2012 Assen World Superbike and World Supersport Press Release Preview Round Up

Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams ahead of this weekend's WSBK event at Assen in Holland:


PJ Jacobsen with Bogdanka at Assen

18-year-old American, Patrick "PJ" Jacobsen will take part in the third round of World Supersport Championship at Assen in the Netherlands next weekend, standing in for the injured Bogdanka Honda PTR rider Pawel Szkopek, who's recovering from a broken leg.

Jacobsen, from Montgomery, New York, started racing at the age of three, collecting over 30 flat track titles before switching to road racing in 2006, taking the national 125cc title at the first attempt and being selected for the MotoGP Academy program the following year.

With experience and podium finishes on the national level in the US and Spain, as well as a wild card appearance in the 2008 125cc Indianapolis Grand Prix, PJ has been looking to make his mark on the world level again while the Bogdanka Honda PTR team always had one eye on the talented American.

Pawel Szkopek broke the tibia and fibula of his right leg in a high-speed crash during practice for the second round of the season at Imola in Italy almost two weeks ago. Having undergone a 5 hour operation a day after his crash, the Pole is recovering well at home but won't be fit enough to ride at Assen.

PJ Jacobsen: "I feel pretty good. I've been training a lot and pretty much waiting for a phone call. I'm very excited about riding the Bogdanka Honda PTR. My goal is to ride as fast as I can. I don't really know what to expect as I haven't raced in the World Supersport Championship before but I tested a PTR Honda in January and really liked it. I have a lot of confidence, I know the bike and know it's very good and capable, an all-round good bike, so I am just looking forward to a good race. I've raced in the Spanish Championship before but I don't know any other European tracks, including Assen, so it will be a new experience for me. I've been playing it on a video game every day recently which should be helpful. It's a fast a flowing circuit which should suit my style and my 125cc background. I don't feel any pressure and just want to go out and ride my race with the Bogdanka Honda PTR team."

Mike Piasecki, Bogdanka Racing Director: "PJ is still very young but he's a massive talent and someone we've had one eye for a long time. Pawel Szkopek is recovering well for his injury and the operation but he won't be fit to ride at Assen. Of course we hope he'll be back on his bike as soon as possible but in the meantime, it's the perfect opportunity to give PJ the chance to make his World Supersport debut with Bogdanka. It will be very interesting to watch his progress and have another talented rider flying the Bogdanka flag. Assen is an iconic track, PJ should really enjoy himself on our bike there."


BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Assen - Preview

Munich/Stephanskirchen, 16th April 2012. Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport heads to the Dutch province of Drenthe for the next race weekend. The iconic “TT Circuit” in Assen will host the third round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship from 20th to 22nd April. The team, with factory riders Leon Haslam (GBR) and Marco Melandri (ITA), is looking to continue the fine form it showed in the opening two rounds of the season.

The season-opener at Phillip Island (AUS) saw Marco finish runner-up in his very first race on the BMW S 1000 RR - the team’s best individual result so far. At the second race weekend in Imola (ITA) it was the turn of Leon to turn on the style: the Brit’s two third place finishes secured BMW Motorrad’s first double podium in the Superbike World Championship. Despite the season still being in its early stages, the pair has already amassed 93 world championship points for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport. Leon currently lies in fourth place in the Riders’ Championship on 47 points, with Marco just one point behind him in fifth place on 46 points. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, BMW is fourth with 63 points after two race weekends. Only the best result from each race counts towards this championship.

On the Monday after the race in Imola, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport took part in the official Infront Test at the Italian circuit. The team and the two riders were happy with their progress: Leon and his crew worked successfully on several areas, including the electronics set-up, and tested various adjustments to the chassis of his RR. Marco and his crew managed to reduce the high-frequency vibrations that had occurred previously on his bike. The team will be testing again this week in Mugello, Italy, as it continues its preparations for the race weekend in Assen.

Assen from the riders’ point of view:

Leon Haslam:

“Assen is one of my favourite circuits. It is one of the old tracks and has a lot of history. The circuit is very fast and flowing. It is more of an old-school circuit and always produces an exciting race. A lot of fans always come over from England, so for me the atmosphere is always great. Last year we made a mistake in race one and crashed. In race two we had a top-five finish. So the bike can definitely be good at Assen and I am actually looking forward to going there with our new RR and the new set-up.

The bike was very stable in the first races in Australia and Imola, and we can see where we can make improvements and what we need to work on. I am really looking forward to every race from now. We are getting closer and closer to that first victory. If we get the chance to win, I am certain we would take it. In Imola we were less than three seconds from winning. Although we had some small issues there, we made it on to the podium and were very close to the front guys. This is all very positive and hopefully we can continue this at Assen.”

Marco Melandri:

“I have very good memories of Assen. I celebrated my first victory in the 125 cc World Championship there when I was 15, so it is a really special racetrack for me. Unfortunately the track now is much shorter. It is not the same as it was before. The old Assen was awesome. The last part of the new circuit is very nice, but the first part is quite narrow and very slow.

At the test at Imola we found some good solutions. I am now more confident and hopefully we can see the result of the work we have put in as soon as Assen. I hope to have two good races and to fight for the podium. In any case, me and the team we will give our all.”

Assen from a technical point of view:

Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):

“After the double podium we achieved at Imola and the positive test we completed there on the Monday after the race, we are now looking forward to the race weekend at Assen. The ‘TT Circuit’ is an historic racetrack with a tricky, flowing layout and many changes of direction. It requires the rider’s full concentration and does not give him any time to breath. The circuit’s characteristics require a bike that not only handles well in the fast corners, but also in the tight hairpin. And you always have to be prepared for the unpredictable Dutch weather. However, we are convinced that our riders and our BMW S 1000 RR are ready for this tough challenge.

Both riders are highly motivated and focused. Leon and his crew want to build on the successful weekend they had at Imola, and with the same approach he will be able to fight for the top positions again at Assen. Marco is determined to leave the disappointment he experienced at his home race behind him. In Imola, the circumstances did not allow him to show his talent and his potential. But at the Monday test, he and his crew were able to find a solution for their issues and, as a result, we are confident that this time he will also challenge for a podium finish.”

