2011 Imola World Superbike And World Supersport Press Release Previews

Press release previews from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams ahead of this weekend's WSBK round at Imola:


Italy – Imola. Preview.

Munich/Stephanskirchen, 19th September 2011. This weekend (23rd to 25th September), Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport travels to the iconic "Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari" in Imola (ITA). This is the venue for the eleventh of thirteen rounds in the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship. At the beginning of the month, the team demonstrated the potential of the BMW S 1000 RR in both wet and dry conditions at its home race at the Nürburgring (GER). The two factory riders Leon Haslam (GBR) and Troy Corser (AUS) are now determined to back that performance up as they return to Italy for the third time this year.

After ten of the 2011 race weekends, Leon is fifth in the Riders' Championship on 176 points, while Troy is fifteenth on 67. Between the two of them, they have scored 243 points for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport this season. In the Constructors' Championship, towards which only the best result at each race counts, BMW currently lies in fourth place with 214 points.

Following the race weekend at the Nürburgring, BMW Motorrad and Leon agreed to continue working together into the 2012 season. The second factory rider for the coming season will be announced at a later date.

Leon Haslam:

"I am really excited that we can continue working together next season and am very happy that I can have one more year with BMW Motorrad. With the changes we made this year, along with the changes we are making for next year, we are really excited about next season. For now, however, we focus on the last three rounds of this year.

I am looking forward to Imola. We have made good progress with the bike and it is one of my favourite circuits. I really enjoy racing there and the atmosphere is always fantastic. The track is very bumpy and very undulating. You really need to have your bike set up properly, as the circuit is very demanding with different tarmac in places and a lot of changes of direction."

Troy Corser:

"The track is very bumpy in places. It has four different surfaces around it where they resurfaced some parts of the circuit. It is very fast, particularly through the back part, which is known as ‘Acque Minerale'. It is important that the bike turns very well on the throttle on the crests coming over the hill and I think this is the case with our bike and engine. The brakes also play a big part there. They help to make the bike more stable.

I am confident that we can get a good result with our bike. If we can get everything sorted out for Superpole and qualify in the front or second row, I hope we can get some podiums during the run in at the end of the season."

Bernhard Gobmeier, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:

"The last race weekend at the Nürburgring showed that we are definitely on the right track. Leon was able to clock very good lap times in both wet and dry conditions. Towards the end of the race he was one of the fastest out there. Unfortunately he crashed out, otherwise there were definitely podium finishes in it – maybe even more. For that reason, what we saw at our home race puts us in a very positive frame of mind ahead of the run in."

Background:

Imola is located in the Northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, about 40 kilometres south-east of Bologna. The town has a population of about 69,000. Motorsport has played an important role there since the 1940s. The first races in and around Imola were held on public roads. The foundations for the first racetrack were laid in 1950 and it was opened in 1952.

The circuit was originally called the "Autodromo Dino Ferrari", named after Enzo Ferrari's son, who died at an early age. When Enzo Ferrari died in 1988, it was renamed the "Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari". The Motorcycle World Championship held its first race in Imola on 7th September 1967, while the FIM Superbike World Championship made its debut in Emilia-Romagna in 2001. In 2011 the series returns to Imola for the ninth time.

Following the deadly crashes that took the lives of Formula One drivers Ayrton Senna (BRA) and Roland Ratzenberger (AUT), the circuit was modified in 1994. The site was then the subject of extensive renovations in 2006, during which it was modified to meet the latest safety standards. What used to be the final chicane – the "Variante Bassa" – was completely rebuilt. A long straight which veers slightly to the right now runs between "Rivazza" and the "Tamburello" corner. The layout of the circuit, which is negotiated in an anti-clockwise direction, is not the only thing to have been changed. A new pit lane building was erected, as well as a media centre and tower, which houses the race management team.

Imola is a real challenge for motorcycles, and not just as a result of the many bumps that are characteristic of this circuit. Imola also features several chicanes, the first of which comes straight after the start-finish straight. For this reason, the bike must be excellent when it comes to braking, steering into corners, and accelerating out of bends. Stability is also important, as almost every chicane is lined with kerbs, which unsettle the bike as the riders cut over them. At the same time, overtaking is very difficult in Imola. The rider must be very aggressive if he wants to move through the field during the race.


FABRIZIO FIRED-UP FOR IMOLA WSBK

Team Suzuki Press Office - September 19.

Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio is all fired-up and ready to race at this weekend's 11th round of the World Superbike Championship in Imola.

