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Oct 7, 2012

FIM Superbike World Championship Race Two Results From Magny-Cours

Tom Sykes.
FIM Superbike World Championship
Magny-Cours, France
October 7, 2012
Race Two Results (wet conditions, all on Pirelli tires):

1. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 23 laps, 38:15.725
2. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), -1.354 seconds
3. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Ducati 1098R), -2.393
4. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), -13.122
5. Max BIAGGI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), -13.955
6. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1098R), -18.229
7. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1098R), -18.430
8. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), -26.648
9. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), -33.809
10. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), -37.217
11. Maxime BERGER, France (Ducati 1098R), -38.871
12. Claudio CORTI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -55.714
13. Lorenzo ZANETTI, Italy (Ducati 1098R), -57.621
14. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (Honda CBR1000RR), -65.487
15. Norino BRIGNOLA, Italy (BMW S1000RR), -1 lap
16. Leon HASLAM, UK (BMW S1000RR), -8 laps, DNF, crash
17. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (BMW S1000RR), -15 laps, DNF, crash
18. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), -18 laps, DNF, crash
19. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -18 laps, DNF, crash


World Championship Point Standings (after 28 of 28 races):
1. Biaggi, 358 points
2. Sykes, 357.5
3. Melandri, 328.5
4. Checa, 287.5
5. Rea, 278.5
6. Laverty, 263.5
7. Guintoli, 213.5
8. Haslam, 200
9. Davies, 164.5
10. Giugliano, 143
11. Fabrizio, 137.5
12. Badovini, 133
13. Baz, 122
14. Camier, 115.5
15. Jakub Smrz, 92.5
16. Berger, 92
17. Zanetti, 68
18. Aoyama, 61.5
19. John Hopkins, 44
20. Niccolo Canepa, 42.5
21. David Salom, 22
22. Brett McCormick, 19
23. Joan Lascorz, 17
24. Corti, 11
25. Brignola, 10
26. Leandro Mercado, 9
27. TIE, Lorenzo Lanzi/Matteo Baiocco/Alexander Lundh, 8
30. Peter Hickman, 7
31. Bryan Staring, 6
32. Alessandro Polita, 4
33. Mark Aitchison, 3
34. Josh Brookes, 1




More, from a press release issued by Infront Motor Sports:

Biaggi champion again after closest ever finish

Magny-Cours (France), Sunday 7 October 2012 The closest ever finish in the history of the Superbike World Championship came today at Magny-Cours when Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) ended the second race in fifth place and in doing so he ended up the season 0.5 points ahead of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team).

Biaggi had fallen in the first eni FIM Superbike World Championship race of the day, leaving open a path of opportunity for Sykes and race one second place finisher Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport). With Melandri crashing out in spectacular style in race two it was down to Sykes to make the running and he did it in style after putting in his fourth race win of the year. Biaggi, receiving pit signals from his crew, had worked his way far enough forward to take the overall win and score his second SBK championship, adding to his 2010 season win, again for Aprilia.

Biaggi now has two world titles, 21 race wins, 70 podiums and five pole positions to his credit, and four 250GP titles to boot.

Max Biaggi: "This is the fourth world championship out of six that I have won at the final race, I seem to like difficult challenges! The 2012 season went right down to the wire: we started well with a win at Phillip Island after totally renewing my team and we also had some difficult moments. We had to work hard to win the title, and maybe for this reason it's even better. A big thanks to the Team, Aprilia and the Gruppo Piaggio, from President Colaninno to every factory worker, because my success is the result of the work of a great Italian company. Thanks also to my family, my fiancée and my two children, as well as Marino Laghi who is always present with me".

In the final championship rankings in 2012, Biaggi has 358 points, Sykes 357.5 and Melandri 328.5. Aprilia also won the Manufacturers' Championship today, by 23.5 points from BMW.


Race 1

An amazing penultimate race, held in wet conditions, saw early contender Biaggi fall on lap two and his two remaining championship rivals, Melandri and Sykes score podiums for second and third respectively. Guintoli continued his amazing form in privateer guise with a clear win, by over six seconds from Melandri and by over 16 seconds from Sykes. This was Guintoli's third win of the year.

Sylvian Guintoli: "What a race, It's been a great weekend for me, obviously with a wet race I knew I had a big chance, then got into my rhythm. When Marco came past it woke me up and I found some extra pace and then managed to pass Tom. I'm really happy to win in France after this crazy season with lots of ups and downs."

Results: 1. Guintoli (Ducati) 23 Laps/101.453 km in 44'06.299 average 138.016 kph; 2. Melandri (BMW) 6.127; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 16.595; 4. Berger (Ducati) 21.857; 5. Haslam (BMW) 25.149; 6. Badovini (BMW) 32.778; 7. Laverty (Aprilia) 34.311; 8. Giugliano (Ducati) 47.269; 9. Corti (Kawasaki) 49.720; 10. Baz (Kawasaki) 50.192; etc.


Race 2

Sykes did all he could in winning race two, impressively by 1.354 seconds despite pressure from behind for the whole race distance on a largely dry track. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was second in the 23-lap race, with Guintoli third. Biaggi's team-mate, Laverty was fourth in the race, but Melandri crashed out of contention. Maxime Berger made it a happy day for the French with fourth on his Red Devils Roma Ducati.

