May 6, 2012
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by David Swarts
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Race winner Tom Sykes (center), runner-up Leon Haslam (left) and third-place finisher Eugene Laverty (right).
Heavy rain caused the first of two World Superbike races at Monza to be cancelled.
The second race was started in the dry, but rain started falling halfway through that race, forcing it to be halted, according to the official Superbike World Championship website.
Officials then declared the race complete and Tom Sykes, who had a 9.709-second lead at the time, the winner. Only half Championship points were awarded, however.
FIM Superbike World Championship
May 6, 2012
Race Two Results (all on Pirelli tires):
1. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 8 laps, 14:08.800
2. Leon HASLAM, UK (BMW S1000RR), -9.709 seconds
3. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), -10.119
4. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), -10.294
5. Max BIAGGI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), -10.527
6. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), -10.638
7. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1098R), -10.899
8. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1098R), -12.195
9. Jakub SMRZ, Czech Republic (Ducati 1098R), -13.199, ran off track
10. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), -19.372
11. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (Honda CBR1000RR), -24.551
12. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), -24.655
13. Maxime BERGER, France (Ducati 1098R), -24.662
14. Lorenzo ZANETTI, Italy (Ducati 1098R), -24.668
15. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), -24.810
16. Leandro MERCADO, Argentina (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -24.935
17. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1098R), -25.278
18. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (BMW S1000RR), DNS
19. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Ducati 1098R), DNS
20. Sergio GADEA, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), DNS
21. Mark AITCHISON, Australia (BMW S1000RR), DNS
World Championship Point Standings (after 7 of 28 races):
1. Biaggi, 97.5 points
2. Checa, 95.5
3. Sykes, 91.5
4. Melandri, 72.5
5. Rea, 70
6. Haslam, 68
7. Guintoli, 66
8. Laverty, 64
9. Smrz, 42.5
10. Giugliano, 41
More, from a press release issued by Infront Motor Sports:
Weather intervenes as Sykes wins his first of 2012
Monza (Italy), Sunday 6 May 2012 Thanks to poor weather conditions that came and went all day at Monza the first race had to be cancelled and only one SBK contest took place, which was then unavoidably shortened to half distance. On a day of uncertainties and unpredictable track conditions Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) provided an emphatic win out of all proportion to the short eight laps the race lasted before the rains came back to spoil the party yet again. His margin of victory was 9.709 seconds, more than a second per lap faster than his main rivals in damp but drying track conditions. An overall crowd figure of 85,000 was recorded at the Autodromo Nazionale for this weekend's event.
Tom Sykes: "There's been a lot of commotion today, but to get the win for Kawasaki and the ZX-10R is great for us. The bike was awesome in the race, there were a lot of damp patches, but I had such good feedback I was able to get my head down and go about business in a good way. It's a shame the race couldn't go two-thirds distance but, hopefully now we can move on to a very sunny England and have some consistent weather for a change!."
Leon Haslam: "I think we made the best of a bad day, 14th on the grid wasn't ideal. It was quite difficult to overtake coming off the dry line, but it worked out perfect. We managed to get second, Tom was too quick from the get-go and by the time I got second he had already gone. A big credit to BMW, I'm happy to just get back onto the podium."
Eugene Laverty: "We've been strong all weekend here at Monza in these conditions but I think we're all just relieved to get that race over. I'm happy to be on the podium, home safe and sound. When I saw Leon go in front of me because he's very experienced, I was happy to follow him and let him lead the way because there were some damp patches. Pleased for the podium after a tough day."
As the race was so short, but beyond the lap count that would mean a restart, only half points were awarded to all the top 15 finishers. Tissot-Superpole winner Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert-Liberty Ducati) looked like he would be the man to challenge Sykes but his bike stalled on the final warm-up lap and he could not get back to the grid in time to make the start. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) headed up a warring group of six potential podium riders, with Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) fifth and Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) seventh.
Sykes is the fifth different race winner of the year and race victories have now been taken by Aprilia, Ducati, Honda and Kawasaki riders, after only seven individual race finishes.
Results: 1. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 14'08.800; 2. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 9.709; 3. Laverty E. (IRL) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 10.119; 4. Melandri M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 10.294; 5. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 10.527; 6. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 10.638; 7. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 10.899; 8. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 12.195; 9. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 13.199; 10. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 19.372; 11. Aoyama H. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 24.551; 12. Davies C. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 24.655; 13. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 24.662; 14. Zanetti L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 24.668; 15. Camier L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 24.810; 16. Mercado L. (ARG) Kawasaki ZX-10R 24.935; etc.