The Italian is no stranger to the podium at the Autodromo Internationale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, having won race two there in 2009 after a third place in race one. He also won the penultimate round of the 2003 Superstock Championship at the Italian circuit, and then went on to take the title by just three points. That was on an Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000, so Fabrizio would like nothing better to be on the podium again on another Alstare bike.

This year will be the third year in a row that the World Superbike Championship has visited the popular 4.936 kilometre circuit. The track features a variety of ups and downs, a couple of blind corners and is regarded as technically challenging. Whilst it is not that difficult to learn, it is quite hard to shave-off those last fractions of a second chasing a quick lap in qualifying.

Superpole, however, has not been a favourite time for him this year but once again he will attack it with his usual determination and try and get on the front row of the grid.

Michel Fabrizio:

"Imola is one of my favourite tracks, not just because I have had some successes there but also because it is a great track to ride. Technically it is challenging because there are lots of changes of elevation and also because their are some blind corners and so you need a good bike set-up and know where and when to brake. It is a track where it easy to make up time and very easy to lose time; especially if you get held-up at the start. If that happens, it is very difficult to make up the time. It is very important to be on the first two rows of the grid and then make a good start for the approach to the first couple of turns.

"It's no secret that Superpole has caused us a few problems this year. By not qualifying well, it means that I have a lot of work to do catch the leaders and if I push too hard, the tyres get worn out more quickly. My aim, as usual, is to try and qualify well and give myself a chance at the start of the race. I know that my race-pace is good, but that's no good if I am down in eighth, ninth or 10th or so at the start. I need to be in the top four or five at the beginning and be fighting with the leaders.

"My last podium was in Monza, in May, so I think it's about time I was there again; especially as I failed to score any points in the last round. There are just three rounds left this year and I want to do the very best I can in all of them and finish the last part of the season on a high."


The Yamaha WSB Team Set Out for Imola Ready to Fight for the Championship

The Yamaha World Superbike Team are back on track this weekend at the iconic "Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari" in Imola, for the third Italian race of the 2011 season. This marks the tenth and third last round of calendar and is the third "home race" for Marco Melandri and the Yamaha World Superbike Team.

Fresh from two very successful days testing in Misano last week, where Melandri was the fastest rider to lap the track throughout the two days, the Italian will be looking to pocket a home victory. Despite being a local track, Imola is yet another unfamiliar circuit for the Romagnolo. From the results so far this year it is clearly evident that new tracks are not an obstacle for Melandri, determined to shine on his home turf, backed by the numerous Italian spectators. Laverty on the other hand has unfinished business in Imola and intends making up for the lack of results last year, having fallen from his machine on the last lap in the World Supersport race, while in third place.

As the season showdown begins, this round is crucial as it could be the title decider, with points leader Carlos Checa holding a 74 point advantage on Melandri, with just 150 points up for grabs in the remaining three rounds. Melandri sets out for Imola aiming for victory in order to keep the Championship title within reach. Team-mate Laverty heads to Imola in fourth place in the standings, just 49 points behind 2010 champion Max Biaggi and with his sights firmly on an obtainable third place.

Marco Melandri

Yamaha World Superbike Team

"Imola is yet another track I am unfamiliar with, it has been more than ten years since I've been there. This doesn't really concern me as I have done well in other new tracks this season and hopefully, I can get good results in Imola also. The two days testing in Misano went well, we made some adjustments to the brake system which I have struggled with on various occasions this year and this has helped me gain more confidence on my machine. It will be an interesting race, where Checa could win the championship. I will give it 100% and do my very best to keep the championship open, even though it won't be easy."

Eugene Laverty

Yamaha World Superbike Team

"Fresh from the positive tests we just completed in Misano, I'll be heading to Imola on a high note, which is nice. I struggled with the track a lot two years ago but I feel that last year I cracked it, even though I was unfortunate and came off at the end. I'm curious to try the track with the Superbike machine but it's so powerful I'm pretty sure it'll feel like an entirely different track. I'm looking forward to the weekend. It could be very interesting as it could also be the title decider. Checa will be stronger than ever to claim the championship, but I think the Yamahas will also put on a strong fight."

Imola technically speaking according to Silvano Galbusera

Marco Melandri's Crew Chief

"The majority of the track has been re surfaced with new asphalt and we are confident that this should bring an improvement compared to last year. We should experience less problems with bumps on the surface and hopefully the new asphalt will provide good grip. However often new track surfacing takes some time to clean up and therefore it may be tough on tyre wear. We just had two very good days testing in Misano where we worked mainly on improving the brake system with the introduction of new calipers and we also made small adjustments to our electronics. With the strong results at the recent tests we are heading to Imola confident we can have two races and come away with good results."

