Press releases from the series organizers and teams after the second WorldSBK round of the season at Buriram, Thailand:
#THAIWorldSBK Day Three - Davies scores direct hit on rivals
Ducati rider becomes the third different winner in four 2018 races
Davies becomes third victor of 2018 in Thailand
In an unpredictable second race in the Motul Thai Round, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) surged through the field to take a 28th career victory and a first around the Chang International Circuit, becoming a third different winner in the opening two weekends of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship. Davies produced a stunning ride with an average gain of a position per lap over a seven-lap period, hitting the front by the end of lap eight and controlling the race from there.
Taking advantage of the reverse grid format, it was the Pata Yamaha duo of Michael Van Der Mark and Alex Lowes who made the early break, but as they squabbled among themselves the remainder of the pack stayed in touch. Lowes was the second of three riders to lead a lap on the Chang International Circuit as he passed teammate Van Der Mark on lap two, but the Dutchman came back through and led for the next five laps. Eventually both overhauled by Davies the Yamaha pair nonetheless did enough to secure second and third positions, the first double podium for Yamaha since 2016. Lowes, in particular, was satisfied with an extra surge of pace in the seven closing laps that helped him to claim an eighth career podium.
Kawasaki´s unbroken record of victories at the Motul Thai Round was finally ended on a day where neither of their top performers could make it on to the podium at all. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) failed to take advantage of his front row grid slot, dropping back to ninth by the end of the opening lap and eventually retiring from the race.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), meanwhile, finished just three seconds from the podium places after an action-packed ride. Following an excellent first lap that saw him surge through from ninth to fourth with a series of aggressive inside overtaking moves, Rea had put himself among the favourites for victory and threatened to make it back-to-back wins. But the Race One victor struggled in handlebar-to-handlebar combat, making a series of errors that ruled him out of contention for the win. His first duel was with Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati), a shadow of the rider that looked in command in Philip Island, and the pair swapped positions on no less than five occasions before Rea eventually came out on top.
By the time Rea passed Melandri on lap nine and then shook the Italian off, Xavi Forés (Barni Racing Team) had overhauled the pair of them to move clear in fourth. But Rea in clear air was a different proposition to the rider who had struggled under side-by-side pressure earlier on, and he hunted down the lead independent rider before an overtake on lap eighteen.
Upon reflection, despite not being the result he would have hoped for, Rea´s fightback to fourth could prove critical in the Championship Standings overall. Marco Melandri, series leader coming into Race Two, had another disastrous race in which he was relegated to seventh and never looked comfortable on the bike. And Xavi Fores, who had looked set to close on both Rea and Melandri in the Championship Standings and leave the three separated by just five points, conceded fourth place three laps from the finish to change the complexion of the series standings. With the riders of him in the race well adrift of him overall, Rea becomes the Championship leader and the man with the momentum as the highest scorer of the series´ top three for a second race in succession.
Meanwhile three of the top ten in the points coming into Race Two failed to finish. Tom Sykes retired with mechanical problems after seven completed laps, and therefore drops 26-points back from the leader and down to seventh overall. Retirement for Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was more spectacular, the pair coming together on lap five when dicing over eighth place: both riders will now arrive to Europe next month out of the top ten in the Championship leaderboard. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the rider to take advantage in Thailand, finishing best of the rest in eighth ahead of Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia), who did well to nurse his injured shoulder into the top ten in the race.
The Championship resumes with the Pirelli Aragón Round in three weeks´ time.
P1 - Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
"It was fantastic, what a race. For the first few laps it was absolute carnage but brilliant carnage. It was such good fun trying to figure out where you can make the pass and to be honest everyone has had such a good pace every weekend and its been so difficult to know who was fast where, so it was an exercise of patience. Just so happy with the win, its not been an easy few months but thanks to the team and Ducati for the fantastic package today."
P2 - Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
"After yesterday I was not feeling that happy at all, and we made a few changes in warm up and I still wasn't happy. But we made some changes back to Friday's set up and changed the front tyre and and we made a podium, so I hope it's the first of many."
P3 - Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
"To be honest I was to slow in the first 12 laps, like yesterday, Michael just passed me and pulled away. It was a bit annoying I had to dig deep and kick on, it's a bit frustrating so we need to work out what the issue is. But it's fantastic for Yamaha and the whole team, and amazing to have such great racing."
#THAIWorldSBK at Chang International Circuit: Race 2
1. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
2. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) +2.185
3. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) +3.884
Superb victory by Davies in Race 2 at Buriram, Melandri 7th despite some issues
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team climbed back to the top step of the podium at Buriram (Thailand) with Chaz Davies, who sealed a brilliant win in Race 2 starting from third row. The Welshman, who took the lead during lap 7 and progressively broke away from the field, thus claimed the first victory of 2018 and the 28th of his career. A particularly significant win – coupled with the fastest lap of the race in 1:33.627 – since it came on a historically difficult track.
