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Aug 31, 2010

Biaggi Heads To Nurburgring This Coming Weekend With A 60-Point Lead In The Superbike World Championship

Historic circuit gets the WSBK machine back into gear

The 2010 HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship approaches the final stretch this weekend, with the 11th round of the series taking place at the Nürburgring between 3 and 5 September. Only two subsequent rounds will remain after the restart of action in Germany - Imola on September 26 and Magny-Cours on 3 October.

Located in western Germany, the Nürburgring is one of the most popular circuits for the riders, as it offers a series of challenges along its 5.137km length, and a high degree of rider satisfaction if a 'perfect' lap is achieved. Competition in the World Superbike Championship is far from slowing down as the season begins to wind up, as current leader Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) has Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) 60 points behind him, but with 150 points up for grabs for any rider who wins the final six individual races.

Both of these riders raced at the Nürburgring last year but neither managed to post a podium finish. They have no shortage of immediate competitors who did in, however, with championship third place rider Jonathan Rea (HANNspree Ten Kate Honda) winning the second race in '09, Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) going second in race one and Carlos Checa, now riding for Althea Ducati, third in each German race. Rea is currently third on 243 points, 130 behind the lead. Checa is fourth, on 204 points.

The long summer break during August has been a welcome one for some riders, but with valuable points up for grabs the mass of WSB riders will be keen to get back into full race mode this weekend. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) pushed himself up to fifth in the championship with his first two wins in WSBK racing last time out at Silverstone. He knows his machine can win at Nürburgring, as eventual champion Ben Spies was victorious on the same model of machine in race one last year. Crutchlow's team-mate James Toseland is a two-time World Superbike Champion, but still looking for his first race success in Yamaha colours. He is sixth in the rankings, only nine points behind Crutchlow.

The fight for the last few top ten places is already at fever pitch, with Noriyuki Haga, Leon Camier (Alitalia Aprilia), Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox), Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Alstare) closely packed together, from seventh to 11th in the rankings. Even from Crutchlow in fifth to Guintoli in 11th, there is a spread of only 37 points, making almost anything possible in the midfield before season's end.

Since the last round in Silverstone, Max Neukirchner (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) has won a race at the IDM Superbike championship. At his home circuit in Germany he will be particularly keen to make a move back up the championship rankings from his current 18th place. Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati) is a lonely 12th at present; over 50 points clear of Jakub Smrz (PATA B&G Aprilia) and Ruben Xaus (BMW Motorrad Motorsport). Ducati privateer Luca Scassa (Supersonic Team) is the last rider inside the top 15 so far, but works Kawasaki Racing Team man Tom Sykes wants to be on the march forward at this round. He will, in his turn, have Lorenzo Lanzi pushing hard to get ahead of him on his DFX Corse Ducati. Sykes has another new team-mate in the KRT squad this time out, Northern Irish rider Ian Lowry, who is standing in for the injured Chris Vermeulen. Pedercini Kawasaki team-mates Roger Lee Hayden and Matteo Baiocco will be back in the mix in Germany. Replacing Broc Parkes in the Echo CRS Honda team will be Italian WSB debutant Fabrizio Lai.

Points (after 10 rounds of 13): 1. Biaggi 373; 2. Haslam 313; 3. Rea 243; 4. Checa 204; 5. Crutchlow 188; 6. Toseland 179; 7. Haga 177; 8. Camier 164; 9. Fabrizio 160; 10. Corser 155. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 385; 2. Suzuki 334; 3. Ducati 297; 4. Yamaha 256; 5. Honda 254; 6. BMW 174; 7. Kawasaki 57.

WORLD SUPERSPORT: Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) now has only one realistic championship challenger, Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) after the accident suffered by Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki at Silverstone. Laverty has scored a fabulous six wins so far, but he is still behind three-time race winner Sofuoglu, by 17 points. In fourth place ParkinGO Triumph BE-1's Chaz Davies is 43 points ahead of his closest challenger, Gino Rea (Intermoto Czech Honda) who scored his first podium last time round at Silverstone. Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda) is close behind Rea, with David Salom also right in there for fifth, on his Triumph. Michele Pirro (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) will come back into the fray after suffering injury at the Brno round and missing out on the Silverstone round.

