Superb fair in the World SBK and SSP
Despite the capricious weather this weekend in Spain, the Superbike and Supersport riders put on a magnificent spectacle, punctuated by incredible climbs, grandiose fights and other twists! Report and video interviews…
After a first sunny test day, the second took place in the rain, calling into question the lap times but especially the settings of the day before..
So on Saturday afternoon, it was in the rain that the SBK Mondial riders set off for the Superpole event. Under these conditions, the 16 best drivers in the timed practice took advantage of 12 laps – instead of just one in the dry – to get the best possible place on the starting grid..
Without too much surprise, it was Troy Bayliss on his official Ducati who emerged victorious from this last session by posting the only time under 1 ’52. Ruben Xaus on his private 999 did honor to his public by finishing just second. one tenth of the reigning world champion.
Much more unexpected, the Australian Josh Brookes on the handlebars of his Honda Alto Evolution climbs to 3rd position ahead of Troy Corser who we expected better placed on one of his favorite tracks (read). The official Yamaha rider is even eight tenths behind Bayliss, as is James Toseland who leads the second row.
Behind the Briton we find the second official Ducati of Lorenzo Lanzi which is only two hundredths ahead of the R1 of Noriyuki Haga. His great friend Kagayama closes the second row but is 7 tenths behind Nori, and 1.6 seconds behind Bayliss !
We have to wait for 12th place to see the name of Max Biaggi appear, who has not shone since the start of the seasons by his starts … The race may be long for the Italian, as for our national Regis, ranked 15th at the end of his 12 laps.
In 600cc, the times achieved on Friday afternoon in the dry were obviously not improved on Saturday in the wet: Kenan Sofuoglu took advantage of the absence of his teammate Sebastien Charpentier – qualifying expert – to register his first pole position in Supersport.
The Turkish rider is followed by Katsuaki Fujiwara on his private Honda, faster than Kevin Curtain on his official R6. Pere Riba closes the first row on his ZX-6R.
The second row could not be more heterogeneous: Andrew Pitt, who rides on General Seb’s Honda Ten Kate, is ahead of Foret on his Ninja 600 Gil Motor Sport, Veneman on his Suzuki Pioneer Hoegee and Nanelli on his Ducati 749R SC Caracchi.
On the French side, David Checa – on his R6 of the Gallic team GMT94 – is ranked 21st, two places ahead of Matthieu Lagrive and Sebastien Gimbert. Yohann Tiberio is 26th, Gregory Leblanc 33rd and Julien Enjolras qualifies 37th 4 seconds behind the best time.
First Superbike race
The temperature is relatively cool (17 ° C) and some dark spots – wet? – still dot the track but the sun is very present for the first start of the 1000cc category. Starting from the best place, Troy Bayliss retains his advantage in the first corner but Toseland achieves the best operation, moving from fifth to second place…
But a third world champion in the category – Troy Corser – followed suit and doubled it in the following left. Behind, Haga and Xaus quickly pass Brookes, not used to taking his starts in the middle of such sizes.
It was in the first straight of the circuit – therefore the fourth corner – that Corser surprised Bayliss under braking and took the lead. For his part, Max Biaggi does not stay long at the head of the second group which is more than three seconds behind the leading men at the end of the first round..
In the 2nd round, the hunting peloton consists of Nieto, Lanzi, Muggeridge, Laconi and Biaggi. Leading the race, Noriyuki Haga passes Toseland while Brookes who rolls a suspicion over his boots widens in the first pin – the left – and loses contact with the first group..
Xaus takes very different trajectories from those of Toseland, dives inside the Briton in the second hairpin of the circuit – the right – and steals his fourth place. Then in just a few meters, the Spaniard and his 999F06 find themselves under Haga’s pots: the public goes wild !
In the third lap, Nieto also gives something to thrill his compatriots since he widens the gap on his pursuers. By contrast, Max Biaggi fans sigh when their Emperor is portrayed by Roby Rolfo !
Fortunately in the following lap, Max erases the affront and goes so far as to come into direct contact with the Kawa of Regis Laconi. The French lost a few places on this occasion but "it was especially difficult to find my rhythm", will regret on arrival the Meusien. The Roman meanwhile gained two places in a turn but the four leading men are still far: 9 seconds to be precise !
Besides, the pace in the lead did not weaken, Xaus passed Haga in the right hairpin and quickly threatened Troy Bayliss unable to attack Troy Corser. The merit of the driver of the Ducati n ° 21 is not null for all that: with an amputated little finger and family jewels shaken about ten days ago, who would do better ?
Only Bayliss does not resist Xaus’ attack in the hairpin better than Haga. By placing himself much more inside than his opponent in the braking phase and benefiting from an excellent passing speed, Ruben makes short work of the double world champion. !