Tom Sykes: "It's difficult to accept that half a point separates us in a full season, but that's all credit to World Superbike and how close it is. Max did a great job, but for me and my season I'm very happy, everyone gave me a full package to do something with and this weekend I was very strong. Overall we had a pole position, circuit record, two podiums and I'd like to dedicate that to Joan Lascorz, I've had some help from him this weekend. To close 30 points on Biaggi was magical. Now we're all signed and sealed for next year, hopefully we can deliver!"

Results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 23 giri/101.453 km in 38'15.725 media 159.092 km/h; 2. Rea (Honda) 1.354; 3. Guintoli (Ducati) 2.393; 4. Laverty (Aprilia) 13.122; 5. Biaggi (Aprilia) 13.955; 6. Giugliano (Ducati) 18.229; 7. Checa (Ducati) 18.430; 8. Davies (Aprilia) 26.648; 9. Badovini (BMW) 33.809; 10. Camier (Suzuki) 37.217; etc.

Points: 1. Biaggi 358; 2. Sykes 357,5; 3. Melandri 328,5; 4. Checa 287,5; 5. Rea 278,5; 6. Laverty 263,5; 7. Guintoli 213,5; 8. Haslam 200; 9. Davies 164,5; 10. Giugliano 143; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 444,5; 2. BMW 421; 3. Ducati 416; 4. Kawasaki 397,5; 5. Honda 293,5; 6. Suzuki 136.5.


World Supersport

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) took his fourth win of the year today at Magny-Cours as he made the best of a wet track and then a drying line around the 4.411km circuit. The French rider underlined his second place in the championship with Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) third overall in the points after finishing second today. Third place at Magny-Cours eventually went to Dan Linfoot (MSD R-N Team India Kawasaki) after he was knocked off by an attempted pass from new champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini). Linfoot restarted to finish fourth but Sofuoglu was penalised 25 seconds and thus Linfoot was eventually third and Sofuoglu fourth. In the final championship table, Sofuoglu has 231 points, Cluzel 210, Lowes 172 and Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) 171. Honda won the manufacturers' Championship by 14 points from Kawasaki.

Results: 1. Cluzel (Honda) 22 Laps/97.042 km in 42'20.985 average 137.487 kph; 2. Lowes (Honda) 1.591; 3. Linfoot (Kawasaki) 27.615; 4. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 27.854; 5. Foret (Kawasaki) 31.601; 6. Baldolini (Triumph) 46.745; 7. Scholtz (Honda) 50.820; 8. Antonelli (Yamaha) 50.934; 9. Talmacsi (Honda) 53.090; 10. Metcher (Yamaha) 55.664; etc.

Points: 1. Sofuoglu 231; 2. Cluzel 210; 3. Lowes 172; 4. Foret 171; 5. Parkes 135; 6. Morais 96; 7. Baldolini 96; 8. Quarmby 84; 9. Iannuzzo 60; 10. Antonelli 60; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 287; 2. Kawasaki 273; 3. Triumph 125; 4. Yamaha 110; 5. Suzuki 6.


Superstock 1000

Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) survived a wet track and the pressure of racing for the championship at his home round to finish second at Magny-Cours and give himself an eventual clear championship win. His French countryman Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) rode with confidence and pace in the wet to win the race, but main championship challenger Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati) fell very early and lost his chance to get back into the race. Another potential champion Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) fell early and rode hard to try and get back into contention. He finished fifth in the race and eventually fourth in the championship. The final points read Barrier 153, La Marra 130, Guarnoni 123, Staring 122.

Results: 1. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 14 Laps/61.754 km in 28'12.230 average 131.374 kph; 2. Barrier (BMW) 9.862; 3. Savadori (Ducati) 20.703; 4. Lussiana (Kawasaki) 34.445; 5. Staring (Kawasaki) 37.916; 6. Bergman (Kawasaki) 39.886; 7. Jezek (Ducati) 43.775; 8. Millet (Kawasaki) 49.227; 9. Pagaud (Kawasaki) 49.678; 10. Reiterberger (BMW) 1'03.515; etc.

Points: 1. Barrier 153; 2. La Marra 130; 3. Guarnoni 123; 4. Staring 122; 5. Savadori 107; 6. Reiterberger 91; 7. Bergman 88; 8. Massei 71; 9. Coghlan 68; 10. Baroni 56; Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 193; 2. Ducati 181; 3. BMW 181; 4. Honda 71; 5. Aprilia 22.


KTM European Junior Cup

The final race of the year went to local rider Guillaume Raymond (Valliance Racing) but the championship win was still taken by Lukas Wimmer (MSC Schalchen), who crashed out and then remounted to finish third. Ilya Mikhalchik (Wind Racing) was second in the race, Gaston Garcia"ƒ(KTM Espana) fourth. Wimmer took the title with 136 points to 111 for Garcia.

Results: 1. Raymond; 2. Mikhalchik; 3. Wimmer; 4. Garcia; 5. Demoulin; 6. Haquin; 7. Mettam; 8. Scarcella; etc.

