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Mar 22, 2015

eni FIM Superbike World Championship Race Two Results From Thailand

Chang International Circuit.

eni FIM Superbike World Championship

Chang International Circuit, Thailand

March 22, 2015

Race Two Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Jonathan REA, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 20 laps, 31:31.173

2. Leon HASLAM, UK (Aprilia RSV4 RF), -4.946 seconds

3. Alex LOWES, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), -8.701

4. Jordi TORRES, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 RF), -10.628

5. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -14.326

6. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Honda CBR1000RR SP), -21.060, started from the last row

7. Michael VD MARK, Netherlands (Honda CBR1000RR SP), -21.246, penalty/docked one position

8. Matteo BAIOCCO, Italy (Ducati Panigale R), -23.868

9. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -25.744

10. Leandro MERCADO, Argentina (Ducati Panigale R), -29.692

11. Troy BAYLISS, Australia (Ducati Panigale R), -34.533

12. Nico TEROL, Spain (Ducati Panigale R), -38.323

13. Sylvain BARRIER, France (BMW S1000RR), -45.834

14. Roman RAMOS, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -45.955

15. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Ducati Panigale R), -60.898, crash

16. Greg GILDENHUYS, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -83.943

17. Anucha NAKCHAROENSRITHA, Thailand (Honda CBR1000RR), -98.125

18. Imre TOTH, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), -1 lap

19. Ireneusz SIKORA, Poland (BMW S1000RR), -1 lap

20. Chanon CHUMJAI, Thailand (BMW S1000RR), -1 lap

21. Santiago BARRAGÁN, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -7 laps, DNF, retired

22. Leon CAMIER, UK (MV Agusta F4), -10 laps, DNF, mechanical

23. Randy DE PUNIET, France (Suzuki GSX-R1000), -15 laps, DNF, retired

24. Christophe PONSSON, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), -20 laps, DNF, retired

World Championship Point Standings (after 4 of 26 races):

1. Rea, 95 points

2. Haslam, 85

3. Sykes, 50

4. Guintoli, 41

5. Torres, 39

6. Davies, 38

7. Lowes, 32

8. Baiocco, 30

9. Terol, 26

10. Mercado, 21

11. Van Der Mark, 20

12. TIE, Salom/Bayliss, 15

14. Camier, 14

15. De Puniet, 12

16. Barrier, 10

17. Ramos, 9

18. Barragan, 3

19. TIE, Pegram/Jed Metcher, 2

21. Ponsson, 1

More, from a press release issued by Dorna WSBK Press Office:

Rea makes it a full house with double win in Thailand

Haslam and Lowes complete the podium, Torres ahead of Sykes in fourth

The second WorldSBK race of the day at the Chang International Circuit saw another lights-to-flag victory by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who claimed his 18th career win and extended his lead in the championship to 10 points in the process. The third double of his career capped a perfect weekend for the Ulsterman, who was dominant all weekend long as he also claimed Pole Position and recorded the fastest laps in both encounters. Incredibly enough, he led every single lap of racing, too.

Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who was keen to make up for the error that cost him a race one podium made a lightning start, shadowing Rea for the first half of the race before succumbing to fellow British rider Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), who notched up his second consecutive 2nd place of the day.

Race two marked the fourth consecutive encounter with an all-British podium. Never in WorldSBK history has the rostrum been made with riders of the same nationality in four successive races.

Other KRT rider Tom Sykes had a fairly uneventful race to claim 5th just behind Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), who scored another solid result in his debut WorldSBK season in 4th. The Spaniard pushed hard to overtake the former champion with two laps to go, eventually completing a successful manoeuvre into turn 3.

Clutch problems for the reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) saw the Frenchman having to start from the rear of the grid after missing the sighting lap. He would have an incredible first lap that saw him complete the first lap in 12th. He would eventually finish 6th after getting the better of team-mate Michael van der Mark, who made up for his retirement in race one by finishing 7th.

A group of four riders fought hard for the majority of the 20-lap race for the remaining top ten spots. Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati) took 8th ahead of David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) and Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati), with Troy Bayliss ( Racing - Ducati Superbike Team) finishing just outside of the top ten in 11th.

Chaz Davies ( Racing - Ducati Superbike Team) suffered his second crash of the day early in the race but fortunately as in race 1 he was able to remount, eventually scoring the final championship point with 15th.

