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Sep 26, 2010

One Rider Completes Sweep Of World Superbike Doubleheader At Imola

2010 FIM Superbike World Champion Max Biaggi.
FIM Superbike World Championship
Imola, Italy
September 26, 2010
Race Two Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1098R), 21 laps, 38:24.452
2. Noriyuki HAGA, Japan (Ducati 1098F10), -2.129 seconds
3. Cal CRUTCHLOW, Great Britain (Yamaha YZF-R1), -3.926
4. Tom SYKES, Great Britain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -5.762
5. Max BIAGGI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), -7.025
6. Shane BYRNE, Great Britain (Ducati 1098R), -12.147
7. Lorenzo LANZI, Italy (Ducati 1098R), -14.212
8. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Suzuki GSX-R1000), -18.029
9. Ruben XAUS, Spain (BMW S1000RR), -18.249
10. Luca SCASSA, Italy (Ducati 1098R), -19.446
11. Troy CORSER, Australia (BMW S1000RR), -23.674
12. Max NEUKIRCHNER, Germany (Honda CBR1000RR), -34.804
13. Federico SANDI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), -53.540
14. Fabrizio LAI, Italy (Honda CBR1000RR), -63.102
15. Matteo BAIOCCO, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -67.185
16. Ian LOWRY, Great Britain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -68.926
17. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Ducati 1098F10), -8 laps, DNF, crash
18. Leon HASLAM, Great Britain (Suzuki GSX-R1000), -11 laps, DNF, mechanical
19. Jakub SMRZ, Czech Republic (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), -12 laps, DNF, retired
20. Roger HAYDEN, USA (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -12 laps, DNF, retired
21. James TOSELAND, Great Britain (Yamaha YZF-R1), -18 laps, DNF, crash


World Championship Point Standings (after 24 of 26 races):

1. Biaggi, 413 points *
2. Haslam, 350
3. Rea, 288
4. Checa, 274
5. Crutchlow, 239
6. Haga, 238
7. Toseland, 187
8. Guintoli, 184
9. Fabrizio, 169
10. Corser, 165
11. Leon Camier, 164
12. Byrne, 154
13. Xaus, 96
14. Sykes, 93
15. Smrz, 89
16. Lanzi, 83
17. Scassa, 70
18. Neukirchner, 47
19. TIE, Hayden/Chris Vermeulen, 10

* Clinches 2010 FIM Superbike World Championship




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

Weather conditions: Sunny.
Temperature: Air: 21 - 27 °C, Track: 28 - 41 °C
Number of riders participating: 21 from 14 teams
Fastest lap Race 1: Leon Haslam (Team Suzuki Alstare) 1:48.966 min
Fastest lap Race 2: Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) 1:48.877 min

Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport experienced a difficult Sunday at Imola (ITA), the penultimate round of the 2010 FIM Superbike World Championship. After showing an encouraging performance on Friday and Saturday, the young team from Germany was struggling today.

In the first race, Troy Corser (AUS) was fighting with the top guys after improving from sixth on the grid to third at the start. But he lost positions when he missed his braking point, rode off the track and finally finished 15th . Ruben Xaus (ESP) did not get a good start from eighth and slipped back. But the Catalan fought his way back up through the field and finished 12th . In the second race, both BMW riders made good starts and improved their positions. Over the course of the race, both were struggling and lost some places to their opponents. Ruben finished ninth, Troy 11th. In the championship standings, Troy climbed up to tenth with 165 points, while Ruben is 13th with 96 points. In the manufacturers' standings, BMW is sixth (201 points).

In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup Team BMW Motorrad Italia STK rider Ayrton Badovini continued his unique winning streak. The Italian rode to his ninth victory in the ninth race of the season. He secured an early title victory in the series in the seventh round at Silverstone.

Ruben Xaus:
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR
Result Race 1: 12th , Gap to 1st : 00:25.860 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:50.345 min
Result Race 2: 9th , Gap to 1st : 00:18.249 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:49.787 min
"It was really difficult. My first start was really bad, but at least I then found a good rhythm. My second start was really good, but Troy and I could not defend our positions. It is a frustrating situation, because we know the potential of the bike. We were very strong at some points, but we were also struggling in some corners. And that was where we both lost the positions. We must try to make the bike more flexible in tight corners. Thanks to my team that again worked really hard, now let's try to have a good last weekend at Magny-Cours."

Troy Corser:
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR
Result Race 1: 15th , Gap to 1st : 00:44.349 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:50.043 min
Result Race 2: 11th , Gap to 1st : 00:23.674 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:49.837 min
"It's been a really hard weekend for us. We have had some issues with our set-up, and that has hindered us today. As always the team has worked really hard, but sadly we couldn't secure a good finish in either race. We made two good starts and when the bike was gripping everything was working well. Sadly once the grip levels dropped off, I just couldn't do the lap times. I was struggling to get the bike to do what I wanted it to do. We must work hard over the next few days to ensure we improve in time for Magny-Cours."

Berthold Hauser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
"At the moment we do not have an explanation for why we struggled so massively today. Unfortunately we could not build on the good basis we achieved in the practice sessions. The fact is today we were not fast enough. We are going to analyse the reason for this knowing we have much more potential. Congratulations to Max Biaggi for winning the World Championship today."




More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Crutchlow charges through to a hard fought Imola podium finish

The second race of the Imola World Superbike round today saw Yamaha Sterilgarda rider Cal Crutchlow deliver an inspired ride. Coming from a bad start, dropping to 13th off the line, Crutchlow put the hammer down and chased down the lead pack. An engine failure by Leon Haslam scattered the following riders. Undeterred he kept on pushing, overtaking Max Biaggi with six laps left to go for fourth place. Lap 18 saw him swiftly dispatch Tom Sykes at the last chicane before the start finish line for third place which he then held to the line to claim his podium, finishing just 3.9 seconds off the leader. Team mate James Toseland started the second race well, passing eight riders in the first few laps, but unfortunately lost the front end whilst pushing hard in the third lap and was unable to rejoin.