Points: 1. Wimmer 136; 2. Garcia 111; 3. Orellana 81; 4. Vidal 73; 5. Wielebski 72; 6. Pasek 65; 7. Patterson 59; 8. Demoulin 59; etc.




More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

BITTERSWEET ENDING TO THE SBK CHAMPIONSHIP FOR CHECA AND GIUGLIANO (ALTHEA RACING) THIS AFTERNOON AT MAGNY-COURS

Nevers (France), Sunday 7 October 2012: a bittersweet ending to the 2012 SBK championship for Althea Racing and its riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano at the French circuit of Nevers Magny-Cours today. Despite high expectations and the desire to send the Ducati 1198 into retirement in the best possible way, the races were far from easy; Checa crashed out in the first race, while Giugliano finished eighth, while in race 2 the Althea pair crossed the line together, Davide in sixth, Carlos seventh.
Race 1 Carlos made a fast start and was in third position at the end of the first lap, behind Rea and Sykes. Giugliano lost a couple of positions at the start and was down in 17th place but immediately fought back, passing a couple of riders with the passing of each lap to place himself tenth by lap three. Unfortunately the wet conditions conditioned Carlos' race and a crash on lap seven put a premature end to his fight; he was unable to return to the track. Davide's impressive pace allowed him to pass several more riders and he was in fifth place by lap eight. A couple of small errors meant that he lost valuable time, and positions, but he continued to battle hard all the way to the line, closing race 1 in final eighth position.
finale.

Race 2 at the end of the first lap Davide was lying eighth, followed by Carlos in ninth. Lap five saw Giugliano record the fastest lap of the race (1m39.237), which gave him the Pirelli fast lap award for the first time. Both Ducati riders were lapping with a strong pace during the first half of the race, and were up in fifth (Carlos) and sixth (Davide) position by lap ten. In the final phase the gap between the leaders and the chasing group, composed of Biaggi, Checa and Giugliano, increased. Despite the best efforts of both riders they were unable to reach the rivals immediately ahead of them and crossed the finish line in final sixth (Davide) and seventh (Carlos) position.
The 2012 final championship standings see Checa in overall fourth place with 287.5 points. Giugliano, having gained some useful points today, moves up to final tenth position, with 143 points. Ducati closes the manufacturer's championship in third place with 416 points, behind BMW (421) and Aprilia (444.5). The Ducati 1198 raced for the last time today and after five years of competition in the SBK series will now go into retirement, to be replaced by the new 1199 Panigale that will make its debut in the 2013 Superbike championship.

Carlos Checa:
"It was a strange weekend. A pity for the crash in race 1 but conditions were difficult and the track was very slippery, these things happen. Then in the second I didn't have the same feelings that I'd had yesterday, the bike seemed different and was moving a lot more. This made it hard and I couldn't lap with the kind of times that I expected. Anyway the season is over, it was long and we had highs and lows along the way. I'm happy to close in fourth overall because considering the problems we've had I don't think the final result is bad."

Davide Giugliano:
"The first race was pretty unlucky for us. We knew we had good pace and I think we had the potential to finish perhaps third but I had some small problems that prevented me from achieving that first I had an issue with the gears and then I made a couple of small mistakes, meaning I lost a lot of time. In the second race, to tell the truth, I had this dream of winning it. Unfortunately I lost a lot of time when Melandri crashed in front of me and I knew it wouldn't be possible. But anyway I finished ahead of my team-mate and I also won my first Pirelli award for having made the fastest lap, so I'm happy about that."




More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

Magny-Cours Races.
Sunday, 07th October 2012.

Weather conditions: Rain in the morning, then overcast.
Temperature: Air: 17 20 °C, Track: 17 24 °C
Number of riders participating: 19 from 12 teams
Fastest lap Race 1: Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Racing Team) 1:53.143 min
Fastest lap Race 2: Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) 1:39.237 min

At the season finale of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport experienced an exciting race day, which at the same time was an emotional rollercoaster ride. The team challenged until the very last race of the season for both the Riders' and the Manufacturers' titles but was missing the necessary luck in the end. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA), who rode with two broken ribs, finished second in the first race. Therefore he kept his title chances alive as well as BMW's chances of winning the Manufacters' crown. But in the second race, a wet patch on the track, which made Marco lose control of his BMW S 1000 RR, ended all hopes. Leon Haslam (GBR), who at Magny-Cours (FRA) was competing in his last round as a BMW Motorrad factory rider, finished fifth in the first race but also crashed in the second heat.

In the Manufacturers' championship, BMW claimed its best ever result by finishing second with 421 points, 23.5 points behind winner Aprilia. In the Riders' classification Marco finished the season in third with 328.5 points, so becoming the highest placed ever BMW rider in this championship. Leon is eighth with 200 points. Max Biaggi (ITA) claimed the title 0.5 points adrift of Tom Sykes (GBR) and 29 points adrift of Marco. BMW Motorrad congratulates Biaggi and Aprilia.