Points (after 4 of 14 rounds): 1. Biaggi 97.5; 2. Checa 95.5; 3. Sykes 91.5; 4. Melandri 72.5; 5. Rea 70; 6. Haslam 68; 7. Guintoli 66; 8. Laverty 64; 9. Smrz 42.5; 10. Giugliano 41; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 140.5; 2. Aprilia 108; 3. Kawasaki 97.5; 4. BMW 96; 5. Honda 74; 6. Suzuki 20.5.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) won what was only his fourth ever Supersport race, in wet conditions at Monza. He finally held off an exciting late challenge from Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) who passed him going into the final corner, but was forced wide to allow Cluzel to duck inside and claim the prize. Some way back, Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini) was a safe third, ahead of the impressive wet-weather abilities of Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth). Fifth was wild card rider Stefano Cruciani (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki Italia).
Results: 1. Cluzel J. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 33'08.897; 2. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 0.312; 3. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Kawasaki ZX-6R 17.369; 4. Toth I. (HUN) Honda CBR600RR 21.528; 5. Cruciani S. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 29.469; 6. Baldolini A. (ITA) Triumph Daytona 675 32.214; 7. Roccoli M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 43.577; 8. Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 43.949; etc.
Points (after 4 of 13 rounds): 1. Sofuoglu 61; 2. Lowes 51; 3. Foret 49; 4. Cluzel 48; 5. Baldolini 34; 6. Parkes 29; 7. Leonov 26; 8. Lanzi 25; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 86; 2. Kawasaki 86; 3. Yamaha 40; 4. Triumph 40; 5. Suzuki 6.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Lorenzo Savadori (Barni Racing Team Italia) took the all-new Ducati 1199 Panigale to its first win in this class of racing, on a drying track at Monza. With the previous championship leader Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) falling late in the race the championship lead was taken over by Savadori, who has 53 points to Barrier's unchanged 50. Christoffer Bergman (BWG Racing Kawasaki) was an impressive second, only 1.65 seconds behind, with Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia) right behind him. Fabio Massei (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team) was fourth in the 11-lap race with Marco Bussolotti (SK Energy Racing Team Ducati). With his third place La Mara is now only five points from the leader Savadori and two behind Barrier.
Results: 1. Savadori L. (ITA) Ducati 1199 Panigale 21'21.255; 2. Bergman C. (SWE) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1.651; 3. La Marra E. (ITA) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1.884; 4. Massei F. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 3.071; 5. Bussolotti M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 11.194; 6. Gyorfi A. (HUN) Honda CBR1000RR 21.378; 7. Reiterberger M. (GER) BMW S1000 RR 26.047; 8. Baroni L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 30.259; etc.
Points (after 3 of 10 rounds): 1. Savadori 53; 2. Barrier 50; 3. La Marra 48; 4. Reiterberger 35; 5. Baz 30; 6. Bergman 28; 7. Massei 23; 8. Baroni 20; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 61; 2. BMW 59; 3. Kawasaki 50; 4. Honda 23; 5 Aprilia 11.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) won the Superstock 600 class in fully wet conditions on his R6, after a deluge of rain forced the start of the race to be put back as full rain tyres were fitted. It was his second win of the year. Gauthier Duwelz (Team MTM Racing) was second on another Yamaha with the first Honda home being the EAB Ten Kate Junior Team CBR600RR of Bastien Chesaux. Michael van der Mark, Chesaux's team-mate, was fourth and only 3.5 seconds from Russo.
Results: 1. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 13'18.546; 2. Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 1.694; 3. Chesaux B. (SUI) Honda CBR600RR 2.307; 4. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 3.509; 5. Vitali L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 6.211; 6. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 6.254; 7. Coveï¿½a T. (NED) Kawasaki ZX-6R 10.982; 8. Schacht A. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 16.186; etc.
Points (after 3 of 10 rounds): 1. Russo 61; 2. Vd Mark 54; 3. Calero Perez 50; 4. Duwelz 42; 5. Chesaux 26; 6. Egea 24; 7. Vitali 20; 8. Schacht 18; etc.