Points (after 10 rounds of 13): 1. Sofuoglu 203; 2. Laverty 186; 3. Lascorz 168; 4. Davies 126; 5. Rea 83; 6. Harms 82; 7. Salom 80; 8. Lagrive 65; 9. Fujiwara 60; 10. Pirro 58. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 245; 2. Kawasaki 172; 3. Triumph 136; 4. Yamaha 16

SUPERSTOCK 1000: Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia STK) carried off the overall FIM Cup last time out at Silverstone, but at the home country of his machine's manufacturer he will be out to keep his perfect win record intact. Second place in the championship is still a very live fight, with Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Racing Junior Honda), Michele Magnoni (Bevilacqua Corse Honda), Andrea Antonelli (Team Lorini Honda), Davide Giugliano (Team06 Suzuki) and Loris Baz (MRS Yamaha) all set to try and claim runner-up spot by season's end.

Points (after 7 rounds of 10): 1. Badovini 175; 2. Berger 86; 3. Magnoni 84; 4.Antonelli 73; 5. Giugliano 62; 6. Baz 54; 7. Barrier 47; 8. Petrucci 43; 9. Bussolotti 37; 10. Mahr 35. Manufacturers: 1. BMW 175; 2. Honda 129; 3. Suzuki 78; 4. Ducati 59; 5. Yamaha 56; 6. Kawasaki 46; 7.KTM 30; 8. Aprilia 18.

SUPERSTOCK 600: Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha) leads his fellow Frenchman Florian Marino (Ten Kate Junior Racing Honda) by 26 points, with only these two riders in the final fight for the championship now. Federico D'Annunzio (Martini Corse Yamaha) no scored last time out but is still third, on the same 70 points total as his team-mate Dino Lombardi.

Points (after 7 rounds of 10): 1. Guarnoni 152; 2. Marino 126; 3. D'Annunzio 70; 4. Lombardi 70; 5. Fanelli 64; 6.Karlsen 51; 7. Calero Perez 51; 8. Lanusse 44; 9. Le Coquen 42; 10. Elliot 31.

TRIUMPH PARKINGO SERIES: The single make Triumph ParkinGO European Series continues apace in Germany, featuring identical Triumph Street Triple R machines, raced by a mix of experienced and amateur riders. The challenge of the Nürburgring is one that all the riders are eagerly anticipating, especially championship leader Fabrizio Perotti, who could win the title this time out if results go his way. Two rounds remain, at the Nürburgring and then the season finale at Magny-Cours on October 3rd.

THE CIRCUIT: The modern-day Nürburgring is a very different one from the nearby 20th century classic, the 'Nordschleife'. Nevertheless, the 5.137km circuit that welcomes WSBK racing this weekend still has plenty of elevation changes, fast and slow corners and overtaking opportunities. WSBK racing first started at the Nürburgring in 1998 and 1999, and returned in 2008 and 2009. High drama and close competition have been the keynotes of recent races at this venue, although being located in the Eifel Mountains the track can be subject to rapid and sometimes extreme changes in weather conditions.

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Alstare:


After the long summer break, Team Suzuki Alstare are looking forward to the eleventh round of this year's Superbike World Championship at the Nurburgring, Germany this coming weekend. The track is situated relatively close to the team's headquarters, so it will be almost a 'home event' for the team.

This will be the fifth time that the Superbike World Championship has visited the 5.137 kilometre circuit, set in the Eifel mountains and, as usual, the weather conditions are likely to play a part in the proceedings.

Team Suzuki Alstare rider Leon Haslam lies sixty points behind series leader Max Biaggi but is determined to push the Italian as hard as he can and reduce the deficit come Sunday evening.

