Honda 149; 3. Kawasaki 134; 4. Triumph 23.
The 17-year-old German Markus Reiterberger (Garnier Alpha Racing Team BMW) could be the surprise of the weekend at his home round, given his rapidly improving form, but the favourites for the win will surely be the Italians, who occupy seven of the top 10 positions in the FIM Cup.
Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) has put behind him his memories of Silverstone, when he crashed out, thus allowing Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock) and winner Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team Ducati) to move closer in the points. Other candidates for the top slot include Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock) and Niccolò Canepa (Lazio MotorSport Ducati) with Andrea Antonelli (Lorini Honda), third here last year, another man to watch.
Points (after 6 of 10 rounds): 1. Giugliano 115; 2. Zanetti 104: 3. Petrucci 94; 4. Barrier 65; 5. Canepa 64; 6. Baroni 46; 7. Antonelli 44; 8. Reiterberger 42; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 140; 2. BMW 122; 3. Kawasaki 58; 4. Honda 52; 5. Yamaha 15.
The sixth round of the European Superstock 600 Championship promises to be another cracker, as points leader Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France) attempts to hold off a swathe of determined young men, all anxious to make their mark on the championship. These include Brno winner, and last year's runner-up, Dino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha), but the other contenders will undoubtedly be Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Team) and Joshua Day (Revolution Racedays Kawasaki).
Points (after 6 of 10 rounds): 1. Lanusse 94; 2. Metcher 81; 3. Day 76; 4. Lombardi 74; 5. Russo 54; 6. Vd Mark 51; 7. Duwelz 51; 8. Gregorini 35; etc.
REA BACK FROM INJURY AS TAMADA REPLACES XAUS
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) will return to his regular spot in the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship during the tenth round at the Nürburgring this coming weekend, having now recovered from injuries suffered during the San Marino round in mid-June.
Jonathan was sixth in the championship standings at that stage, but has now unavoidably dropped to 12th in the rankings, despite being one of only five race winners after 18 individual races in 2011 so far. Rea comes back to action having enjoyed a two-day test at Assen that proved he is fit to ride in Germany after his long period of recuperation and intense physiotherapy.
Experienced Superbike rider Makoto Tamada (Castrol Honda) will join Rea on track this weekend after the team test at Assen confirmed that Castrol Honda team regular Ruben Xaus is not fully fit to race at present, having suffered a back injury in the Brno round that has not healed sufficiently to allow him to compete in Germany.
Tamada is a three-time race winner in this category, early in his career at his home rounds in Sugo, Japan. Despite spending much of his career in MotoGP with Honda his experience of the Superbike World Championship now runs to 49 race starts.
FORET LEADS HONDA CHARGE AFTER LONG SUMMER BREAK
Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) is the top ranked Honda rider in the 2011 FIM Supersport World Championship as the series restarts after its four-weekend summer break and heads to the classic Nürburgring in Germany for the ninth round. Fabien is now third overall, three points behind second place and 45 points from the lead.
Having suffered injury and misfortune in the early races of the year the 2002 champion for Honda has pushed himself up the rankings with five podium finishes in eight starts. His next ambition is to take his first race victory of the 2011 season, to add to his career win total of 12.
After not scoring at his home round of Silverstone last time out Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) is keen to get back on track and return to the kind of form that has seen him take three podiums, and a near win first time out in Australia. He is sixth overall at present, leading up two more Honda riders, Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda) and Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda). Each of these two combative riders has had a remarkable season in many ways already, with Harms often the top Honda rider in the rankings despite having a very small overall race budget and Rea having taken his debut WSS win at his team's home round at Brno in July, after scoring a podium in his own home race at Donington in March.
Class rookie Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) joined his team-mate Foret for a test at Assen recently and feels he has made a major breakthrough in finding a set-up that will allow him to compete over race distance, this weekend and beyond.
For James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) the German race will be another opportunity to get to the podium levels of combined bike and rider performance that his experience suggests are possible. After some very bad luck at some key points of the year James is 12th, one place behind Marino and one place ahead of the ever-improving Portuguese rider, Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda).
A great seventh place at Silverstone for Balazs Nemeth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) put him up to 14th overall, the last of eight Honda riders in the top 14 places. Alexander Lundh (Cresto Guide Honda) sits 16th with Vladimir Ivanov (Step Racing Team Honda) 18th. Imre Toth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) continues just inside the top 20, as Pawel Szkopek (Bogdanka PTR Honda) is now 22nd with four rounds remaining, including the Nürburgring.