Assen from Pirelli’s point of view:

Pirelli will take a total of six solutions to the Dutch round: two for the front and four for the rear. The two solutions for the front are the standard SC1 and SC2 for 2012, which were already used in the first two rounds of the Superbike World Championship. For the rear, on the other hand, the riders will be able to choose from four options: an SC0 supersoft introduced at the Nürburgring in 2011, two SC1 solutions including the R300, which was introduced and used by various riders for the Imola round, and an SC2 which is suited for colder temperatures. With these four solutions on the rear, Pirelli is able to offer a wide range of choices for the riders no matter what weather conditions they find at the Assen circuit. Although the track has been altered a bit in recent years, losing some of the fast chicanes, it is still a track with very aggressive asphalt but good water drainage, capable of drying off quickly in the event of rain, since it is in an area that is traditionally exposed to the wind. Even more than at the Phillip Island round, the track here is very diversified, with dry sections sometimes alternating with moist or wet asphalt, so it is a track where the teams’ tyre selection can make all the difference.

Background:

Assen is the capital of the Dutch province of Drenthe and is located about 180 kilometres north-east of Amsterdam and 30 kilometres south of Groningen. The city, which has a population of about 66,000, has a long tradition for two-wheel enthusiasts and is known as a Mecca for motorcycle racing even beyond the borders of the Netherlands. The first race was held there in 1925. Since 1949 there has always been at least one World Championship race in Assen, and the Superbike World Championship has stopped there every year since 1992.

The first races were held as road races and took the drivers through the towns of Borger, Schoonloo and Grollo. In 1955, however, a permanent racetrack was built: the “TT Circuit Assen”, which is still lovingly known by fans as “The Cathedral”. The circuit was originally just under eight kilometres long before extensive modifications were made in 2006, when the length was reduced to about 4.5 kilometres. The circuit is tailored to the needs of motorcycle races. Some of its eleven left-handers and six right-hand corners are banked. The stands around “The Cathedral” have space for about 100,000 spectators, ensuring there is always a very special atmosphere in Assen.

The “TT Circuit” in Assen is known for its high speeds and some really quick changes of direction. It is important for riders to find a good rhythm on the flowing track. But beware: too much aggression can soon result in a rider losing his rhythm and can cost valuable time. Furthermore, much of the race is spent in the lean position, with the riders subjected to enormous G forces. The handling when entering corners is of great importance when setting the bike up. Although the layout is generally a quick one, it is broken up by a hairpin, out of which the bike must be able to accelerate well. Other key points include the penultimate corner, in which the bike must be stable, and the final chicane, which demands excellent braking.

BMW Motorrad factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) has good memories of Assen. In 1997, as a 15-year-old, the circuit was the scene of his first victory in the 125cc World Championship in his first year in the series. That triumph made him one of the youngest riders ever to win a Grand Prix. His team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) has also claimed several podium finishes in Assen, and is looking to repeat the feat with the BMW S 1000 RR.


CRESCENT FIXI SUZUKI SET FOR ASSEN ATTACK

Team Suzuki Press Office - April 16.

The third round of this year's World Superbike Championship takes place this coming weekend at Assen in the Netherlands and all at Crescent FIXI Suzuki are aiming to keep up the impetus of the test after the last round.

Leon Camier is heading to the Dutch circuit in a confident mood following the successful test at Imola in Italy and is looking forward to racing at a track he enjoys and has performed well at in the past. Camier used a new-spec Yoshimura engine during the recent test and is eager to get back on track and to continue with the progress made in Italy.

John Hopkins has spent the last week back in America undergoing an intensive training programme to get him up to race fitness in readiness for this weekend's event. Hopkins suffered with the after-effects of a pre-season injury - that caused him to miss the first race of the season in Australia - last time out at Imola and will be keen to get back on his Crescent FIXI Suzuki GSX-R1000 and get some track-time under his belt. Assen's flowing nature will be kinder to Hopkins than the more-demanding track at Imola and he is looking forward to trying the improvements made in the test as he continues to get up to race fitness.

The Assen circuit is known as 'The Cathedral of Motorcycle Racing' and is one of the most famous race-tracks in the world. It is located in the north of The Netherlands near the town of Groningen and although the venue has altered considerably from the original road circuit, the 4.542m track still retains its magic and is a favourite with fans and riders alike.

Crescent FIXI Suzuki takes to the track for the first practice session on Friday in preparation for Sunday's two 22-lap races, the first of which will get underway at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST).

Leon Camier:

"I'm definitely looking forward to Assen. It's a track I've always enjoyed riding and I've gone good there in the past. Last year I think I got the fastest lap and was only about a 10th off the lap record. It'll be interesting to see how we get on at Assen and how we shape up next to everyone. At the test we had in Imola after the last round, we made some progress for sure and made some steps towards where we need to be. Going third fastest was a real boost for everyone, but we know the real test is to see how we end up in the races come Sunday.

"We all know there's a lot of work ahead, but the vibe amongst us is good and I'm sure the bigger steps will come. I just want to say thanks to all the Suzuki fans for sticking with us at the moment. The support has been fantastic, and trust us, we're pushing!"

John Hopkins:

"After Imola, I went back to America and I've done five days of solid riding on my enduro bike. Whilst it's no substitute for being on my race bike, it has given my hand a good workout and I'm happy to report that all is OK in that area. I've also been training hard and I'm feeling better and better, day by day. Imola is a very physical circuit and I wasn't 100% race fit, so that was a bit frustrating, but Assen is a less-demanding track and I'm sure my progress will continue there. I'm really looking forward to getting on my Crescent FIXI GSX-R1000 again and seeing for myself the improvements made during the test at Imola."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

"The Imola test was a big step forward to getting to a more-competitive level. The Yoshimura guys put in a huge effort to get the new engine spec ready for Leon to try at the test and that has allowed us to go up another level. I'm happy that John has been able to spend so much time on his dirt bike and also train hard. It may take a couple more rounds for him to be at full strength, but I'm sure we'll see him more competitive at Assen. If Leon and John have good race set-ups and can qualify well, there's no reason why we cannot get our best results of the season so far."


CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERS CHECA AND ALTHEA RACING PREPARE FOR SBK ROUND 3 AT ASSEN’S TT CIRCUIT THIS WEEKEND

Assen (The Netherlands), Tuesday 17th April 2012: championship leaders Carlos Checa and the Althea Racing team are all set to return to the historic TT circuit of Assen, where round 3 of the World Superbike Championship is taking place this coming weekend.

Ducati’s home track of Imola was the setting for Round 2 of the championship, which took place just over a fortnight ago. Carlos could not have done better in front of what he considers to be his adoptive home crowd, beating off competition, in the form of Sykes on the Kawasaki, to power his Ducati 1198 to a double win, and 50 precious championship points. These fantastic results mean that Checa and the Althea Racing team now lead in the general standings, with Ducati heading the manufacturer’s championship, as they prepare for round three.

Carlos’ team-mate Davide Giugliano and his technicians have turned the page on a disappointing Imola round and will concentrate on taking the best possible results at a track where the young Italian rider has already shown strong form in the past.

One year ago, Giugliano demonstrated his talents at this circuit by winning his Superstock 1000 race as he travelled the path towards the 2011 championship title win.

In the Superbike class, Carlos was also celebrating success, with a race win and a third place finish at the Assen TT track. Both the riders and team will be hoping for similar results at this particular circuit, well aware that other, trickier tracks for the Ducati are looming.

Carlos Checa:

“Imola was a really fantastic event that couldn’t have gone better for me! I’m really happy with how it went, also because those points gained are vital for the championship. Now we must turn our attentions to Assen, where I hope to make two strong races before we head to Monza - that will undoubtedly be more difficult for the Ducati. Last year we did well at the TT circuit, a win and a third place - we’ll be aiming for similar results again this time around.”

Checa’s Superbike form at Assen:

2011: Race 1 - 3rd, Race 2 - winner

2010: Race 1 - 4th, Race 2 - 6th

2009: Race 1 - DNF, Race 2 - 7th

2008: Race 1 - 2nd, Race 2 - 3rd

Davide Giugliano:

“Imola was a weekend to forget as far as I’m concerned. I’ve continued to concentrate on training over the last weeks in order to be in the best possible condition to face the next races at Assen. I like the Dutch track and am feeling confident. I’ll work together with my team to and will be ready for two good races come Sunday.”


World Superbike faces unpredictable weekend at Assen

Assen (Netherlands), Tuesday 17 April 2012 - The eni FIM Superbike World Championship returns to the track this coming weekend at Assen in the Netherlands. It will be the third of 14 rounds this season and the 300th round overall for the production-based series that made its debut in 1988. In the previous round at Imola, Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) took his Ducati back to the top of the table at the Italian manufacturer’s home circuit, overhauling Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) who dominated the opener in Australia. The points gap at the top is tight, with six riders (representing five manufacturers: Ducati, Aprilia, Kawasaki, BMW and Honda) currently separated by 35 points.

The Assen TT Circuit, 180 kms north of Amsterdam, has been a Superbike venue since 1992. In the 40 races held so far Ducati have won 24 times but since the track was radically modified in 2006, Honda has had the lion’s share of the wins (four), three of which have come in the last four races with Jonathan Rea at the helm. For the talented northern Irishman and Honda it is an important race for a variety of reasons: Assen is the home circuit for Ten Kate, the technical structure that prepares the CBR1000RR machines, based just 50 kms away from the track, while Rea needs a couple of good results to put his difficult start to the season behind him and cut the gap to Checa. These two riders shared the victories in 2011 with Max Biaggi twice finishing second, the best Aprilia performances on this track.

At the Dutch circuit the rain could play a key role, with poor weather forecast for the weekend. The last wet race at Assen was in 2006 and it was dominated by Chris Walker and his Kawasaki. With Tom Sykes rapidly emerging as a contender the Akashi manufacturer’s bike will be a force to reckon with both in the dry (the British rider has been on the podium in the last three races and his worst result this year is a fourth) and in the wet. Sykes has a bit of a reputation as a wet weather expert and scored his only WSB win so far in these conditions last September in Germany. Kawasaki are also aiming to change history: if Sykes scores good results they could be back on the top of the table for the first time since Scott Russell in 1994. Sykes will be singleton KRT rider this weekend, following the injury to his Spanish team-mate Joan Lascorz in Imola testing.

BMW are yet to take a WSB win but they are getting closer all the time; Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri are always amongst the front runners and will be after some more good results at Assen. The German manufacturer has been on the podium three times out of four with its S 1000 RR machine which now looks to be competitive in all conditions. At Assen Melandri won in 250GP in 2002 and has twice been on the podium in MotoGP. Last year, on his first Assen appearance in Superbike with Yamaha, he finished fourth in race 1 then crashed out in the second.

The final manufacturer representative on the grid, Suzuki, has had a tough time of things so far, but American John Hopkins has been back in America on an intensive training programme to get him back up to full fitness and both he and Leon Camier will be aiming to make good use of a new-spec engine in order to capitalize on their Yoshimura-Suzuki’s positive form in the recent tests.

Points (after 2 of 14 rounds): 1. Checa 75; 2. Biaggi 71; 3. Sykes 69; 4. Haslam 47; 5. Melandri 46; 6. Rea 40; 7. Smrz 30; 8. Laverty 29; 9. Guintoli 21; 10. Berger 20; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 91; 2. Aprilia 71; 3. Kawasaki 69; 4. BMW 63; 5. Honda 40; 6. Suzuki 15.