Race one earlier in the day saw Toseland shoot off the line and begin an all out assault on the front pack. Starting from 17th on the grid, Toseland had made up ten places by the third lap to run in seventh. By lap 7 he had made it to sixth when a technical failure coming out of the Curva Acque Minerali ended his race. Team mate Cal Crutchlow dropped slightly to 14th off the start line from his 12th position on the grid but fought back to run just behind his team mate in seventh position by lap seven. Coming into lap 12 Crutchlow had climbed further and took Smrz for fifth going into the first corner. Unfortunately he ran wide onto the gravel the following lap, dropping to tenth where he held on, fighting off championship leader Biaggi to keep his position at the finish line.

As the Yamaha riders head to Magny Cours next in France for the 13th and final round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship they do so with Crutchlow sitting in fifth place in the standings on 239 points, 35 behind Carlos Checa in fourth. Team mate James Toseland sits two places back in seventh with 187 points, 51 points behind Noriyuki Haga in sixth.

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (10th, 3rd)
"I'm happy with today in the end. I'm disappointed with the first race, I think I had podium pace and was catching up to the guys in front but made an error which dropped me back. The second race was good, I had a bad start then Noriyuki Haga and Carlos Checa and I all had to come from the back which made it interesting. Big thanks to Yamaha who put together a great bike this weekend for me, we were really strong and put in some good laps towards the end of the races and I think we showed what we are capable of."

James Toseland, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (DNF,DNF)
"After the warm up this morning I felt really confident. The Yamaha team worked really hard overnight last night and the bike I had today felt really good. Unfortunately we had a technical issue in race one when I felt I could have challenged for the podium. Once again in race two I fought hard in the early stages and had the pace to go for the podium. It just seems that luck isn't with me at the moment but I'm going to try and win a race in Magny Cours as it's a place that's always bought me luck."

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager
"A really unusual race weekend, the wet Superpole yesterday meant a really back to front grid for today's two races. Fortunately we got a well earned podium with Cal in race two. He rode a fantastic second race and pushed very hard. He didn't have a great start but was catching the leaders when Haslam's technical failure caused some disruption which gave him an opportunity to move up. He fought on for the podium and I think it would have been impossible for him to do better. We leave Imola with mixed emotions, looking to improve our performance next week in Magny Cours."




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

A Dream Weekend for Kawasaki Racing Team

Tom Sykes put in an outstanding performance today with a sixth and fourth place to conclude a 'dream' weekend for the Kawasaki Racing Team at the famous Italian circuit of Imola.

After achieving a spectacular pole position in Saturdays Superpole in turmoil weather conditions, Sykes had an amazing start off the line and led race one for a period of eight laps before settling for a successful sixth place. Race two he once again shot to the front and led for another five laps before the eventual double-race winner Carlos Checa, overtook and left Sykes to battle for the podium with Cal Crutchlow and Noryuki Haga. Sykes eventually had to settle for a fantastic fourth place, the best result for Kawasaki in years.

The twenty-five-year old has continued his thriving momentum over the past two races with a total of forty three points in four races taking him to fourteenth place in the Championship where he is only three points behind Ruben Xaus in thirteenth.

Ian Lowry from Moira, Northern Ireland had not raced at the Imola circuit before and struggled to adapt to his ZX-10R machine to the layout and tricky weather conditions. Lowry completed both 21-lap races just outside of the points, but managed to enjoy his experience racing amongst the extremely competitive world class racers.

Max Biaggi was crowned the 2010 Hannspree World Superbike Champion today after Leon Haslam retired in race two leaving the Italian the title to his name.

Tom Sykes: "I don't think we could have hoped for anything more this weekend. We've had a pole position and a fourth and sixth place and I think we have proved now that we are in the same league. I am so happy but I am also trying to keep my feet on the ground. I just love racing on empty tarmac which I had a taste of today and loved it. It's a great result for the PBM Team and Kawasaki and I feel like I am in a dream, I certainly didn't expect this when I came here. The guys have given me a great package and I am so happy I have been able to repay them with great results."

Ian Lowry: "I've not been to Imola before so it has been a big learning curve for me. Friday went well, we started off with the same settings that we left the Nurburgring with, and we spent a lot of time making changes to the bike and it was good for me to learn the circuit. It was a struggle on Saturday in the rain but the first race today went well; however the second race was more of a struggle up against the other Kawasaki's. I had a few other problems also, but I know you can't have it good all of the time. Now I am concentrating on Magny Cours next week and I am really looking forward to it."

Paul Bird Team Owner: "I'm over the moon with Tom's performance this weekend and am very proud that we have finally been able to deliver the results we've been working so hard for since the PBM and Kawasaki partnership began two years ago. It's great for Kawasaki to be running at the front of the World Superbikes again and we hope to maintain this at Magny Cours and ongoing with the new bike development in 2011. It was a hard job for Ian this weekend as Imola is not a circuit which is easy to adapt to and he also had very limited amount of time on the bike in the dry. It's important in his position to learn from his experience and to bring that on to the next and final race of the season."




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

Biaggi the champion for Aprilia, Italy, and himself!

Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) did enough during a tough Imola race day to earn his, Aprilia's and Italy's first Riders' World Championship in WSBK. Biaggi had to work hard for his title on home soil, finishing in 11th place in race one and enduring another dramatic race to fifth that finally gave him the title. Once his only title rival, Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare), was forced out of race two at mid-race distance Biaggi did not need to finish to be crowned champion, but he crossed the line fifth in any case, to the roars of the 69,000 strong weekend crowd. Biaggi now has 413 points to Haslam's 350, with one round and a maximum of only 50 points remaining.

Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) won both Imola races, the first after a race-long fight, the second after breaking away early. He is now only 14 points behind the injured Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) in the fight for an eventual third place, with Rea not racing today and also not sure if he will be racing in the final round or not. Cal Crutchlow is in overall fifth, 35 points behind Checa, posting tenth and third places today. Haga's double podium today puts him one point behind Crutchlow, in sixth. James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) is seventh, but only three points up on Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Alstare) due to two crashes and non-finishes today.

Raceday in Italy was all about Biaggi and Aprilia, but in one way the job is not quite finished, as the Manufacturers' Championship is still to be decided at the final round, with Aprilia currently 41 points ahead of Ducati.