Imola technically speaking according to Frankie Carchedi

Eugene Laverty's Crew Chief

"Since Nurburgring we have tested at Misano where we were able to evaluate some different geometries and set-ups. We lapped consistently faster than earlier in the year when we raced there, showing the progress that we have made since then. To be successful at Imola you need to be strong in all departments, strong on brakes and a bike that handles well. In the past Imola has been the most difficult track to maintain grip, especially in the hotter temperatures. This year the track has been re surfaced in some areas and could make set-up more difficult. We will start with our base set-up, and during the weekend incorporate the changes we made at the test"

Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

"Imola is the first of three rounds which will take place in just four weeks, an intense four weeks for the team and riders, where the championship title will be decided on. We are confident we can be competitive in Imola and that both riders can express their talent and capabilities on the historic track, making the most of the progress made during the recent tests in Misano. Even if it has been more than ten years since Marco has ridden the track, he will give it 100% and be highly competitive in front of his numerous local fans as Imola is infact just a few km from his Ravenna."


Davies Prepares for the Championship Title Fight at Imola this Weekend

A confident Yamaha ParkinGO team is in preparation for the third last round of the season this weekend in Imola, where Chaz Davies could already claim the 2011 World Supersport Championship title.

Davies is leading the championship on 171 points, with an impressive 59 points separating him from Salom in second place and 60 points from Foret in third place, the Welshman just needs to secure third place at the chequered flag to maintain the 50 point advantage he requires to be sure to bag the Championship title. Following his outstanding performance throughout the season, five victories and two podiums in nine races, Davies has clearly demonstrated his determination and capability of powering his Yamaha R6 to grasp the title, three rounds before the season finale.

The Yamaha ParkinGO team is eager to secure the championship on home soil as Imola marks the third "home race" for the Italian based team. After making progress in the last round in Nurburgring, Luca Scassa heads to his local circuit confident that he can make a podium come back in front of his numerous local fans. The Romagnolo is familiar with the track and is eager to make up for missing out on valuable championship points in the last Italian round in Misano. With just 16 points separating him from Salom in second place in the standings and three rounds remaining, Scassa is setting out for Imola with guns blazing, eyes firmly set on his objective.

Chaz Davies

Yamaha ParkinGO Team

"I'm really looking forward to this weekend, it could be a big one. I've raced really hard all season to get ahead and get a good lead in the championship so I wouldn't feel under pressure at this stage. The bulk of the work is done already and hopefully I can leave Imola with the title. I like the track even though I wasn't so lucky there last year, with just two corners to go on the last lap and winning seen as Laverty and Sofuoglu had just come off when suddenly I had a technical problem with the bike and lost out on my podium finish. Let's hope it goes much better this time around. But that's racing, anything can happen!"


FUTURE STARTS NOW FOR REA AT IMOLA

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) and his team-mate Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) will have some new technology on their CBR1000RR machines at the forthcoming Imola round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, after the team made successful tests of ride-by-wire technology at the recent Misano test, and the Superbike Commission recently approved the adoption of such devices with immediate effect.

The Misano tests, also attended by most of Jonathan and Ruben's main rivals, showed that the technology is ready for use now, with the long-term aim of being at full readiness for Rea's championship campaign in 2012.

Jonathan's comeback rides in Germany last time out proved he has lost none of his pace during his long period of recuperation as he finished tenth and then and then fourth. He is now 12th overall in the championship rankings, with only a two point gap to a top ten position.

Xaus will return to competitive action after a period of recuperation from a back injury, with his sights set on his first points scores since the sixth round of the championship.

Both Jonathan and Ruben benefitted greatly from the recent two-day Misano test, with each raring to go as they re-visit Italy this coming weekend.

HONDA RIDERS LOOKING TO MOVE ON UP IN FINAL ROUNDS

With the three final rounds of the FIM Supersport World Championship coming along in quick succession Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) faces an uphill task to overhaul championship leader Chaz Davies (Yamaha). Foret is only a point off second place rider David Salom (Kawasaki), but he is now 60 points behind Davies, with a maximum of 75 points available to Fabien if he wins all three remaining races.

Foret, with five podiums to his credit in 2011 so far, is still looking for his first 2011 race win, after an early season experience dogged by injury. He is the lead CBR600RR rider in the points table, which features four Hondas in the top eight places, and eight Hondas in the top 14.

A podium for Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) at the previous round in Germany drew the full season rookie to within seven points of fifth place, with the prospect of a final finish inside the top four or better a real possibility if he continues his current podium challenging form.