Race 2, on the other hand, did not yield the expected results for Marco Melandri, who was once again hindered by some issues. The Italian showed resilience fighting in the lead group and making several passing maneuvers early on, but was eventually forced to drop his pace and finished in 7th position, nonetheless scoring important points for the championship.
After Round 2, Melandri and Davies are respectively 2nd (67 points) and 4th (57 points) in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action at Aragon (Spain) for the third round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship, scheduled for April 13-15.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1st
"It was a fantastic race, something special. To come away with a win here makes me so happy. At Buriram we've always struggled in the past, it's been a long process to get into a race winning position. I want to thank the whole team because they've given me such a great bike today. The Panigale R was working really well, we found a little bit more consistency and I could be more adaptable with the bike. It was quite hectic out there but, if you can get through it OK, it's so much fun. Our package is competitive and in Europe it will be like starting from zero. I'm looking forward to Aragon."
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 7th
"We worked hard to come up with some modifications to our setup, which unfortunately didn't yield the expected results. The bike was wobbling a lot also today, and it was a difficult race for us. I tried to ride as hard as I could and fight back, but it wasn't possible to do more today. Anyway, we won't give up. The championship is still long and I'm confident we'll find a solution. We'll head to Aragon to fight even harder."
Serafino Foti, Team Manager
"Chaz rode a tactically perfect race. If we take into account the difficulties we had here in the past, this win is even more important for the team and the people working in Italy. We're obviously very sorry for Marco, who gave everything he had on track, but unfortunately he couldn't have done more. We'll work even harder to make sure both our riders can fully express their potential from Aragon on."
Sensational Race 2 Double Podium for Pata Yamaha in Thailand
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team achieved a stunning Race 2 double podium on Sunday in extremely hot and humid conditions in Buriram, Thailand at Round 2 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship. Michael van der Mark had a great start from fourth on the grid and was immediately involved in the battle for the win with his teammate Alex Lowes, leading the race for six laps and crossing the line in a superb second place to secure his first podium of the season. Lowes was also involved in the excellent fight for the victory from the middle of the front row. He once again enjoyed an exciting duel with his teammate in the early stages, before improving strongly at the end to secure third place and ensure a positive end to the Thai event for the Pata Yamaha team.
Van der Mark finished Saturday's Race 1 in seventh, slightly disappointed with his pace but happy with his consistency. In an aim to find those extra tenths for Race 2 the 25-year-old Dutch rider tried a different setup in Warm Up but felt it was not an improvement. The team resorted back to his final setup from Friday and, along with a different specification front tyre, it clearly paid off. When the lights went out for Sunday's race, van der Mark enjoyed a superb start from the head of the second row and became embroiled in an excellent battle with his teammate for the race lead. As has become a regular fixture in the first four races of 2018, the duo swapped places a number of times in the opening laps as they exchanged the lead before van der Mark made a small break on lap 3.
Pushing hard, he opened a gap at the front of the field, leading the way until Chaz Davis managed to hunt him down on lap 8. Determined to fight for victory, van der Mark set his fastest lap (1:33.775) - and the fastest lap of the race at the time - on lap 9 and was right on the back wheel of Davies. Determined not to let him get away, he managed to match his pace lap for lap but could not get past, and as the race went on he started to focus on managing the gap to his teammate Lowes. He went on to cross the line in second, 2.185s behind Davies, to secure his third Yamaha podium and equal his best result for the Pata Yamaha team. In the process, he collected 20 championship points and he is now sixth in the overall standings with 45 points.
Lowes fought back to a strong fifth-place finish in Race 1 at the Chang International Circuit on Saturday but struggled with the feeling with his Pata Yamaha R1 during the opening laps of the race before storming back through the field. His team worked hard overnight and during Warm Up to try and find a solution and when the lights went out for Race 2 on Sunday, the 27-year-old British rider fought valiantly at the front from second on the grid despite still not feeling 100% confident in the initial set-up. He battled hard with his teammate during the opening three laps, but he could not quite match van der Mark's early pace as he dropped to third place.
Patiently and maturely, he gradually found a better rhythm and, managing to keep the rest of the field at bay, on lap 15 he started to close down the 2.5s gap to his teammate ahead of him. His pace kept on improving as the race went on, with Lowes setting his fastest time (1:33.946) on lap 16. Unfortunately, he just ran out of laps and crossed the line in a brilliant third place, just 1.699s behind van der Mark to record his maiden podium for the season and seventh in total for the team. The 16 points he collected for his efforts mean he is now fifth overall in the championship standings with 48 points, just 21 points behind the leader and three ahead of his teammate.