Team Hero EBR riders Niccolo Canepa and Larry Pegram didn’t participate in race 2, both suffering engine issues caused by the extreme heat.

In terms of the overall championship standings Rea leads the way with 95 points out of a possible 100, ten ahead of Haslam as the series heads to Aragon in Spain in three weeks’ time.

More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda:

Pata Honda riders enjoy Thailand battle

Sylvain Guintoli took fifth and sixth place finishes in today’s two second-round World Superbike championship races at Buriram in Thailand after a dramatic day for the Pata Honda team.

The 32-year-old French rider had a lonely ride to his second successive fifth place after making a number of changes to his Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP after this morning’s warm-up.

However, a technical issue on the sighting lap for race two at the 4.554km Chang International Circuit forced Guintoli to miss the formation lap and he had to start the race from the back of the grid. After a good start he was able to move through the field, eventually enjoying a thrilling battle with his team-mate Michael van der Mark.

Van der Mark, 22, had his own technical issues which forced his retirement from the first of today’s two 20-lap outings, but the Dutch rider enjoyed more success in race two.

The battle between him and Guintoli for sixth place came down to the final corner with van der Mark attempting a bold manoeuvre around the outside of his team-mate, which forced him outside the track boundaries. Race direction deducted one position dropping him back to seventh.

After the opening two flyaway rounds of the series, the Pata Honda team will now re-group at its Dutch workshop before heading for Spain and round three at Aragon Motorland on 10-12 April.

Sylvain Guintoli - 5th and 6th

In race one I did my best, of course, but we were just too far away from the pace of the front group. I did everything I could, but it turned out to be a bit of a lonely race for fifth. But race two was much more fun, even though we had a small technical problem which meant I had to start last. I had a great start and a great first two corners but then I got a bit over-excited and braked too late in turn five and lost three places. Finally I had a great battle with my team-mate which was more entertaining. Towards the end of the race I did my best lap time which was probably faster than my qualifying time, and that felt perfect, but it was difficult to be consistent. It’s only my second race on the bike and I’m still suffering from the neck injury in these dehydrating conditions. But we’ve now been to t wo different tracks with different characteristics and we can see that our pace is not as good as our rivals. So that gives us a base to work from and try to improve in key areas. Even though we’re not fighting for wins at the moment we’re still working to find solutions in the team and that will get the results we want.

Michael van der Mark - DNF and 7th

In race one we had a little technical problem which ended the race for us but unfortunately these things can happen. It was a shame though because at that point in the race I was going faster and faster. In race two I felt really good but the start was not so good. I also made some mistakes in the first couple of laps and ran wide at one point so I had to fight back again. At the end I had a good fight with Sylvain and felt I was faster than him but not fast enough to get away. So I decided to stay behind and try to pass him on the final lap. We had a nice and fair fight and even though I crossed the finish line first, they put me one place back because I went outside the track in trying to get past at the final corner. But I enjoyed raced two and I think we have a lot of positives to go back to Europe with for the next round.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

It has not been an easy weekend for the team. We managed to improve Sylvain’s bike a lot after warm-up and he was able to get a lonely fifth which, considering the problems that we have had here in Thailand, was a respectable result. In race two he had to start from last position but he had a great start and fought up to sixth in the end. Michael had a DNF in race one but in race two he spent a long time behind Sylvain. They had a great battle to the finish which saw Michael running off the track a little bit and he was put back one position. But the guys had fun having that battle together. Although the weekend has been quite tough we have managed to close the gap to the competition and Sylvain is still fourth in the championship which we’ll take to Aragon and hopefully do a bit better there.

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Rea Scores Sensational Double Win For KRT In Thailand

Jonathan Rea (KRT) scored two emphatic race wins in the first ever WSBK races at the Chang International Circuit and in doing so left the new venue with a ten point championship lead. Tom Sykes (KRT) scored his first podium of the year with third place in race one and is now third in the championship rankings.

The first 20-lap race of the day belonged to Rea from green light to chequered flag, as the Superpole winner became race one winner after setting an unbeatable race pace in the 1’34s for almost the whole race duration.

Leon Haslam was second in the opener but Sykes mixed attack with defence as he chased hard to catch a slowing Haslam in the final laps, while also keeping eventual fourth placed rider Jordi Torres behind him to the end. This was Tom’s first podium of 2015, as he adapts to the new technical regulations for the 2015 WSB class.