European Junior Cup
The reappearance of fierce rainfall during the second lap of the KTM European Junior Cup at Monza brought out the red flags and the delayed race was subsequently cancelled in the interest of rider safety.
Points (after 2 of 8 rounds): 1. Pasek 25; 2. Hartog 20; 3. Wielebski 16; 4. Demoulin 13; 5. Patterson 11; 6. Lewis 10; etc.
More, from a press release issued by Effenbert Liberty Racing Team:
The clear impression is that the WSBK has lived today one of its worst days, disrespect for the public, for those who like the team Effenbert invests and for sports in general.
It is unacceptable that the fundamental decisions of the day are been taken with such a superficiality not even worthy of a monobrand championship of scooter. At the end it is clear that the WSBK is in the hands of a little number of team and riders. Other categories, also titled, would never ran into such a farce, (in fact proves the competitions of the other classes without major incident and without whims). Considering all this situations, the team Effenbert Liberty's management will reflect about its racing future.
More, from a press release issued by Pirelli:
please find below Giorgio Barbier statement at the end of the race weekend:
"The weekend at Monza was most certainly conditioned from Saturday by weather conditions which were extremely unstable, with nice weather, suddenly alternating with rain and at times even with hail. As for Superbike, first and foremost I would like to make an important note on Saturday's Superpole: Pirelli consistently recommended that the teams and riders use the intermediate tyres which were available to them. This advice, however, was completely ignored since all of the riders used rain tyres. Clearly the reason for this was the fact that the track was completely dry in places, while in others it was wet due to the trees along the track which kept the asphalt from drying. The rain tyres run well at 50Â°-60Â°, but on the two consecutive straight stretches, which were completely dry, they obviously reached temperatures well above 200Â°. This caused a meltdown of the compound in the centre. I would also like to reassure everyone on this point that Pirelli tyres have a particular structure with a steel belt, and therefore it is absolutely impossible for them to explode. That said, on Sunday the riders in the Superstock classes raced as scheduled, in conditions which were even worse than those during the Superbike races, using the rain tyres on the front and the intermediate or race tyres on the rear. In Supersport, as further proof that the Pirelli rain tyres can most definitely sustain an entire race without any problems, the riders raced and finished on rain tyres. So it was a shame that, although the Superbike riders had two intermediate solutions available to them for the rear, they expected only to use the racing slicks. Once the race began, in any case, it was clear that even in those conditions a good race could be run." - Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director, Pirelli Moto
More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:
THE POOR WEATHER HINDERS APRILIA RACING TEAM'S PLANS AND CUTS THE SHOW SHORT IN MONZA.
RACE 1 CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN AND RACE 2 STOPPED AFTER 8 LAPS.
MAX BIAGGI HOLDS ONTO THE LEADERSHIP BUT IS FORCED TO SETTLE FOR FIFTH PLACE, EUGENE LAVERTY MAKES IT TO THE PODIUM AGAIN.
Monza, 6 May 2012 As predicted, the poor weather had a negative impact on the Superbike Sunday at the Monza circuit. After a warm up that confirmed impossible racing conditions in heavy rain, the riders prepared for the first start, casting glances toward the sky. In fact, after a few laps a sudden storm led to the suspension and subsequent cancellation of Race 1.
Everything was postponed until the second race, abbreviated to 16 laps and with a late start after the warm up lap in order to allow the wet spots on the track to dry off. Max Biaggi got off to a good start from the second row which took him into the lead pack straight away. The ranking leader engaged in battle at the last braking zone, increasing pace as the track conditions improved. But once again, the rain ruined Max's and Team Aprilia's plans, forcing the rider to cut short the hostilities after eight laps. Placings were decreed based on the laps ridden, with half points awarded. Max is still the leader in the rider standings, earning a point over Carlos Checa.
This is an outcome which naturally disappointed Max: "It's hard to even know what to say after a Sunday like this one. Without the rain everyone would have had a lot more fun - the riders first and foremost, as well as the fans. Among other things, while coming back in after Race 1 had been suspended I also had a mechanical problem which would very likely have conditioned any restart. Race 2, on the other hand, was looking good for us. As the track improved I was able to push and I would definitely have made a play for the lead pack. It's true that we're ahead in points, but not with the margin that we could have been on a track that is so favourable to four cylinders".