It was the second double podium for the Pata Yamaha Team since their return to the WorldSBK Championship in 2016 - to add to the one they secured in Magny-Cours last season. The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will now head to Aragon for Round 3 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship on the 13th-15th of April full of confidence and hungry for more podiums. Check out the full Race 2 results.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 2nd +2.185s
"I am so happy with this result! Yesterday, I wasn't happy at all after the race because I struggled so much. Then this morning we changed the bike and it didn't feel like an improvement so for the race we took a gamble and went back to Friday's setup. We changed the front tyre and it also helped us a little bit. After the start I was fast, I had a nice battle with Alex again, then Chaz Davies passed me and I tried to stay with him for a long time but he was just a bit quicker than me in some sectors. The pace was quite good and I saw that we were opening a gap to Alex in third. At the end, it was quite difficult for me to stay with Chaz, but then I saw I could manage the gap behind me. So, second place after the results from yesterday and at Phillip Island was really positive! I was riding at the limit but the limit today was a lot further than yesterday so it was a big improvement from Race 1. Aragon is a completely different track so it will be interesting to see how the R1 goes there but after the first two races of the season, I am really happy. There are still a few things I want to improve but if we can start on Friday at Aragon with the same pace and feeling we had today, I will be very happy!"
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 3rd +3.884s
"It was a great end to the weekend and it was fantastic for the Pata Yamaha team to have myself and Michael on the podium! To be honest, I was a bit frustrated because the first 10 or 11 laps I was just too slow - Michael came past me and I just couldn't stay with him. It was a little bit frustrating as it was basically the same as yesterday, I was too slow in the first part of the race and I haven't really improved that, which is a shame, but obviously Michael was really strong so maybe he is doing something a bit better than me or he found a better setup. He did a great job and I have to try and learn from that and be stronger for the next races. I feel really good in the last part of the race, in all the sessions on old tyres I have been strong but I just keep giving myself a bit too work much to do. When the race is as close as that and everyone is close together and we are battling, I really, really, enjoy it and that is obviously the main thing. If you are having fun and everyone is enjoying watching it, I think it is fantastic. I enjoyed the race, I enjoyed the weekend and I will enjoy tonight as well. We have some things to work on before Aragon, especially my feeling with the bike on a full tank of fuel. Apart from that, I feel great, I feel like the team are working really well. I have a new Crew Chief this year with Andrew Pitt, so it has taken a couple of races for everything to fit into place but now it is going good and that gives me a lot of confidence going into Aragon. I like Aragon, I like Assen, in fact, the next few tracks are fantastic for me so I hope to be challenging for the podium every weekend!"
Paul Denning - Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"We hoped that starting from the first and second rows would help today and that combined with an excellent first few laps by both Michael and Alex certainly contributed to a fantastic double-podium result for the team! It looks like the championship is going to be less predictable and more interesting this year and what's positive from Yamaha's point of view is that we still feel there is more potential to unlock. It has been a very solid start to the season. The results today are a great reward for Yamaha's engineers and an extremely hard working and dedicated team. Congratulations to both Michael and Alex on their performances and we are looking forward to starting the European leg of the season in Aragon in a few weeks' time."
Rea Fights Back To Lead The Championship
Jonathan Rea (KRT) secured a strong finish after a challenging second race in hot conditions at the Chang International Circuit, following up his opening day win with a battling fourth place despite experiencing issues under braking. Tom Sykes (KRT) had a technical issue with the front end of his machine and dropped through the field from his front row starting position to record a rare no-score.
Starting from the third row today, under the reverse grid rules first brought into play last season, race one winner Rea had to fight hard from the start. He occasionally ran on or lost track position as he experienced braking issues at what was already the most challenging circuit on the calendar in this regard.
Summoning up all his determination and skills, Rea managed to maintain a high level of pace and even overtake a rider in the final three laps to score fourth place.
Sykes felt a problem with his front end early in the race and went from third position on the grid to ninth in a single lap, then pulling out after completing seven laps rather than risk a potential crash.
Even being limited in his ambitions today, Rea leaves the Chang International Circuit with a two point championship lead after four races. Jonathan has 69 points, with former championship leader Marco Melandri on 67. Sykes’ race two misfortune leaves him seventh in the points with 43, but with 11 rounds and 22 races left in the championship chase.