Max Biaggi: "I'm so happy, it's a big emotion through all my body. This is fantastic. It's like a dream come true, I never stopped to dream to make it happen. It was always in my mind. In fair conditions I expected it myself, OK this year we at Aprilia did a good job, there are tough riders out there, I don't want to take anything away from them, some are more consistent than others but they are all fast and this championship is very competitive. I had so many problems in race 1, off the track, on the track, the bike sideways but I didn't crash. It was very tough, for sure we didn't get the best set-up here at Imola, it's not an easy track but I never stopped to try. In race 2 we changed the bike and I attacked from the first lap. This is a really great day for me, for all my team, for Aprilia Alitalia, my sponsors, everyone who supported us to make this dream come true. We really made it happen."


Race 1

Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) put in a cool-headed win despite great pressure from eventual fifth place man Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) in the final few laps. Haslam ran on trying to pass Checa into the first Rivazza corner of the final lap, and dropped back as a result, allowing Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Corse Ducati) to finish second and Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) to go third. Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Aprilia) was fourth and long-time race leader from pole, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), was sixth, ten seconds down on the winner. Haslam was fifth.

Carlos Checa: "Fantastic race, we struggled yesterday for qualifying in the wet but today it was more hard for the Ducatis and the top guys because it's not easy trying to pass and everyone is going fast in the beginning. I didn't want to make any mistake. Right to the very end I was pushing quite strong, at the end I didn't expect Haslam to push so strong. I saw him braking very late, but I was able to have a clean track and finish a special and nice victory. This was like a home race for the team so a big race for them."

Lorenzo Lanzi: "Today was a very beautiful day for me, an Italian on the podium so fantastic. My team have worked very well this weekend, conditions were difficult, rain no rain, so it was very strange. Yesterday in Superpole I worked a lot because I wanted to finish on the podium in the race, which is important for next year. I was in the lead for a few laps, which was very good, It's been so long I don't remember what it's like!

Noriyuki Haga: "It's a very good result after a really tough race, because also conditions were hard by getting hot: And I was starting from 14th on the grid. Here the first lap is very dangerous but I was looking for a good pace for the race, finally I could not catch up with Lorenzo, but I was very happy with the result. Like last year, this year I went well at Imola, the top 3 were all Ducati bikes so I am very happy."

Results (with Pirelli Race Tyre Selection - Front/Rear): 1.Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 38'27.631 (161,708 kph) (C/A); 2.Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1.171 (B/A); 3. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1.472 (A/A); 4. Smrz J. (CZE) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 6.691 (B/A); 5. Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-1000 9.584 (A/A); 6. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 10.979 (C/A); 7. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 15.023 (A/A); 8. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 15.913 (B/A); 9. Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 17.025 (B/B); 10. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 20.795 (B/A); 11. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 21.243 (B/A); 12. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 25.860 (B/B); 13. Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 31.551 (A/A); 14. Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 31.689 (C/B); 15. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 44.349 (B/B); 16. Sandi F. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 58.693 (B/A); 17. Lowry I. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'10.388 (A/A); 18. Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'13.648 (C/A); 19. Lai F. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'15.939 (C/A)


Race 2

Checa was a clear race winner and new lap record holder in race two, setting a new best of 1'48.877, while Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) and Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) took podium finishes in second and third place respectively. Leon Haslam had been in a strong position to take the championship all the way to France and the final round, but when his engine let go, the championship was over there and then. Tom Sykes, for the second time, showed true competitive pace on his Kawasaki Racing Team machine, leading four laps.

Carlos Checa: "It's a fantastic weekend, I can't remember one like that. It was a very good job by the team. Yesterday I was struggling on the wet, but today they were two exciting races, more the first than the second. But the second I could see that I could win, I just had to keep my concentration. Anyway it was fantastic, for all my team, for Ducati, for everyone here, congratulations to Max for the title and a shame for Leon Haslam."

Noriyuki Haga: "I am very happy today, and the bike was much better than in the first race. I was approaching Carlos in the last laps but couldn't catch him. Now I try my best at Magny-Cours to improve my position."

Cal Crutchlow: "After a tough race 1 for me, to come from 12th on the grid with such close racing this weekend and such a depth of field was a very good result. I really had to work for it so all credit to Yamaha Sterilgarda, they did a good job for me especially in the second race. We made a few changes in the meantime, it was a bit of a gamble but a good job all round."

Results: 1.Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 38'24.452 (161,931 kph);2.Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 2.129; 3.Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 3.926; 4.Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 5.762; 5.Biaggi M. (ITA)Aprilia RSV4 Factory 7.025; 6.Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 12.147; 7.Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 14.212; 8.Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 18.029; 9.Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 18.249; 10. Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 19.446; 11.Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 23.674; 12.Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 34.804; 13.Sandi F. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 53.540; 14.Lai F. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'03.102; 15.Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'07.185; 16.Lowry I. (GBR)Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'08.926

Pirelli: Race Tyre Selection (Front/Rear): All riders on same solutions with the exception of Corser, Xaus, Guintoli and Neukirchner who changed to the "A" rear for Race 2.

Points (after 12 rounds of 13): 1. Biaggi 413; 2. Haslam 350; 3. Rea 288; 4. Checa 274; 5. Crutchlow 239; 6. Haga 238; 7. Toseland 187; 8. Guintoli 184; 9.Fabrizio 169; 10.Corxser 165. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 433; 2. Ducati 392; 3.Suzuki 379; 4.Yamaha 307; 5.Honda 305; 6. BMW 201; 7. Kawasaki 100.


World Supersport

Michele Pirro (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) went from fourth to the race winner on the last lap at Imola, after long time race leaders Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) collided at the final chicane. They restarted to finish, but not before Pirro had seen Chaz Davies (Triumph BE-1 ParkinGo) retire on the last lap, and then sweep home to take the win. Sofuoglu was second, Laverty third, and Broc Parkes (Motocard.com Kawasaki) fourth. In the points, Sofuoglu now has 243 points to Laverty's 227.

Results: 1.Pirro M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 36'07.906 (155,737 kph); 2.Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 2.888; 3.Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 4.569; 4.Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 4.865; 5.Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R 5.718; 6.Roccoli M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 6.102; 7.Aitchison M. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 9.977; 8.Migliorati C. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 18.563; etc.