Eugene Laverty experienced the same disappointment, but he sees the glass as half full after taking his second consecutive podium with and for Aprilia. The rider from Northern Ireland was confident in his chances at battling for a top placement, which would have earned him valuable points. The halved scores deprives Eugene of an excellent chance to improve his position in the rankings. In any case, the third place at Monza, after the same result in the last race at Assen, confirms Eugene's positive trend.
"We were really fast here in Monza in the dry and I expected to do well today. Unfortunately, after Race 1 was rightly cancelled, we started out for Race 2 without the certainty of being able to finish, and that's exactly what happened. After a good start and overtaking a few positions, I was happy to have Leon Haslam in front of me, an expert rider who interprets difficult conditions well. I'm pleased with the third place - my second podium in a row - and now we'll head for Donington where I hope to continue my positive trend".
More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:
Sykes Takes A Spectacular First Win Of The Season
WSBK, Monza, Italy, 6 May 2012
There was no stopping Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) at Monza as he scored a clear win in the only SBK race to be completed today, thanks to weather conditions that constantly changed.
With the first race cancelled, the second race was delayed to let the track dry in some sections but at the green light Sykes set an unmatchable pace and soon put half the length of the straight between his Ninja ZX-10R and his pursuers. By the time the rains came back and the red flag came out to stop the race Tom had amassed a 9.709 second lead over a six rider group behind him.
Tom's victory goes down in history as a full and well-deserved one, but because of the shortened race distance only half points were awarded to all the riders who scored today.
Sykes and his team had opted for a slick tyre set-up on the drying track, soft on front and rear, and the choice worked perfectly. This was Sykes' second victory for Kawasaki in SBK racing, and his first in the 2012 season. The final result of his Monza win is that he closed up on the championship leaders, and is now only six points behind Max Biaggi, and four behind Carlos Checa.
New rider for Monza, Sergio Gadea (Kawasaki Racing Team), fell in the attempted first race after the rains started and his bike was damaged enough to not make it to the second race.
Team Pedercini Kawasaki rider David Salom suffered what was at first thought to be a broken left collarbone when he crashed in the first running of the cancelled race one, but it was later diagnosed as a dislocated left shoulder. His team-mate Tati Mercado scored 16th place in the race and just missed out on a points score by a tenth of a second.
Kawasaki secured a podium in the first race of the day, the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, thanks to Christoffer Bergman (BWG Racing Kawasaki), who finished second. Team Pedercini Kawasaki Superstock 1000 FIM Cup rider Bryan Staring did not make the race after suffering little finger injuries on Saturday, but Jeremy Guarnoni, his team-mate, scored a strong ninth. Loris Baz fell from his MRS Kawasaki and no-scored.
Tom Sykes: "My second win for Kawasaki but my first this year and it was nice to get that one under the belt. It is a shame that it is only half points but we put on a good show in eight laps and I hope I put on a good show for the Italian fans. This was my first podium at Monza so that is good and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R has been working fantastically well. Conditions have often been very bad so there has been a lot of talk and other things going on but it has been my job to keep focused. From the green light the feedback on my bike was fantastic and I was able to go about my business in a good way and keep out of trouble. I had a great start and got myself into the lead and as Elvis once said, "It's now or never." We went for it and every lap the bike was getting better, the track conditions better and I was confident with our package today that we could do a good race distance."
Sergio Gadea: "My first time on a 1000cc bike and I was very happy with the team, the bike and all things. The bike is very powerful. I enjoyed racing in this championship. I fell in the first race on lap three when it started to rain and we could not get out again for race two."
More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:
THE ALTHEA RACING TEAM EXPERIENCES MONZA SBK WASH-OUT; RACE 1 CANCELLED, RACE 2 CUT SHORT
Monza (Italy), Sunday 6th May 2012: today's World Superbike races at the Monza racetrack were conditioned by the bad weather. The first race was cancelled due to rain and the second cut short when rain started to fall mid-race. Althea Racing's Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano closed the second (8-lap) race in seventh and eighth position respectively.
Race 1 - In very changeable conditions (sunshine but a damp track) the Superbikes took to the grid, ready for Race 1. After only three laps it started to rain and the race was quickly stopped with a red flag. The riders returned to the grid half an hour later expecting a re-start but with a track that was dry in sections and completely wet in others, Race Direction took the decision to cancel the race for safety reasons.