Some 27-points, but only one place behind Lowes, Brno race winner Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda) is seventh in the championship, tied with two other riders on the same 62-point total. One of those riders is the resurgent James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) who came close to the win last time out once he finally found the combination of overall package and clear qualifying sessions to allow him to show his true abilities and score his first ever WSS podium.

In the intense battle for the final top ten places only four championship points cover six riders, from seventh to 12th place in the table. Honda men Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda) and Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) are 11th and 12th respectively, both hoping that Imola will push them back into the top ten.

Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) is 13th in the rankings with three rounds to go, but Miguel is some 26 points behind Marino and only one point ahead of impressive rookie rider, Balazs Nemeth (Team Hungary Toth Honda). The Hungarian competitor has scored two impressive top tens in recent races, with a seventh place at the Silverstone round his personal best so far.

Alexander Lundh (Cresto Guide Honda) is another worthy Honda privateer in 2011, now 16th. Two more CBR600RR riders are also in the current top 20, Vladimir Ivanov (Step Racing Team Honda) and Imre Toth (Team Hungary Toth Honda). Pawel Szkopek (Bogdanka PTR Honda) remains 22nd overall.

HONDA RIDER COMMENTS:

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda)

"Imola has so much history and I remember the great battle between Castrol Honda's Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss there back in 2002. It's a circuit I really enjoy riding, but I didn't have so much luck last year, crashing out of a really wet superpole and breaking my wrist, which ended my season a little prematurely. Since then, I've had a similar injury on my other wrist, but it was good to come back at Nürburgring in the last round. The Misano test last week was pretty good and allowed us to see the potential of the new ride-by-wire system. There's more work to do though, and we'll continue development of the package at Imola this weekend with one eye on the 2012 season, although of course I'll be aiming for two good results for myself and the team."

Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda)

"I always enjoy going back to Imola – it's a very special circuit and I have enjoyed some success there in the past. It will be a good place to ride again after two months off the bike after the Brno crash. The test last week at Misano was good for me and I was very happy with the new package, which allows me to be a lot more comfortable on the bike. The CBR feels stronger and faster and I am able to control the bike better, so the two days last week was a good motivation for me. I am really looking forward to riding it again at Imola."

Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)

"I want to win races in the last rounds because the championship looks a bit difficult now. If I can make a couple of wins then that is my immediate aim. I think, realistically, I have to fight for second in the championship. Of course second is not first, but it is a better than third. I have some good memories of Imola because that is where I secured my championship win in 2002, so it is already a special place for me. I just hope for good weather again so we can enjoy the racing and find a good set-up for race day."

Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda)

"I'm really looking forward to the Imola weekend and pushing to try and get my first win of the season. I like the circuit there and I have had experience of it before, so that should help us a lot. I am ready for the last three rounds of the championship and will be pushing hard to get second overall in the championship."

Gino Rea (Step Racing Team Honda)

"I am ready again and looking forward to getting on a race bike. I have not done any tests since Germany, but I got the chance to ride a Honda Fireblade around Mugello during a trackday so I have been able to ride and stay focused. I was a bit frustrated after crashing in Germany in the previous round, so I am really looking to getting back on track on my own bike."

James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda)

"I have fond memories of Imola as I won the European Superstock Championship there back in 2001, at the final round. There are a lot of undulations at Imola, on and off camber, and it is so historic too. So from that point of view I should really enjoy it. I have not been there for a while, but we will leave the bike as it was in Germany to start, as a few of the corners at each track have common characteristics. The podium at the Nürburgring was an important result for us all."

Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda)

"We had a silly problem with a spark plug wire in Germany with a few laps remaining, and now we have had three races in a row with bad luck. After our early season performances I was aiming for top five really, but now I am just aiming for good finishes in all the last three rounds."

Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)

"I want to get back the feeling that I had in Silverstone or the Assen tests because in Germany last time out I was feeling good to get a result before I got there, but the bike there felt completely different. I just want to get the feeling back and to fight for good results and my championship position. I think I can fight well if I can get the bike set-up like I want."

Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda)

"Last year I was hit by a rider from behind at Imola, at the first corner, so it will be important this year to make more than the first corner! We had a bit of a problem in Germany and the team and I have worked to identify a solution. These three last rounds will be the ones that count, even more important than my final championship position, because these are the results everyone will keep in the memory all winter."


Imola The Next Stop For Sykes and Lascorz

WSBK, Imola, Italy, 20 September 2011

The impossibly iconic Imola circuit hosts the 11th round of the WSBK championship this weekend, with Joan Lascorz and recent Nürburgring race winner Tom Sykes ready for action once more.