It was raining throughout the night and the morning. Even though the rain stopped before the first race, the track was still wet and the conditions tricky. Both Marco and Leon, who were fourth and seventh respectively on the grid, started steadily into the first heat, so not to risk too much in the treacherous conditions. Marco slipped back a few positions but made his way up towards the front by overtaking competitors and benefitting from several riders' crashes. Halfway through the race, Marco was already third, on lap 13 he improved to second. He then fought an exciting battle with Sykes and Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) for the top position. The French local hero took the lead in front of Marco and was able to build a gap during the remaining laps. Marco comfortably secured second. Leon lost a few positions when he rode off track for a short time on lap four, but regained the places afterwards and crossed the line in fifth.

For the second race the track had mostly dried out, but was still damp in places. Leon had a good start and improved to fourth immediately and was fighting for the podium positions on the following laps. Marco slipped back to sixth but kept up with the front runners, and was preparing to work his way back to the top. But on lap seven he lost control over his rear wheel and crashed. Shortly afterwards Leon rode off the track and rejoined in eighth, losing four positions. On lap 17 his race also was ended by a crash. The second heat was won by Sykes. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team finished the races in sixth and ninth, his team-mate Michel Fabrizio (ITA) was 12th in the first heat but crashed in the second one.

BMW Motorrad Motorsports congratulates Sylvain Barrier from the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet STK Team to his best ever success. The French BMW S 1000 RR rider was crowned 2012 champion of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup by finishing today's race second on the podium.

Marco Melandri:
Result Race 1: 2nd / Gap to 1st: 0:06.127 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:54.081 min
Result Race 2: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:39.430 min
"It felt good to finish a race on the podium again after the last two unfortunate race weekends. My BMW S 1000 RR was working very well. In the first couple of laps of race one I was still struggling a bit with warming up the tyre, but once the tyre was working I could go at quite a good pace. Anyhow, it was a tough race and I did not want to overpace and risk too much. Unfortunately the track dried up more and more, which did not play into my hands. When I finally passed Tom the track was not really wet anymore, and in these conditions I had no chance to follow Sylvain who really showed a strong performance today.

"The track conditions were very difficult in race two. I pushed 100 per cent but I could not change direction quickly. When I crashed I must have hit a wet patch, and I lost the rear of my RR. My back and my leg are very sore now. Overall, this was a great season for us. We can be proud of what we have achieved. When we started the season we were quite far from the top guys. We closed the gap quickly and fought with them for the rest of the season. We won races, but we also had some bad luck and I made mistakes. Everything was possible this year, and we can be happy. I hope to start from that point next year. A big 'Thank You' to all the team in Germany and at the track."

Leon Haslam:
Result Race 1: 5th / Gap to 1st: 0:25.149 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:54.646 min
Result Race 2: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:39.594 min
"In race one I had a few issues with the grip and the electronics, and on top of that I made a few mistakes. Finishing the race in fifth is a bit disappointing as I know a podium would have been possible. I had a good start in the second race, but struggled getting into first gear in a few corners. I also got a false neutral coming down the hill in the last stadium section. I had to release the brakes so as not to hit Eugene Laverty and ran off the track. I came back in eighth and tried to follow the group around Max Biaggi when I hit a wet patch. This put me down again. I am a bit disappointed about finishing the season this way, and I am also disappointed for my crew and the team who did an outstanding job all season long. Thanks to all of them guys. Max Biaggi again was Mister Consistent, congratulations for another World Championship. Anyhow, I feel a bit sorry for Tom who did some great racing this year. Losing the World Championship by only half a point is hard to take."

Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
"The final race Sunday of the 2012 season was really a day of mixed emotions for us. In race one, Marco cleverly managed the race like he had done more than once this season. This was impressive. Leon finished the race in a solid fifth position. In the second race lady luck was not on our side once more. Both Marco and Leon crashed on wet parts of the track and could not finish the race. This result does not reflect the season for BMW Motorrad Motorsport: Until the very last race of the year we fought for the World Championship. At the start of the season one of us would have dreamt of this. We are all proud of having finished the riders' standings in a very good third position and the constructors' standings in a fantastic second place. These results are due to the efforts of the entire team. Everybody involved has played their part and can be proud of this outcome. That's why I would not only like to say Thank You to just Marco and Leon, but to all the team members in Munich, Stephanskirchen and at the track. Congratulations to Tom Sykes and his team who showed an unbelievable will to win and to the 2012 World Champions Max Biaggi and Aprilia."




More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:

MAX BIAGGI IS 2012 WORLD SBK CHAMPION

- APRILIA IS 2012 SBK WORLD MANUFACTURER CHAMPION

It is a complete triumph for Max Biaggi and Aprilia on the Magny-Cours track.

Biaggi takes his sixth world title in a brilliant career.

Aprilia, with the RSV4, dominates as best SBK manufacturer. A victory completed by the Aprilia Racing first place in the special Teams category.

But it was not an easy weekend: Max had to fight down to the last turn in order to win the title of World Champion.

Magny-Cours, 7 October 2012 - It was clear from the beginning that Magny-Cours would not be a round for the faint of heart.

The weather and fate reshuffled the deck, providing all of the motorcycling enthusiasts with a breathtaking season finale. Two races which will remain indelibly in the memories of all the fans. A world championship which was decided only at the last turn of the last race.