In race two Rea repeated his perfect display from race one and in doing so scored his first double in Kawasaki colours. He also has the new lap record of 1’33.817 to his credit.

Sykes tried hard to repeat his podium from race one but he was forced to drop back and eventually finished fifth in race two.

In the championship chase Rea is in the lead with 95 points from a possible 100, two-time second place rider at Chang, Leon Haslam, has 85 and Sykes is third with 50 points, nine clear of Sylvain Guintoli.

Motorland Aragon, a home race for the bulk of the KRT staff based in Europe, is next up on the WSB calendar, with raceday on 12 April 2015.

Jonathan Rea: “For me it has been a perfect weekend with pole position and two race wins - we could not have asked for any more. The bike can always be better but at the beginning of the weekend the Ninja ZX-10R was at a really good level, my pace was really fast, the rhythm was good so we did not necessarily chase something we really could have got lost with. Our base setting right now is good and it gives me confidence to push the boundaries and understand the bike. I have not had so many double wins in my career but I have been lucky to have some. They do not come round a lot so I want to savour this moment and reflect on what we have done tomorrow and enjoy these next few days.”

Tom Sykes: “First podium of the year in the opening race so we are heading in the right direction. One step at a time and a podium finish was not so bad considering the feeling I had with the bike. I am not able to do exactly what I want yet. When it is like that you have no answer for guys who have finished in front of you. We tried everything we could and in the end third position was acceptable for where we are at the moment. I got caught up in turn three of the first lap in race two and got dropped back a bit as a result. We had some small issues after that and corner entry was a little bit difficult to manage. We will keep working and try to improve the bike.”

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:




Buriram (Thailand), 22 March 2015 – Two races that followed almost exactly the same script marked the début of the Thai Buriram circuit on the 2015 WSBK calendar.

Determined and generous, Leon Haslam rode his RSV4 to the second step of the podium twice in two races pushed to the limit wire to wire, strengthening his position in the overall standings.

In Race 1 Leon Haslam got off the line well from the second spot on the grid in the lead pack made up of Rea, Sykes, Lowes and Davies. Overtaking quickly, Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils came up to second place to begin hunting down Rea. With an extremely fast central portion of the race, the Brit seemed to be worrying the lead rider, but in the end he had to "settle" for an excellent second place finish.

Race 2 also featured a duel between Rea and Haslam, who both demonstrated a decidedly better pace than their rivals throughout the weekend. Leon and his team made some changed to the RSV4 between the two races, managing to squeeze a bit more speed from it. The opposition from his adversaries, which is always fierce in Superbike, kept Haslam from staying in contact with the lead rider.

The double second place, on a brand new track, is an important result that confirms Haslam's role as a pretender for the title as SBK prepares to return to Europe for the next round.

Leon Haslam: “The team did a great job. Between the two races we took a big step forward. Rea was simply too fast today. We decided to use a harder front tyre and maybe with the softer one we could have been faster in the first part of the race, but it didn't gives us the guarantees we needed in terms of distance. In any case I'm pleased with the weekend, especially because compared to Friday we have really improved and I can't wait to get to Aragon. Being on the podium for the first two rounds of the season is definitely a great starting point.”

In Thailand rookie Jordi Torres once again showed great maturity and confirmed the quality of the Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils decisions. Improving constantly, the Spaniard took full advantage of the start he earned yesterday in Superpole on the second row of the grid, without taking any risks in the first laps, but staying within reach of the podium. The characteristics of this circuit did not help him in his efforts: Jordi is still familiarising himself with his powerful Aprilia RSV4's braking system and he was competing on the track with some of the best “brakers” in the Superbike Championship. Thanks to his excellent progress in the final phases, in both races he finished just short of the podium. So he'll be going to his home race in Aragon with high ambitions.

Jordi Torres: “I am really happy about the work we did this weekend because, despite missing a session, we were able to come back well. The FP2 session is important for me because in the first session I learn the new track, whereas I need the second session to set up the base from which to work. Then on Saturday I have to focus on being fast for the qualifiers and Superpole. When I found myself behind Sykes I thought back to Phillip Island, where I crashed whilst trying to overtake him, and I decided to stay calm and study him in Race 1 without taking any risks. That was useful for me in Race 2. In the end I finished in the same position, but I'm learning lap after lap. Like I always say, the Aprilia RSV4 was made to win, and only when I reach that goal will I be able to be 100% satisfied.”