Last year, I managed a sixth and a fifth on a privateer bike, so I am looking forward to this year's round and challenging for the podium in both races. For sure I would like to win both races and put pressure on Max, but there are a lot of good riders and good bikes out there and it's not going to be an easy weekend. But, I wouldn't be out there if I didn't like the battle and I get a real buzz mixing it with the rest of the top riders. We've had a good, long break and although I have been training hard and doing a lot of riding (mainly off-road), there is nothing like being on the track and racing flat out. All I can do is the best I can, beat Max in both races and hope he gets a couple of poor results.

I didn't race at the Nurburgring last year, so this will be my first time there on a Superbike. I have definitely been happier these past few races and feel I now know a lot more about World Superbikes then at the start of the season. I know I say it a lot, but this series is so competitive and the smallest of margins can make such big differences. I have been keeping fit during the long break and cannot wait to be at the racetrack again and get back on my Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000. As usual, my aim is to qualify well, be in a good place on the grid and then fight for the podium.

2009 results
Race 1: Ben Spies (USA-Yamaha), 2 Noriyuki Haga (JPN-Ducati), 3 Carlos Checa (ESP-Honda), 6 Leon Haslam (GBR-Honda), Sylvain Guintoli DNS,
Race 2: Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda), 2 Spies, 3 Checa, 5 Leon Haslam (GBR-Honda), Sylvain Guintoli DNS.

More, from a press release issued by Paul Bird Motorsports Kawasaki:

Kawasaki Racing Team chase success at the Nurburgring

British Superbike double race winner, Tom Sykes and newly signed Ian Lowry head to the historic and famous Nurburgring, in Germany this weekend ready for Round 11 of the Hannspree World Superbike Championship where they hope to continue to bring their Kawasaki machine home in the points.

Replacing injured Chris Vermuelen, 23-year-old, Ian Lowry from Northern Ireland, will continue his run with the Kawasaki Racing team after a successful run on the Ninja ZX-10R at the MCE British Superbikes at Brands Hatch in early August and a good test in Spain last week.

Sykes has not had much of a break during August having competed in and won both races at Brands Hatch at the British Superbikes in early August and also accomplished two-test runs on the new 2011 Ninja. Sykes hopes he can secure strong point scoring finishes on the run down to the season end. Sykes, who turned 24 during August, is ready for the challenge at the Nurburgring circuit, which is known to be one of the fastest tracks on the Championship calendar. Renowned for its fast and furious racing, the 5.137km circuit is a favourite among the WSB riders.

Lowry's career highlights to date include a second place in British Supersport in 2007 followed by a third in 2008. The youngster made the leap to British Superbikes in 2009 and was awarded top Rookie after a being fifth in the Championship overall.

Ian Lowry: "I am really grateful for this opportunity to ride for the Factory Kawasaki squad and just cannot wait to get to the Nurburgring this weekend. It's a dream to compete in the World Superbike Championship at this level and with the support of such a professional team who give me an immense amount of confidence. I enjoyed riding for the team at Brands Hatch and the test in Almeria Spain last week. I know how competitive the World Superbike Championship is and I intend to make the most of this opportunity and repay the team with two strong finishes. I'm really looking forward to getting a full spin out on the bike again and am really excited to head to the Nurburgring. "

Tom Sykes: "I'm looking forward to the race this weekend despite not having had too much of a summer break off the bike. I moved house and had a birthday during August as well as a test in Japan on the new bike straight after Silverstone, then a wildcard ride at Brands Hatch British Superbikes, where the team enjoyed some well earned race wins. We then had another test last week in Almeria which was cut short due to horrendous high temperatures but still managed over a day and half of track time. Needless to say I'm still feeling very fit and motivated and am looking forward to turning the previous development into some decent race results at the Nurburgring."

Round 11 of the Hannspree World Superbike Series Germany gets under way on the 4-6 September 2010.