In fact, the rain which had fallen copiously during the night made the track treacherous and it cost Max Biaggi dearly straight away in a sliding crash during the fifth lap of Race 1.

Max's attempts to get his RSV4 back on the track proved to be in vain due to the amount of damage done to the bike. The Aprilia Racing team mechanics did their usual extraordinary best to put the RSV4 back together so that Max could defend his leadership in Race 2. In fact, the first race served well the closest rivals as they dangerously reduced Biaggi's advantage. Finishing in third place in Race 1, Sykes reduced the gap to 14.5 points and Melandri (2nd place) to 19.5.

And this was the situation going into the race which would decide the championship. Sykes rocketed out to take the lead and immediately demonstrated that the win was within a shout for him, a result which would have forced Biaggi to take at least fifth in order to maintain a minimum advantage in the standings. And in fact this was the case, but Biaggi had to battle in the pack and only after putting the Ducatis ridden by Checa and Giugliano was he able to concern himself with maintaining the position which, with a 0.5 point advantage, crowned him World Champion at the end of a season which will forever be remembered as one of the most exciting, evenly matched and heated in the history of Superbike.

Max Biaggi: "This is the fourth world championship out of six that I've won in the last race. I guess I must like a difficult challenge! The 2012 season was tight to say the least: we started off well winning at Phillip Island after completely revamping my team, but we also had some difficult moments. We definitely worked for the title and maybe that's why it's an even sweeter victory. I'd like to thank the Team, Aprilia and Piaggio Group, from president Colaninno to the last worker because my success is just the tip of a great Italian company's work. I would also like to thank my family, my girlfriend Eleonora and my two children, as well as the always present Marino Laghi".

Gigi Dall'Igna, Aprilia Racing Technical and Sport Director: "Winning is always something extraordinary, but winning a world championship this way, at the last turn of the last race, makes it incredibly exciting. Credit to Max who battled on every circuit, always earning important points and bringing home fantastic victories which led us to this double victory today. Aprilia's victory in the Manufacturer World Championship, thanks also to Laverty, is a reward for a great Group and a Racing Division which are the pride of Italian technology. Applause also goes to our rivals, never before so many and strong enough to make the outcome of this championship uncertain and unforgettable down to the last moment".




More, from a press release issued by Honda World Superbike Team:

Rea rounds out 2012 with French podium

Honda World Superbike Team rider Jonathan Rea finished second in today's thrilling finale to the 2012 World Superbike Championship at Magny-Cours in France.

The last race of the season, upon which the destination of the title depended, was won by British rider Tom Sykes, but it was Italian Max Biaggi who took the championship spoils, finishing in fifth position and taking the series victory by half a point.

In wet conditions, Rea began race one from sixth place on the grid but a great start and a good set-up for his Honda CBR1000RR allowed the 25-year-old to move to the front and open a 10-second lead.

However, on lap 12, he was caught out by the conditions and crashed out, limping back to the pits for some repairs to his machine. Rea eventually re-joined the race to take three championship points at the flag.

Another good start to race two placed Rea fourth before he made a steady move forward, passing Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli to take his sixth podium of the season and consolidate fifth place in the final standings.

Rea's team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama was unable to complete his last outing for the Honda World Superbike Team in the way he wanted. The Japanese rider suffered serious grip problems in race one and, despite pitting to make adjustments, was unable to complete the race. Aoyama suffered similar issues in race two but, determined to finish the race, brought his CBR home in 14th place.

Despite Magny-Cours being the last event of the 2012 season, the Honda World Superbike Team still has work to do before the year end. New rider, Leon Haslam, will have his first shakedown test on the CBR1000RR Fireblade at Assen, Netherlands on Wednesday, before a comprehensive pre-season testing and development programme begins at Aragon in Spain next month.


Jonathan Rea 13th and 2nd

I needed some wings in race one when I got caught out by the conditions but it was frustrating because my team gave me a great bike for the wet. Everything was feeling good but I felt a bit like an amateur when I was in the gravel. At the beginning of race two I was a bit wary of the conditions and although I was able to get to the front, Tom (Sykes) didn't make any mistakes. I'm really happy to be part of this championship and congratulations to Max on a great job. At the end of a long season I want to thank the team for their continued hard work. On certain days we've struggled but, on others we've capitalised on the strengths of the bike through the great work ethic we have as a team. We'll go away this winter and I'll make sure I'm in the best condition possible for the 2013 season; I'm sure the team will do the same with the CBR.


Hiroshi Aoyama DNF and 14th

This was my last weekend with the team and I wanted to make two good races. Unfortunately, I had some problems with the bike and the tyres, similar to the problems I've had all year. The guys have worked hard to solve the problems and we've tried a lot of things. It's a pity that nothing really worked because it was a new challenge for me to come to Superbike and I was expecting a lot more. But it's been a good experience for me with this Honda team so I want to say thank you to the guys and the sponsors who have supported us.