The next round will take place in Spain, at the Motorland Aragon circuit, between 13th and 15th April.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I think my problem today must have been a similar problem to Tom yesterday. It is what it is. After a very difficult Phillip Island we can go away from here with a first and a fourth, and leading the championship, so it was not a disaster. I am frustrated but with a smile on my face because at least the bike was good and this is the worst track for brakes. Everyone is pushing really hard so when the going gets tough the tough get going. I felt like today I could have fought for the win again, but it is what it is.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “From the first laps in free practice at Buriram, I felt on form, just like I was in Phillip Island. After Superpole I felt ready for the races. I think at that stage the overall potential of the bike was capable of fighting for the win. But then, what an absolute disaster, through no fault of my own. I have got to try and pick up now for the next race at Motorland Aragon.”
Solid sixth place for Camier in Thai WorldSBK Race 2
Chang International Circuit, Thailand
Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team’s Leon Camier capped off a strong showing in Thailand with a sixth place finish at Chang International Circuit, while Jake Gagne was back in the points after taking fourteenth place on the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
Camier started on pole position in Race 2 courtesy of his fourth place in Race 1 and although he got the holeshot and led into the first corner, a fierce battle in the lead group resulted in him ending the first lap in P5. Showing consistent pace throughout the race, Camier was embroiled in the fight for the top five with Jonathan Rea and Xavi Forés and although he closed in on Forés in the final laps, he ultimately finished in sixth place.
Bouncing back after a tough race yesterday, Gagne had a strong start and in the opening exchanges fought his way up to ninth position. As the contest entered the final stages, Gagne found himself caught up in a five way battle for the top ten and despite a valiant final push was unable to make up positions and ended the race in P14.
After two rounds Camier is eighth in the WorldSBK standings on 42 points, while Gagne is sixteenth overall with 9 points. The series now heads to Europe where the Red Bull World Superbike Team will contest the Aragon WorldSBK round on April 13-15.
Leon Camier 2
The start of the race was great, I got the holeshot and led into the first corner and although the bike was very strong in the turns and under brakes, there was a small issue which made it difficult to defend against the other riders in the leading group. I still managed to keep a good pace and sixth place was the best I could do today. Overall I'm happy with how we performed this weekend as we were able to make some good steps to improve the Fireblade's performance.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Jake Gagne 45
I got a good start to the race and for the first few laps found myself making up positions and I felt really good. In the second half of the race I was lacking a bit of feel with the brakes which meant I ran wide in a few corners and at that point I just tried to maintain my rhythm and bring home the bike in the points. It was a challenging weekend overall, but I learned a lot, improved my pace and scored some more points so we can take a lot of positives out of this weekend.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Race 2 today was another solid team performance with both riders finishing in the points, but we perhaps struggled a bit more with the hot conditions today than some other teams. It was great to see Leon again fighting with the top group and to be in the battle for the top five in both races was very positive and represents a big step in performance at this circuit compared to last year. For his first time at Chang International Circuit, Jake had a challenging weekend but in today's race he showed his potential again running in the top ten during the race, so it's another valuable learning experience for him. It's another step in the right direction for us and puts us in good shape ahead of the next round at Aragon.
Points for Milwaukee Aprilia with Savadori as Laverty crashes at Race 2
Chang International Circuit 25 / 03 / 2018
Race Two Report
Milwaukee Aprilia scored 7 consolation points in Race 2 at Chang with Lorenzo Savadori, but missed out on more after a crash for Eugene Laverty on lap 4.
Starting P6 Laverty looked set for a promising result on Sunday. From the start he was mixing with the leading riders, fighting closely with Fores and Davies. Problems quickly developed with his front tyre however, and he began to fall back towards Torres in P9. His tyre finally gave up at Turn 6 on lap 4, and tucked under causing Eugene a low-side crash. Torres was close behind and was caught up in the accident, hitting Eugene on the ground and falling from his own bike.
Eugene was taken to the medical centre for treatment and was experiencing lower back pain. He was later taken to local hospital and diagnosed with a broken right-hand side pubic ramus bone. No surgery is needed as the bone is not weight-bearing when standing, but will require intensive recuperation for Eugene.
Lorenzo rode another gritty and determined race, competing in the lower points initially before moving up the field albeit as other riders retired. He again showed his fighting spirit as he held on to P9 from lap 7 until the end to take 7 points, despite the considerable pain from his collarbone injury.
Though the weekend did not bring the team the results they had hoped for they can take encouragement from Lorenzo's battling rides whilst not at his peak ability, and wish Eugene a speedy recovery from his racing incident.
The Superbike Word championship now heads to the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain for the start of the first European stint of races, from 13 - 15 April.
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
"It was cruel luck for Eugene today. We made significant improvements overnight and his times in morning warm up showed that he had strong pace for Race 2. The injuries he sustained in his crash on lap 4 are serious enough that he will be sidelined for a number of weeks, but it's too early to say how long for. The focus today is to get Eugene stable and back home as soon as he is fit to travel.