HONDA RIDER COMMENTS:
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda)
"I can't wait to get back on the bike in a race weekend situation at Nürburgring. The test at Assen last week was great for me to ride and work with the team again, but I'm really looking forward to doing it for real again this weekend. Assen was also good from a confidence point of view, because the lap time was pretty good and I was able to complete a lot of laps without any pain from the wrist. Unfortunately, I've missed a few races because of the injury, but I've got a new target for the end of the season and I know what I need to do to achieve that. The good thing is that the guys have been working really hard back at base since I've been away, and there were some good new things to test last week. I'm really looking forward to using them this weekend."
Makoto Tamada (Castrol Honda)
"It's great to be back racing in the World Superbike series. I want to thank Castrol Honda for giving me this opportunity. I am looking forward to working with the team and Jonathan, and I'm also looking forward to meeting my European fans."
Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
"I have been training and preparing for the next round in the summer break. I am ready for it and we did a test at Assen, even if the weather was not really great on day two. It was enough for me to be ready and I have good memories of the German track from last year. Even though I finished on the podium at Silverstone I was not satisfied with the way I managed the race, so I hope in Germany it will be a little bit better."
Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda)
"The break is not too long, but as a rider you want to ride all the time. It is more to give the teams time to catch up rather than the riders, I think. The race at Silverstone did not go to plan, but as far as our speed was concerned, it was really good. I am looking forward to getting to the track in Germany because I have been to the place before and it should suit our bike. I want to aim for the win and get back on the podium."
Gino Rea (Step Racing Team Honda)
"I am ready and waiting! I'm a bit eager because the break has been way too long for me. I have not had the chance to ride in the summer break, but I have had a good three weeks of physical training instead. I may be a bit rusty in the first session, but our season is moving in a good direction again. We have not had a huge change in the bike this year, but it is just having better reliability and more track time in practice that has seen our results improve recently."
Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda)
"I really hope to continue the good feeling we had in Silverstone and to bring all the good things with us to Germany. We improved our engine on the test bench the best we could before the Silverstone race and we hope to make more of a difference with it on track at this race. I was very happy with it at the beginning at the season, but we struggled a lot with engine power in the middle. We do not have the kind of development that some of the teams we are fighting against have and we were a little bit behind in the mid-season. We are doing well even though we miss a lot of budget, but we keep it tight and that is what we are good at. Now I look forward to making the best possible results in the last four races of the year."
Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
"I had some holiday at home and enjoyed some sunshine as well as lots of training, but we also went testing in Assen last week. It was really good for me and we did a 21-lap race simulation and the lap times were quite close. We found the solution to save my energy and be more consistent in the races. At Silverstone after eight laps I was finished and the tyre was gone, so we have found a good race set-up on the bike and that should be good for the Nürburgring. The second day of tests at Assen was rainy but I did some good laps, before we stopped. I am quite excited for the Nürburgring now."
Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda)
"I stayed at home in Portugal during the break and it was nice to do so. After some time off I trained just as before in the past two weeks and the team has been working on the bike to try and keep the good pace we showed in Silverstone. We are looking forward to the Nürburgring and I have been missing the races already because four weekends off is a long break."
FABRIZIO HUNGRY FOR GERMAN WSB RESULT
Team Suzuki Press Office - August 30.
Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio is looking for a change in fortune at this weekend's 10th round of the World Superbike Championship in Germany, as the Italian has not fared well at the Nurburgring circuit in recent years.
In his past three outings, Fabrizio's best result has been a sixth - in 2008 - but he is positive that he can do better this time out aboard the GSX-R1000 Suzuki.
The 5.137 kilometre circuit is full of changes in altitude, but is generally fast and flowing apart from a couple of areas; principally turn one at the end of the start-finish straight: The approach to it is blind and it's very easy to get caught-out on the exit due to the change in camber.
"It's true that my recent results at the Nurburgring have not been so good, so this is a great opportunity for a big improvement. The track is quite technical and although it is not so hard to learn, it is hard to shave off those last fractions-of-a-second. Turn one is very slow and the track seems to narrow right down on the approach and it's easy to get tangled-up with another rider or two! The exit is also a bit tricky and it's a turn where there's always a lot going on - especially if you are in a group.
