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Oct 2, 2012

Previews Of This Coming Weekend's World Superbike Championship Finale At Magny-Cours

Marco Melandri (33).
France Magny-Cours.

05th 07th October 2012
14th of 14 race weekends

Munich/Stephanskirchen, 1st October 2012. Stage set for the finale: Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport travels to Magny-Cours in the heart of France this weekend (5th to 7th October) for the final round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship. Having recently endured a few difficult races, the team and factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Leon Haslam (GBR) are out to return to the kind of success they enjoyed earlier in the season when they take to the track at the "Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours". Marco and Leon have so far claimed six wins, 15 podium finishes and five fastest laps between them on their BMW S 1000 RRs.

BMW arrives at the season finale in second place in the Manufacturers' Championship with 394 points 28.5 points behind leader Aprilia. Marco is currently third in the Riders' Championship with 308.5 points. This puts him 38.5 behind leader Max Biaggi (ITA). Leon is seventh on 189 points. Both stepped onto the podium in Magny-Cours last year: Marco finished runner-up in both races, while Leon came home in third and fourth on the RR.

Marco spent last week at home in Italy recovering from the injuries he picked up in Portimão (POR). He suffered two broken ribs and serious bruising to his back when he was hit by another bike after crashing at the start of the first race. However, there is nothing preventing him from starting in France. Meanwhile, Leon has fully recovered from the injuries he picked up in Moscow (RUS) and at the Nürburgring (GER).

Magny-Cours from the rider's point of view:
Marco Melandri:
"I spent the time after Portugal back home taking a rest and recovering from my injury. It still hurts, but I am feeling better with every day and cannot wait to head to Magny-Cours. The last two race Sundays were difficult, but they are behind us now and we are as motivated as ever to fight on. The final round of the season will definitely not be an easy one, as it is fiercely competitive at the front of the field. It is important for us to work hard from the first day on in order to prepare as well as possible for the races.

I like the Magny-Cours circuit. Last year I raced there for the first time and had two very good races. It is a difficult but interesting circuit, which offers a combination of everything. When I first rode there, it took me some time to find the best way of braking for the slow corners, but then I found a good feeling and was riding pretty fast. I also like it because the surface is very smooth. I had a lot of fun there last year and that is my target for this year, too. I want to enjoy the final round and finish the season with the best possible performance and the best possible results."

Leon Haslam:
"The recent race weekends have been difficult for me, so hopefully now my luck will change. I know we have had the pace to win races over the last three, four rounds. It is my last race weekend for BMW Motorrad, so I obviously want to finish strongly and, if possible, with a win. We will give 110 per cent, as always.

Magny-Cours always comes late on in the season so it is normally pretty cold. The track has a lot of hairpins and tight corners but also has a very fast back straight. It is quite technical and the weather is always a key point there, as the temperatures have been low there in recent years."

Magny-Cours from a technical point of view:
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
"The best ever season for BMW Motorrad Motorsport will come to an end at Magny-Cours. It has been an amazing and difficult championship full of ups and downs. Our clear target is to finish it with great races and the best possible results. The track is a technical one and lacks a natural driving rhythm. It is a combination of everything, fast and slow corners, one of the slowest hairpins around, chicanes and a fast straight. It will be demanding for the riders and difficult for the team to find the best set-up. Another characteristic is its smooth surface, which is sensitive to the weather conditions and temperatures. Considering how quickly the weather could change at this time of the year this could be a key factor, so we must be ready for any conditions.

Marco is facing the most difficult time of the season; he is working very hard to recover from the injury he suffered in Portimão. We are confident that he will be fit and ready to fight with the top guys. He is very strong and this difficult time will give him extra motivation. He likes Magny-Cours, where he only missed out on winning both races by a matter of seconds last year. The whole team is behind him. For Leon, Magny-Cours will be his last race for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. We enjoyed the time together and we would really like to part ways with a big result. We all know what he is capable of achieving and he has good memories of Magny-Cours, where he got a fantastic podium last year. We all are confident that he will be able to fight for the podium again and the whole team will work hard to help him achieve this target."

Magny-Cours from Pirelli's point of view:
The slick solutions Pirelli will bring to Magny-Cours for the grand finale of the 2012 Superbike World Championship will be three on the front and just as many on the rear. These will be joined as always by the intermediate and wet tyres. The conditions of the French circuit are ideal for perfecting the 16.5'' range which will be made available to British Superbike next year as well as to private consumers all over the world who want to continue using a racing range in these sizes.