Sykes and Lascorz will arrive with a positive recent testing experience at the nearby Misano circuit under their belts, while third team member Chris Vermeulen will miss the Imola race as he is still not quite at 100% fitness.

As well as enjoying the recent testing sessions, during which Sykes was second fastest on race tyres and fastest of all on qualifiers, Tom arrives in Imola with the momentum that he and his new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R have built up after the first win at the Nürburgring last time out. He can also look at some impressive front-running periods from last year's race on the 2010 Kawasaki to add to his already high confidence level.

Sykes' impressive German weekend takes him to 11th in the overall rankings, with Lascorz only a few points behind in 13th. Both riders have the final three rounds, and six remaining points scoring races, in which to lift themselves higher in the overall rankings.

Roberto Rolfo and Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki Pedercini Team) will be out for more forays into the top places at what is a home track for both Rolfo and his team. Currently Rolfo is 18th overall, and Aitchison 19th.

Tom Sykes: "We had a great weekend in Germany and we could not have wished for anything else, so massive thanks to all my crew and Kawasaki. To get that win under our belt was a fantastic feeling and we can build on that now. We went to Misano for a test last week and we were fastest in qualifying trim and joint second fastest on race tyres. So I am hoping that some of the information we had there would transfer to Imola for this weekend. Imola is very stop and start, narrow and not so much room for error. Hopefully we can be even stronger than last year and if that is the case we could well taste champagne again. We do not want to get carried away but we need to go there with our heads screwed on and build on the latest information we have from the Misano test."

Joan Lascorz: "Our recent tests went well at Misano and we tried some new settings on the machine. They helped me in some areas of the chassis performance so I was happy with that. We will go to Imola to be more consistent in our set-up and get a good grid position in Superpole. Imola can be a very good track for us but we will have to work well to make sure we get away with the leading riders so we can go for the best finish possible in each race."


Imola Offers Salom And Parkes The Chance To Shine Once Again

WSS, Imola, Italy, 20 September 2011

Kawasaki Provec Motocard.com Ninja ZX-6R riding duo David Salom and Broc Parkes enjoyed a recent test at Misano and now hope to score strong results at the forthcoming Imola round.

The classic Italian circuit starts a run of three season-ending races in quick succession – Imola, Magny-Cours and Portimao – with the undulating and frequently high-speed circuit in Italy providing a particular challenge to all riders and machines.

Imola is another new race on a Kawasaki WSS machine for Salom but despite only joining the Provec Motocard.com team in the winter he is currently second overall in the championship, having scored two podiums and two pole positions along the way. His consistency is unmatched in the class this year as he has been no lower than eighth in every single one of the nine races so far.

Parkes is particularly keen to get back into action as he left the two-day Misano test having found the feedback from his front end set-up that he wanted and is now ready to go for race wins in the last three rounds. Currently Broc has six career WSS wins and 27 podiums, all in 79 race starts. He is overall fourth in the rankings at present, only eight points behind his team-mate Salom.

Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki competitors Massimo Roccoli and Vittorio Iannuzzo have posted consistent results in some recent races, with Roccoli in particular moving on well after taking two top five finishes in succession. He is now ninth in the championship, Iannuzzo 15th.

David Salom: "We had a good test at Misano and our times were even faster than the race weekend. It was a positive period and we tried some new things with the suspension and the geometry. We had a new engine as well and it is a bit faster. Imola is a fast circuit and we will need all the speed we can get there. The track itself has a lot of up and downs and there are a lot of bumps but it is similar to the circuit we use for testing in Spain. I think it will be a good place for us and our bike."

Broc Parkes: "I am really looking forward to the last three rounds because they should really count for us. I have to go to Imola with a positive attitude and the final placings will probably only come out at the very last round. The final races take place at tracks I really like and where the bike works well. Hopefully we can get back up there on the podium this weekend. We were trying out a lot of stuff back-to-back at the Misano tests and we just really tried to confirm a few things. I felt like I had my bike back and our lap times were really good. We bettered the times we did there during race weekend in the summer, which shows that we are making progress still."


Ellison inspired for Imola

BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's James Ellison will be aiming high during this weekend's round 10 of the World Supersport Championship at Imola in Italy after his superb podium finish at the Nurburgring in Germany a fortnight ago.

His Polish teammate, Pawel Szkopek, back to full fitness after his crash at the Nurburgring, is also looking for a strong result on an Italian circuit he knows well having made his World Superbike debut there in 2004. The 10th race of the 12 round season starts on Sunday on 13:30CET.