World Supersport

Kawasaki has dominated the start of this year’s World Supersport championship with wins by Kenan Sofuoglu in Australia and Fabien Foret at Imola. The 39 year-old Frenchman is also the current championship leader, but in the Netherlands the bike to beat may be the Honda, which has won nine of the last ten races on this track. That record will surely be going through the mind of Australian Broc Parkes, one of the favourites for the title but who has to overcome the handicap of a poor start to the season: third place at home and a DNF at Imola, where however he smashed the lap record in post-race testing. Parkes is currently on 16 points in the table, which is headed by Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) on 45 points. Another potential Honda winner is the 22 year-old British rider Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) on 31 points, while it remains to be seen how fit Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini rider Kenan Sofouglu is after his troubles at Imola. The Triumph brand is represented by the all-Italian Power Team by Suriano and the experienced Vittorio Iannuzzo, who is currently lying in an encouraging sixth place on 18 points.

Points (after 2 of 13 rounds): 1. Foret 45; 2. Lowes 31; 3. Sofuoglu 25; 4. Quarmby 25; 5. Iannuzzo 18; 6. Parkes 16; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 50; 2. Honda 36; 3. Triumph 19; 4. Yamaha 15.

Superstock 1000

The two Superstock classes reserved for the champions of tomorrow are also now well underway. The first round of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup for under-26 riders was won by BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet’s French rider Sylvain Barrier, but the brand-new Ducati 1199 Panigale was immediately competitive in the hands of the rapidly emerging Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia), who was third at Imola. Sandwiched in between was another promising young Frenchman, Loris Baz (Kawasaki MRS), the 18-year-old former European Superstock 600 champion who is eventually hoping to make the leap up into Superbike.

Points (after 1 of 10 rounds): 1. Barrier 25; 2. Baz 20; 3. La Marra 16; 4. Reiterberger 13; 5. Staring 11; 6. Massei 10; etc. Manufacturers: 1. BMW 25; 2. Kawasaki 20; 3. Ducati 16; 4. Honda 10; 5. Aprilia 5.

Superstock 600

In the European Championship reserved for riders under 22 years of age the man to beat is the 18 year-old Italian Riccardo Russo (Yamaha Team Italia FMI) who dominated the scene at Imola. Russo is also leading the Italian series with two wins from two races. In the Netherlands his main rival will surely be Michael van der Mark who is favourite on his home track and with his Dutch-based EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda CBR600R. Spain’s Nacho Calero Perez (Yamaha Team Trasimeno) also looks a good bet for the win, following his runner-up finish in Italy.

Points (after 1 of 10 rounds): 1. Russo 25; 2. Calero Perez 20; 3. Van der Mark 16; Morrentino 13; 5. Egea 11; 6. Chesaux 10; etc.

KTM European Junior Cup

Assen will also see the start of the second edition of the European Junior Cup, this year a one-make championship using KTM machines, set up between the prestigious Austrian manufacturer and WSB promoter Infront Motor Sports. The series has been devised for 14 to 19 year-olds and offers a good opportunity for them to test their ability in eight European rounds accompanying World Superbike. The best riders will have a chance to move into Superstock and eventually on to the world championship. The entry list is made up of 24 permanent riders from 14 different countries. They will be in the care of a prestigious ‘coach’: New Zealander Simon Crafar, an ex-star of World Superbike. All the youngsters will race on identical race-spec KTM 690 Duke bikes, provided by the Austrian manufacturer.


Honda World Superbike Team heads home for round three

The Honda World Superbike Team will travel just 68km for this weekend’s (20-22 April) third round World Superbike championship round at the TT Circuit Assen in northern Holland.

The team is based just down the A28 highway at Nieuwleusen and the Ten Kate Motoren Honda dealership, behind which lies the team’s workshop, is a fascinating and convenient stop-off for some of the many thousands of motorcycle race fans who will head to Assen this weekend.

For Jonathan Rea, Assen represents a chance to get his 2012 title challenge fully underway following relatively modest results in the opening two rounds at Phillip Island in Australia and Imola in Italy.

The 25-year-old, originally from Northern Ireland but now based on the Isle of Man, scored a win and a third place at the 4.542km Assen circuit last year and, having been with the Ten Kate-run team since 2008, Rea has completed a lot of laps there.

The circuit is also well known to his Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, who won at Assen on his way to securing the 2009 and final 250cc Grand Prix world championship with Honda.

Rea and Aoyama were happy with the testing they were able to undertake after the last round at Imola, but a two-day private test at Assen last week was blighted by showers and cold temperatures, which have also been forecast for this weekend.

Jonathan Rea

It would certainly be nice to get back on the podium this weekend as it’s been a while since I was up there. It’s been a typically slow start to the season, really, and it was a little disappointing that we weren’t more competitive at Imola. With the new one-bike rule, it’s become difficult to try new and different parts on the bike but the test day that we had after the Imola race was really valuable. I’ve got a better feeling with the front of the bike and, even though the weather wasn’t great and I’ve ridden faster around Assen, the test last week confirmed that improved feeling. We’re still looking for the optimum set-up with the new factory forks from Ohlins, but it’ll be good to race at Assen again. The place has got some really happy memories for me and it’s great for the whole team, because a load of guys from back at base, plus the partners of the crew, can come up and see what we do when we’re away for the weekend.

Hiroshi Aoyama

The weather that we had for the test at Assen last week was not very good and we had a lot of things that we wanted to try after the Imola test. But the day we had there was a lot more positive because I had to change some things. I like Assen very much - I liked the old circuit layout, but the new one is fun, too - and I won there on the 250 when I was riding in GPs. I am really looking forward to the weekend at Assen and continuing the improved feeling that I have with the bike. I will try as hard as I can, like always, and see how things are on Friday morning.

Ronald ten Kate - team manager

Our two-day test here last week wasn’t great because the temperature was quite low and there were a few showers. But I think the weather this weekend won’t be much different, so maybe it was good for us to prepare! We were able to confirm that the new swingarm is working OK and we’ve improved the setting with the front forks to give Jonathan a better feeling. Because of the weather and the fact that we were alone, it’s difficult to know exactly where we are, but Jonathan definitely found a step forward during the test we had at Imola the week before. We got a good direction for Hiroshi there, too, and that continued at Assen, which is a circuit he knows well. Imola was difficult for him because we hadn’t found a base setting for him and the circuit has a few blind corners. We’re looking forward to seeing how he goes at Assen this weekend.