"The first day of practice is going to feel a bit strange because it will be the best part of five weeks since I have been on the bike and I'm sure we'll have a lot to do - especially as it will be my first time here on the Suzuki after three years on a twin. As always, may aim is to get a good race set-up as soon as I can and then try and really attack in Superpole. I still haven't been on the front-row grid this season and that's something I would dearly like to change this weekend. The series is so competitive and small fractions-of-a-second sometimes separate the top 15, so it's important to do well in Superpole and then make good starts in the races. I'm hoping for my first front-row of the grid and two good results on race day."
Ellison improvements ready for the 'Ring'
THE BOGDANKA PTR HONDA duo returns to World Supersport action following a five-week summer break with James Ellison looking to transfer recent setup improvements into a solid result at the Nurburgring in Germany.
His Polish teammate, Pawel Szkopek, will be new to the German circuit but targets a strong start to the final run of races this year. The Nurburgring is notorious for changeable weather conditions with current forecasts predicting rain when the lights go off at 1:30 CET on Sunday.
James Ellison: "We've kept testing and riding through the break and made some steps forward with the settings and I'm excited to try these improvements at the Nurburgring. I was there about 10-years ago. They've changed a couple of corners a bit since but for what I can remember, I really, really enjoyed it. It's mostly fast, flowing and really nice. It should be a good weekend."
Pawel Szkopek: "I can't wait for the weekend. It feels like the start of the season all over again for me and I'd like to get off to a strong start to the final stretch of races. We've been a bit unlucky at times this year and I hope it's another thing we're leaving behind. Nurburgring will be a new track for me - there's lots of fast corners but also a heavy braking to turn one so it should be fun."
Simon Buckmaster: "James tested his bike during the break and tried riding using the same settings as Sam Lowes. He improved his lap times and found confidence so he will be starting at the Nurburgring from this strong position.
"Pawel has shown flashes of brilliance this season but needs to finish more races and crash less. He has the ability to get in the points and needs to take a structured positive approach to the whole weekend."
Aiming high in Germany
PARKALGAR HONDA'S Miguel Praia and Sam Lowes are targeting season best results when they take to the track at Nurburgring in Germany this Sunday September 4th.
After a five-week break in racing both Parkalgar Honda men are eager to get back to action and have been working hard to keep themselves in top shape physically and mentally. There are practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday before the race takes place at 1330CET on Sunday.
Miguel: "I have enjoyed a good break from the racing and spent a lot of time on my physical training and conditioning. I feel fitter and better than ever and will be at my peak this weekend. I cannot wait to get racing again. I have beaten race winners and front runners so now I want to get closer to the front in every race and achieve the best results possible."
Sam: "I have met with the team during the break and spent a lot of time thinking about the mistake I made at Silverstone. The team is right behind me and has every confidence in me - that is brilliant and I am learning fast. I know what I need to do and will be approaching the Nurburgring totally focussed on finishing and winning. We know we can do it and I have four races left to prove it."
Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: "Miguel had another great ride at Silverstone but he and I know that he needs to qualify better to get into the top six. That is what we want to achieve in the last four rounds to get into the top 10 in the Championship standings.
"Sam missed an opportunity to win at the last round through his own mistake. We have discussed it and he is learning by his mistakes. He is the fastest rider and we are going to build on that for the rest of the season and target race wins so Sam can become the complete package."
CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER CARLOS CHECA (ALTHEA RACING) FIGHTING FIT AND READY FOR ACTION IN GERMANY THIS WEEKEND
Nurbürg (Germany), Wednesday 31st August 2011: The Superbikes are back after the August break and Team Althea Racing and rider Carlos Checa are in shape and heading for the Nurburgring in Germany for round ten of the World Championship.
Prior to the summer break, the Althea Racing squad secured a stunning double win at the English track of Silverstone, extending Checa's championship lead as a result to 62 points over second-placed Biaggi. Carlos will line up for his 101st start in SBK at the Ring this coming weekend, determined to add to his podium tally (he has finished top three in fifteen of the eighteen races held so far). With four rounds to go and 200 points still on the table, the Spaniard will be looking to consolidate his leadership status.