James Ellison: "I love Imola. The last time I was there it was in 2003 and it's a fun track so I'm looking forward to going back there. We're leaving the bike exactly the same as in Germany. The last podium gave me a big boost and I'm really excited. The last few races were a bit difficult and I wasn't confident enough on the bike but things turned around in Germany and hopefully we can keep the momentum going."

Pawel Szkopek: "I'm fully fit and actually in a very good shape ahead of Imola and I can't wait to ride again on what's quite a special circuit for me. I won there in World Endurance back in 2003 and had my first World Superbike start a year later. I haven't been there for seven years but very little had changed since and what I like the most about Imola stayed the same; it's a very fast and flowing track, which suits my style, so I'm looking forward to a good weekend."

Simon Buckmaster: "James had a great result at the Nurburgring challenging Chaz Davies all the way for victory. After trying Sam's settings in the August break he has made a big step forward and we will be looking for him to challenge for the podium in the last three rounds of the series to end his season on a high. Pawel had another difficult race at the Nurburgring and crashed out near the end whilst 16th. He has the speed to be in the points all the time and needs to remain calm to obtain the results we all know he is capable of."


World Superbike heads to Imola with title there for the taking

Imola (Italy), Wednesday 21 September 2011 – Excitement is growing over the 11th round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship, which comes to Imola's Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit, one of the most spectacular in the history of motor sport. A new track resurfacing should help to mix up the cards but in any case Imola, with its legendary title battles of the past still fresh in the memory, still remains a fascinating and atmospheric venue for all fans.

Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) will emerge from the pit garages for the first time on Friday strong in the knowledge than he is the firm favourite for the title. Eleven wins this year (together with a double win here in 2010 on the same bike, on the day of Max Biaggi's 2010 triumph), have left the Spaniard with a 74 point lead over Marco Melandri, and he will clearly be aiming to seal the deal this weekend at a circuit congenial to both him and his machine before heading to the final two rounds (Magny-Cours and Portimao) which could favour the four-cylinder bikes. Checa needs just 26 points to clinch his first-ever world title this weekend, so in any case race 2 could be the decider.

Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) will clearly be doing everything in his power to keep the title chase open, but the man from Ravenna last raced here in 1999 when he won on a 125 GP machine. Melandri's experience and Superbike rookie enthusiasm will compensate for lack of knowledge of the circuit and after the recent testing at Misano, where Melandri was in terrific form for the entire two days, the Yamaha man could certainly be a contender for the wins.

A wave of uncertainty surrounds the presence of Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team), who will have his protective brace removed on Wednesday following his Nurburgring incident. Even though he has all but given up on any title hopes, the reigning champion desperately wants to race at the Italian round and the final decision will remain with the doctors.

Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) has a special relation with the Imola circuit, where he won race 2 two years ago and in Superstock 1000 back in 2003, so expect to see the man from Rome produce some good form on the Belgian team's GSX-R1000 machine.

Following the latest FIM deliberations, the Imola round should also see the debut of ‘ride-by-wire' throttle control on the Castrol Honda CBR1000RR of Jonathan Rea, the Irishman now finding the Fireblade much more to his liking in Misano testing. This should help increase the winning potential of Rea, who in the past has failed to gel with the track, and together with his recent resigning for the team in 2012 should do wonders to boost his morale.

The same can be said for Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsports) who despite scoring points in five of the six races in which he has taken part at Imola, has never finished higher than fifth, a position he obtained last year, when he battled Biaggi for the title. And still in BMW, this time in the Motorrad Italia SBK camp Ayrton Badovini, who won the Superstock 1000 race here in 2009, will be looking to continue his good form. His team-mate for the final rounds of the season will be Spain's Xavi Fores, who makes his Superbike debut.

Three Italian wild-cards will make up the entry-list: Federico Sandi (Althea Racing Ducati), Matteo Baiocco and Alessandro Polita (Barni Racing Team Ducati).

Points (after 10 of 13 rounds): 1. Checa 376; 2. Melandri 302; 3. Biaggi 281; 4. Laverty 232; 5. Haslam 176; 6. Camier 154; 7: Fabrizio 141; 8. Guintoli 139; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 400; 2. Yamaha 351; 3. Aprilia 336; 4. BMW 214; 5. Kawasaki 171; 6. Suzuki 158; 7. Honda. 132.


Sykes Looking To Repeat German Success

The iconic Imola circuit hosts the 11th round of the World Superbike Championship this weekend with Kawasaki Superbike Racing Team riders Joan Lascorz and recent Nurburgring race winner Tom Sykes ready for action once more.

Yorkshireman Sykes and Spaniard Lascorz will arrive following a positive recent test at the Misano circuit while third team member Chris Vermeulen will miss the Misano race as he is still not at full fitness.

