Press releases from the World Superbike teams ahead of this weekend's US round of WSBK at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah:
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Salt Lake City - Preview
Munich/Stephanskirchen, 22nd May 2012. Following the historic maiden one-two in Donington (GBR), Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport now travels to the USA. Round six of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship will be held at the “Miller Motorsports Park” near Salt Lake City on Whit weekend (26th to 28th May). The schedule for this event is traditionally moved back a day: race day is always the last Monday in May, “Memorial Day”. As such, the riders will not take to the track until Saturday, with Superpole Qualification taking place on Sunday.
The first major triumph has given the team and factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Leon Haslam (GBR) an additional boost. The performance in Donington confirmed that the team has closed the gap on the front-runners. It is now a case of backing up this claim. A new challenge awaits the team in the USA: the “Miller Motorsports Park” features a technically demanding layout and is located about 1,350 metres above sea level. At this altitude, the engine performance of the BMW S 1000 RR plays a particularly important role.
In the current 2012 season, Marco lies in fifth place in the Riders’ Championship with 97.5 points, while Leon is sixth with 89 points. Together, the pair has already scored 186.5 points for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport this year. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, BMW is third with 131 points. Only the best result from each race counts towards this championship.
Salt Lake City from the rider’s point of view:
“Miller Motorsports Park is a very nice race track. It is quite fast and smooth but not easy. Normally the track should suit my riding style well. At the moment, I don’t want to expect anything special. I just want to take it one day at a time. This season has shown that the championship is very open and different riders can get to the top and win at every race. I just want to get 100 per cent out of my RR and myself, and then we will see how we are doing compared to our rivals.
The victory at Donington certainly gives us some extra confidence. Getting the first win on this bike was difficult because, although we tried not to think about it, we knew it would be the first victory for BMW Motorrad. This put extra pressure on us. Now we have got that monkey off our backs and are more relaxed and confident. This was the first win, but I am sure that there are more to come.”
“Every weekend now we have been challenging for podiums and have been really close to the win, so we want to do the same in the USA. Last year, it was one of our worst race weekends and I am interested to see how the RR works this year with all the improvements we have made. One problem last year was that the conditions were changing so frequently, so it was not easy to find a fast set-up. We have been watching the forecast for this weekend. The weather looks like being good with temperatures possibly reaching as high as 30 degrees. So hopefully we are going to have some sun.
The circuit at Miller Motorsports Park is a mixture of many different things. For whatever reason, Carlos Checa’s way of riding seems to suit this track. But I have finished second there before, so we know we can be strong.”
Salt Lake City from a technical point of view:
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
“One of the characteristics of the Miller Motorsports Park is the unusual altitude, which affects the engine performance. However, the engine of our RR is strong enough that the loss of performance has no particularly negative effect on our bikes. Regarding the tyre wear, the track could be difficult for all the four-cylinder bikes. Last year, we had extreme wear due to the severe weather conditions. We are nevertheless convinced that, with the latest developments on our RR, we have also improved in this area. So we are looking forward to the US round of the 2012 championship, which has so far shown a well-balanced performance between the competitors. We definitely expect Carlos Checa to set the benchmark on this track, where he has won several times. But we believe that our riders will also be in a position to fight for the podium.
We are all highly motivated, especially after the one-two in Donington. And we are looking forward to getting back the points we lost in the last corner of race two of the British event.”
Salt Lake City from Pirelli’s point of view:
For the overseas round of the World Superbike Championship, Pirelli will provide the riders with two solutions for the front and three for the rear, in addition to the intermediate rain tyres. On the front they will be able to choose from an SC1 and SC2 compound, while for the rear there will be two SC1 compounds and one SC2. One of the two SC1 compounds is the R302 which had very good results in Donington and was very popular with almost all the riders. For this reason, at the request of the teams, Pirelli decided to bring it to Miller as well to see how it performs on this track where, besides the extremely long straight stretch, the variable weather conditions come into play. Yet another unknown factor is the salt and sand deposits on the asphalt caused by the nearby salt lake and the fact that the track is not used very often.
Set against a breath-taking backdrop, surrounded by Utah’s mountains, lies the “Miller Motorsports Park”. The capital of the US state, Salt Lake City, and the “Great Salt Lake” can be reached by car in about 30 minutes from the circuit. Salt Lake City was founded in 1847 by Mormons, who had fled the eastern states of America following religious persecution and discrimination. Since then, the city and the state of Utah have been the centre of the Mormon movement. Nowadays, Salt Lake City has a population of about 186,000 and hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 2002.