Points (after 12 rounds of 13): 1. Sofuoglu 243; 2. Laverty 227; 3. Lascorz 168; 4. Davies 137; 5.Pirro 91; 6. Salom 90; 7.Harms 87; 8. Rea 83; 8.Pirro 66; 9. Fujiwara 71; 10. Roccoli 71 . Manufacturers: 1. Honda 270; 2. Kawasaki 185; 3. Triumph 146; 4. Yamaha 22


Superstock 1000

Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia STK) made it nine wins in nine attempts after a long battle with Lorenzo Zanetti (SS Lazio Motorsport Ducati) was effectively ended on lap nine, when Badovini made a pass into the final chicane and gapped Zanetti right away. Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Race Junior Honda) had an eventually lone race in third, nine seconds behind the lead on the final lap. In the championship, Badovini has 225 points, a perfect score, and Berger is now guaranteed second, with 122.

Results: 1.Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 22'32.770 (157,629 kph); 2. Zanetti L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 0.960; 3.Berger M. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 9.632; 4.Giugliano D. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 19.747; 5.Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 20.836; 6.Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 28.627; 7.Petrucci D. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 29.700; 8.Savary M. (SUI) BMW S1000 RR 29.841; etc.

Points (after 9 rounds of 10): 1. Badovini 225; 2. Berger 122; 3. Magnoni 94; 4.Antonelli 89; 5. Giugliano 84; 6. Barrier 71; 7.Baz 65; 8. Petrucci 55; 9. Zanetti 53; 10. Baroni 43. Manufacturers: 1. BMW 225; 2. Honda 165; 3. Suzuki 87; 4.Ducati 79; 5.Yamaha 67; 6. Kawasaki 58; 7.KTM 36; 8. Aprilia 21.




More, from a press release issued by Hannspree Ten Kate Honda:

No show for Rea in Italy

Jonathan Rea was unable to contest the two 12th round 2010 World Superbike championship races at Imola in Italy today after fracturing his collarbone and wrist in a qualifying crash yesterday.

It was left to Rea's team-mate, Max Neukirchner to fly the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda flag at the historic 4.936km Imola circuit, the German rider scoring points in both races.

After further pain-killing injections before this morning's warm-up, Rea went out to see how his injuries would stand up to the physical demands of 21 race laps around Imola. However, a further crash just two laps in, effectively ended his participation in the races.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman bravely went out again on his spare Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade but he was unable to control effectively his machine and was subsequently officially withdrawn from the event.

Starting from the third row of the grid, Neukirchner went with a hard rear in rac e one but found a lack of grip after just a few laps and was unable to finish higher than 14th. The German went for a softer tyre in race two but it didn't improve his grip levels and he crossed the line in 12th place.

Rea flies back to the UK tomorrow and is consulting more than one specialist in order to evaluate the possibilities of his taking part in next weekend's final World Superbike championship race at Magny-Cours in France.

Max Neukirchner 14th and 12th
The main problem today was a lack of grip and we hadn't tried the A tyre that I think most of the other riders went with, so we went with the B option for the first race. After three or four laps it wasn't possible to fight any more. For the second race we changed the tyre but nothing else and the problem returned after about ten laps. It feels like the chassis goes up and down and it was like the rear shock goes all the way down t o the tyre.

Jonathan Rea DNS
We had to make the decision after warm up to sit out the two races because my injuries from yesterday were just too painful on the bike. I tried in warm-up but I didn't have sufficient strength or control in my left wrist for left-handed corners. It's very frustrating for me and the whole team it's been a tough weekend and I know I've had a lot of support behind me from the guys here and all my fans. I'm really sorry that we couldn't make the race but I have to look after my body and I'm going to get some medical opinions. Until we've got them in we won't be able to give a proper prognosis but I'd like to thank the team, our sponsors and all my fans for their support.

Ronald ten Kate team manager
Max managed to get two points-scoring finishes today but I think that if J onathan could have raced here without injuries, we might have had a couple of podiums as well. We're going to have to see what the diagnosis and recovery plan is for his injuries he's flying back to the UK tomorrow to see a specialist hand surgeon there. Hopefully the news is OK and we haven't given up on the possibility of his taking part at Magny-Cours next weekend. Of course, we don't want to rush things, but if the doctors give a green light, for sure we will try.




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

LEON'S TITLE HOPES END WITH A BANG!

The second race of this year's Superbike World Championship saw the end of Suzuki Alstare rider Leon Haslam's hopes of taking the title fight to the last round in Magny-Cours next weekend.

Leon started race two in second place, behind fellow countryman Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) and was battling with the lead group after seven laps, but then went in a bit too hot at the final chicane and had to go across the gravel trap. He rejoined the track in sixth place and was fighting his way up again, when suddenly the rear of his bike was enveloped in a cloud of smoke. As soon as it happened, Leon knew his race was over and also his hopes of taking the title fight to the last round next weekend. It was the first time a Suzuki Alstare engine had blown up in seven years and a shame that it happened today!

In race one, Leon was just behind leader Carlos Checa (Ducat) on the last lap and lining up a passing manoeuvre, when the smallest of mistakes made him run wide. He recovered, but three other riders had taken advantage and passed him in the process. But with series leader Max Biaggi (Aprilia) only finishing 11th, Leon still had hopes of beating Max in race two and making the fight go all the way down to the wire next weekend and those hopes carried on until lap 10 of race two.

Leon's team mate Sylvain Guintoli ended ninth in race one and eighth in race two, not bad considering that he had started from the fourth row of the grid, but the Frenchman was frustrated because he knew it could've been so much better.

Carlos Checa (Ducati) won both races today, taking race one by over a second and race two by a more comfortable two seconds. It was an all-Ducati podium in race one, with Lorenzo Lanzi in second and Noriyuki Haga in third. In the second race, Haga finished runner up, with Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha).

Max Biaggi (Aprilia) became this year's Superbike World Champion when Leon's Suzuki DNF'd up in race two. Leon was the only rider who could've stopped Max from taking the title, but the DNF left Max with a lead of 63 points, with just 50 points left to play for. It is the first time that an Italian has been crowned World Champion and Aprilia's first title in the series.

Leon - Race 1: 5th, Race 1: DNF
It is frustrating that it has ended the way it has because I was hoping to take the fight to Magny-Cours, but that's racing. We always knew it was going to be hard ask because Max's lead in the points was so great, but while there was hope we kept fighting. I should've won the first race and I would've won it if I hadn't made a mistake on the last lap. I was chasing Carlos and confident that I could pass him and take the win. I had a bit of a lunge, but lost the front a bit and that was that. I managed not to crash, but lost some positions. I saw that Max had only finished 11th, so at least the fight would carry on and maybe I could get a podium and Max would have another low finish.