Lorenzo dug deep today, and all credit to him for delivering two strong point-scoring races just four weeks after breaking his collarbone. Hopefully he will be back to full strength for Aragon and ready to challenge at his peak again.
In light of Eugene's injuries we have got to take positives from the weekend. Our package is clearly getting more and more competitive, and we are there at the sharp end. We head into a busy European race stint now, and we aim to continue building on our strong start to 2018."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race 2 result:
P9 - 7 points
Total weekend points score:
"It was another difficult race for me dealing with the pain, and even this morning the warm up was hard after yesterday's race. I had an OK start and maintained a good rhythm, as much as I could with my shoulder. The bike felt good and it was useful data for me in my first two races this year.
It was a difficult weekend overall for me and it was frustrating to not push 100% for the races. But, it was positive to go home with 11 points in the championship which I think is a good result. Also I am really sorry for Eugene and I hope he is OK after his crash today, and I hope we can race together soon.
Ahead of Aragon I need to assess my condition again, I want to arrive at maximum fitness and that is my focus at the moment. We are following a good development path from Phillip Island, and I'm looking forward to continuing it in Spain."
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race 2 result:
Total weekend points score:
Stunning Top Ten For Triple M Rookies in Thailand
Chang International Circuit, Thailand
The all-new Triple M Honda World Superbike Team secured their best finish to date thanks to a tenth place for their American rider PJ Jacobsen in race two at a hot and steamy Buriram in Thailand today.
Following on from 17th place in race one, when PJ finished ahead of his countryman Jake Gagne, Jacobsen scored tenth place in race two, finishing much closer to the leading rider in Thailand than he had in the opening round in Australia last month.
PJ was only a couple of seconds from ninth place, and had four more experienced riders behind him in only his second full Superbike event. A long time rider in WorldSSP before making the jump to Superbike with his new Triple M Honda team this season, PJ had qualified 17th on the grid after Superpole 1 on Saturday, shortly before race one.
Despite ambient air temperatures of 33°C Jacobsen and his bike ran strongly for all 20-laps in each race, with PJ trimming several seconds from his overall race one time in today’s race. Great advances in the team’s electronics and chassis settings were the main areas of improvement for team at this round, after a very respectable debut at Phillip Island in late February.
Thanks to his second race haul of six points, plus the two he scored in round one, PJ is now 17th in the championship rankings. The next round will take place in Europe for the first time in 2018, at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain, between 13th and 15th April.
PJ Jacobsen 99
Our first top ten in WorldSBK was a good step for us. We have come a long way since the first round in Phillip Island, both with the electronics and with the chassis and electronics going together. It has been a huge step and the team is brand new. Everything has just really gelled together. I got to have our first real race with someone yesterday, when I competed with Yonny Hernandez, so it was good to do that. And also to get the experience of how the bike is reacting in a real race. Today was even better and our pace was not too bad. I saw Lorenzo Savadori in front of me and I really wanted to hold onto him, and try to get to the end. I am really happy for the team because they started out two months ago with literally nothing and they have built this whole team, which is absolutely amazing.
- Triple M Honda World Superbike Team
I am happy with the result of both races in Thailand. In Race 1 we didn't get what we expected but PJ was close to the group fighting for 11th position. We made another small step in race pace for race 2 and we got a great tenth position. We are still working a lot with the new Marelli electronic system but we are looking forward. Thanks to Honda for their support and the mechanics for their hard work. PJ did a great job in the office today!
- Triple M Honda World Superbike Team
Disappointment for Gulf Althea BMW at Buriram
Buriram (Thailand), Sunday 25 March 2018
The Gulf Althea BMW Racing team and rider Loris Baz conclude round two of the Superbike world championship at the Chang International Circuit, crossing the line twelfth in race two.
Superbike - Race 2 – fifteenth on the grid, Baz earned a position off the line. In difficulty with both the front and rear of his BMW S 1000 RR, the Frenchman struggled to maintain a fast pace, oscillating between 13th and 14th position for the best part of the 20-lap race. In the final stages, he was able to gain one more position, thus closing today’s race in twelfth place.
After the first two rounds, Baz places ninth in the overall standings with 21 points, while BMW, with 21 points, lies sixth in the manufacturer’s standings.
The Gulf Althea BMW Racing team will be back on track from 13 to 15 April, at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain, for round 3 of the championship.
"We tried something in the warm-up which felt better but it didn’t work in the race. The advantage I had with the front yesterday was not apparent today, it was locking up and, in addition, there was also the rear issue to contend with too. I tried to be as consistent as I could and came close to finishing with the same result as yesterday. Overall, not a good weekend for us though. We need to change our work method, as we are not improving enough throughout the weekend, while our rivals do so.”