High ambitions for PTR Honda at Assen

PTR HONDA'S Jules Cluzel goes to Assen in Holland this weekend for the third round of the World Supersport Championship determined to get a good result at a track he knows well - and after finding a performance improvement at a recent test.

Ronan Quarmby comes off his first ever podium result at Imola and is riding well. Martin Jessopp on the Riders PTR Honda continues to adapt his riding style to Supersport and is confident of a points scoring finish. There are practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday before the race starts at 1330 CET on Sunday April 22nd.

Jules: "My ambition is first to finish in a good place, not like Imola where I made a mistake. I have used my joker for the year. I know the Assen track and can make a good race. We worked on my PTR Honda on the Monday after the Imola race and we made a big step forward. We must think on weather; it looks like rain. With the rain anything can happen - I like the rain and make a good result but I have no experience on this bike in the rain. It will be exciting."

Martin: "I just want to kick start my season really, I've had a lot of bad luck in the first two rounds and now want a clean boring race where I can get a good finish and points. My confidence is high after the Imola test that was really worthy while. I took 0.6secs off my fastest lap from the race weekend and we made improvements - mainly in my riding style. I am learning to run into corners faster, brake later and harder; just what you need on a 600. Assen is another new track for me so I'll have to learn quickly on Friday."

Ronan: "It was fantastic to get my first podium at Imola. I am equal third in the championship, the team are working very well with me and we will be looking for another top five finish at Assen which has been a very good track for my PTR team over the years."

Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "Jules made a mistake at Imola and lost the chance for a podium finish. He had just lost some ground to the leaders but was well clear of the next group but did not see his pit board telling him this. I am sure he will be challenging at the front at Assen. Ronan got the first World Championship podium for a South African rider for 27 years with third at Imola. He is equal third in the Championship and comes to Assen in good shape to continue his challenge. Martin missed a chicane and got a ride through penalty in Imola but he had the pace to be well in the points and I am sure he will open his account in Assen."

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RECENT TESTS PREPARE REA AND AOYOMA FOR ASSEN CHALLENGE

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) heads to the third round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship, to be held at the classic circuit of Assen, determined to improve on his current sixth place championship ranking.

Rea and his team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) tested at Assen for two days last week, encountering changeable and frequently cold track conditions. A post race test, held one day after the previous Imola round, was of even more use to the team as both Rea and Aoyama made real progress with overall setup.

The more recent Assen test was still valuable in allowing the Dutch based team to make initial preparations to race again at their home circuit, a track which Rea has enjoyed much success at in the past. Jonathan has scored three of his eight career SBK race wins at Assen, the most recent just last year.

With a new model of Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade to work with in 2012 Rea is keen to get back to winning form again, having yet to score a podium this year. Jonathan has a total of 40 points so far, just seven away from fourth place rider Leon Haslam.

Assen is a circuit that SBK rookie rider Aoyama knows well from many years of racing in the Grand Prix paddock and the 2009 250cc World Champion for Honda even took the race win there during his title-winning campaign.

Aoyama has now taken part in two SBK rounds and four individual races, posting strong top tens in the opener in Australia, but no scoring at a circuit he had never ridden at before, Imola, last time out. He hopes his familiarity with Assen will allow him to make a good early start, which will serve him well on race day Sunday 22 April. Hiroshi is currently 13th in the rankings, on 15 points.

The much altered and modernised Assen circuit is still a unique venue on the championship trail, featuring a few banked corners, flowing sections and a final chicane which has been the scene of more than its fair share of drama and excitement over the years. The racing at Assen is generally close and combative, and a real test of race craft and tactics right through to the last lap.

FIRST WIN OF 2012 THE AIM FOR HONDA'S TOP SUPERSPORT RIDERS

The 2012 FIM Supersport World Championship has already proved to be more open and unpredictable than any of the most recent seasons in this class, with three individual Honda riders having posted podium results, yet none of has been quite capable of taking a race win.

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) is the highest placed CBR600RR runner in the current standings, having taken a fifth in round one in Australia and then a very close second at Imola in early April. He is 14 points behind championship leader Fabien Foret, and six points ahead of the combative Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda), who battled all the way to a career best third at Imola, having started 11th on the grid.

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) had serious grip issues that held him back at Imola, but he is the third Honda rider to have scaled the podium so far, going third in his native Australia. Broc completed a two-day test at Assen recently, but the track conditions were far from ideal.

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) was very close to a podium finish in Australia, but a crash from a strong position at Imola is a mistake he has no intention of repeating at Assen, a circuit he knows well, albeit not on a Supersport machine.

Cluzel is tied on the same points score as eighth-ranked rider Roberto Tamburini, who ignited his 2012 season on his Team Lorini Honda with a podium-challenging fourth place at Imola.

Just outside the current top ten; Balazs Nemeth (Racing Team Toth Honda) was seventh at Imola, equalling his career best in this class. He is 12th in the rankings, one place ahead of Andrea Antonelli (Team Lorini Honda). Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda) is the only other current Honda rider in the rankings, 20th.

Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) is in an artificially low placing at present after no-scoring in the opening two rounds, while Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda) is keen to earn points at a venue which traditionally has many British fans in the crowd on race day.

Former SBK race winner Lorenzo Lanzi (PRORACE Honda) replaces the outgoing Lukas Pesek at this round. Lorenzo will have a new experience this weekend, as his previous rides in WSS have all been completed on twin cylinder machines.

Young American rider Patrick 'PJ' Jacobsen (Bogdanka Racing Honda) substitutes for the injured Pawel Szkopek this weekend. Polish rider Szkopek has had a rod inserted into his broken right lower leg, and is simply unable to race at Assen. Regular WSS rider Thomas Caiani (KUJA Racing Honda) will attempt to get his points counter begin ticking over this weekend.

French rider Valentine Debise (SMS Racing Honda) replaces Ondrej Jezek in the Netherlands, as one event rider Robert Muresan (East European Racing Honda) also lines up at Assen on his CBR600RR.