I was chasing Tom (Sykes) in race two. He was fast on the straights, but holding me up in the turns, so I thought I'd have a go at him in the final chicane. I went for it, but got in a bit too hot and had to straighten up and go across the gravel. I rejoined the track and probably let too many people pass before getting back up to speed. I was using the same bike as race one and it had been OK at the end of the race, so there were no thoughts of changing it for race two. The set-up was the same, but the bike felt different and I knew something was up, but my first thought was that it was a tyre problem. When the engine went, I knew about it straightaway and pulled off the track as soon as I could.

Obviously, I hadn't wanted the title fight to end this way, but I knew that this weekend was all about having to go for it - and that's what I did. I am a bit ticked off because this is only the second race weekend when I have not been on the podium. So, I better make up for it in Magny-Cours by winning both races!

Sylvain - Race 1: 9th, Race 2: 8th
Generally I feel a bit frustrated because I know that the results should've been so much better if I hadn't had to start from so far down the grid. Also, I never really got into my good rhythm and never felt completely comfortable. We had a bit of a problem with the electronics in wet qualifying and that contributed to my low grid place. Today, I felt I was missing half a second and, at this level, that's a lot!
It has been a bit of a difficult weekend, not terrible, but not as good as it could've been. I haven't felt well all weekend and got a load of cramps in the races and that's strange because I never usually get cramps at all. I need to be fully fit and get back to competing at the sharp end and fighting the leaders, not the guys in the middle of the pack.

I was a bit pleased with my fight with the BMW boys in the second race and happy to beat both of them. My target now in the championship is seventh place. Toseland is only three points ahead of me and I feel that I can beat him in Magny-Cours and take that seventh place. I don't need the incentive of a 'home' track to beat him next weekend, but it would be good to end the season with a couple of good results in front of all my fans and friends.




More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Imola, 26th September 2010 A perfect day. This is how we can sum up Sunday at Imola for Team Althea Racing and rider Carlos Checa, as they dominated the Italian round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship. It was a real celebration, in front of nearly 70,000 spectators who were there to witness the success of the Italian team, Spanish rider and of the Ducati 1198, winners of both of today's races.

In the first of the day's races, Checa started from the third row after a wet Superpole put paid to the great results that had been achieved in earlier sessions. In practice and qualifying, Carlos and Althea Racing's Ducati has been the quickest pair on track and this was demonstrated in today's 21-lap race. The Spaniard made up places right from the first corner and made a series of passes which left the Italian public on their edge of their seats. At the end of the race he moved away from Lanzi, Sykes, Haga and Smrz, building up an important advantage which allowed him to fight Haslam for the win. The two battled it out until the Rivazza corner when the English rider, in an attempt to pass Carlos, ran off track. At that point Althea Racing's rider could relax a little, crossing the line first and celebrating his second win of the season.

The historic double came in the afternoon's race. Quick off the line once again, this time Checa had no rivals. Although many tried (Biaggi, Haslam then Haga, Crutchlow and Sykes), no-one could keep pace with the Spanish "bull", who ran a solitary race to victory. It was another spectacular result for rider and team alike. "Today was the best day of my career", revealed Checa. "Everything went perfectly and I know that I rode two of the best races of my life. Superpole didn't reflect my earlier performance but in the races everything came together again, thanks to a strong start and a great pace. I feel great. The affection of my many fans, the feeling with my team that I thank for enabling me to score this incredible result, and the fact that I have done the double at Ducati's, and Team Althea Racing's, home track. I would like to congratulate Max on his title win but it has been a fantastic weekend for us too. We're going to enjoy the moment."

General Manager of Althea Racing, Genesio Bevilacqua, has reame of such a result for a long time and as soon as he stopped down from the podium he said, "The team has done an incredible job and we take away an amazing double victory. This season we have has some difficult moments but today makes up for all of that. We know that we could do this and it wasn't just a feeling, it was a conviction, given all of our great work up until today. I want to applaud the team, that has come so far this season, all the people that have supported us, and particularly Unibat. I'm extremely satisfied to have come to an agreement with Carlos and with Ducati for the coming year too. Today's performance is yet further proof of the wise choices, both technical and human, that we have made."

A great weekend for Shane Byrne too. The Enlgish rider started from the fourth row, having scored the thirteenth fastest time in yesterday's Superpole, but thanks to two great races, he was able to achieve two top ten finishes. In Race 1, Shane closed in eighth position while the afternoon's race went even better. For three-quarters of the race he stuck with the leading group and eventually finished sixth, equaling his best result of the season.




More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Another Season Best Raceday For Sykes

Tom Sykes made good use of his pole position start at Imola today, taking his Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R to sixth place in race one and fourth in race two, his best combination of the year.

Tom led race one for eight laps, and race two for four, as he battled for every millimetre of advantage up front. These results even best his fifth and seventh from last race weekend in Germany and Tom is now 14th in the championship, one place higher than he was at the start of raceday.

Allied to the Superpole win on Saturday Sykes and his team enjoyed their best weekend of racing on all fronts, and fourth in race one was a personal best for Tom on his Kawasaki.

For Tom's Imola team-mate Ian Lowry this circuit was an even more difficult prospect to learn than the Nürburgring, which had hosted the previous round. Despite working hard in each race he just missed out on points in each 21-lap contest. He was 17th and 16th today.

After some of the pre-race sessions on Friday and Saturday had been plagued by frequently damp and very slippery track surfaces, raceday was dry, and the team found good settings for Sykes despite the lack of dry practice.

The championship title was also decided at Imola, and Max Biaggi is the 2010 WSBK Champion, the first Italian rider to have won this series outright.

Tom Sykes: "Fantastic results for us. We had had a bit of a dream weekend; pole position as well in qualifying, and starting from the best grid spot really helped us out in the races. I am always happy leading races. I have made no secret of that and I just love racing on empty tarmac. I had a taste of that today, led a few laps so I was certainly not out of my league. It was fantastic to get a sixth and a fourth for Kawasaki."