For the front the brand with the long "P" will bring two SC1 solutions and one SC2. In fact, the riders will be able to choose the N1159 as the standard SC1, used in all the rounds so far this season, or the P1280 as an alternative development SC1, introduced for the first time at Donington and also used at Misano Adriatico, Aragón, Brno, Silverstone, the Nürburgring and Portimão because of its ability to provide better grip at low temperatures. The third and final option will be the P773, a mid-hard SC2 solution which has been available for all the races this season. For the rear, on the other hand, Pirelli is bringing one SC0 and two alternatives in an SC1 compound. The SC0 is the R548 which premiered at Misano and was also brought along to the Brno round and more recently to Portimão. The two SC1 solutions are the P1060 which was available for use in all the 2012 races except for Monza and Moscow, and the R302 development SC1, introduced during the Imola tests in April and then used at Donington, Miller, Aragón, Brno, Silverstone, Moscow, the Nürburgring and Portimão.

Magny-Cours is a town with a population of about 1,500 in the heart of France, around 250 kilometres south of Paris. It is located in a rural area in the region of Burgundy and belongs to the department of Nièvre, the capital of which Nevers is just a few kilometres away. Magny-Cours can look back on a motorsport tradition stretching back over half a century. The first racetrack in Magny-Cours, the "Circuit Jean Behra", was opened in 1961. This triangular circuit staged international automobile races, including rounds of the Formula 2 series.

Back in the 1970s the development of the circuit was advocated by François Mitterrand, who went on to become the President of France. From a political point of view, this offered an opportunity to give the underdeveloped region an economic boost. The course was expanded and modified for the first time in 1971. After a financially difficult time, the new start came in 1989: the circuit was reopened as the "Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours" following more modifications. More work followed in 2002, during which the dangerous final combination of corners leading into the start/finish was made less hazardous. As well as the actual racetrack, today's complex includes a club circuit, a kart track, a technology centre, a museum and a golf course.

From 1991 to 2008, Magny-Cours was a regular fixture on the Formula One calendar, hosting the French Grand Prix. Motorbike racing also enjoys a long tradition here: the "Bol d'Or" endurance classic, which has been held here since 2000, is particularly renowned. The FIM Superbike World Championship made its debut at the French circuit in 1991. However, it did not return to Magny-Cours until 2003. The championship has held races at the "Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours" every year since then.

The circuit is extremely demanding, with three hairpins giving it a unique stop-and-go character. It also features a mixture of fast and slow sections, corners and chicanes of differing severity, and a long straight. As such, the top speed, stability, steering response and braking of the BMW S 1000 RR are all key factors in Magny-Cours. The riders often approach the slowest corners they face all season at very high speeds, sometimes downhill. This applies in particular to the "Adelaide" hairpin, which comes at the end of the back straight and requires the riders to brake hard from over 280 km/h to under 50 km/h. Among the characteristics of the circuit is the smooth asphalt, which can become very slippery in low temperatures or rain. This is particularly important in autumn, as the weather at this time of year can change quickly. The teams and riders are faced with the challenge of finding the ideal set-up to not only cope with the unique layout of the circuit, but also the varying weather conditions.

Now a BMW Motorrad factory rider, Marco Melandri (ITA) made his first appearance in Magny-Cours last year and narrowly missed out on a brace of wins, finishing runner-up in both races. Leon Haslam (GBR) joined him on the podium after race one, finishing third on his BMW S 1000 RR, before going on to finish fourth in the second race. This made Magny-Cours his best race weekend last season.

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Top French Finale The Aim For Sykes And Baz

WSBK, Magny-Cours, France, 2 October 2012

Race winners in the 2012 SBK season already, Tom Sykes and Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) each have their own aims at the final round of the SBK seasons, to be held at Loris's home track in France

Sykes has scored three wins in 2012 so far, the most recent in race one last time out in Portugal, and he will be aiming for more of the same to try and catch the championship leader Max Biaggi. Tom is in second place overall, 30.5 points behind the Italian rider, with only two points scoring races left.

A maximum of 50 points is available for any rider who wins both Magny-Cours races. For Sykes the pre-event goal is to post the two strongest raceday results possible by finding the best machine set-up for each race, and then see what other developments occur.

In reality Sykes has two main jobs ahead of him on raceday. The first is catching and passing Biaggi on points if things go his way but he also has to keep ahead of third place rider Marco Melandri, who is a narrow eight points behind Tom.

For Baz, who like Sykes has recently re-signed for the 2013 season with the Kawasaki Racing Team, two forthcoming races in his native France are particular highlights. The Silverstone race winner is keen to take his first top five finishes in fully dry conditions this weekend if the weather co-operates during early October in the centre of France. Baz, still a teenager, is now 12th overall in the rankings, after only joining the series at the fifth round.

Team Pedercini Kawasaki SBK riders David Salom and Alexander Lundh will be looking for their best season results at the final round of the 2012 season, with Salom hoping for ninth or better and Lundh looking for any finish better than 14th.