“Baz showed that he’s still not 100% fit, suffering particularly through the right-handers, of which there are many at Buriram. Aside from this, there’s also the electronics issue, an area in which we need to improve further. The competition is taking steps forward and we are unfortunately still in a stalemate situation. We need to see what to do together with our German colleagues; we’ve scheduled a series of tests to try and resolve this problem. For now, the races are falling below our expectations so we hope for a timely solution, both physical and technical, that will help us to improve our overall package.”
WorldSSP: Krummenacher wins briliant Buriram battle
The FIM Supersport World Championship heads to Europe all level at the top
Krummenacher took stunning race victory in Thai heat
Round One runner-up Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) took his second World Supersport race victory to tie the points lead in the 2018 Championship, beating Australian Round winner Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) in a last-lap thriller in Thailand. Frenchman Mahias had been the rider to beat all weekend and claimed pole position with some comfort, but the reigning Champion missed the start and was never able to consolidate the race lead.
2016 Thai Round winner Jules Cluzel (NRT) took the holeshot and eventually broke clear after an unsuccessful attempt to recover off the opening turn from Lucas Mahias. But Cluzel started to make mistakes under pressure as the race went on, committing an unforced error by running wide on lap eight and giving up the lead to his fellow countryman. He recovered two laps later down the backstraight and into turn three, but his next misjudgement proved critical – a turn five lowside on lap thirteen sending him into the gravel and out of the race.
Cluzel´s crash released the top four finishers from the Australian Round to chase the win, the lead group having broken clear right from the early stages. And it was Switzerland´s Randy Krummenacher who fought his way from fourth to first in a matter of three laps, in the process setting a new lap record at the Chang International Circuit.
Lucas Mahias, bidding for his first Thai Round victory after a retirement in the race last year, struggled for top-end pace and was therefore unable to make a successful pass on Krummenacher, although he did stay with him thanks to his superior mid-corner speed. In a brave last-bend effort, Mahias finally played his cards and took a dive down the inside in a bid for victory. Krummenacher, though, remained composed and made a perfect cutback, blocking out Mahias in a drag race down to the line with the pair even touching over the final metres.
Behind the lead duo, Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) renewed a rivalry over third position that saw them separated by a photo finish in Australia. Again, Cortese was the rider with the pace in the second half of the race, having had to work hard to break clear of the chasing pack and join the lead quartet. But it was Federico Caricasulo, consistent throughout, who reversed the Australian result by holding back all of Cortese´s overtaking attempts. 2017 Thai Round winner Caricasulo ran as high as second position in the 2018 race, having passed teammate Lucas Mahias on the opening lap. But Mahias surprised Caricasulo down the inside into turn eight on lap three, and set new lap record pace to break clear. Randy Krummenacher improved on that later, during his march towards victory.
After his Thai Round fall, Jules Cluzel will head to Europe a massive 36 points down on the two series leaders Randy Krummenacher and Lucas Mahias, another tie behind them over third position between Federico Caricasulo and Sandro Cortese. The highest non-Yamaha runner is Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) in fifth, scoring consistent points and enjoying a strong race in Buriram with seventh.
WorldSSP riders now prepare for Round Three of the MOTUL Superbike World Championship at MotorLand Aragon from 13th - 15th April.
P1 - Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
"It feels great, I was dreaming of this victory! It's a very very nice feeling and I enjoyed the race a lot, I worked so hard. I will continue working in the same way because it shows me its the right one."
#THAIWorldSBK WorldSSP at Chang International Circuit - Race
1. Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team)
2. Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +0.048
3. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +1.213
KRUMMENACHER CELEBRATES ON TOP OF THE PODIUM
Buriram (Thailand) 25 March 2018
The Supersport race run today at the tough and very hot Buriram track in Thailand proved to be a thriller. At 2.30pm local time, with temperatures in the region of 35°C, the lights went out, signalling the start of an action-packed race, in which Krummenacher started from fifth on the grid and immediately started to play catch-up. The Swiss rider quickly began to make up positions, moving into fourth place on lap two and then into the lead on lap thirteen, putting Italian rider Caricasulo and current world champion Lucas Mahias behind him. During the final stages, the Bardahl Evan Bros. Racing team rider showed his determination as he battled with Frenchman Mahias. Krummenacher didn't just settle for scoring the race win, but also the Pirelli Best Lap, setting a best of 1'37.620.
#RK21: "What can I say, I'm really happy. This win really spurs me on. After yesterday's qualifying I knew it would be difficult to achieve this result but in this morning's warm-up, I got my confidence back and this helped me to concentrate. I knew I had good pace and could make up some positions but a win in these conditions is a really nice surprise. Mahias is very strong and in the last laps I had to fight with him but in the end I did it. Now we'll continue to work and improve ahead of the first European round that will take place on 15 April at Aragon. I want to thank my team for the great work they've done, my family for their support and all my sponsors for their fundamental support."