Pieter Breddels technical co-ordinator

Race one was wet and Jonathan was having an awesome race and moving away from the pack after a bit of a battle. He had a 10-second lead and was much faster than anyone when he crashed after a small mistake. That was a disappointment for everyone, with Hiroshi struggling and coming into the pits. Race two was not much better and it hasn't really worked this season. We wish him all the best for the rest of his career. Race two was actually quite exciting for the championship. Jonathan had another good start and finished a strong second and we're happy with that. It's a good way to finish the season. There's a lot of effort and resource being prepared for a development and testing programme so we can be back strong next year when we'll try again to win this exciting championship.




More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:

FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier picked himself up from a huge crash in the first race of today's eni FIM Superbike World Championship race at Magny-Cours in France to record a brave 10th place in race two.

Camier had made his way up to sixth place by the end of lap nine in race one, despite the treacherous conditions caused by heavy rain around the 4,411m French circuit. He then suffered a huge crash which resulted in him being catapulted off his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R and into the gravel. The Englishman was pinned under his machine and could only get to his feet once the marshals had removed his bike, made his own way back to the pits, but was obviously in a lot of pain.

Camier was passed fit for the second 23-lap race and lined up in the drier conditions in ninth on the grid. He made a poor start as he tried to adapt to the battering his body had suffered - mostly down his left-hand side - and because of a problem with the electronics, probably due to the crash in the first race, which made the bike very hard to ride. By the end of the second lap he was down in 17th, but Camier re-grouped and began to pick off riders in-front of him throughout the race. He made his way up to 10th by the start of the penultimate lap and held the position to the end of the race, despite being in considerable discomfort.

John Hopkins wasn't on the grid today after withdrawing from the weekend's proceedings yesterday following a re-occurrence of his hip injury. He made the announcement today that he will be taking the 2013 season off to get himself back to full fitness and then re-assess his options once he is back to strength.

Today's first race victory was taken by Sylvain Guintoli on a Ducati on his home soil, with Tom Sykes racing to victory in the second event to push the title battle right to the wire. Italian Max Biaggi crossed the line in fifth place in race two, which was enough to give him the championship crown by the smallest margin in Superbike history. Biaggi took his second WSBK title - the sixth World Championship in his career - by just 0.5 points from Sykes.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki will have a test at Aragon later this month and will also make the announcement of Camier's team-mate for next year very soon. The provisional date for the first round of 2013 is Sunday February 24th at the Phillip Island Circuit in Australia.

Leon Camier:

"I am really happy with our performance in wet conditions, but race one was neither wet, nor dry and that is the worst possible scenario. All was going OK until I came out of turn 11 and was high-sided. I was flipped into the air and came down heavily on my left arm and head and then the bike landed on top of me and I couldn't move. It seemed ages before it was removed and I was able to get up. I felt pretty sore, but luckily I hadn't broken anything, even though my left arm had taken a right old battering.

"The FIXI Crescent Suzuki was in a bit of mess, but the boys did a great job to get it ready in time for race two and we lined up on the grid OK. Right from the start, I felt that the bike wasn't quite right - not surprising really after its big crash - and it was difficult to ride. The electronics didn't feel quite right and I didn't get a great start, but I was determined to bring the bike home and that's what I did. Although the season didn't end the way I hoped, the progress the team have made with the FIXI Crescent Suzuki makes me feel very optimistic about the future. The bike has come on leaps-and-bounds since the beginning of the season and I'm already looking forward to my next time on it - once I've rested my left arm a bit!"

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

"It has been probably the strangest season I've known, but the good news is that, thanks to all the hard work the team have done, we've shown that the FIXI Crescent Suzuki can be a competitive bike and run with the best. It was a pity that the conditions were so treacherous in the first race, making life hard for everybody - but that's how racing is sometimes. Leon took real hammering in the crash and it took a lot of guts for him to get on the bike in race two and, all things considered, I think he did really well to get a top-10 finish."




More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Super Sykes Only Half A Point From The Title On His Ninja ZX-10R!

WSBK, Magny-Cours, France, 7 October 2012

Finishing third and first in the Magny-Cours races Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) only lost the world championship by half a point, in the closest finish the series has seen in all its 25 years.

Sykes and his team had to overcome the wet conditions that suddenly showed up on raceday morning with little time for preparations by his crew, but despite this Tom rode his Ninja ZX-10R with style in race one, only giving best to rain specialist Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri. Eventual champion Biaggi fell and no-scored in race one and gave Sykes an opportunity to win the title in race two.

Tom led with conviction and pace for the whole of race two, seeing off an early challenge from Eugene Laverty to record his fourth race victory of the season. Biaggi was fifth in race two and that was enough for the Italian rider to win his second world championship by only half a point.

Sykes, wearing a Joan Lascorz tribute helmet this weekend in honour of his injured team-mate, won the hearts of the crowd with his brilliant determination and spirit to be champion against the odds, having made up 30 points on Biaggi and only losing the chance of overall victory by half a point because of a quirk of the championship scoring rules.

Tom had known after winter testing that he would have the chance to challenge in 2012, but his and the entire team's performance had exceeded all expectations. He has taken four wins, 13 podiums in total, nine pole positions and three fastest laps.