Race 2 unfortunately the second race was equally complicated. The start was delayed but then, seeing that the conditions had improved but only slightly, Race Direction decided to start the race anyway, giving each rider the choice as to whether to race or not. Almost all riders started without problems and after two laps Checa was in sixth place, followed by Giugliano in eighth. Finding a good rhythm, the Althea pair continued to lap in seventh (Carlos) and eighth (Davide) place, chasing the six four-cylinder machines ahead of them. On the eighth lap rain started to fall and a red flag once again put an end to proceedings. As only 50% of the planned laps were actually completed, riders were awarded half points.
At the end of the fourth event, Checa is still in second position in the general standings with 95.5 points right behind Biaggi with 97.5. Giugliano is still tenth with 41 points. Ducati leads the manufacturer's championship with 140.5 points to Aprilia's 108.
"In Race 1 most of the riders stated that it was too dangerous to re-start in the mixed conditions that we had at that moment. While some parts of the track were drying, other sections were very wet and so riding with slicks would have been impossible, while it wasn't wet enough for the rain tyres. Then, when it started to rain hard, I was ready to race in 'full wet' conditions but Race Direction decided to cancel it. I helped Biaggi back to the box when his bike stopped. We're rivals yes, but not enemies! I would have done the same for any rider who asked. Race 2 was brief but I'm pleased with the outcome as far as the points are concerned because we were able to limit the damage as we had hoped to."
"It's been a long day. The shortened second race went quite well for me in that I made quite a good start, started to gain confidence with the track and the mixed conditions and was able to stick with the group ahead of me. Of course I had hoped to do more here this weekend but the very changeable conditions didn't allow it. I agreed with Race Direction's decision, we had to at least try and race we did that in race 2, at least until the heavy rain arrived. Anyway, we take some points for the championship and start to prepare for Donington."
More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:
Sunday, 06th May 2012.
Weather conditions: Changeable with heavy rain showers.
Temperature: Air: 20 Â°C, Track: 25 Â°C
Number of riders participating: 17 from 12 teams
Fastest lap Race 1: cancelled
Fastest lap Race 2: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1:44.707 min
On a dramatic and rain hit race Sunday at Monza (ITA), Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport equalled its best ever result in the FIM Superbike World Championship. Factory rider Leon Haslam (GBR) finished second in the second race, the only heat held today. It was also Leon's best ever result on the BMW S 1000 RR, achieved despite having only qualified 14th. His team-mate Marco Melandri (ITA) finished fourth. For the second time in a row bad luck with rain prevented him from stepping on the podium.
Race one was red flagged on lap four due to a rain shower. At that point, Leon had improved from 14th on the grid to fifth. Marco, who started third, unfortunately crashed at the end of lap one due to tricky track conditions. His crew made a massive effort to repair his RR before the restart of the race which did not happen. As torrential rain started, race one was cancelled due to safety reasons. The second race started in still dry conditions and Leon fought his way up through the field and after six laps he was second. He and Marco had an exciting battle against the two Aprilia riders Eugene Laverty (GBR) and Max Biaggi (ITA). On lap nine, Marco passed Laverty for third place directly behind Leon but again it started to rain and the race was immediately red flagged. Therefore the result after lap eight counted, with Marco being classified fourth behind winner Tom Sykes (GBR), Leon and Laverty. As the race was not restarted, half points were awarded. BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team's rider Ayrton Badovini (ITA) finished tenth, his team-mate Michel Fabrizio (ITA) did not start.
In the riders' championship, Marco improved to fourth with 72.5 points. Leon also climbed one position to sixth with 68 points. In the manufacturers' standings BMW is fourth with 96 points.
Result Race 2: 2nd / Gap to 1st: 00:09.709 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:45.542 min
"The conditions this weekend were tough, especially today with the track being wet and dry. I felt confident that I was going to be able to fight for a top position. Starting from 14th on the grid was not ideal as overtaking in these conditions is quite difficult as you have to leave the dry racing line. My race went really well, but by the time I was in second Tom had already pulled away. Huge credit is due to BMW Motorrad and my crew who did a great job. I am really happy to be back on the podium. I am now looking forward to racing at Donington which will be my home race."