Ian Lowry: "It is a hard place to learn here. I did my best lap time of the weekend in the race and I am improving all the time. I just lacked those two dry sessions yesterday so we were still making improvements to the bike even into the second race. I was disappointed in race two but I have to be realistic because I have never been to this track before."




More, from a press release issued by Team PATA/B&G Racing:

The Pata B&G Racing team did well with both Jakub Smrz and Lorenzo Baroni at Imola today. Lorenzo Baroni opened the day in World Superstock 1000 by starting sixth on the grid. He battled for the fourth position with Giuliano and Barrier for the entire race. The Italian did noy make the best start but lead the three-men group for three laps, building a consistent gap of over a second and a half. He then made a small mistake which caused him to get out of the track and lose two places. In spite of that, he finished sixth.

It was then Jakub Smrz's turn to take to the track. He made a great start in Superbike, taking third place. He then exchanged positions several times with the riders battling for the podium: Lanzi, Haga, Haslam, Fabrizio and Sykes, but managed to finish ahead of the group, in fourth place. However, the rider from the Czech Republic was not able to replicate the performance in race 2 as he decided to return to the pit box after just a few laps.

JAKUB SMRZ | Aprilia RSV4 | 4th, retired: "In race 1, everything went smoothly, I made a good start and stayed with the leading pack, repeating what I had done well in practice. Therefore, I cannot be but pleased, I was hoping to score a good result for a long time and make the team happy and I managed to do that on their home track. I wanted to do well in the second race too, unfortunately I had a forearm contraction which prevented me from giving my all. I didn't give up but I decided to return to the pits after a few laps".

LORENZO BARONI | Ducati 1098R | 6th: "I'm very happy with my performance, too bad I made that mistake under braking, I thought my rivals were really close. I lost control of the bike and got out of the track. However, I'm really looking forward to next race at Magny Cours".




More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:

MAX BIAGGI 2010 WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPION ON AN APRILIA:

THIS IS THE ITALIAN RIDER'S FIFTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

APRILIA CLOSE TO THE MANUFACTURER TITLE.

Imola, 26 September 2010 Max Biaggi is World SBK champion at the end of a difficult and exciting weekend on the Imola track.

Thanks to the fifth place earned in race 2, Biaggi brought the point gap to 63 points between him and Leon Haslam (Suzuki), who was the last rider in contention for the title (413 to 350). A gap impossible to fill with only the French round at Magny Cours to go until the end of the season. Max Biaggi with his fifth title after four consecutive world championships, from 1994 to 1997 in the 250 class is the first Italian World Superbike champion.

In the manufacturer standings Aprilia (433 points) is 41 points ahead of Ducati (392). Nine points will be enough for the Veneto-based team to take the manufacturer championship.

But Imola was not the site of a simple race day: delayed at the start of race 1, Biaggi had to settle for a placement (11th). Race 2 was an entirely different story. Abandoning any use of tactics, Max forced his Aprilia RSV4 into the front positions, battling for the podium right from the first turn. The fifth place he ended up with handed Max the championship title a round early and evoked an explosion of rejoicing from the thousands of fans who had come out to the circuit to cheer on the most famous Corsair in world motorcycle racing.

"This is a grand day commented an exhausted but happy Biaggi in the end a day which I have greatly desired. I've often felt in past years like I hadn't been placed in the proper conditions to be able to express my worth and to achieve the results that I know I deserve. This is one of the reasons that, at a certain point in my career, I chose this world, the SBK championship, and this is why I wanted to surround myself with the right people for this adventure because racing isn't just about speed, tyres and an engine. It is also about joy and having fun and with these guys, with this team, I feel at home. I want to thank everyone: my team, Aprilia, Piaggio Group, the chairman.

It has not been an easy season. Many riders have won races and if they had been just a bit more consistent, they would have been able to be more troublesome for us. The greatest moments were the double victories at Monza and Misano. It is something very special to win in front of my fans. But it isn't over yet there is still one goal left to ride my RSV4 to the manufacturer title. We'll talk again in a week and it would be truly fantastic to close out this wonderful season with another championship".

Roberto Colaninno, chairman and CEO of the Piaggio Group (which Aprilia is part of) was in the pit to experience the triumph of his team and rider and had this to say: "Today we achieved an extraordinary result which takes place in the second year of Aprilia's participation in World Superbike and, once again, confirms the technical excellence of the Noale Racing Division as well as the Piaggio Group in the two-wheel worldwide scene. It would be impossible to imagine anything better on a day like today. We won the World Superbike Championship on an Italian track, with an Italian bike, an Italian rider and a sponsor Alitalia which takes Italy all over the world. This has never before happened in Superbike history and this makes all of us that much more proud".




More, from a press release issued by Honda:

Italian World Superbike at Imola
Sunday 26 September 2010
World Superbike and World Supersport race report 4.936km circuit attendance 69,000 all weekend, claimed

Weather: Dry, sunny
Temperature 21 to 25 ambient, 28 to 41 track


REA OUT INJURED AS BIAGGI TAKES TITLE

Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathan Rea was ruled out of the Imola races after falling in Superpole, in wet conditions, partially fracturing his left collarbone and fracturing his left Scaphoid bone in his wrist. Rea attempted to ride on Sunday, but another fall in morning warm-up made him withdraw and seek a medical solution that would allow him to compete in the final round in France next weekend. He remains third overall in the current rankings.

Max Neukirchner (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was 14th in race one, after qualifying 11th, and would go on to score 12th in race two, despite a lack of drive exiting Imola's many corners and fast curves in full race mode.

Fabrizio Lai (ECHO CRS Honda) was 19th from 19 finishers in race one but made real improvements in race two to score two points for 14th place. He is now on the scoreboard and is working to take more points at Magny-Cours in the final round of the year.

Each Imola race was won by Carlos Checa, while the title itself was decided one round early, as Max Biaggi did enough to be crowned champion at his home meeting, as his only rival Leon Haslam had failed to finish race two.

Pirro posts a win after a dramatic race finale

Michele Pirro from the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team took his first World Supersport race win, on home ground, after a last corner clash between the two main championship contenders allowed him to sweep past and cross the line unopposed. He moved up to fifth on the championship rankings, on 91 points. He had qualified in third place, on the front row.