In the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup Team Pedercini Kawasaki rider Bryan Staring is joined by Leandro Mercado once more. Staring is still in with an outside chance of the title itself, as he is 22 points from the leader and 19 points behind second place. He has won three races on his relatively standard Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R in 2012 and must take another win to be in with any chance of the title this time around. Current MRS Kawasaki Superstock 1000 rider Jeremy Guarnoni has been no stranger to podium finishes this year and a final top three at his home race would be a pleasing finish for the young French rider.

Tom Sykes: "I am looking forward to getting back on my ZX-10R. I am excited to go to Magny Cours as it is a race that has shown some potential for us in the past and the way we have the bike working now is good. I lam looking to go there and do our usual thing. Honestly, I am also looking for a little bit of luck. I am second in the championship, 30.5 points from the leader, so we need a certain aspect of luck to help us out. But, ultimately, it can happen. It happened to me in race two last week and in the last four races for Melandri. So I hope that we can put in two strong races and come out one place better. We are second in the championship and if I had been offered that at the beginning of the year, I am sure myself and the whole team would have accepted it. We are here now and we know what we can achieve. No matter what, if we finish top three we will have had a very, very good year. We are still mathematically able to win the championship so I think we should try to do something about it. Other people have made mistakes but at the end of the day everyone has had the same opportunities as us. To be lying second is a good achievement. It is where we really are. We have learned a lot this year and we have had to work hard at some events just because we are still learning. We have come from a long way back, have been winning races and challenging for race wins and I am sure next year we will be even stronger."

Loris Baz: "Racing in France in front of the French fans is always very cool. But on track we will be trying to do the same as at every round. I hope to score a top five in the dry and if it is dry it will be better for us. I like Magny-Cours, it is a very nice track, and I did the Bol D'Or there. I won the Superstock 600 Championship there and I have some good memories, so I hope to have another good memory. I just want to find a good set-up on Friday, work towards the race. We were not so far from the top five in Portimao so we are getting there. A few races ago a top seven in the dry was a little dream, but now we have done that two times."

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:


Magny-Cours (France), Tuesday 2nd October 2012: the 2012 eni Superbike World Championship comes to its conclusion this weekend at Magny-Cours, Francia. Althea Racing's Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano have fond memories of the 2011 edition of this race and each has his own objectives for the final round of the 2012 season.
Two weeks ago at the Portuguese track of Portimao, Carlos was back on the podium in race 1 and subsequently battled his way through the pack to take fifth place in the second race. Davide was struck by more bad luck, knocked off his bike in race 1 and forced to retire from the second due to technical problems.

Turn the clock back one year and Magny-Cours was the setting for Checa's World Championship victory. Having arrived at the French track just three points short of what he needed, Carlos aimed to do the job in style, and that's exactly what he did, dominating throughout the weekend before securing the double race win come race day.

And this was not all - over in the STK 1000 category Althea's Davide Giugliano was also celebrating title success, after a fifth place finish in his race assured him of overall first position in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup. Thanks to the Althea Racing team's performance at Magny-Cours, Ducati also lifted the manufacturer's trophy in both the SBK and Stock 1000 categories, meaning a quadruple cause for celebration.
In 2012, Magny-Cours will host the final round of the season, and it will also be the final outing for the Ducati 1198. With the arrival of the new 1199 Panigale, Althea's Checa and Giugliano hope to bid a fond farewell to the 2011 championship winning bike by scoring the best possible results this Sunday. Although Carlos is no longer in the mix for the title, he is in with a mathematical chance of closing in overall second or third position in the standings. Davide lies in eleventh position but will be going all out to finish his rookie year inside the top ten.

Carlos Checa:
"I have great memories of this track in 2011 of course! It would be nice to round off the year with a podium place but as we have seen at recent rounds that is no easy task for us now. I am not thinking about the points or the final classification, I have taken it one race at a time and so will continue to do that this weekend, putting all my efforts into finishing the 2012 season in the best way we can. It remains to be seen as to whether we'll be racing in pouring rain, always a possibility at Magny-Cours in October, but I'm prepared to do my best whatever the conditions."

Checa's Superbike form at Magny-Cours:
2011: Race 1 winner, Race 2 - winner
2010: Race 1- 3rd, Race 2 9th
2009: Race 1 6th, Race 2 9th
2008: Race 1 7th, Race 2 4th

Davide Giugliano
"I had a great trip to this track last season definitely the highlight of my career so far! This year, my first in Superbike, has been a steep learning curve and although I feel that I have grown and learned more as each round has gone by, I know there is still much more to do. My goal this weekend is to close the season in as positive a way as possible, hopefully scoring enough points to finish inside the top ten in the overall standings."

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

Honda's Superbike duo head for season finale

Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama will line up for the final round of the 2012 World Superbike championship this weekend (5-7 October) at Magny-Cours in France, rounding out the 25th year of the world's foremost production motorcycle race series.