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


Soaring temperatures and a big crowd saw Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes ride to a stunning podium finish as Thailand hosted its debut World Superbike races at the Chang International Circuit this afternoon.

Determined to get a great start with his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, Lowes took second on the opening lap of the final race, holding the position for the first half against the Aprilia of Leon Haslam. Succumbing on lap eight, he continued his stellar 1’34 pace, to maintain a strong gap throughout the remainder of the action, claiming the third place finish and rounding out the day with a podium celebration.

Having demonstrated blistering consistent pace all weekend, a bad start to Lowes’ opening race initially saw him demoted him to fifth position before quickly advancing hard on the wheels of Tom Sykes’ Kawasaki. Proving somewhat of a roadblock for the next four laps, Lowes took his chance at turn three, regaining his grid position in the hunt for the podium. A mistake on the 12th lap saw the British racer low-side his Suzuki at turn 12 but his determination saw him remount quickly, allowing him to cut back through the pack to finish sixth on the road. A protest from a rival team saw Lowes’ demoted to seventh for allegedly passing under a yellow flag.

Struggling with the new circuit, a determined Randy de Puniet battled to 10th by the mid-point of his first Thai race before a last lap mistake dropped him to 13th. The afternoon’s disappointment continued in the concluding action as the Frenchman retired his GSX-R1000 on lap six, taking three points from the second round and leaving him 15th in the standings.

Jonathan Rea claimed both race victories and fastest lap awards aboard his Kawasaki in front of a 50,000-strong crowd at the new Chang circuit in Buriram. Lowes’ podium contributed to his day’s haul of 25 points, promoting him to seventh in the Championship after four races.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s next weekend of competition will herald the start of the Europe season, as the eni FIM Superbike World Championship heads to Aragon in Spain on Sunday April 12th.

Alex Lowes:

“I’m really happy to be back on the podium - it’s a third place but for us it means a lot after Phillip Island! It really should have been two podiums today, I just made a small mistake because I was determined to catch Leon and get second. As a team we’ve all worked so hard but the result is that we are back on the podium and back in the front group, and if we can keep a bit more consistency like this for the rest of the year then it will be a great season for us.

“I don’t really know about the yellow flag penalty, it’s a bit of a shame - Salom went off on the Astroturf at turn four so he shut off and Troy and I obviously passed him and when we arrived at the next corner there was a yellow flag! To be honest I didn’t think much about it. It’s disappointing as two top-sixes would have been good but it is what it is.

“So, one mistake away from it being a really great weekend but I’m really happy with race two, I was quite aggressive at the start but I rode a steady race and it’s a great way to thank the team for their hard work. Now I can concentrate on keeping it going for the next round in Aragon!”

Randy de Puniet:

“It was difficult for me from the first day; we have struggled with the braking and tried many things. The first race was going well because after 12 laps I was 10th and close to the top-six and even though I wasn’t as confident as I had hoped, I was improving my lap times a lot. After lap 12 I struggled with the braking and could only finish 13th.

“Unfortunately in race two we had an engine issue. We need to forget this race and start from zero in Aragon. The only positive points are I am in good shape and impatient to ride at Calafat in 10 days to try the new Marelli system, because every step is important for us. The team worked really hard and it was great for Alex to finish on the podium so we know we can do it, now we just need to put everything together.”

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

“After showing great potential in Philip island and suffering a really difficult race day, it’s been very positive to reconfirm the potential of the 2015 Suzuki GSX-R, and of course Alex himself, this weekend in Thailand. I wouldn’t have said the track suited the bike particularly well but we were fast all weekend, qualified well and aside for a very small mistake in the first race, should have been on the podium in both races. Congratulations to the whole team but especially to Alex, who is only in his second year of international competition but is starting to look like a serious contender.

“On Randy’s side there are unfortunately a lot less positives, it was a tough weekend from start to finish and we need to reset in Aragon and go forward from there. We all know he is a very high-quality rider, but there are some different characteristics to the Superbike and there is some more adapting to be done. We will get there, and as a team we are 100% behind him.”

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Two difficult SBK races for the Racing - Ducati Superbike Team today at Buriram

Buriram (Thailand), Sunday 22 March 2015 – A complicated race day for the Racing – Ducati Superbike Team at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand. Chaz Davies concluded today’s two Superbike races eleventh and fifteenth, having suffered two crashes. Ninth and eleventh position for Troy Bayliss.

