Official baptism of Vallelunga
The Vallelunga track remained unknown to the majority of Superbike and Supersport riders. This is no longer the case, since two test days took place this weekend on the new 2007 circuit ….
Located a few kilometers north of Rome, Vallelunga is the big novelty of the 2007 Mondial Superbike season (read). A new meeting tailor-made for Max Biaggi, also a newcomer to the Mondial SBK…
For Max, these tests were also the occasion to inaugurate the new headquarters of his fan club in Rome: "the guys had to work day and night for three weeks to get it up and running, but the result is truly amazing", enthuses the n ° 3 of Suzuki Alstare.
On his performance on the track, however, Biaggi is a little more reserved … "Overall the tests weren’t too bad, although I’m still aiming for a little better and know we still have work to do.", admitted the Italian after his 162 laps.
The efforts of Biaggi and his team were particularly oriented towards the engine mapping, suspensions and engine braking of the official GSX-R 1000, without wearing any qualifying rubber throughout the weekend. Gold according to Max, "considering the lap times on race tires, we would probably be second", guarantees the ex-MotoGP star, finally 5th in practice.
As for the layout – in 1951 it was a simple one-mile dirt-track ring – despite the last modification in 2004 bringing its total length to 4.11 km, Biaggi believes that Vallelunga remains a relatively narrow playground. compared to other circuits on the calendar.
Nevertheless, Max did notice that it existed on the Roman track "places to double"conducive to his late recovery! His teammate Yukio Kagayama on the other hand, points to a certain lack of security…
This picked up aspect of the circuit did not bother Ruben Xaus, on the contrary! Winner on the tortuous track of Valencia (read), the Spanish figure at the top of the standings after two days of testing.
However, the driver n ° 111 of the private Ducati Sterilgarda team was not satisfied with achieving an excellent "qualifying" time: "I was consistently fast, turning around 1’37.5 with the race tires", specifies the Spanish.
Xaus, the first private driver in the championship – he is 7th with 130 points – even thinks he can play for the podium during the race to be held on this same track on September 30. And for the upcoming race – Brno on July 22 – Ruben counts "on a good result"… To watch very closely, therefore !
Driving the official Ducati, Troy Bayliss shows more skepticism about the Czech race: "this is probably the most difficult race of the year for us", predicts the reigning world champion.
The Australian was content in Vallelunga to chain laps (146 in all) but could not perform a full race simulation, because of the hot track during the last half-day: Sunday afternoon, the track temperature was almost 50 ° C !
"When we come back here it will be a bit cooler so it was not very useful (to carry out the simulation, Editor’s note) ", concludes Troy. Because the pilot knows his mount perfectly and should adjust his 999 without too much concern … while waiting for his 1098 F08 next year (read) !
However, the settings of the Ducati will have to be fine-tuned as much as possible to withstand the attacks of more recent Japanese: behind the two Ducatis, the four Japanese brands are fighting a very difficult battle. !
Best representative of the Empire of the Rising Sun, Corser’s Yamaha R1 is less than 2 tenths of Bayliss’s 999 F07 … "We tried everything we wanted and found a good setting for here", warns the" old crocodile "n ° 11…
Not happy to have spotted the right settings "for cool and hot conditions"during the Roman test, Troy was able to improve other points"like anti-wheelie control", which will be decisive on the hilly Brno track.
Discovering the Vallelunga track for the first time, Corser was won over by its technicality despite a bumpy surface in places and a striking contrast between the first portion "quite fast"and the second"slow". A feature reminiscent of the Donington Park puzzle.
In 4th position and just five hundredths behind Corser is James Toseland: on his Honda CBR1000RR, the British rider proves that he is ready to fight to keep the championship lead he has held since the start of the season. !
Behind Max Biaggi, Regis Laconi hoists the fourth Japanese brand to 6th place. A performance that commands respect in view of the performances of his teammates: Fonsi Nieto and Vittorio Iannuzzo are 13th and 15th, respectively 1.8 and 2 seconds behind the French driver !