HONDA RIDER COMMENTS

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team):

"I am looking forward to Assen. I am not one of the guys who rode the old circuit layout to complain about the newer one. For me it is a better type of track anyway because it is fast and flowing. For some reason, I tend to go well there and the bike has been pretty decent in the past at Assen. The bike does work best within a small window, however, and depending on what we find I hope I will be as competitive there as I have been in the past. In the back of my mind I know it will be very cold this weekend. That can rapidly change the race tactics, depending on the kind of tyres Pirelli is going to bring. For us it looks like we will have to use the hardest rear race tyre so we will have to maximise our potential on that tyre, to make sure we last the race and make it work. We tested here last week in cold and sometimes wet conditions, so it's been a little bit frustrating that we weren't able to get as much work done as we wanted. We've worked on the front end and I've actually got a better feeling from there and an improved acceleration platform off the rear."

Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team):

"The weather that we had for the test at Assen last week was not very good and we had a lot of things that we wanted to try after the Imola test. But the day we had there was a lot more positive because I had to change some things. I like Assen very much. I liked the old circuit layout, but the new one is fun, too. And I won there on the 250 when I was riding in GPs. I am really looking forward to the weekend at Assen and continuing the improved feeling that I have with the bike. I will try as hard as I can, like always, and see how things are on Friday morning."

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda):

"I am fit and ready to go. We are expecting changeable weather and it could be anything at Assen. I do not mind what it is, so if it rains that is no issue. As long as it is one way or the other rather than anything in-between. I love Assen. I love the track and want to have a solid performance all weekend. I just want to push for that first race win but obviously at the minute points make prizes so I will be going out to bag them up first of all."

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda):

"We tested at Assen recently, but it was really mixed conditions - rain, dry and cold. So we did not get a lot of laps in on the two days. We learned a lot at the test the day after Imola, but Assen was difficult to judge our progress at. I did a bit of riding in the rain and that was quite positive. We got through some work in that test but it will be hard to know how it translates to a dry track. I think we can be competitive from now on and even when we went to Assen the bike setup we had was good from the start. I am confident we can be there this weekend, but only time will tell when we get there on Friday. The team is based nearby to Assen and they are keen to win the race of course but the most important thing is for us to score good points in the next couple of races, so we can get back into the championship battle."

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda):

"I know the track and I like it also. We improved the bike a lot at Imola during the test day after the race. I hope that we also have a big improvement for the Assen event. We have to look at the conditions we may find because they say that it will rain on race weekend. I have had some good performances in the rain but I do not know my bike in the rain yet. It is the same for everyone, but rain and cold are never the best conditions for racing."

Balazs Nemeth (Team Toth Honda):

"For the first two rounds we have not had so much luck because each race I had a technical problem, but for Assen we can prepare the bike and have a good race. I have to finish in the top ten again. In Imola I equalled my best ever result and I want to make an even better result at Assen."

Patrick Jacobsen (Bogdanka Honda PTR):

"I don't really know what to expect as I haven't raced in the World Supersport Championship before, but I tested a PTR Honda in January and really liked it. I have a lot of confidence, I know the bike and know it's very good and capable, an all-round good bike, so I am just looking forward to a strong race. Assen is a fast a flowing circuit, which should suit my style and my 125cc background. I don't feel any pressure and just want to go out and ride my race with the Bogdanka Honda PTR team."

Lorenzo Lanzi (PRORACE Honda):

"I am delighted to begin this new adventure with Prorace. I have known them for a few years and they offered me the ride. World Supersport is very competitive and it won't be easy to stay with the guys at the front, but I've been training hard during the winter and I am in perfect shape."


RECENT TESTS PREPARE REA AND AOYOMA FOR ASSEN CHALLENGE

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) heads to the third round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship, to be held at the classic circuit of Assen, determined to improve on his current sixth place championship ranking.

Rea and his team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) tested at Assen for two days last week, encountering changeable and frequently cold track conditions. A post race test, held one day after the previous Imola round, was of even more use to the team as both Rea and Aoyama made real progress with overall setup.

The more recent Assen test was still valuable in allowing the Dutch based team to make initial preparations to race again at their home circuit, a track which Rea has enjoyed much success at in the past. Jonathan has scored three of his eight career SBK race wins at Assen, the most recent just last year.

With a new model of Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade to work with in 2012 Rea is keen to get back to winning form again, having yet to score a podium this year. Jonathan has a total of 40 points so far, just seven away from fourth place rider Leon Haslam.

Assen is a circuit that SBK rookie rider Aoyama knows well from many years of racing in the Grand Prix paddock and the 2009 250cc World Champion for Honda even took the race win there during his title-winning campaign.

Aoyama has now taken part in two SBK rounds and four individual races, posting strong top tens in the opener in Australia, but no scoring at a circuit he had never ridden at before, Imola, last time out. He hopes his familiarity with Assen will allow him to make a good early start, which will serve him well on race day Sunday 22 April. Hiroshi is currently 13th in the rankings, on 15 points.

The much altered and modernised Assen circuit is still a unique venue on the championship trail, featuring a few banked corners, flowing sections and a final chicane which has been the scene of more than its fair share of drama and excitement over the years. The racing at Assen is generally close and combative, and a real test of race craft and tactics right through to the last lap.

FIRST WIN OF 2012 THE AIM FOR HONDA'S TOP SUPERSPORT RIDERS

The 2012 FIM Supersport World Championship has already proved to be more open and unpredictable than any of the most recent seasons in this class, with three individual Honda riders having posted podium results, yet none of has been quite capable of taking a race win.

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) is the highest placed CBR600RR runner in the current standings, having taken a fifth in round one in Australia and then a very close second at Imola in early April. He is 14 points behind championship leader Fabien Foret, and six points ahead of the combative Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda), who battled all the way to a career best third at Imola, having started 11th on the grid.