The “Miller Motorsports Park” was opened in 2006 and is one of the most modern motor racing facilities in North America. As well as the 4.907-kilometre racetrack, which can be used in several variants, the site also includes the “Larry H. Miller Museum” with its collection of spectacular racing cars, a karting centre, a racing driver school, and the “Performance Training Center”, which offers driving courses to those interested. The Superbike World Championship has been visiting Salt Lake City since 2008. One of the peculiarities of the US round of the series is that the race is traditionally held on the final Monday of the month of May, “Memorial Day”. On this national holiday, the United States remembers soldiers that have fallen in war. As a result, the race weekend schedule is put back a day and the first session is Saturday’s free practice. This year, “Memorial Day” coincides with Whit Monday.
The circuit has over 20 turns and has a very technically demanding layout. The many changes in direction play a major role when setting the bike up and perfect handling is crucial in the corners. The teams also need to find a set-up that generates as much mechanical grip as possible, as the track surface itself offers very little grip. Tyre wear and the weather are always an issue with the bike set-up. The race weekend in Salt Lake City can be either red hot or so cold that it snows in the mountains around the circuit. The air is quite literally thin for the superbike engines. The “Miller Motorsports Park” is located about 1,350 metres above sea level, and this high altitude affects the performance of the engine.
Honda riders seek Miller success
Honda World Superbike Team riders Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama head across the Atlantic this weekend (26-28 May) for round six of the 2012 World Superbike championship at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City in Utah, USA.
The two, sixth round races will take place on Monday 28 May – a public holiday in the United States – on the 4.9km Miller circuit which features a start-finish straight more than one kilometer long and produces high speeds associated with the Bonneville Speedway Salt Flats, which lie just 150km to the west.
After his race two victory at Donington Park in the UK two weeks ago – his second of the 2012 campaign – Rea sits in third place in the championship standings and the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland will be hoping for further success at Miller.
Rea took a third place on his first SBK visit to Miller in 2009 but the last two seasons have not resulted in any return visits to the podium. However, recent form and improvements to the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade leave Rea in positive mood.
Miller will be another new circuit for former 250cc world champion and MotoGP rider Hiroshi Aoyama. The 30-year-old Japanese ace took another top-ten finish at Donington Park but his first objective this weekend will be to learn Miller’s 15 turns, some of which feature intriguing names such as ‘Witchcraft’, ‘Scream’ and ‘Bad Attitude’.
One of the problems we had last year at Miller was stability on corner entry but, since the introduction of ride-by-wire and some improvements that the guys have worked on recently, we’re definitely better in that area. Miller is a circuit that demands a lot of confidence going into some corners and we’ll work this weekend with the same approach that we had at Donington. We weren’t necessarily at the top of the timing sheets in every session but we know that race wins often come in the last five laps, so we’ll follow that path again. It would be nice to get some higher track temperatures that might allow us to work on the softer tyre, but we’ll see how the weather is when we get to the track on Thursday and make a plan. I’m really looking forward to the weekend though – I really like the track and going to America is always a fun experience.
I am really looking forward to going to Miller. America is a great country and it has a little bit different tradition for motorcycles, but the fans are very excited by racing. The racetrack will be new for me so that means the first day will not be easy. I have seen the layout and it is great, looks nice, and I hope I can start with a good feeling for the bike and the racetrack. I had a little bit more of a positive feeling on the bike at the last race so I hope I can carry that feeling on all through the weekend at Miller - all the way to Monday. I have raced on a Saturday before but never a Monday, so this will be another new thing for me at this round.
FROM THE UK TO THE USA FOR THE ALTHEA RACING TEAM AND THE WORLD SBK CHAMPIONSHIP
Salt Lake City (USA), Wednesday 23rd May 2012: the Althea Racing team’s riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano cannot wait to race at the American Miller Motorsports Park circuit in Salt Lake City this coming weekend. For Checa, this is his favourite track on the SBK calendar while Giugliano has yet to set eyes on the US circuit.
The most recent round, which came to a close at the English circuit of Donington Park ten days ago, brought disappointing results for Althea’s two flagbearers. In the first race the riders crossed the line in sixth (Checa) and seventh (Giugliano) position before both crashing out of the second race. After the first five rounds of the championship Carlos lies in fourth place in the championship, behind Sykes, Rea and Biaggi; Davide is currently ninth.
Current champion Checa’s past results at the Miller Motorsports Park speak for themselves: two double wins and a second place finish over the last four years. Probably his favourite circuit, the Spanish rider hopes to be able to score two more great results this year. His team-mate Giugliano has not been to this track before, as it is not part of the Superstock 1000 racing calendar, a category in which Davide participated in recent years.