Carlos has scored some strong results at the German track in recent years, including a second place finish this time last year. Checa heads into round ten of thirteen with 343 points. Ducati leads the manufacturer's championship with 355 points to Yamaha's 320.
During the month long break Carlos has kept himself active, participating in a triathlon in Spain and spending time in Italy, where he had the opportunity to climb to the Castore peak of the Monte Rosa mountain range and take in spectacular views from 4220m!
"Visto che ho fatto questo risultato importante per la Ducati a Silverstone e visto che sono un appassionato delle montagne, alcuni amici miei mi hanno invitato ad accompagnarli a Monte Rosa. Una delle cose che volevo fare era portare la bandiera delle 300 vittorie per Ducati al punto piu' alto d'Italia. Quindi l'abbiamo portata su a cima Castore, a 4220m di altezza. Una giornata fantastica e una bella esperienza ad alta quota! Mi sono goduto le vacanze in questo modo, facendo anche altre attivita', allenandomi ma divertendomi allo stesso tempo, e adesso mi sento pronto per affrontare la prossima sfida: Nurburgring."
Checa's Superbike form at the Nürburgring:
2010: Race 1- 2nd, Race 2 - DNF
2009: Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 3rd
2008: Race 1 – 5th, Race 2 – 5th
Kawasaki Hope For German Success
The Kawasaki Superbike Racing Team returns to action after a five week summer break when the Nurburgring hosts the tenth round of the World Superbike Championship this forthcoming weekend.
Both Joan Lascorz and Tom Sykes will be hoping for a good performance at Germany's most evocative and famous circuit, located in the Eifel Mountains in the north west of the country, especially after the disappointment of Silverstone last time out.
It was back at the Paul Bird Motorsport team's home round that Yorkshireman Sykes was injured during qualifying and didn't race and Spanish rider Lascorz was forced out of the second race after a clash with another rider so both riders are keen to address the situation for the Penrith based team.
Sykes is returning to action following a chipped bone in his right ankle. He rates himself ready to race at the 5.137km long circuit in Germany, having had a month off from race action while working to get back to full fitness whereas Lascorz took part in a British Superbike Championship round at Brands Hatch after the Silverstone weekend.
So far this season, Lascorz has scored two top five placings in his rookie WSB campaign and Sykes won the Superpole contest at Misano, then only just missed out on a podium finish by one place at the same venue. Currently Lascorz is 11th in the championship standings while Tom is only 15 points from a top ten spot in 14th place.
Third official Kawasaki rider Chris Vermeulen is still working on recovering full strength in his injured left elbow and will miss the German race.
Joan Lascorz: "It was interesting to race at Brands Hatch in the BSB series recently but finding the right bike set-up was a little more difficult compared to some other circuits. It was a very intense circuit and I think it was good preparation for the Nurburgring race which we come to this weekend. It gave me the chance to practice more on the bike and feel good so we will see how things go in Germany as this will be my first time there on a Superbike. But I think if we can have a good practice we can make good results."
Tom Sykes: "My ankle is getting stronger all the time so I will be ready for Germany. The Nurburgring is definitely one of my favourite circuits as it is quite unique in some ways. It goes up and down a lot, it is quite flowing and I like those sections where the corners roll into each other. A lot of the track takes quite a bit of courage in some ways and the circuit in general lends itself to my style of riding a bit more than some. I hope I can pick up where we left off before my injury at Silverstone."
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "Things certainly didn't go our way at Silverstone so I'm really hoping we can get that bit of a break and a little luck this weekend which we have been so desperately short of this season. With Joan's lack of experience around the track and Tom coming back after injury, it's going to be a challenging weekend but hopefully both riders can put on a good show and we can get the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R well up the leaderboard where it rightfully belongs."
Meanwhile, Ulsterman Keith Farmer will make his foreign debut at the German round of the World Superbike Championship when he rides a Paul Bird Motorsport-prepared Kawasaki ZX-10R in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup.
The former Supermoto champion from Clogher raced at Silverstone and came home an impressive 16th on his World Championship debut; beating many established riders in his first ever race on a 1000cc Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Farmer is managed by PBM and has impressed on his debut season in road racing whereby he currently leads the Metzeler National Superstock 600 Championship by a healthy 36 points.
The opening race gets underway on Sunday 4th September at 12.00 CET with race two at 15.30 CET and British viewers can catch the action live on British Eurosport.