Loris Baz, Sykes' team-mate had a tough home weekend, going tenth in race one then falling hard at high speed in race two. He was taken to hospital for tests afterwards but was later released, suffering just extensive bashes and bruises. He finishes his season as a replacement for the injured Joan Lascorz in 13th place, having only joined the series in Donington.

Team Pedercini Kawasaki rider Claudio Corti was ninth in race one, and then 12th in race two, strong results that put him 24th overall after only one round. His Magny-Cours team-mate Alexander Lundh had a heavy crash in practice and injured his T7 and T8 vertebra, although not seriously. He missed the Magny-Cours races as a result.

The title deciding Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race was held in wet conditions on Sunday morning and the race was won by Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki). Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) lost his outside chance of the world title when series leader Sylvain Barrier finished second and took enough points to win the crown. Staring was fifth in the race after falling early on and working his way back up, and fourth in the championship, one place behind Guarnoni. Leandro Mercado fell and no-scored today.

Tom Sykes: "We were on pole, took a new circuit record, got a podium and then a win and pulled back 30 points on Max Biaggi. Not easy against a rider of his level. Yes, obviously there is a massive disappointment on one hand because we were only half a point from the world championship! But on the other hand, being realistic, we are very happy and we have - by far - overachieved on expectations this year. We have been very strong and I think this weekend we have been particularly strong; partly because of this Joan Lascorz replica helmet I am wearing. I have had massive support here from my family, friends and the Kawasaki fans so to sum up my year it has been fantastic. I really appreciate that Kawasaki, Provec; all the team our sponsors, Motocard, Leo Vince and all of them have put us in the situation of fighting for the world championship. Hopefully next year we can be very consistent from the start."

Loris Baz: "It was not the kind of home race weekend I wanted but we got a bit unlucky when we lost some track time early in practice. I got sick on Saturday as well so it was not easy to ride but felt a bit better today. I started off confident to have a good result in the wet race one but I just did not have the same feeling as I had in warm-up. Had I not run-on I think I had the pace for about seventh or eighth. Following Max in race two I just hit a slippery patch and had a very big highside crash. I had a bad pain in my back and ribs but nothing was broken and then I developed a sore head. We went to hospital for tests just to check but everything is OK. We have some testing on the bike again soon so it is good to not have any injuries and although I am not 100% fit right now, I will be OK for testing which will really help our preparations for next year."




More, from a press release issued by Honda:

REA ON THE RACE TWO PODIUM AND FIFTH OVERALL FOR HONDA

The FIM Superbike World Championship has now
delivered Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike
Team) 29 career podiums in 98 individual career
races after he finished second in race two today,
making up for the disappointment of crashing out
of race one while leading, and then limping home
to finish 13th. Rea completed his latest SBK
season in overall fifth place, with two race wins
to his credit. He was only nine points from a top
four finish in the points table.

The 25-year-old rider from Northern Ireland, who
has combined MotoGP duties with his full-time SBK
commitments, recently was going through his fifth
consecutive race weekend at the SBK season
finale. He fell in the first 23-lap race at the
4.411Km Magny-Cours circuit in wet and very
slippery conditions that saw many top riders fall
or run wide. He was lapping two seconds faster
than his closest rivals for some time, but fell
on lap 13 when his rear snapped out while he was
almost upright. He was lucky to walk away with
just bashes and bruises and was all ready to start race two.

He was glad he did when he ran eventual race two
winner Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) a close second.
Sylvain Guintoli had won race one, in wet
conditions on his privateer Ducati. In the
championship Max Biaggi (Aprilia) won his second
SBK title by finishing fifth in race two, winning
the crown by an impossibly small margin of 0.5
points over Sykes. This was the closest ever finish in SBK's 25 year history.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team)
qualified 18th at Magny-Cours and completed his
rookie season in the same 18th place overall. He
was a retiree in the first wet race today, but
14th and in the points in race two, in largely dry conditions.

CLUZEL'S WIN GIVES HONDA THE MANUFACTURERS' TITLE

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) made the break at the
front of the field in the FIM Supersport World
Championship race at Magny-Cours that proved
eventually decisive, finally winning his home
race by1.591 seconds from a chasing Sam Lowes
(Bogdanka PTR Honda). Cluzel finishes the season
second overall and Lowes is back up to third.

The combined efforts of many Honda riders gave
the Manufacturers' Title to Honda, for the ninth time.

After two dry days of practice a wet warm-up was
the only chance the WSS riders had to put good
settings in their machines. Some succeeded and
some did not, with fortunes changing for many
riders on the final raceday of the 13-round 2012 season.

New champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) was third
over the line in today's race, but was finally
penalised back the fourth after colliding with
eventual podium finisher Dan Linfoot (Kawasaki) and knocking him off.

Held in damp yet slowly drying conditions the
22-lap race was a tricky one for all and
particularly for Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing
Products Honda) who raced with a rear tyre that
had too much pressure in it. Despite starting
from pole he dropped back to pit and then get
going again and finished 27th. Parkes is fifth in the final points table.