As is now tradition, race-day takes place on Monday (28th May), Memorial Day in the United States.
“I have always enjoyed the atmosphere at Miller, the people, the mountains, the layout of the track itself. The track suits my riding style and I have many great memories thanks to the results I’ve obtained there these last years. At Donington we lost ground in the classification and so definitely need a strong weekend now.”
Checa’s Superbike form at Miller:
2011: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – winner
2010: Race 1- DNF, Race 2 - DNF
2009: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – DNF
2008: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – winner
“Miller Motorsports Park will be a totally new track for me. I can’t wait to see it as I’ve heard a lot of good things and know that Carlos loves racing there. I was disappointed with the Donington results of course and want to make up for things at Salt Lake – I’ll be giving it my all, to take as many points as possible and improve my championship position.
High Plains Drifting for WSBK at Miller Motorsports Park
Salt Lake City (Utah, USA), 23 May 2012 – In the wake of two fantastic races at Donington that saw five different riders and four different manufacturers vying for the win right down to the wire, the eni FIM Superbike World Championship is now heading towards the Utah high plains for the sixth of the 14 rounds in this year’s calendar. As is tradition, the two races will be held on Monday 28th May, Memorial Day, in honour of the US Armed Forces, so first qualifying will take place on Saturday.
The production-based racing series arrives at Miller Motorsports Park, the safest and most modern circuit in north America. The facility was inaugurated in 2008 and is located around 40 kms from the centre of Salt Lake City, the capital of the state of Utah, not far away from the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats, the scene for the world land-speed record attempts made every year.
World Superbike has been the main event of the year in this area of the USA since its very first edition in 2008. The track measures 4.907 kms and on the long 1.1 km pit straight Superbike machines come close to 320 km/h (200 mph). In fact, the Miller circuit is expecting the 200 mph mark to be exceeded this time around as it has set up a ‘Quest for 200’ ticket prize draw competition for the general public. Judging by the astonishing top speed of 339.5 km/h reached on the long Monza straights by Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki, this particular record could quite easily be broken.
The US Round is always one of the most fascinating because Superbike was born and developed in the United States half-way through the 1970s, before gaining world championship recognition in 1988. The race actually appears to bring good luck all round as for the past three seasons the winners at Miller Motorsports Park have all gone on to become world champions that year.
The previous round in the UK did not change things at the top that much as Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing), who has led the table since the opening race, the first and only one won by the former world champion this year, continues to lead. Biaggi won here two years ago on his way towards taking his 2010 world title.
Biaggi is the man in the cross-hairs of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), who as well as claiming four Tissot-Superpole wins out of five, dominated at Monza and the 26 year-old Brit is now just five points behind the leader. Each race of the 18 remaining (9 rounds) assigns 25 points to the winner so there is still much to play for.
A win at Donington for Jonathan Rea also put the Honda World Superbike Team rider back on track and the young man from Northern Ireland now has two wins to his name this year and is in third place, 20.5 points off the top slot. Miller could be a crossroads for Althea Racing’s title hopes as the 39 year-old from Spain, Carlos Checa, has always made the difference here, dominating both on a four-cylinder Honda (2008) and a twin-cylinder Ducati (2011). Checa, who has been on pole three times in 2008, 2010 and 2011, will again be going for the big win to make up the 23 points separating him from Biaggi.
Morale in the BMW Motorrad team is at an all-time high following Marco Melandri’s first historic win for the German manufacturer on the British circuit. The Italian is 31 points down on Biaggi, and is followed in turn by his team-mate Leon Haslam, their points haul and positions in the table seriously affected by the double elimination at the final hairpin at Donington.
Miller is also a happy hunting-ground for Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati) who scored his first Superbike podium here twelve months ago. The Frenchman then broke the winners’ ice two rounds back at Assen.
The FIXI Crescent Suzuki team has managed to recover the services of top draw rider John Hopkins in record time, the ever-popular American missing Donington due to the effects of his high-side at Monza. The team is also hoping a lot from Leon Camier, whose best results at Miller are two second places.
The uncertainty surrounding the eventual outcome of this year’s World Superbike races is sure to continue in the USA. It is worth mentioning that in the nine races held so far this season, there have been six different winners (Biaggi, Checa, Rea, Guintoli, Sykes and Melandri) on five different makes of bike: Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Honda and Kawasaki. Only Suzuki is yet to make the grade but the Crescent-Yoshimura combination are working hard to close the gap.