"I had a lot of difficulties with the front axle and I have to drive to the limit now", explains Regis. Forced to attack very hard to set good times, it is not certain that the French Ninja will be able to fight throughout the duration of the two Italian races…
"We have found a solution to our jerkiness problem and I hope this will work on the other tracks as well.", Laconi still positively at the end of the second day."In fast curves, the bike runs well. But when it comes to stopping it and turning it ain’t so obvious anymore", remarked for his part Fonsi.
Seventh in these tests, Haga was disappointed with his best time but declared himself "happy with the information gathered"."We were able to do a few long series of laps and we started with the Brno settings, which we didn’t change much during testing", notes the pilot of Yamaha n ° 41.
Still handicapped by his right wrist injury, Haga now wants to fully recover before entering the Czech event. Regarding the Vallelunga route, the Japanese are particularly enthusiastic: "it is quite delicate with its combinations of blind canted curves, but that is what makes it very interesting !", explains Nitro Nori.
Author of the greatest number of laps this weekend (168), Roberto Rolfo finished in 8th place, less than a second from his teammate James Toseland. Yukio Kagayama, teammate of Biaggi, ranks 9th.
"I am a little disappointed because I lost time due to some problems", notes the pilot of the GSX-R1000 n ° 71, the only participant not to have improved his time on Saturday. Still completing the trifle of 142 laps over the two days, Yukio is certain that he could have been in the within the top 3 with a few extra laps.
Another driver to have remained in the shadow of his leader but who will have to be reckoned with, Lorenzo Lanzi has turned "a few tenths of Bayliss on racing tires", recalls the Italian diminished – and deprived of his last test session – by a fall in trial during training earlier in the week.
"We found some good solutions for the race in September. And we have a clear idea of what type of tire to use, since the conditions should be similar to those we have experienced in recent days", analyzes the n ° 57 of the official Ducati team.
In Supersport, on the contrary, Fabien Foret is counting on a change of climate to facilitate his task, which is all the more difficult: "the tests were trying", testifies the French pilot,"we struggled with the tweaks and we didn’t make all the progress we expected"…
Ninth at the end of the two days of testing, the n ° 9 of the Kawasaki Gil Motor Sport team complains like his counterparts in Superbike about a Ninja "too hard to run"in the hyper slow sections of Vallelunga. Moreover, it would be difficult for Fabien to keep his ZX-6R on its trajectory in"long curves"…
Let us hope for Fabien that the study "with a clear head" of the information collected during his tests will allow him to defend – or to improve ?! – his 2nd place in the championship !
As for our double world champion in Supersport, Sebastien Charpentier (Honda), after having set the best time on Saturday he finished this weekend in 4th place behind Broc Parkes (Yamaha). The Australian admits that "Honda are doing well here", but he assures us that he will be present during the race.
In front of Parkes, there are two Hondas, of which the inevitable one from Sofuoglu is in second position. Undisputed leader at the start of the season, the Turkish rider had stumbled in the last two races on a certain Anthony West, exiled since in MotoGP.
And this time it is not Yamaha which seems to have had a fine nose, but Honda: by thanking our national Yohann Tiberio, the Stiggy Motorsport team has hired a driver registered until then in 1000 cc within the Alto Evolution team: the Australian – one more! – Joshua Brookes.
"Finally I had the opportunity to demonstrate my abilities"exclaimed Josh, author of a superb 1’39.550, beating Kenan Sofuoglu by more than two tenths. Despite a clutch problem and the fact that he did not have"access to development gums", the Australian proves that it will be necessary to count on the Honda n ° 125 in Vallelunga … and on other tracks before the Italian test ?
Another new recruit from the Southern Hemisphere, Jason O’Halloran made fewer sparks than West riding Curtain’s R6 – still injured – but may well surprise his world once he gets into the way of working. his new tires (Pirelli instead of Dunlop at his home in Australia)…
The 19-year-old Jason is currently second in his national championship, which he already finished in 3rd place last year. He is 6 points behind the leader, a certain Jamie Stauffer … Another name to remember, maybe ?
With one race coming to the end of the season, the young "Jase" is therefore offered a unique opportunity to pursue the goal he has set for himself: "become AMA Superbike champion (American championship, Editor’s note) and world champion".