The unfortunate Troy is not at the end of his troubles since in the last corner, Haga manages the third position and takes advantage of the straight line of the pits to move away from the twin. In front, the Yamaha n ° 11 of Corser rears up and slips but nothing helps, the Ducati Sterigarda approaches dangerously !
Xaus tries the pass of three in "his" pin but Corser repels his attack. Momentarily only since after the pif-paf, the Ducati 111 overflows the Yamaha 11 in the last left. Haga still in ambush tries to infiltrate but does not succeed.
However, located in the wheel of his Australian teammate, Nitro Nori takes advantage of the suction phenomenon to surprise Corser at the approach of the first corner. !
Meanwhile, James Toseland delivered a solo race in fifth place. However, none of the four leaders seems to spare his mount or his tires and the No.52 Honda – less than 2 seconds – watches for the slightest error or loss of form on their part..
In the last corner of the 7th lap, Bayliss is a perfect illustration of the hellish pace in which the leaders are evolving. Carrying an attack on the "crocodile" Corser then 3rd, the "kangaroo" loses in the same half a second the front then the rear !
It was on the 9th lap that Haga passed Xaus while his teammate Corser finally dropped his podium against Bayliss. Corser takes a look at the left side of his Yamaha, nods but remains in contact with the official Ducati all the same: "I had a problem with the choice of cartography", will explain the n ° 11.
Halfway through the race, Xaus took the lead with his famous attack ahead of Haga, Bayliss and Corser. Toseland clings to fifth place – 3 seconds behind the leaders despite a rear tire spinning on its rim – while 6th place is played ten seconds behind between Brookes, Muggeridge, Rolfo, Biaggi, Fabrizio, Lanzi and Neukirchner. Laconi fights against Kagayama for twelfth place.
In the 14th round, Troy Bayliss seems to be enjoying a second wind and threatens Noriyuki Haga. Muggeridge falls, while Fabrizio raises his voice against his compatriots Biaggi and Rolfo. Meanwhile, Xaus increases his lead at a rate of a quarter of a second per lap and is 1.3 seconds ahead of Haga and Bayliss in the 17th lap..
Even if several lengths separate Bayliss from Haga, the fight between the two men is clearly visible. In the 18th lap, Troy misses the rope of the 6th turn and gives Haga a comfortable lead of 2 seconds … On the other hand, the fight between Fabrizio and Biaggi and Lanzi is direct and offers good passes of arms to the excellent "western spaghetti" sauce.
Lorenzo Lanzi made a remarkable end of the race, literally dropping Fabrizio into the long left-hand curve that commands the pit lane. The Italian joins Brookes in that same straight line and passes him into the first corner !
In the next turn, Michel Fabrizio overtook Josh Brookes then a few turns later it was Biaggi’s turn to overtake the young Australian. During the last two laps, the gaps stabilize and Xaus offers the first round to his public !
Behind the charged room is Nori Haga and Troy Bayliss. Corser secures 4th place, just as James Toseland is content with 5th place, satisfactory despite everything since his closest rival in the championship – Max Biaggi – fails in 8th.
Regis Laconi scored the only points for Kawasaki in 11th position, overtaking young Max Neukirchner by a hair. The 15th place of Yukio Kagayama is to be congratulated, the Japanese rider suffering too much from his shoulder for "effectively change direction", a crucial point on this tortuous route !
SBK Valence results first round:
|1||Xaus R.||Ducati Sterilgarda||37 ‘14.606||23|
|2||Haga N.||Yamaha Motor Italia||37 ‘16.603||23|
|3||Bayliss T.||Ducati Xerox||37 ‘20.936||23|
|4||Corser T.||Yamaha Motor Italia||37 ‘23.386||23|
|5||Toseland J.||Honda hannspree||37 ‘31.646||23|
|6||Lanzi L.||Ducati Xerox||37 ‘38.878||23|
|7||Fabrizio M.||Honda DFX Corsica||37 ‘40.428||23|
|8||Biaggi M.||Suzuki Alstare Corona||37 ‘40.693||23|
|9||Brookes J.||Honda Alto Evolution||37 ‘43.384||23|
|10||Rolfo R.||Honda hannspree||37 ‘47.360||23|
|11||Laconi R.||Kawasaki PSG-1||37 ‘51.690||23|
|12||Neukirchner M.||Suzuki Germany||37 ‘51.747||23|
|13||Bussei G.||Ducati Sterilgarda||37 ‘52,169||23|
|14||Smrz J.||Ducati SC Caracchi||37 ‘53.150||23|
|15||Kagayama Y.||Suzuki Alstare Corona||38 ‘07.655||23|
Best round of the round: 1 ‘36.092 – Bayliss (13th round)
Best lap in previous race: 1 ‘35.007 – Hodgson (2003)
In 600cc, the quickest to wring out the handle is Sofuoglu. In the only straight, the Turkish widens a gap of several lengths on Curtain and Pitt, Fujiwara having missed his start.