More, from a press release issued by Xerox Ducati:


The Ducati Marlboro Team return home this weekend looking to put on a good show for the local crowd at Misano and make up for a disappointing race last year, which Casey Stoner missed through illness whilst Nicky Hayden was taken out by another rider in the first turn.

Both riders have shown their pace around the Italian circuit previously, however, Stoner having won in 2007 and leading the 2008 race before crashing, and Hayden finding a good set-up and pace for his Ducati in practice last year.

As always the Ducatisti will be out in force to support them from the Ducati grandstand, which is located in the "Variante Parco", the first turn after the start-finish straight.

CASEY STONER, Ducati Marlboro Team
"Indy was obviously a big disappointment for us but we're looking ahead. I am happy to be going to one of Ducati's home circuits and a place where we have gone fast in the past. It is the third of the races I missed in 2009 so we'll see what we can do this weekend. We'll have to work hard on the front again because we don't want to take a backward step on the progress we've made recently. The whole team is working really hard, the guys are giving everything like always so hopefully we can have a good result to celebrate on Sunday."

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team
"We have travelled straight from Indianapolis to Italy so it feels like a short week! We had a really good pace in race trim during practice and warm-up at Misano last year but I got hit from behind in the race on the Sunday. It is always special to race a Ducati in Italy and I can't wait for it. Last year went like I said and in 2008 I didn't race because of a foot injury so we'll try to make up for it on Sunday, when I'm sure we'll have the support of a lot of fans and a lot of people from Ducati."

"The race definitely didn't go to plan at Indianapolis but both Casey and Nicky had the pace to be on the podium. Now we head to Misano, a place where both riders have proved in the past that they can be on the pace so we hope that's the case again this weekend. As always the team is doing an incredible job to put them in the best possible shape."

The Misano Adriatico circuit was built at the start of the seventies and has since undergone a series of modifications that have altered both the length, which has been extended from 3.488km to 4.226km, and the layout as well as updates to the pit facilities and paddock. The current layout, which was switched from anti-clockwise to clockwise in 2007 when MotoGP returned after a 16-year absence, looks straightforward but is far from it. It is actually a technical, slow circuit with tight corners other than the famously fast "Curvone" right-hander.


Circuir Record: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha - 2009), 1'34.746 160.572 Km/h
Best Pole: Casey Stoner (Ducati 2008), 1'33.378 162.924 km/h
Circuit Length: 4,226 km
MotoGP Race 2010: 28 giri (118.328 km)
MotoGP Schedule 2010: 14:00 Local Time
Number of laps: 28
Race distance: 118.328km

PODIUM 2009 : 1st Valentino Rossi, 2nd Jorge Lorenzo, 3rd Dani Pedrosa
POLE 2009: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha 2009), 1'34.338 - 161.266 km/h


2009: DNF
2008: 9th (Melandri)
2007: 1st (Stoner)

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Crutchlow and Toseland get back to business in Germany

The warm weather may well be nearly over but the heat is definitely on for the Yamaha Sterilgarda Team as they head to the Nurburgring in Germany after the summer break. Fresh from a month off the team will be looking to capitalise on the sensational double victory scored by British rider Cal Crutchlow on home ground at Silverstone in early August. The two race wins catapulted Crutchlow up the championship standings to fifth place, just in front of his team mate James Toseland in sixth. With three rounds and six races left to run there's a potential 150 points for each rider out there to take the British duo up to a potential top 3 place in the standings.

Crutchlow's last visit to the infamous Nurburgring in the Eiffel mountains in the 2009 World Supersport championship saw him dominate the weekend, taking pole with an incredible 1.3 second lead over his closest rival before going on to take his fifth race win of the season on the Sunday. Team mate Toseland hasn't turned a wheel on the track since his Supersport days in 1999 but comes to Germany focused on delivering results and fighting for the third position spot in the championship.