"This weekend has been really hard"blows the young Yamaha recruit before stressing the fact that"Australian supersport, there are only two or three fast guys while in this championship everyone is". Thirteenth of these tests, he will be one to watch at the end of the season.
Behind him is Sebastien Gimbert, who a week earlier "said "yes" to Alexandra", reports the official website of the GMT. As for his teammate David Checa – our adopted Frenchman – he does not appear in the standings because he could not participate in the tests.
"David is out of the hospital and he’s fine. He is ready to ride and will be in perfect physical shape for the rest of the season. The uncertainty therefore concerns the only race in Brno, for which he must imperatively comply with the medical opinion of Doctor Costa, even if he will resume the track a few days before, during private tests, to verify that he is 100% well delivered", we assure you within Christophe Guyot’s team.
Finally, Julien Enjolras was ranked 20th in the Vallelunga tests on the handlebars of his R6 Tati Beaujolais. By completing his fastest lap in 1’42.138, he remains 2.5 seconds behind the best time but is only three-quarters of a second behind the 15th. Encouraging !
SBK Vallelunga test results:
|1||Xaus R.||Ducati||1 ‘37.867||1 ‘36.382||84|
|2||Bayliss T.||Ducati||1 ‘37.287||1 ‘36.556||146|
|3||Corser T.||Yamaha||1 ‘37.731||1 ‘36.731||106|
|4||Toseland J.||Honda||1 ‘37.723||1 ‘36,783||140|
|5||Biaggi M.||Suzuki||1 ‘37.826||1 ‘37,440||162|
|6||Laconi R.||Kawasaki||1 ‘37.994||1 ‘37.455||130|
|7||Haga N.||Yamaha||1 ‘37.535||1 ‘37.506||120|
|8||Rolfo R.||Honda||1 ‘38.285||1 ‘37.647||168|
|9||Kagayama Y.||Suzuki||1 ‘37.655||1 ‘37.655||142|
|10||Fabrizio M.||Honda||1 ‘37.031||1 ‘37.817||135|
|11||Lanzi L.||Ducati||1 ‘38,470||1 ‘37.873||89|
|12||Nakatomi S.||Yamaha||1 ‘39.015||1 ‘38.138||144|
|13||Nieto F.||Kawasaki||1 ‘39.668||1 ‘38,804||102|
|14||Polita A.||Suzuki||1 ‘39.990||1 ‘39,222||137|
|15||Iannuzzo V.||Kawasaki||1 ‘39.668||1 ‘39,460||113|
Best lap in the race: New track
Best time: New track
SSP Vallelunga test results:
|1||Brookes J.||Honda||1 ‘41,442||1 ‘39.550||114|
|2||Sofuoglu K.||Honda||1 ‘40,830||1 ‘39.818||127|
|3||Parkes B.||Yamaha||1 ‘40,761||1 ‘40.032||109|
|4||Carpenter S.||Honda||1 ‘40.101||1 ‘40,262||97|
|5||Alfonsi L.||Honda||1 ‘41,235||1 ‘40,262||106|
|6||Fujiwara K.||Honda||1 ‘41,744||1 ‘40.275||87|
|7||Roccoli M.||Yamaha||1 ‘41.501||1 ‘40.610||91|
|8||Jones C.||Honda||1 ‘41.900||1 ‘40,714||115|
|9||Drill F.||Kawasaki||1 ‘41.721||1 ‘40.837||88|
|10||Riba P.||Kawasaki||1 ‘42,084||1 ‘40.951||69|
|11||Fores J.||Honda||1 ‘42,227||1 ‘41.010||114|
|12||Vizziello G.||Yamaha||1 ‘41,445||1 ‘41.041||107|
|13||O’Halloran J.||Yamaha||1 ‘41,786||1 ‘41,283||118|
|14||Gimbert S.||Yamaha||1 ‘42.057||1 ‘41.325||111|
|15||Harms R.||Honda||1 ‘42,601||1 ‘41,417||121|
|20||Enjolras J.||Yamaha||1 ‘43.011||1 ‘42.138||107|
Best lap in the race: New track
Best time: New track
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