The four men wereted no time in setting the pace for their pursuers: after two laps, Kenan Sofuoglu thus enjoyed a 4-second lead over Fores while moving away slightly from Curtain. !
However, the most impressive driver on the track is Katsuaki Fujiwara: pointing to ninth place on the 1st lap, he approaches 3rd in fifth position! Riba meanwhile, does not stay long posted in 4th position and takes advantage of Andrew Pitt’s lack of training to overtake him.
On the 5th pass, Kevin Curtain finds Kenan Sofuoglu’s aspiration and doubles it! Pere Riba, carried by his audience, also comes back slowly but surely in the wheel of the Honda Ten Kate n ° 54 … Curtain then decides to increase his pace in the race and grabs half a second in the Turkish and the Spanish in the 6th round.
Posting the fastest lap of the race, Fujiwara fell on Andrew Pitt who was alone in 4th position. For his part, Curtain could not continue his breakaway and was caught and then passed in the last big curve by Sofuoglu. A turn of madness then begins! (In fact, the editorial staff apologizes for the repetitive but essential use of exclamation points …)
In the straight line, the official Yamaha n ° 11 passes in front of the Honda Ten Kate n ° 54. Kevin Curtain logically falls back on the outside of the track but Kenan Sofuoglu takes advantage of the appearance of the vibrators to stay up to the Australian !
Kenan brakes slightly later than Kevin and comes out of the first corner still leading the race! But in the heat of the moment, Kenan widens his trajectory slightly on the second left: not enough to let Curtain pass but enough to lose the advantage on the next turn. !
Of course, this fight primarily benefits the pursuers and not the two protagonists. Andrew Pitt and Katsuaki Fujiwara are now only a few meters away. !
The Turkish has a hard head and tries to get back to Yam n ° 11 from the next right turn. The fairings of the CBR600RR and R6 rub against each other, Curtain is surprised, changes the attitude of his bike and does not instantly put the throttle back on, leaving Sofuoglu the possibility of taking back the command of the race. !
Jumping at the chance, Riba slips his Kawa in the wake of the Honda Ten Kate, soon imitated by Fujiwara and his Honda Althea: in the space of a few turns, Curtain loses three places! But Pere Riba quickly knows the same misadventure as the forty-something Curtain…
Thrown off by his Ninja, the Spaniard must give up the throttle momentarily and blocks Fujiwara located just behind him. Placed further inside the line, Curtain easily took second place !
The pilots are now preparing to complete their 9th lap when Riba and Curtain tackle the curve which commands the straight line head-on and at full angle … Unfortunately, the Yamaha fairing meets Pere’s front brake lever which fatally loses the ‘front of his ZX-6R and mows Curtain. Slightly behind, Fujiwara cannot avoid Riba and falls in turn !
Aside from a 20cm cut on Kevin Curtain’s thigh due to his footrest – his already injured collarbone has nothing, phew! -, the three pilots happily come out unscathed but let the two Honda Ten Kate go !
Remained in the background during this tumultuous first half of the race, Gianluca Nannelli inherits third place, 3 seconds behind Pitt and 5 behind Sofuoglu: the end of the race therefore promises to be calm … And yet, it will not be. nothing !
After having offered a tour which in itself justifies the travel of the teams, the public and the television to Valence, the last laps of the Supersport race will also offer their share of emotions! Turned initially to the hotly contested fight for 10th place between Giugliano, Jones, Vizziello, Alfonsi and Kallio, attention will shift in the last six laps to Nannelli !
Riding his Ducati, the Italian rider will truly go into a trance, rightly considering that the second step of the podium is accessible to him. In view of the lap times, we realize a posteriori that the rise of Nannelli is due to a constant decrease in pace of Pitt … But whatever, Nannelli deserves a holà, just like Fabien Foret, author of a superb recovery !
Turning at the same pace as Sofuoglu, Nannelli therefore climbs back on Pitt at a rate of half a second per lap. Gliding – and not just from behind! – in practically every corner, Gianluca is called to order many times by his 749R which only moderately tolerates the aggressive style of its pilot !
In the long curve "before straight line", the Ducati literally floats above the asphalt! But the style become rough of the Italian does not bear fruit and Pitt regains a few tenths with four laps of the checkered flag. Frustrated, the transalpine decides to put on a layer !