GRT Yamaha Secure Stunning Double Podium in Buriram
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team enjoyed a superb Sunday in a hot and humid Buriram, Thailand at Round 2 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship. Lucas Mahias had been the man to beat all weekend and - starting from pole position - was involved in a spectacular battle for the race win that came right down to the line. The man from Mont-de-Marsan gave it his all before crossing the line in second, just missing out on his second win of the season by 0.048s, and he is now the joint leader of the WorldSSP Championship standings with 45 points from the first two races. His teammate Federico Caricasulo made sure it was a day to celebrate for the team as he also put in an excellent performance to finish in third, just 1.213s off the race winner, to secure his first rostrum of the season and the maiden double podium for the team.
Mahias scorched to his third consecutive WorldSSP pole position on Saturday at the Chang International Circuit and when the lights went out on for Sunday's race he became embroiled in a brilliant battle for the lead with his teammate Caricasulo and fellow Yamaha rider Jules Cluzel (NRT). As the race went on, it looked lit would be a duel to the line between the three riders on Yamaha R6s before Krummenacher - also riding a Yamaha R6 - joined in the scrap for victory. It soon became a five-way fight at the front as Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) - also riding a Yamaha R6 - joined on the back of the leading group. Cluzel then crashed out of the race on lap 13, leaving Mahias and Krummenacher to duke it out for the race win. It was a classic fight between the two, with Mahias appearing to lose out on the straights to the Swiss rider, but making up swathes of time in the corners. They were inseparable until the last corner on the penultimate lap when Mahias almost lost the front and dropped 0.5s behind his rival. Undeterred, he showed incredible skill and determination to close the gap enough to make an audacious move under braking at the final corner on the last lap. He got past Krummenacher but ran a bit wide and the Swiss rider made contact with Mahias in the sprint to the line. It was a dramatic finish with Mahias missing out on his third consecutive WorldSSP victory by just 0.048s in a sensational finale to the race. This result meant Mahias collected 20 points to add to his race victory in Phillip Island and he is now joint leader of the championship, level on 45 points with Krummenacher.
His teammate Caricasulo had a great start from third on the grid and was immediately involved in the battle for the lead. After a few laps, he settled into a superb rhythm in third place and was battling for the victory for the majority of the race before he became involved in a great fight with Cortese. As he fought brilliantly to defend the final podium spot it, unfortunately, cost him time and made him lose touch with Mahias and Krummenacher at the front. Showing great maturity for his age, the 21-year-old Italian maintained his focus to fight off the attentions of Cortese and secure his first podium of 2018 and fifth for the team by crossing the line in third, just 1.213s behind the winner. He collected 16 points for his efforts which means he is now third overall in the championship standings with 25 points, level on points with Sandro Cortese and just 16 points behind his teammate Mahias.
It was another superb day for Yamaha as they locked out the podium and completed a Yamaha 1-2-3-4 with Krummenacher and Cortese in first and fourth respectively. The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are now looking forward to Round 3 of the 2018 Supersport World Championship at Aragon on the 13-15th of April. Check out the full race results.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 2nd +0.048s
"It was a very good race! I am not really happy because I finished in second and I always want to win. I am not sure why, but I seemed to be losing out a bit when it came to top speed on the straights, maybe it was the hotter temperatures today or the final gear ratio settings, as I spent every session riding on my own throughout the weekend. Perhaps we made a slight mistake but we will look at the data to find the reason. I had one strategy, which was to overtake Randy in the last lap - at the same corner I had overtaken Federico, but one lap before I almost lost the front in the last corner and it cost me 0.5s. After that, I pushed incredibly hard to try and close the gap to Randy on the last lap but in the first two sectors, with the straights, it was impossible to close the gap. Then I managed to close right up in the final sectors and I tried to beat him on the brakes into the last corner but Randy was very strong on the brakes and it was a good finish to the race. For sure, I would prefer to have won but I like fighting like this during the race. If you compare my start this year to last season, I only had 20 points after the first two races and still won the championship in 2017, while this year I already have 45 points! it is impossible to win the title in the first few races, but it is easy to lose it. The target remains the same, to push for lots of victories, not thinking about the points or the championship, but just going for the win. I am feeling confident for Aragon because I have the best team in the paddock and they always work incredibly hard to improve my R6 and I really enjoy working with them. I love the Aragon track, it was where I took my first WorldSSP victory last year and I am looking forward to going there and battling for the win!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 3rd +1.213s
"I am happy with the result! I wanted more but today that was impossible as I was just losing a little on corner exit to my rivals. The race was not easy because it was really hot and we pushed at the maximum for all of the 17 laps but I am happy with what the result means for the championship and for the way my team worked. My bike mid-corner and under braking was really good and I am sure in Aragon we can be fighting for the victory!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
"We missed out on the race win but we are very happy as this is our first double podium. The team worked really hard for the whole weekend and we had a very good race pace but, in the end, racing is racing. Lucas tried his best to win but, unfortunately, sometimes you have to come second as well. Federico had a superb race and I am very happy for him as he just missed out on the podium in Phillip Island and he deserved it here. We will continue to work hard in the build-up to Aragon to allow both riders to fight for the win there. I want to thank the whole team who, despite being so far from home, did an amazing job and they are such a great group of guys that I am extremely proud of every single one of them. Thank you to Yamaha as well, because they always give us the best package they can and we are already looking forward to Aragon."