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) had serious grip issues that held him back at Imola, but he is the third Honda rider to have scaled the podium so far, going third in his native Australia. Broc completed a two-day test at Assen recently, but the track conditions were far from ideal.

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) was very close to a podium finish in Australia, but a crash from a strong position at Imola is a mistake he has no intention of repeating at Assen, a circuit he knows well, albeit not on a Supersport machine.

Cluzel is tied on the same points score as eighth-ranked rider Roberto Tamburini, who ignited his 2012 season on his Team Lorini Honda with a podium-challenging fourth place at Imola.

Just outside the current top ten; Balazs Nemeth (Racing Team Toth Honda) was seventh at Imola, equalling his career best in this class. He is 12th in the rankings, one place ahead of Andrea Antonelli (Team Lorini Honda). Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda) is the only other current Honda rider in the rankings, 20th.

Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) is in an artificially low placing at present after no-scoring in the opening two rounds, while Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda) is keen to earn points at a venue which traditionally has many British fans in the crowd on race day.

Former SBK race winner Lorenzo Lanzi (PRORACE Honda) replaces the outgoing Lukas Pesek at this round. Lorenzo will have a new experience this weekend, as his previous rides in WSS have all been completed on twin cylinder machines.

Young American rider Patrick 'PJ' Jacobsen (Bogdanka Racing Honda) substitutes for the injured Pawel Szkopek this weekend. Polish rider Szkopek has had a rod inserted into his broken right lower leg, and is simply unable to race at Assen. Regular WSS rider Thomas Caiani (KUJA Racing Honda) will attempt to get his points counter begin ticking over this weekend.

French rider Valentine Debise (SMS Racing Honda) replaces Ondrej Jezek in the Netherlands, as one event rider Robert Muresan (East European Racing Honda) also lines up at Assen on his CBR600RR.

HONDA RIDER COMMENTS

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team):

"I am looking forward to Assen. I am not one of the guys who rode the old circuit layout to complain about the newer one. For me it is a better type of track anyway because it is fast and flowing. For some reason, I tend to go well there and the bike has been pretty decent in the past at Assen. The bike does work best within a small window, however, and depending on what we find I hope I will be as competitive there as I have been in the past. In the back of my mind I know it will be very cold this weekend. That can rapidly change the race tactics, depending on the kind of tyres Pirelli is going to bring. For us it looks like we will have to use the hardest rear race tyre so we will have to maximise our potential on that tyre, to make sure we last the race and make it work. We tested here last week in cold and sometimes wet conditions, so it's been a little bit frustrating that we weren't able to get as much work done as we wanted. We've worked on the front end and I've actually got a better feeling from there and an improved acceleration platform off the rear."

Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team):

"The weather that we had for the test at Assen last week was not very good and we had a lot of things that we wanted to try after the Imola test. But the day we had there was a lot more positive because I had to change some things. I like Assen very much. I liked the old circuit layout, but the new one is fun, too. And I won there on the 250 when I was riding in GPs. I am really looking forward to the weekend at Assen and continuing the improved feeling that I have with the bike. I will try as hard as I can, like always, and see how things are on Friday morning."

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda):

"I am fit and ready to go. We are expecting changeable weather and it could be anything at Assen. I do not mind what it is, so if it rains that is no issue. As long as it is one way or the other rather than anything in-between. I love Assen. I love the track and want to have a solid performance all weekend. I just want to push for that first race win but obviously at the minute points make prizes so I will be going out to bag them up first of all."

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda):

"We tested at Assen recently, but it was really mixed conditions - rain, dry and cold. So we did not get a lot of laps in on the two days. We learned a lot at the test the day after Imola, but Assen was difficult to judge our progress at. I did a bit of riding in the rain and that was quite positive. We got through some work in that test but it will be hard to know how it translates to a dry track. I think we can be competitive from now on and even when we went to Assen the bike setup we had was good from the start. I am confident we can be there this weekend, but only time will tell when we get there on Friday. The team is based nearby to Assen and they are keen to win the race of course but the most important thing is for us to score good points in the next couple of races, so we can get back into the championship battle."

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda):

"I know the track and I like it also. We improved the bike a lot at Imola during the test day after the race. I hope that we also have a big improvement for the Assen event. We have to look at the conditions we may find because they say that it will rain on race weekend. I have had some good performances in the rain but I do not know my bike in the rain yet. It is the same for everyone, but rain and cold are never the best conditions for racing."

Balazs Nemeth (Team Toth Honda):

"For the first two rounds we have not had so much luck because each race I had a technical problem, but for Assen we can prepare the bike and have a good race. I have to finish in the top ten again. In Imola I equalled my best ever result and I want to make an even better result at Assen."

Patrick Jacobsen (Bogdanka Honda PTR):

"I don't really know what to expect as I haven't raced in the World Supersport Championship before, but I tested a PTR Honda in January and really liked it. I have a lot of confidence, I know the bike and know it's very good and capable, an all-round good bike, so I am just looking forward to a strong race. Assen is a fast a flowing circuit, which should suit my style and my 125cc background. I don't feel any pressure and just want to go out and ride my race with the Bogdanka Honda PTR team."

Lorenzo Lanzi (PRORACE Honda):

"I am delighted to begin this new adventure with Prorace. I have known them for a few years and they offered me the ride. World Supersport is very competitive and it won't be easy to stay with the guys at the front, but I've been training hard during the winter and I am in perfect shape."


Assen Video Preview

It's with great pleasure that we submit to you a video preview ahead of this weekend's third round World Superbike championship at Assen in the Netherlands.

Being the 'home' race for the Ten Kate-run Honda World Superbike Team, there is a heightened sense of anticipation ahead of this weekend's two races and perhaps additional pressure on the team's rider, Jonathan Rea, who has won three of the last four SBK races at Assen.

His team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, also knows Assen well and won the very last 250cc Grand Prix race at the famous TT Circuit on his way to that year's world championship title.

Both riders, together with team-manager, Ronald ten Kate, describe their feelings for the upcoming weekend in this preview video, which can be viewed here:


Parkes looking to bounce back in Holland

Broc Parkes and the Ten Kate Racing Products World Supersport team are preparing for round three of the 2012 championship this weekend (20-22 April) at Assen in The Netherlands.