"I can't wait to get back on the bike again", said Cal Crutchlow. "Finally winning two races at Silverstone was the result of lots of hard work by the team and I, I want to get straight to Germany and hope to do it again. I always find the summer break too long and really miss racing so I'm happy it's time to go again. I had a brilliant result at the Nurburgring last year, it would be perfect to repeat the success I had on the R6 Supersport bike on the R1 Superbike. I managed to dislocate my knee riding my bicycle over the holiday but it is pretty much back to normal now and will be fine for the races!"

"The last time I was at the Nurburgring I was 18 years old, so it's been a couple of years!" James Toseland commented. "Since then I've been to Oschersleben in Germany but not back to the ring so I'm really looking forward to it. There are only three rounds left now, we were close to the podium at Silverstone but due to my unfortunate fall in qualifying I was held up. I have had a good holiday and I'm now raring to go to get on with it. I can't wait to get to the track and get stuck in on Friday morning."

Nurburgring Technically speaking according to Marcus Eschenbacher, Cal Crutchlow's Crew Chief
"We will arrive in Germany having not touched the bikes since Silverstone so will start on Friday with the same settings from the UK. We developed a setting that worked very well there and as Cal already knows the German circuit well we will get straight down to fine tuning it for the corners and elevation changes of the Nurburgring. We should be ready with the setting by Saturday so will then focus on making sure we have the right tyre choice for the two races on Sunday.˝

Nurburgring technically speaking according to Frankie Carchedi, James Toseland's Crew Chief
"Silverstone was a great weekend for all the team with Yamaha's first win of the season. We will be looking to build on that result for the rest of the season. Nurburgring is a circuit that demands many aspects of a bike set-up, slow and fast corners, rises and falls. We will start with a bike as we finished Silverstone so that James can learn the track. Once up to speed we have prepared a different set-up on his second bike for him to try. It is to help him out of the slower corners by keeping the front down more, maybe allowing us to use a little more torque."

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager
"We've been waiting for this weekend after a long break and are optimistic after the great weekend we had in Silverstone. I think we can achieve some good results again in Germany. We have had a break as a team so the bike will be the same as it was when we left the UK. The characteristic of the circuit suits our bike and after Cal's performance last year we are confident for the races. James has not raced here for some years but I believe he will pick up the circuit again quickly."

More, from a press release issued by Alitalia Aprilia:

World Superbike returns.

The Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team is back on the track at the historic German Nurburgring circuit with a double world leadership to defend.

Noale, 31 August 2010 - After the customary summer break, the time has come for the Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team to return to the track for the German round, the eleventh in this year's World Superbike. With two leaderships to defend - both in the rider class with Max Biaggi and in the manufacturer class - and with three rounds left to race, an adrenaline filled season finale is in store for the red, white and green team.

The 2010 WSBK championship has held great satisfaction as well as high expectations for the Aprilia Alitalia team up to this point.

The team from Veneto has taken 9 wins, all achieved by four time World Champion Max Biaggi, and another 7 podiums, 3 of which are credited to Brit Leon Camier.

These extraordinary results - remember that the RSV4 is only in its second year of racing - translate into 373 points for Max Biaggi, 60 more than the second place holder, Leon Haslam on his Suzuki, while Aprilia is at the top of the manufacturer rankings with 385 points against Suzuki's 334 and Ducati's 297.

"I can't wait to get back on the track! - confirms ranking leader Max Biaggi - The holidays are important and pleasant, of course, but the call of the race is always irresistible. We'll be on the Nurburgring, a nice track, I'd say less disagreeable to our RSV4 than Silverstone, and the last leg of the season, the decisive leg, awaits us. Obviously I'm happy with what I've done so far, but you only count up the points at the end, so don't talk to me about strange strategies or point calculations. We have two first places to defend and that is not a simple thing: you've seen how easy it is to lose points. Our opponents are ready to take advantage of every false move we make. There are still six races and that's 150 points up for grabs, so mathematically anything is still possible. For the entire team this is the time to find maximum concentration again. Each race from here on out can be decisive."

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