Pole man Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and second fastest qualifier Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) were the long time leading duo, swapping the advantage with regularity. A deep lunge by Laverty at the final chicane, in an attempt to pass Kenan at the flag, saw him fall and take out Sofuoglu as well, the riders tumbling with their machines to halt just metres from the finish line. They each restarted, Sofuoglu was quickest to get going and he crossed the line 2.888 seconds after Pirro, but crucially ahead of Laverty, who was classified third.

The main outcome of the way the race finished is that Sofuoglu and Laverty will continue their battle for the 2010 Supersport World Championship crown all the way to the final round, in France, next weekend. Sofuoglu now has 243 points to Laverty's 227, a difference of 16 points with a maximum of 25 to play for.

Intermoto Czech Honda rider Massimo Roccoli qualified seventh and raced to sixth place at his home round, battling in a group behind the leaders early in the race then dropping back to finish only six seconds from the win.

A tough weekend all-in for Gino Rea (Intermoto Czech Honda) saw him qualify ninth, as so much dry track time was lost in practice and qualifying that he could not get himself onto the front two rows. He was running in fifth place when he lost the front at the Variante Alta, and was unable to restart.

Miguel Praia, from the Parkalgar Honda team, had an even unluckier afternoon, falling in a first corner incident and ending his day without a race lap completed. He had qualified 12th, starting on the same row as Rea.

WSBK and WSS classes both culminate at the 13th and final round of each championship, on Sunday 3 October, at Magny-Cours.

WSBK Rider Comments
Jonathan Rea, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: DNS and DNS - 3rd overall. "Yesterday, when I fell, I got torpedoed into the ground. I just had a bit more lean angle going around the chicane than before. My scaphoid is fractured, but towards the end, not the normal place right down the middle. This morning I got a bit enthusiastic on a damp track and I hit a wet patch at the bottom of the hill and didn't have the strength in my shoulders to correct it. The bike kind of walloped me and then the bars flew out of my hands and then I was off. I am going for a second opinion on my wrist injury, as it is feeling a lot worse than it did before warm-up, even though I didn't touch my wrist in my warm-up crash."

Max Neukirchner, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 14th and 12th - 18th overall. "Two races in the points, but our main problem was the rear grip, particularly in race one. In race two a little better but racing here today was no fun."

Fabrizio Lai, ECHO CRS Honda: 19th and 14th 28th overall. "I took two points in race two and that was important because at Imola I have no experience of this bike and this championship. Points in any weekend are good in this championship. I last raced in Imola in Italian championship in 2003, so that was a long time ago. And a 125cc is not the same as a Superbike!"

WSS Rider Comments

Michele Pirro, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR: Winner - 5th overall. "I am so happy to have won because this is my home race and the rest of the season has not been very good. OK, I was able to win because Kenan and Eugene crashed at the last corner but I am still very happy. Congratulations to all the team who did a great job today to get a win and a second place. Now we can move to the last race in Magny-Cours and aim for another podium to finish the season in a good way."

Kenan Sofuoglu, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 2nd - 1st overall. "All weekend I was very confident and it was the same for the race today. We were definitely ready to go for the win but I am not sure that Eugene had enough speed to go with me. He was able to follow but his aim in the race when he was leading seemed to be to slow me and to block me. I pushed hard for the last few laps and he was still able to follow me but I think that the final attack he made was too much on the limit. I was very lucky and my bike was still able to run and I could get back up to finish in front of Eugene. Of course, I really wanted to win this weekend but it didn't happen. The positive thing is that I have a 16-point advantage going to Magny-Cours."

Eugene Laverty, Parkalgar Honda: 3rd 2nd overall. "I am angry with myself because my left arm started to go numb towards the end of the race and I was riding the bike with my right arm only. It is an old injury that came back today and my priority now is to get it sorted properly. In the race when I took the lead I tried to cruise a little to protect my arm but when Kenan came by I had to go with him. I couldn't set myself up as precisely as I wanted on the last lap but came up the inside on the run to the chicane. He put pressure on me and I lost the front so we crashed. I got my bike up but it took a moment longer than Kenan to get going again. Now I will go to Magny-Cours and try my best to end the season with a win and see what happens there."

Massimo Roccoli, Czech Intermoto Honda: 6th 10th overall. "I equalled my best finish of the year so we should be happy in some ways. We aimed for a good finish in the points and we got one but I think we all wanted some more dry track time in practice."

Miguel Praia, Parkalgar Honda: DNF - 13th overall. "I could do nothing. I went into the first corner and another rider crashed into me and that finished my race. I tried to restart but couldn't. I am very frustrated, as I could have scored good points in the top ten I am sure. My left thumb is a little sore so I will get it checked by the clinic, just to make sure it is OK. Now I am focusing on the final race and finishing the season on a high."

Gino Rea, Intermoto Czech Honda: DNF 8th overall. "I am OK, no injures but annoyed and frustrated to have crashed. We are looking at the data now, and it shows that the front went, but there seems no reason why. No warning, as it happened so quick. We lost a bit of time in practice because of the weather changes, so it has been a bit frustrating this weekend."




More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

DOUBLE PODIUM FOR NORIYUKI HAGA (DUCATI XEROX) TODAY AT THE IMOLA CIRCUIT

Imola (Italy), Sunday 26th September: Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) completed two extremely impressive races at the Imola circuit today; starting from the fourth row of the grid, the Japanese rider carved his way through the field lap after lap.
A great day for Ducati that dominated Race 1, with Noriyuki accompanied on the podium by a faultless Carlos Checa and a "reborn" Lorenzo Lanzi, before securing the top two spots in Race 2 with Checa, who scores his first double win with his 1198, and a competitive and determined Haga.

Race 1: Noriyuki made up a lot of ground off the line, in ninth after the first lap. A drop in the performance of some of the frontrunners, in the second half of the race, allowed the Japanese rider to catch first Tom Sykes and then Jakub Smrz, putting him fourth. On the final lap Noriyuki moved into third position and secured a podium spot when Leon Haslam ran off track while trying to get past Checa. Michel Fabrizio, having lost a couple of positions at the start, had difficulty with the rear of the bike, that moved around excessively. He continued to make progress throughout the 21-lap race however, to close in seventh position.