The Dutch round represents a ‘home’ race for the team, which is based approximately 60km to the south of the 4.542km Assen circuit where Parkes and his team will be looking for a good result to make up for the disappointment experienced in the last round at Imola in Italy.

Despite qualifying well, Parkes was forced out of the race after just five laps with a destroyed rear tyre. He was able to re-join the race and established a new lap record but, despite passing several riders, he could not finish in the points, let alone match his podium finish from the first round.

Broc Parkes

We had a day’s testing the day after the Imola race and everything went really well. It was our first real test of the year and we tried some things that you just don’t have time to try during a race weekend. So it was good to get more time on the bike there and get something close to a base setting. The Assen test last week wasn’t so good because the weather was mixed and cold, so we didn’t get a whole lot more done. But Assen’s been good to me in the past so I’m looking forward to racing there this weekend. After Imola, I need a solid result and a handful of points to get me back into the championship, but it’s a long season, so I’ll go into the weekend as relaxed as possible.

Ronald ten Kate - team manager

At Imola, we were at the front, just like we were in Phillip Island, but the race in Italy was ultimately very disappointing. The test on the following Monday confirmed that our direction was correct and Broc was able to go even faster and break the lap record again. At Assen last week, we were able to confirm a couple of things so were looking for more of the same this weekend and, as Broc says, we’re aiming for a solid result.


WSBK - FIM Cup Stk1000 e UEM Championship Stk600

TT Circuit Assen

20-22 April 2012

WBSK Assen: Team Italia on track this week-end with Stk1000 and Stk 600

Team Italia FMI riders competing in the Stock championship are about to have their second international outing. The foursome made of La Marra, Savadori, Russo and Vitali will get back on track during the week-end at the TT Circuit of Assen.

After the great debut in Imola, the riders will resume their chase for the FIM Cup Stk1000 and European Championship Stk600 titles with the Dutch race. The team is currently on the road, and is scheduled to arrive in Holland Thursday morning. Satisfied with the riders' early performance but also eager to see Savadori and Vitali bounce back after an unlucky first race, FMI's Technical Coordinator Cristiano Migliorati will be waiting for the team on site.

In the Stock1000, Eddi La Marra's show in Imola (pole position and third place) was a warning for all the title favorites, especially Sylvain Barrier.

La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia#47) Savadori (Barni Racing Team Italia#32)

After winning the first European Stk600 race and the first two GPs of the CIV championship, Riccardo Russo is looking for his fourth triumph of the season. The southerner on Yamaha has already become the man to beat in this class.

Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha#84) Vitali (Team Italia FMI Yamaha#70)

"Riders are in great shape and we have high expectations - Cristiano Migliorati said - During the three weeks after the first race, each one of them has worked hard to be ready for Assen. In the Stk1000, we tried to improve the overall package on Barni Racing Team's Ducati 1199 Panigale. La Marra is very motivated after his first, almost unexpected, podium and Savadori has good chances of scoring a top 5 finish. In the Stk600, Russo just has to confirm the great form he has shown until now, while Vitali just needs some luck: the lap times show he's a top contender, but neither in the CIV nor in the European championships he achieved the results he deserves."

Weather will play a huge factor: rain is anything but rare in Assen, and clouds are supposed to hover over the track throughout the week-end. 


2012

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Comments

Why do riders say things like "we had a crash" (quote Leon Haslam, but they all do it), instead of "I had a crash".

I can understand extending the compliment if they're saying "we did very well" like as a team but hang on, YOU had the bloody crash! They even say things like "we were late on the brakes"; who else is riding the bike, they don't have pillions do they?

Casey Stonery has recently had a sprog. I'm starting wonder it will grow up saying 'we want a feed' or 'we've just crapped our nappy'!

I've only been watching racing since about 2009, when did this bloody nonsense start? I'd hate for racing to descend into the witless euphemisms of footballer-speak.

Campaign to stop the 'WE' now!!!

Yep, it does sound strange how the "we" is placed so many times, as out of place.

Start that campaign, I'll subscribe.

It is the riders acknowledging it is a team game.

To say, "I won, and it was due to me, and me alone."
Is to ignore the contribuion of the technicians and managers responsible for setting the bike up so the rider can win.

Put another way, it is called politeness.

and there ought to be more of it, which is why we say;

>I can understand extending the compliment if they're saying "we did very well" like as a team>

But we also think the '1st person singular' is in danger of going the way of the 500cc 2 stroke!

Anyway, we've got to go now as the boss is coming over and he thinks we're working on our spreadsheet..

Its also psychology and in saying 'we' and not 'I' fell off, made a mistake, wasn't good enough, need to work on a few things etc it prevents the rider's (some riders) confidence from taking such a hit.

Chance's are that even if you did blame a poor result on just the rider as the bike worked aa it should, he/she may be unsettled due to some team related matter anyway or not getting exactly what he/she thought they may need in order to compete, so in a way they're probably correct to say 'we' anyway.

Sports psychology is a massive business now, and when most sport, even the physically punishing ones like boxing and cycling etc are nine tenths mental (according to the competitors themselves, nevermind the quacks) you can see why this type of language has crept in. I find it quite amusing at times but it's all a part of the circus. It'll be interesting to note, if I remember, which riders don't talk in that way. I guess they'd have to be the mentally tough and broad shouldered brigade.

As if riding a bike wasn't hard enough, now you got to talk all funny too!

Manufacturers have been doing this for decades, when an engine explodes, they try to tell you that an electrical component failed and that's what sent the con rods out through the engine casing - not because the motor was built on a Friday afternoon. Bike failures are almost always caused by a dodgy story, you gotta watch out for them, they're crafty and always cost 10p!

That's what can happen if one attempts solo thought. Be careful out there kids, life teaches us that your we can never be too big, the bigger the better. Am we right? or am we right?

Is my bike a person.... She has at least THREE personalities I can count on seeing every time we go out!!!!