Result Race 2: 4th / Gap to 1st: 00:10.294 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:45.139 min
"It was the right decision to cancel the first race today. It had rained a lot, and there are different tarmacs on the track. While the new tarmac doesn't allow for the water to drain away, the old asphalt is different and dries up very quickly. It would have been dangerous to go out with the rain tyre under those conditions. The second race went well for me. I decided not to push too hard at the beginning of the race just to get into the rhythm. I started to feel really comfortable in the lap before the red flag. I felt quite good on the bike, but unfortunately the rain came too early."
Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
"It was dramatic how this weekend went, with our strong start in the qualifying, the tricky and irregular conditions in the Superpole and today's extremely changeable weather. It would have been too dangerous to ride in the rain so the red flags were absolutely right, because the safety of the riders is the highest priority. Leon showed a superb performance again and answered his disappointment from Superpole with his best ever result on the RR. Thanks to Marco's similarly strong performance we nearly celebrated a double podium - but this is racing. A big 'Thank You' to the whole team for the hard work and to both riders, who gave their very best. We also send our heartiest congratulations to our colleagues at BMW Motorsport for the victory and the third place at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. We are delighted that our comeback to the DTM is so successful."
More, from a press release issued by Honda:
FIM SUPERBIKE / SUPERSPORT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 04 SUNDAY MAY 6 MONZA, ITALY
Weather: Changeable throughout, drying in race two
Temperature: Ambient 20 degrees C / Track 25 degrees C
Weekend attendance: 85,000
TOP SIX FOR REA AFTER FIRST MONZA RACE IS CANCELLED
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) took
sixth place in the only FIM Superbike World
Championship race that took place Monza, after
the return of rain at an inopportune moment
caused the first race to be cancelled after an
earlier attempt to run it. The first sector was
stopped after two laps and therefore negated, and
as the riders lined up on the grid for the second
attempt the back section of the track was still
virtually flooded. Concerns about aquaplaning
caused the organisers and the top riders to make
an inspection lap in the pace cars, and for
reasons of rider safety the race was cancelled.
In the second race the start was also delayed as
the Parabolica section was still wet, despite the
race being called dry by race direction. The race
was supposed to be over 18-laps, then it was
dropped to 17, then a final 16, but after rains
reappeared yet again the race was stopped after
only eight laps. Eventual winner Tom Sykes
(Kawasaki) was well clear on his own by that
stage, with Rea fighting in a pack. Half points
were awarded, meaning that Rea got only five
points. He is fifth in the championship, with 70
points. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) leads on 97.5
points, with four rounds and seven races gone.
Rea was less than a second from a podium finish
as he was involved in a six-rider fight for the
two remaining podium places behind Sykes. He had
qualified fifth in Superpole, which was once more run under wet rules.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) had a
tough time in qualifying at Monza, finishing up
20th on the grid, but he rode with pace and
perseverance to finish 11th in a race with 17
finishers. He is an unchanged 13th in the
championship standings, with 24.5 points after
the half-point rules were invoked.
CLUZEL WINS AT A WET MONZA AS HONDA RIDERS TAKE A 1-2
French rider Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) won a
battle of the CBR600RRs at a wet and wild Monza
in the Supersport World Championship class,
holding off a late challenge from pole man Sam
Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) by only 0.3 seconds.
It was Jules' first win in this class of racing
and came after he had qualified only tenth on the
grid, at yet another track he had never seen
before race weekend. Lowes had made it three poles in a row in qualifying.
With a mixture of wet and dry conditions
appearing, particularly from Saturday onwards,
finding a good wet set-up was a challenge for
all. On raceday the Supersport race had to be
delayed after the first Superbike race was
cancelled, and rains fell with even greater
intensity before the start of the 600cc race.
Lowes and Cluzel made a clean break at the front
of the field early in the race and until Lowes
made a mistake under braking into the Ascari
chicane on lap seven he was happy to do the front
running, with Cluzel his shadow. Lowes battled
back as the last laps of the 16-lap race timed
down and got one final chance to re-pass his PTR
team-mate into the Parabolica. He made the pass,
but ran slightly wide, just wide enough to let
Cluzel drive to the finish line and win.
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) was third and that gave
him a clear championship lead of ten points over
Lowes, 61 to 51, with Cluzel the next best Honda
rider, in fourth with 48 points.
Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) used all his
racing experience to push for a podium, but he
could not resist the late challenge of Sofuoglu.