Tuuli battles back for top ten at Chang
Posted on 25th March 2018
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Niki Tuuli fought through from the sixth row of the grid to finish ninth in today’s 17-lap World Supersport race at Chang International Circuit and takes away more valuable Championship points to build upon.
Tuuli said: “My start position wasn’t that good but we still hoped to get good points. First of all I got a much better start than in Australia but it wasn’t perfect. The first 6 to 8 laps I was losing a lot with the new tyre but I found my own riding step by step and I improved to the end. I’m happy we got points. At Aragon we have to think what we can do because the problem is my own riding. We are seventh in the Championship so we still have a chance, I just have to relax and be my own self on the track. Big thanks to the team how they understand and support me, it’s really nice.”
It was teammate Andrew Irwin’s first experience of racing in the intense Thai heat but he achieved his aim of finishing inside the top twenty in his first World Supersport race.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager said: “From 18th on the grid to finish 9th we must be happy. We made a setting change for the race which gave Niki more confidence in the front., we’ve only ever had one rider ride a front fork setting like this before and that was Kyle Smith. Niki appreciates that he needs to adapt his riding style to get the very best out of the Honda. This result shows again what a great team unit CIA Landlord Insurance Honda are and I am very proud of everyone and happy for Niki. We are still some way behind in seventh so we need to chase that down and never give up.”
“Andrew has got his first WSS race under his belt. His aim was top twenty and it’s been a good learning experience for him to build on going into the next round at Aragon.”
Okubo Falls But Finishes As Wildcard Scores Strongly
Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was unfortunate to fall on the last lap of the WorldSSP race in Thailand as he tried to close out a well-deserved top ten finish. He re-started to finish 19th. Wildcard rider Thitipong Warokorn (Core Kawasaki Thailand Racing Team) was the top Kawasaki finisher today, in a fine fifth place.
Hot conditions arrived in force on Sunday at the Chang International Circuit, with the air temperature recorded at 34°C. I made for a hard race for Okubo and his fellow Kawasaki riders.
Getting into sixth place on lap one, Okubo gradually went back to ninth place before a last corner fall stopped his chance of scoring points. His determination to restart took him to an eventual 19th place.
Replacing injured regular rider Kenan Sofuoglu this weekend, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished 16th in the 17-lap race. He missed out on a points score by just one single finishing position.
The next round on the calendar takes place in Spain, at Motorland Aragon, between 13th and 15th April.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “It was a very tough race but my start was not so bad, as I went from ninth place to sixth. I tried to push hard but the top group were fast every lap so my group was a little bit behind. In the last seven laps I had a drop in tyre performance but I never gave up and pushed again near the end. In the last corner of the last lap I tried to overtake another rider but I lost the front and crashed. I want to say sorry to the team for that but this race was very important because I found a good feeling again. The next race is Aragon and I like it there. I want to get a podium.”
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, stated: “I feel happy to finish the race but it was a very difficult weekend in some ways. It was my first time with a Supersport bike, plus the suspension and tyres were all new for me, so I had to adapt to a lot of things. I did not have so much time to understand more things with the bike. It was difficult but I am happy to have finished the race. The experience with the team was great and I would like to say thank you very much to Kawasaki Puccetti Racing for my chance to ride this bike. I gained a lot of experience because this is a top team in the world championship. It was an honour to be here and working with them. I hope I can get more chances like this in the future.”
Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) was unable to stay in contention on the straights but recorded a more than creditable sixth place, winning a last lap battle on his way to ten championship points.
Regular WorldSSP rider Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) had a crash and could not finish. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) also fell, got back on to ride to the pits, but finally retired. In his first WorldSSP race as a stand-in rider for the injured Michael Canducci, Ted Collins (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 22nd.