Sykes was second fastest on race tyres and fastest of all on qualifiers at Misano so he arrives at Imola full of confidence following his and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R's maiden win at the Nurburgring last time out.

Sykes' impressive weekend in Germany has seen him move up to 11th in the overall rankings with Lascorz only a few points behind in 13th for the Penrith-based Paul Bird Motorsport Team. Both riders have the final three rounds and six remaining points scoring races in which to lift themselves higher in the overall rankings.

Tom Sykes: "We had a great weekend in Germany and we could not have wished for anything else so massive thanks to all my crew and Kawasaki. To get that win under our belt was a fantastic feeling and we can build on that now. The test at Misano was positive so I am hoping to continue that at Imola for this weekend. Imola is a difficult track and hopefully we can be even stronger than last year and if that is the case we could well taste champagne again."

Joan Lascorz: "Our recent tests went well at Misano and we tried some new settings on the machine. They helped me in some areas of the chassis performance so I was happy with that. We will go to Imola to be more consistent and get a good grid position in Superpole. Imola can be a very good track for us but we will have to work well to make sure we get away with the leading riders so we can go for the best finish possible in each race."

Paul Bird, Team Owner: "It doesn't get any better than winning and we hope to continue where we left off at Nurburgring. Both the team and the riders will be giving 100% as normal and it is our intention to finish the season in style. Imola should be a good track for us and after a positive test last week; I know confidence is high in the team."

The opening race gets underway on Sunday 25th September at 12.00 CET with race two at 15.30 CET and British viewers can catch the action live on British Eurosport.

For further information on the Kawasaki Racing Team visit

http://www.kawasaki-racingteam.eu/


Davies one step closer to the title in World Supersport

Rome (Italy), Wednesday 21 September 2011 – With three rounds remaining before the end of the 2011 season, the upcoming Imola races could prove to be crucial for the outcome of the titles in the categories that form part of the World Superbike event programme.

World Supersport

Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) is the man to watch in Supersport and is closest to winning a title this weekend. Barring any misfortunes, a lead of 59 points, with 75 still up for grabs, should give the British rider a big enough safety margin to become World Supersport champion. Davies, who has taken five wins in nine races, is intent on continuing the run of success that has taken him to the top for Giuliano Rovelli's team in this season.

Davies's task won't be made any easier by the fact that all of this year's top contenders will be out to make their mark as well, including Spain's David Salom (Kawasaki Motocard.com) and Frenchman Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), second and third in the table. The last couple of races have also seen terrific form from the British contingent of Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) and James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda).

The Nurburgring race saw the return of Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) to the leading group, while Imola will also offer a chance to shine for Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) and Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service R.T. Yamaha).

Points (after 9 of 12 rounds): 1. Davies 171; 2. Salom 112; 3. Foret 111; 4. Parkes 104; 5. Scassa 96; 6. Lowes 89; 7. Rea 62; 8. Ellison 62; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Yamaha 201; 2. Honda 169; 3. Kawasaki 145; 4. Triumph 24.

Superstock 1000

The win at the Nurburgring gave Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) a chance to increase his lead in the table over Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia STK) who is now really the only man who can challenge his fellow Italian in the fight for the FIM Cup title.

An outside chance still remains for the other riders but Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team Ducati), Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia STK) and Niccolò Canepa (Lazio MotorSport Ducati) are all at least 46 points behind, a gap that will be difficult to make up on the track.

With Superstock 1000 rapidly becoming an all-Italian affair, the other riders to watch on home ground will be Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati), Andrea Antonelli (Lorini Honda), Fabio Massei (Piellemoto BMW) and Marco Bussolotti (Pedercini Kawasaki), with Kawasaki men Bryan Staring (Pedercini) and Sheridan Morais (Lorenzini by Leoni) the foreign contenders.

Points (after 7 of 10 rounds): 1. Giugliano 140; 2. Zanetti 117: 3. Petrucci 94; 4. Barrier 85; 5. Canepa 80; 6. Baroni 57; 7. Antonelli 53; 8. Reiterberger 52; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 165; 2. BMW 142; 3. Kawasaki 66; 4. Honda 61; 5. Yamaha 16.

Superstock 600

The situation is almost entirely the opposite in Superstock 600, which has been dominated so far by Dutch, French, Australian and American youngsters. The only man to score two victories in the seven races is Michael van der Mark (Ten Kate Junior Honda) but he lies only fifth in the table such is the competitive nature of the series.

With a true winner probably emerging only at the final curve of the final round, Australian Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Yamaha) currently enjoys top billing, but he is under attack from Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha) and American Joshua Day (Racedays Kawasaki) while Italian Dino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha) could have the home advantage at Imola.