South African riders Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda)
and Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda) had very
different fortunes today, with Sholtz having his
personal best race of the year in seventh after
qualifying 16th, but Quarmby was fighting rear
grip issues to go 26th. In the championship
Quarmby finished eighth, Scholtz a much-improved 16th.

Roberto Tamburini (Team Lorini Honda) was 25th
in the tricky conditions,p but overall he was
12th in the final rankings, the fifth Honda
overall. Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) returned
to form and was ninth, placing him 13th overall
despite only competing in a few races this year.
He had been an impressive sixth in qualifying.

Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) was one place
behind his team-mate Balazs Nemeth (Racing Team
Toth Honda) in France, with Nemeth 12th and Toth
13th. They were the last Honda riders in the points today.

Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda) finished his
season 18th in the order in France and 40th
overall in points. Danilo Marrancone (Kuja Racing
Honda) had a DNF at Magny-Cours.

Miguel Praia (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda)
went 22nd today and Valentin Debise (SMS Racing Honda) retired.


HONDA RIDER COMMENTS:

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team):
Race result: 13th / 2nd Championship position: 5th
"I needed some wings in race one because I really
got caught out by the conditions and had a
highside. My team gave me a really good bike to
ride this weekend in the dry and in the wet, so I
felt like such an amateur when I ended up in the
gravel, because even when I picked the bike up I
was still in the lead. So I felt for the guys in
the team. In race two I did my best and was not
so aggressive in the beginning, but later on I
was able to bridge the gap back to the front. To
be honest Tom Sykes never made any mistakes and
did a superb job in race two. I am really happy
to be part of this championship this year because
it has been up and down for everybody, not just
me, and it has excited me that so many different riders could win races."

Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team):
Race result: DNF / 14th Championship position: 18th
"My last race was also a tough one in the
championship season. It was not such an easy
racetrack here as well, and we also had some
issues with the shaking of the bike and grip
problems. It was a nice experience for me to race
in Superbike in 2012 and it was a new challenge
for me. It did not work very well sometimes and I
suffered sometimes, but I have to thanks to the
team because they worked very hard to solve the
problems. Also big thanks to the sponsors and everyone around the team."

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda):
Race result: 1st Championship position: 2nd
"I am really happy. I have won at home. I had
nothing to prove today as the Championship was
already finished so I just tried to enjoy myself.
This morning my feeling with the bike was bad,
but my PTR team did a great job with my bike so I
was able to lead and control the race. It was
great with my family and friends here. Thanks to
my PTR team, it has been a great year for me. I
finished the season strong. I need to learn more
about the first five races for next year."

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda):
Race result: 2nd Championship position: 3rd
"The conditions were not perfect, but I knew we
had a good chance this weekend because I was
quietly working for the race. We've been a little
bit unlucky with the weather today as I had a
really good pace in the dry, but the team did an
awesome job and again gave me a great bike for
the wet today. I'm very happy to get second in
the race and third in the championship. Thanks to
the team, as the whole squad worked fantastic all
year long. We didn't quite do the job we wanted
to do this year, but we've managed to get third
in the championship and I'm happy with that."

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda):
Race result: 27th Championship position: 5th
"I got a good start and I had felt very confident
in the warm-up in the rain. Kenan Sofuoglu passed
me early on and in the early laps in the first
corners it just kept losing the rear and spinning
up. I thought I may be just because it was the
first lap, but it was so bad I could not ride it,
then I started to go back, back and back. I
pulled in and I think there was the wrong
pressure in the rear tyre. Then I went back out again to finish the race."

Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda):
Race result: 26th Championship position: 8th
"I was really going for it in the race; I felt
good. Then I had a big moment going into a corner
and ran off the track. I got back on track, but
lost confidence - the conditions were very
difficult with the track wet and dry and I felt I
had little grip. I am pleased to finish eighth in
the World Championship, my best ever result."

Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda):
Race result: 7th Championship position: 16th
"My start wasn't very good and I didn't have a
lot of feeling. I was sliding a lot and dropped
down to around 19th. After a few laps I got the
feeling back and started to make my way up. I got
up to eighth and Talmacsi was quite far in front,
but I managed to catch and pass him to get my
best result of the season. I'm very happy with
how we've ended the year. The first half of the
season wasn't very good for me but I got to
finish better in the second half, with a few top
ten results and now seventh today."

Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda):
Race result: 9th Championship position: 13th
"I was expecting a little bit better, but the
tyre dropped down so quickly and our set-up was
not the best for the wet in general. But, anyway,
eight times I have started races and eight times
we have taken points, which is good, and I hope
that next year we can expect more."

Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda):
Race result: 22nd Championship position: 40th
"I went backwards on the first four laps when it
was still wet and I had no confidence. As the
track dried I came back quite strong and made up
a lot of places and set good lap times. I learned
a lot this year and enjoyed riding in WSS, it is
a great class and I've enjoyed being part of this paddock."

Miguel Praia (Bogdanka Honda PTR):
Race result: 22nd Championship Position: N/A
"The conditions were really tricky today. I
dropped towards the back of the pack at the start
but got the feeling and started making my way up.
In the end, I've finished in 22nd which wasn't
what I was hoping for, but considering how tricky
the conditions were today, it's good to be at the
finish and it's an OK result."