Race 1 – Very hot and sunny conditions for today’s Superbike races at Buriram, with an air temperature of 30°C and a track at roughly 50°C. Starting from sixth position on the grid, Davies immediately moved up into fourth place through the first corners, positioned between Haslam and Lowes. He oscillated between fourth and fifth place for a number of laps but then a small crash at Turn 12, on lap nine, unfortunately relegated him to fifteenth position. Despite the setback, the Welshman put in fast lap times all the way to the line, pushing hard and making up four positions in the final phase, to close this first race of the day in eleventh position. Bayliss, seventh on the grid, gained a position during lap one and found himself part of a group with Guintoli and Van der Mark in the opening laps. A consistent pace meant that he was able to hold eighth position for the best part of the race. Effectively managing the tyre situation, and battling with various riders including Lowes, Salom and Baiocco in the final phase, the Australian rider crossed the line in eighth place. Unfortunately race direction declared that Bayliss had made a pass while the yellow flags were being waved during the races and therefore received a penalty of one position.

Race 2 – the second of the day’s races took place in very similar conditions to race 1. Chaz was again quick off the line, up into third after one lap right behind Lowes and Rea. He was battling with Haslam when unfortunately he lost the rear, finishing in the gravel. He was again able to continue with the race, and was the fastest rider on track for several laps, but was only about to make up so much of the lost ground in the time remaining, thus finishing in final fifteenth place. Bayliss was lying eighth through the opening lap with Salom and Torres immediately ahead of him. The Australian made up two positions in the initial stages and was up in sixth by lap five. From the eighth lap onwards he started to lose ground and despite his best efforts he finished the race in eleventh position.

This means that after the first two 2015 championship rounds, Davies now lies sixth in the overall standings, with 38 points, while Bayliss positions, having earned 15 points. Ducati positions third in the manufacturer’s standings with 50 points.

With the Buriram round, three-times World Champion Bayliss concludes his emotional experience in the 2015 Superbike series. He will return to Australia on Wednesday after taking part in a series of Ducati promotional events in Thailand.

Quotes after the races:

Chaz Davies ( Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 11th, 15th

“I’m really disappointed with how today’s races went. It was very difficult as I was constantly having to push, riding at the limit, to fight with the others. The fact that there are three straights here really hindered us today… We made some changes for race 2 and the bike was better, but then the race went more or less like the first one. The crash was different, I lost grip at the rear on entering Turn 3 but then the second part of the race was similar. I tried to make up as many positions as possible. The lap times were good and when I find myself riding alone I have a lot less trouble. When I’m fighting with the others, I have a lot more trouble with initial acceleration and on the straight, losing too much ground which means I then have to force the entry. I have faith in the technicians at Borgo Panigale and their work to find us some more power ahead of the next races…”

Troy Bayliss ( Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #21) – 9th, 11th

“All in all, and considering that conditions here are some of the most difficult I’ve experience, I can say that I’m fairly satisfied. I’ve never liked it when it’s this hot and they were, as I expected, two very physical and difficult races, especially the first as I didn’t even take a drink in my suit! I thought I’d do a little better in the second race but I knew it would be tough, so it didn’t go too badly I guess… It’s been fun, I came back in particular circumstances and wanted to do one more event after Phillip Island to see how it would go. I love racing, Ducati and the people that work here and it’s been really great to race with the Panigale R Superbike. I was lucky enough to finish my career fit and healthy and I’ve seen that I can still be fast, but now I am ready to return to enjoying life with my family in Australia. I want to thank everyone for their support and now I leave things to the young talents.”

Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati SBK Project Director

‘’It definitely hasn’t been an easy weekend for us and unfortunately Chaz crashed in both races. We were missing a bit of acceleration out of the slow corners and this is what we need to focus on in coming weeks. We have nevertheless demonstrated again here in Thailand that the Panigale R is a competitive bike. After the crashes Chaz was able to continue and, especially in Race 2, he maintained the same pace as the leaders, lapping with really fast times. Now we have to roll up our sleeves and look ahead to give it our all in the next races. Troy has proved that he is still very fast and in the races, despite the heat, he put on a great show with his aggressive riding. We thank him for having given his all with the same determination he has always shown, we couldn’t have asked for any more. Having him on the bike again for these two events has been great, time might have passed but some things never seem to change – Troy is always Troy.”

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