Race 2: on a warmer track, Noriyuki was again able to make rapid progress, making up eleven places in nine laps. The Japanese rider never gave up, passing Max BIaggi, Tom Sykes before going after Carlos Checa who had already built up a significant advantage. Haga did all he could but the Spanish rider only increased his pace, to take his first double win on board the 1198. Michel, having made a better start than in Race 1, did well in the initial stages and was fifth by the seventh lap. The smoke generated when Leon Haslam suffered a technical problem just in front of Michel, caused the latter to run off track and lose three positions. Although the Roman rider quickly made those places back up, he unfortunately found neutral through the Acque Minerali which caused him to run wide and lose the front, putting an end to his race.
The points gained by Ducati today project the Borgo-Panigale based manufacturer into second position in the manufacturers championship. Noriyuki remains sixth in the riders classification, one point behind Cal Crutchlow, while Michel Fabrizio goes up to ninth.

Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 3rd , Race 2 2nd)
"It wasn't easy and I'm really happy to have reached the podium twice, even if I couldn't win today. At this track the first corner is particularly narrow and that can make the first lap pretty dangerous but I got through it and made up some positions there, and then found a good rhythm in both races which meant I could start to catch up, finally reaching third, and then second. Of course it would have been even better to win but I would have needed a few more laps in order to do that. My congratulations go to Carlos, Lorenzo and Cal as they all rode extremely well, especially Carlos. A Ducati 1,2,3 and then a 1,2 ¬- I'd say we can all be happy with that."

Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 7th , Race 2 - DNF)
"Of course I wanted to do better on Ducati's home track. In race 1 I was able to make up some places but the feeling I had with the bike got gradually worse and I didn't have the necessary pace in the second half of the race. In race 2 I was confident and had good feeling but when Haslam had that problem, I also ran off track, losing ground. An error on the 14th lap caused me to crash and unfortunately I was unable to get back on."




More, from a press release issued by Team Pedercini:

Despite the bad weather forecasts, a dry track and sunny weather conditions today in Imola for both Superbike races. Roger Lee Hayden lined up on the fifth row of the grid and Baiocco on the sixth row for today's two races of the twelfth round of the 2010 World Superbike championship. In race one, after a quick start, Hayden was fighting for the points zone when he was forced to end his race because of some problems with the electronic gear. Baiocco obtained the eighteenth place. In race two Hayden suffered the same problems as in the first race and near to the middle of the race he re-entered the box ending his race. Baiocco found a good race pace and scored a good fifteenth position obtaining one point for his championship standing.

Superbike race 1: 1) Checa (Ducati) - 2) Lanzi (Ducati) - 3) Haga (Yamaha) 4) Smrz (Ducati) 5) Haslam (Suzuki) 6) Sykes (Kawasaki) "¦.. 18) Baiocco (Kawasaki)"¦.. RET Hayden (Kawasaki)

Superbike race 2 : : 1) Checa (Ducati) - 2) Haga (Ducati) - 3) Crutchlow (Yamaha) 4) Sykes (Kawasaki) 5) Biaggi (Aprilia) "¦.. 15) Baiocco (Kawasaki) "¦.. RET Hayden (Kawasaki)

Roger Lee Hayden : "Both races were really difficult for us. Near to the middle of the race I started to feel some problems coming from the electronic gear. The problem only got worse as the race laps continued and I went back to the box. Before the second race my technicians worked on the electronic gear but unfortunately in race two my bike's engine did not work properly because of some electronic problems and I re-entered the box ending my race. I'm sure that my team will work hard before the last races in Magny Cours to solve the problem we found here in Imola. For sure we'll be more competitive in the next race".

Matteo Baiocco :"Two difficult races for me today. I knew I had to make numerous passes in order to get nearer to the front and I pushed hard but I was unable to do so. I experienced a small problem with my rear tyre and it was hard for me to turn. In race two I was able to establish a good rhythm which allow me to reach a good result and one point for the championship standing."




More, from a press release issued by Troy Corser's publicist:

ANOTHER FRUSTRATING DAY IN THE OFFICE FOR TROY.

Troy endured another day of frustration in the twelfth round of the Superbike World Championship at Imola today, finishing 15th in Race 1 and 11th in Race 2. The problems he had suffered during practice and qualifying were never fully resolved and Troy had to battle his way round the 4.936 kilometre circuit on a bike that he couldn't push as hard as he wanted to. Due to the poor conditions yesterday, he never got the chance to do a race distance on a tyre. When the rear went off in the races, he was unable to match his lap times in practice and dry qualifying and just had to do the best he could.

Carlos Checa (Ducati) won both races today, taking race one by over a second and race two by a more comfortable two seconds. It was an all-Ducati podium in race one, with Lorenzo Lanzi in second and Noriyuki Haga in third. In the second race, Haga finished runner up, with Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha). Max Biaggi (Aprilia) became this year's Superbike World Champion when Leon Haslam's Suzuki blew up in race two. Haslam had been the only rider who could've beaten Max to the title, but his DNF left Max with a lead of 63 points, with just 50 points left to play for. It is the first time that an Italian has been crowned World Champion and Aprilia's first title in the series.

Troy - Race 1: 15th, Race 2: 11th
Generally, it's been a frustrating day. From the first day to this afternoon we never really sorted out some small problems and that, together with the lack of doing a race distance on a race tyre, meant that we we're always playing catch up. The lack of race distance info meant that I only got to find out how the tyres behaved after half the race and the feeling was not that good! The grip went and the bike became difficult to stop and turn properly and so I wasn't able to push as hard as I wanted to.

I made a good start in race one, but got a false neutral on lap four and dropped from 5th to 19th and then had a lot of work to do just recovering some ground. The bike was spinning and wheelieing everywhere, but I kept at it and did the best I could and ended 15th.

We used the same bike in race one and two but we changed the rear tyre. We also made some small changes to the wheelie control, the electronics and suspension. Once again my start was pretty good, but my starts have been consistently good all year. When the grip went, I was struggling again. Also, this track is so bumpy and you cannot relax at all on the bike. Today I felt like I was fighting it all the time and that's not a good way to race. The wheelies and spinning don't make life easy and it's something we'll have to sort out for Magny-Cours. I hope I will have a bike that's comfortable to ride there and one that I can really push hard and feel confident doing it. We've had podiums already this year and I would like to end the season with another one at least.