Fourth place, after starting 11th on the grid was
his best performance of the year by some
distance, as he has missed out on scoring any points until now.
Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) led
the race from the start, but crashed under
braking into Ascari on the first lap when
conditions were fully wet. He restarted but
eventually retired with three laps remaining.
Parkes had been seventh on the grid and is now
sixth in the rankings, on 29 points.
Andrea Antonelli (Lorini Honda) was a top ten man
yet again, finishing eighth at Monza, He is 11th
in the rankings, one place ahead of his team-mate
Roberto Tamburini who missed out on a point by
one place today. Raffaele De Rosa joined Lorini
Honda at this race and scored a very positive
tenth place first time out. Kieran Clarke
(Bogdanka Honda PTR) joined the WSS class at
Monza and scored 14th, one place up on Martin
Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda) as he took his own first point today.
Regular riders Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda) and
Balazs Nemeth (Racing Team Toth Honda) each fell
from strong position on track, as did Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda).
HONDA RIDER COMMENTS:
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team):
Race result: No Race / 6th Championship position: 5th
"A tough race and just terrible conditions pretty
much all weekend with it being not quite wet or
dry in the sessions. All day today it has been
changing too. We only did half a day's work and
salvaged sixth, which is OK in the conditions. It
was easy to keep in touch with the group as the
bike is working so well in the corners, but on
the straights I got dropped, so I could never
mount a challenge to pass. In the corners the
bike is working so good so maybe we go to not
such a horsepower circuit we can compete at the
front again. It was unbelievable how they could
call a dry race when there is still a wet
Parabolica and wet parts under the trees out the
back. I was one of the only guys again to choose
a hard rear tyre and we are getting it to work
not so badly and save it for the end of the race
but we did not get there because it was stopped halfway through."
Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team):
Race result: No Race / 11th Championship position: 13th
"It was a very weird weekend and we had a lot of
changing conditions. In the first race there was
too much rain and we decide to stop and I think
it was quite a good decision. The second race, as
well, there were quite strange conditions, but we
eventually had to go with slick tyres. Finally we
started the race and I missed the start a little
bit and missed turn one also. But from that I
started to re-focus for the race and I could
catch up and get to eleventh, which is not too
bad. The positive thing is that I could feel a
little bit more on the bike so this something
positive for next weekend in Donington and I'm
looking forward to going there now."
Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda):
Race result: 1st Championship position: 4th
"I am really happy because I expected to make a
podium before now, but it was really hard in
Australia and in Imola I made a mistake. Then in
Assen it was really hard conditions and I was not
easy on the bike. For me, to look at these
conditions before the race, I was expecting and
hoping for dry conditions, because it was
possible to win the race or finish on the podium.
But in the wet you do not know what can happen. I
pushed for the first two laps and I was second
behind Sam and I was happy behind him. The race
was really long and I saw that we had a gap over
the third placed riders. I knew then I could
finish on the podium for sure, which was good for
the head. When Sam made a mistake it became
another race and after I led it. I knew he could
come back and he did it. I wanted to win, but
also finish the race and I knew he was just
behind me because I felt his engine on the last
corner and I knew he would try something. I
braked very late and to pass me he had to go
inside. He had to run ran wide so it worked out
for me. This was very good for the team, a 1-2,
and Sam is a really good rider who was pushing hard."
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda):
Race result: 2nd Championship position: 2nd
"It was a difficult race because the weather all
weekend has been nice and dry for most of our
sessions and I did not now what to expect when
the rains came down just before we went out. I
had good grip and obviously I felt good at the
start and led the race, thinking that I did not
want to make a mistake like Assen. Then I did
make a mistake and it cost me a bit of time at
Ascari. In the end it was a good battle to try
and catch Jules lap-by-lap and the first chance I
had to take was into the last corner and I went
in a bit deep and he passed me back."
Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda):
Race result: DNF Championship position: 6th
"It was a bit of a mixed up weekend really and it
ended up not so well because I crashed in the
race. We had pretty good pace in dry conditions,
but we ended up with not a whole lot of wet track
time and got caught out by a slippery bit of
track early on. I just went into the corner and
before I knew it was on the ground. We needed to
make some points up here so it is a bit of a
tougher road now. We need to go to Donington and get some points back."
Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda):
Race result: DNF Championship position: 9th
"I got a great start and was up at the front
right away and feeling good. I was surprised by
the high side on the second lap and it is a real
pity as I was feeling good and thinking I could
get a decent result. There are a lot of positives
though and I am pleased to be back fighting at the front."
Kieran Clarke (Bogdanka PTR Honda):
Race result: 14th Championship position: 28th
"It was a tough race. It was really wet on the
start, but then it stopped raining and with a few
laps to go a dry line started to appear in some
parts. That changed the dynamics completely but
it was good to score points in my world
supersport debut. It was a last minute call to
stand in for Pawel and it's been a while since I
rode a 600, so it wasn't an easy weekend but I'm
very happy with the result and hope we can carry
that into Donington and do a good job there too."
Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda):
Race result: 15th Championship position: 30th
"I left BSB and got told that I would never have
to race in the rain again, but that has not
happened! Starting from 25th on the grid was
never going to be easy and I got a bad start as
well. It was the first time properly on the bike
in those conditions and I was coming through the
pack quickly. When the last bit of rain came I
could not carry that momentum and dropped to
14th, then got drafted to the line for 15th. But
at least I got a point on the board today."
Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda):
Race result: DNF Championship position: 29th
"I didn't have the best of starts but I was
making my way forward. Then, braking to the
second chicane, I lost the front while still
fully upright and that was it. We had a good pace
all weekend and took our season's best grid
position with eighth so there are positives to
take to next weekend at Donington. It's a circuit
I've raced in the past and scored my first
podium, so I hope I can keep on improving and have a good weekend there."
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:
Crescent FIXI Suzuki's John Hopkins was involved in a crash in the early stages of the first race at round four of the World Superbike championship at Monza today which left the Anglo-American with a broken right foot.
Hopkins had a huge high-side after only a couple of laps and it was immediately evident that he was in some discomfort from the crash. Hopkins was taken straight for an X-ray where it revealed he had suffered a fracture of his foot as well as some torn muscles in his left hip. The incident involving Hopkins, as well as some other crashes, and the bad weather that has plagued Monza all weekend, left the organisers with no option but to cancel race one and hope that conditions improved for the second race later in the day.
Race two did finally get underway after a short delay, with Leon Camier as Crescent FIXI Suzuki's only representative on the grid. The race began under menacing Monza skies and they didn't disappoint as rain caused the race to be red-flagged and stopped at half distance. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes was clear at the front of the pack so was awarded half points for his efforts - due to the shortened race - with Camier bringing his Yoshimura powered GSX-R home safely in 15th to score half-of-a-point.
Crescent FIXI Suzuki now heads straight to Donington Park in England for the European round of the WSBK championship - to be held at the Leicestershire circuit next weekend. The team will make a decision on the fitness of Hopkins once the severity of his injury has been assessed and will then make an announcement over his ability to take part or whether a substitute rider will be drafted in for the race.
"Today was embarrassing because I was running around with people I knew I could beat. I could catch them on the brakes, but once we exited the turns, they left me for dead. We all knew that there might be problems today if it was wet or partially wet, because in practice and qualifying the rain tyres destroyed themselves after about five or six laps, so there was no way that they would've lasted a race distance. We all hoped for dry conditions, but they never happened. The organisers were aware of the problems with the wet tyres and both their decisions today were the right ones."
"That was not a good weekend. I got pretty banged up in the first race crash and damaged my left hip and broke a bone in my right foot. I don't know what happened because the bike suddenly let go without any warning. It's a big shame because I had been really looking forward to this weekend and continuing my improvement. Today's conditions were treacherous and all the changes of weather didn't help at all. There was no way we could ride on the wets, so the right decisions were made."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"It's difficult to make complete sense of a day like today, but thankfully it doesn't happen very often. If the track was soaking wet and it was raining, the wet tyres wouldn't have lasted long enough - maybe just five or six laps. The cancellation of race one and the stoppage of race two were the correct choices, though obviously the crowds weren't very happy. Hopkins made a fantastic start in the first race, but was forced to take avoiding action when Melandri got all crossed up just in front of him. He dropped to 10th but got back in the groove before crashing out. Leon rode really grittily in both races I'm happy he kept both wheels on the ground and managed to finish. We've lost valuable track time this weekend and that's frustrating, especially as we've definitely improved our set-up in conditions like these."