Points (after 7 of 10 rounds): 1. Metcher 101; 2. Lanusse 94; 3. Day 77; 4. Lombardi 77; 5. Vd Mark 76; 6. Duwelz 67; 7. Russo 63; 8. Egea 39; etc.

The weekend's programme will be completed with a return match for the Moriwaki 250 Trophy runners, following the first race held at Assen during the Dutch World Superbike Round. On that occasion Andrea Locatelli easily took the win from his compatriots and it will be difficult to see the Dutchmen taking revenge at Imola.


CARLOS CHECA (ALTHEA RACING) ARRIVES IN IMOLA FOR THE 11TH ROUND OF THE SBK CHAMPIONSHIP WITH A 74-POINT LEAD

Imola (Italy), Wednesday 21st September 2011: the Althea Racing team heads to the historic Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari in Imola for this weekend's eleventh round of the World Superbike Championship, and the eighth round of the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup.

Three weeks ago at the Nurburgring in Germany, Carlos triumphed in race 1 before battling to stay upright in the heavy rain of race 2. He arrives at Ducati's home track with a 74 point lead over Melandri in second and a 96 point lead over Biaggi, third.

On his last trip to Imola late last season, Checa scored a fantastic double win on board the 1198, his only double of the 2010 season. Expectations are high as he returns this weekend.

Carlos Checa will share the garage with a team-mate this weekend, as Federico Sandi, riding with team Althea in the Italian national SBK championship this season, takes up the chance to wildcard at Imola.

Over in the STK 1000 category, Althea Racing's Davide Giugliano will fight to extend his 23 point championship lead, while his team-mate Ravenna-born Lorenzo Baroni will be looking to put in the performance of his season at his "home" track.

Carlos Checa

"This is a track that we know well and where we've had some good results, especially last year of course. We will need to see how the tyres behave on the new track surface that is the only unknown but I'm feeling very prepared for the weekend. We are looking to the championship of course but at the same time it's important to concentrate on each individual race, doing our best and always giving 100%. We're feeling confident."

Checa's Superbike form at Imola:

2010: Race 1- winner, Race 2 - winner

2009: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 10th

Federico Sandi

"I'm really happy to have the chance to ride at Imola this weekend and want to thank Genesio Bevilacqua for this opportunity. I hope to get on with the Pirelli tyres as I've never used them with this bike (we race with Michelin in the Italian championship). I will do my best to make two solid races and would like to close both within the points zone if at all possible. I have some experience at this track and I like the layout as it's a fairly complicated circuit. I can't wait to get out there and race!"

CIRCUIT DATA

Country: Italy Name: Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari Imola Length of circuit: 4.959 km Pole Position: left Race distance: 21 laps/103.656 km

LAP RECORDS: Best lap – Checa (Ducati) 1'48.877 (2010). Superpole – Fabrizio (Ducati) 1'47.735 (2009).

2010 RESULTS: Race 1 - 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Lanzi (Ducati); 3. Haga (Ducati). Race 2 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Haga (Ducati); 3. Crutchlow (Yamaha).


Imola is favourite for Parkalgar Honda

MIGUEL PRAIA and Sam Lowes are excited to be racing at the fast and technical Imola circuit in Italy this weekend as Parkalgar Honda takes part in the 10th round of the World Supersport Championship.

As the Championship enters its final phase for 2011, the Parkalgar Honda team is determined to score good results on its build up to the season finale at its home track of Parkalgar in Portimao, Portugal on October 16th. The racing starts at 1330CET on Sunday 25th September, with practice and qualifying sessions on the two previous days.

Sam: "I've been to Imola before and really like the track. It means I can get up to speed early and enjoy the weekend. I am fully recovered from my Nurburgring injuries and ready to give it my all and see what happens - my Parkalgar Honda and the team are mega, so I can't wait to get racing."

Miguel: "The goal is to complete more than one corner - that is all I got last year when someone crashed into me. We are ready to put behind us the DNF from the Nurburgring - we know what happened and are more prepared for this race. The last three rounds are crucial - more important to me now is to perform at these rounds to make them count. The Parkalgar Honda team is fine and working really well and I like the Imola track, we want a strong result."

Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Team Manager: "It was a great effort by Sam last time riding injured at the Nurburgring. He was exhausted at the end but it shows his true grit and determination to succeed and we will see more of this at Imola where we look forward to challenging for the podium again.

"Miguel continues to ride better than ever and Imola has been a good track for him in the past - we are looking for a strong top 10 finish."


2011

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