Points (after 5 of 14 rounds): 1. Biaggi 128.5; 2. Sykes 123.5; 3. Rea 108; 4. Checa 105.5; 5. Melandri 97.5; 6. Haslam 89; 7. Guintoli 85; 8. Laverty 65; 9. Giugliano 50; 10. Smrz 44.5; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 161.5; 2. Aprilia 139; 3. BMW 131; 4. Kawasaki 129.5; 5. Honda 112; 6. Suzuki 40.5.
Bel-Ray Press Release- Bel-Ray Weekend Racing Preview
Bel-Ray professional racers will be in action this weekend in the United States and Italy as AMA National Motocross, World Superbike and World Supermoto events are scheduled. The riders look to the performance advantages for in Bel-Ray lubricants in order to race to their maximum potential.
The 2012 World Superbike Championship series come to the United States for their only stop this season. Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah will host the race on Memorial Day Monday. Althea Racing team riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano come to the American track with different view point. Checa has been very successful here in the past, with 2 double wins and a second place finish in his last 4 visits, while this will mark Giugliano’s first appearance at the American track. Checa spoke about his love for the circuit as well as his disappointing Donington finish. “I have always enjoyed the atmosphere at Miller, the people, the mountains, the layout of the track itself. The track suits my riding style and I have many great memories thanks to the results I’ve obtained there these last years. At Donington, we lost ground in the classification and so definitely need a strong weekend now.” Giugliano also spoke about his disappointing Donington finish and his hopes for the race on Sunday. “Miller Motorsports Park will be a totally new track for me. I can’t wait to see it, as I’ve heard a lot of good things and know that Carlos loves racing there. I was disappointed with the Donington results, of course, and want to make up for things at Salt Lake. I’ll be giving it my all, to take as many points as possible and improve my championship position.”
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FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI BACK TO FULL STRENGTH
Team Suzuki Press Office - May 25.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki is back to full strength this weekend as John Hopkins joins team-mate Leon Camier for the World Superbike Championship sixth round at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City for the American round of the series.
Hopkins, who has been recovering at home in America from foot and hip injuries sustained at the fourth round of the series at Monza in Italy earlier this month, has been given the all-clear to race after missing the European round of the series at Donington Park in England a fortnight ago, where Camier took a season-best result of fourth in the second race.
Hopkins is optimistic about his fitness, but will have pain-killing injections as he takes to the track on Saturday in preparation for Monday's race. It will be his first race at Miller, but both riders are upbeat and looking forward to taking advantage of the newly-uprated and improved Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-Rs; particularly Camier who has raced to two second-placed finishes at the American circuit.
Miller Motorsports Park is located around 40kms from the centre of Salt Lake City in the state of Utah and not far away from the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats. It is the newest, and safest, circuit in North America and was first opened in 2006. World Superbike is visiting the circuit for the fifth time and has firmly become established as the main event of the year at the 4,907m long circuit. The track features a 1,100m long pit-straight where the Superbike machines are expected to exceed the 320kmh (200mph) mark and to celebrate this the circuit has set up a 'Quest for 200' prize draw competition for the general public. With a circuit that has corner names such as; Scream, Wind-Up, Bad Attitude, Right-Hook and Dreamboat, the fans already have the makings of an exciting weekend before they even see a wheel roll!
The Miller Park event is also unique in being the only Monday race on the World Superbike calendar; it is taking place on Monday to coincide with the American holiday to celebrate 'Memorial Day'. This means Hopkins, Camier and the rest of the field will take to the track for first practice on Saturday morning - local time - with the first race scheduled for 12.00hrs local time (19.00hrs BST) on Monday May 28th.
"It was a pity that I had to miss Donington because I think I would have been very competitive there. Certainly, in Assen and Monza, I felt very comfortable with the bike and my hand wasn't giving me any problems at all. The bike has definitely improved since my first time on it and I know that there's more to come.
"Although, I'm not going to be 100% in Miller, I am going there to give it my best shot. I've never raced there before, but I have been as a spectator and even done a lap - in a golf cart! I know some areas that are not so easy to learn, but I've always been somebody who adapts to circuits pretty well so I think I'll get it dialled-in pretty quickly. Racing at home is always a bit special and I am looking forward to the weekend and performing well in front of my fans."
"I am happy we're improving and I feel we're getting better and better each time out. Everybody in the team has been working their socks off and now we're seeing the results of all the hard work and definitely making progress.
"Miller is a bit of a strange track and, because it is so high up, the bikes always feel as if they are down on power. It's not a difficult circuit but, like all tracks, you need a good bike set-up if you want good results - especially on the long corners. I really like Miller and it has been a good track for me. I was on the podium last year and I'd be very happy if I could do that again this year."