The Honda World Superbike duo are out of contention in the title race this season but both are looking to finish the season in style with two good races at the 4.411km circuit, which lies just 10km south of Nevers in central France.

Rea has enjoyed mixed fortunes at Magny-Cours, finishing on the podium in his first World Superbike visit in 2009. However, the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland struggled with a wrist injury the following season. He started from pole position for last year's races but a crash in race one and a technical problem in race two prevented Rea from converting his advantage.

For the final time this season, Hiroshi Aoyama, must learn a new circuit but the Japanese rider is looking forward to finishing his time with the Honda World Superbike Team on a positive note.

Jonathan Rea

I'm really looking forward to going to Magny-Cours this weekend and trying to finish this season off in style. We often get some variable weather at this race, with pretty cold mornings, but it would be really nice to avoid another race that's dictated by conditions like we've had a few times this year, including race one at Portimao. It's especially frustrating when we've got the bike working well like we did there. I really like the Magny-Cours circuit though and I hope to have a couple of good races to complete the amazing journey that I've been on these last few weeks. It's not just the last few weeks, actually 2012 has been an unbelievable year for me, both professionally and personally. I'd like to get it finished properly and then get home to recharge the batteries and get myself motivated again to start pre-season testing and prepare for 2013.

Hiroshi Aoyama

I'm looking forward to learning another new track at Magny-Cours this week. I have looked at some videos of previous races and, although it's never easy, the circuit doesn't look as difficult to learn as Portimao. I was able to enjoy that track by the end of the weekend, so I hope to do the same at Magny-Cours. I will try my best as usual but, as these will be my last races with the Ten Kate Honda team, I hope even more to make some good results this weekend.

Ronald ten Kate team manager

While some might be looking back at the 2012 season, I can confirm we are firmly focused on looking ahead to 2013 with the exciting new line-up in both Superbike and Supersport that we announced at Portimao. In the meantime, there are two races at Magny-Cours to deal with and, for a start, we hope that the weekend will be completely dry. Magny-Cours brings some good memories for us because we have won both races and, more importantly, championships there. We're not fighting for any titles this time, but we'll give everything again for the best possible results and see if we can maybe gain a place in the final standings. This weekend also marks the last outing with the team for Hiroshi. It would be nice to finish the season on a high but, unfortunately he has to learn another new circuit, so it won't be easy for him. While this season hasn't exactly brought everything we were aiming for, it has been a pleasure working with Hiros hi and we wish him every success both this weekend and for the future.

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:





Intermot, Cologne, 3 October 2012 - It will not be a weekend for the faint of heart. The 2012 Superbike season is drawing to a close with the last round on the French circuit at Magny Cours, and the race for both world titles (rider and manufacturer) is still wide open. The Aprilia standard bearer, five time world champion Max Biaggi, after excellent performances at the Nürburgring and Portimao, is in the lead of the rider standings with a 30.5 point advantage over Sykes and 38.5 ahead of Melandri. The challenge these three riders face revolves around the 50 points that are up for grabs in the two French races.

The Corsair can count on his excellent form, highlighted by the grit and tenacity demonstrated at Portimao during a weekend ravaged by poor weather. The French track has already seen him win in 2010, while last year Max had to take a forced break due to the injury he suffered at the Nürburgring.

From the Cologne Intermot Motorcycle show, where today he unveiled the new Aprilia RSV4 Factory ABS MY13 with its 184 HP engine, advanced electronics, new ergonomics and latest generation sport ABS, Max Biaggi had this to say: "I want to tackle this race like any other. I know the pressure will be high because of the current standings, but we must not lose focus because we are the ones with the most to lose. Being out front puts you in the bullseye. Our rivals know that any weakness on our part could reopen the competition. In any case I am calm and focused as always. We've demonstrated that we can do well when we are able to take advantage of every practice session and I can't wait to get onto the track and get to work".

Eugene Laverty turns up at Magny Cours after his first victory under Aprilia colours. His excellent performance in recent races has contributed to strengthening the Italian brand's hold on its leadership in the manufacturer competition (Aprilia leads with 28.5 points ahead of BMW, 47.5 over Ducati, 66 over Kawasaki, 152 over Honda and 292 over Suzuki), and it has also pumped up the rider from Northern Ireland, who now knows without a doubt that he can be competitive on any track.

"We've reached the final round of the season at Magny Cours in 6th position in the championship. I'm within reach of achieving 5th overall and so that is my aim for the weekend. The first half of the season was disappointing but since then we've finished on the podium several times. It was a huge relief to win last time out in Portimao and it was nice to reward the team for all their hard work in turning our season around. Another victory would be great so let's see what the weekend brings".