So Nannelli does not hesitate to openly contradict the expression: "to ride above your pumps". Far too demanding of his mount, Gianluca loses the front of his motorcycle for the umpteenth time and waltzes his right boot well above the level of his shoulders but catches up once again in extremis !
In the following lap, the Italian is no longer content to lose the front end of his Ducati: in a right turn, the n ° 69 also blows the binding of his right boot! Unperturbed, Nannelli however manages to overtake Andrew Pitt in the final round and takes refuge as much as he can behind his bubble.
Decidedly too excited, the Italian misses his braking in the hairpin "Xaus"and Pitt took the opportunity to recover his second place. One last heat in the very last corner – when Foret was only a few meters away – and Nannelli crossed the finish line third behind Sofuoglu and Pitt !
Among the French, Foret therefore seizes 4th place while the GMT94 team places its two R6s in the points. Checa 14th and Gimbert 15th, the contract is fulfilled for the drivers who will be competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend at the controls of their R1! (read).
On the other hand, the disappointment is great for Matthieu Lagrive who had set the 4th fastest time in the warm-up before falling heavily and forfeiting the race. Bitterness also for Gregory Leblanc who did not take the start, Yohann Tiberio fell in the second lap. Julien Enjolras for his part finished the race 25th, two laps behind the winner.
In the championship, Kenan Sofuoglu could not better consolidate his status as leader (95 points) ahead of Foret (51), Fujiwara (remained at 43 points) and Harms (39). Nanelli jumps from 12th to 5th place and Pitt’s second place takes the Australian to 11th in the championship !
On the constructor side, Honda still leads thanks to Kenan’s 95 points, followed by Kawasaki (61), Yamaha (55), Ducati (30) and Suzuki (24).
SSP Valence results:
|1||Sofuoglu K.||Honda hannspree||38 ‘08.523||23|
|2||Pitt A.||Honda hannspree||38 ‘13.434||23|
|3||Nannelli G.||Ducati SC Caracchi||38 ‘13.723||23|
|4||Drill F.||Kawasaki Gil Motor Sport||38 ‘14.142||23|
|5||Parkes B.||Yamaha World SSP||38 ‘21.299||23|
|6||Salom D.||Yamaha Spain||38 ‘23.436||23|
|7||Roccoli M.||Yamaha Team Italia||38 ‘23,701||23|
|8||Larscorz J.||Honda Glaner Motocard.com||38 ‘33.879||23|
|9||Kallio V.||Suzuki Pioneer Hoegee||38 ‘36.977||23|
|10||Jones C.||Honda Revè Ekerold||38 ‘38.408||23|
|11||Viziello G.||Yamaha RG Team||38 ‘38.945||23|
|12||Giugliano D.||Kawasaki Lightspeed||38 ‘39.333||23|
|13||Alfonsi L.||Honda althea||38 ‘39.727||23|
|14||Checa D.||Yamaha GMT 94||38 ‘43.796||23|
|15||Gimbert S.||Yamaha GMT 94||38 ‘46.133||23|
|Enjolras J.||Yamaha Tati Beaujolais||39 ‘31.430||21|
|34||Tiberio Y.||Honda Stiggy Motorsport||3 ‘52.142||2|
|Leblanc G.||Honda Vazy Racing Team||–||–|
Best round of the round: 1 ‘37.570 – Fujiwara (6th round)
Best lap in previous race: 1 ‘38.664 – Carpenter (2006)
Provisional SSP classification:
|1||Sofuoglu K.||Honda hannspree||95|
|2||Drill F.||Kawasaki Gil Motor Sport||51|
|3||Fujiwara K.||Honda althea||43|
|4||Harms R.||Honda Stiggy Motorsport||39|
|5||Nannelli G.||Ducati SC Caracchi||30|
|6||Parkes B.||Yamaha World SSP||27|
|7||Roccoli M.||Yamaha Italia||26|
|8||Curtain K.||Yamaha World SSP||25|
|9||Jones C.||Honda Revè Ekerold||25|
|10||Riba P.||Kawasaki Gil Motor Sport||22|
|11||Pitt A.||Honda hannspree||20|
|12||Veneman B.||Suzuki hoegee||17|
|13||Salom D.||Yamaha Spain||16|
|Tiberio Y.||Honda Stiggy Motorsport||15|
|15||Giugliano D.||Kawasaki Lightspeed||14|
|Carpenter S.||Honda hannspree||13|
|21||Checa D.||Yamaha GMT 94||9|
|22||Gimbert S.||Yamaha GMT 94||9|
|25||Leblanc G.||Honda Vazy Racing Team||4|
Second Superbike race
During the second start, it is "Nitro" Nori Haga who takes the lead ahead of Corser, Toseland, Bayliss, Xaus, Lanzi and Biaggi who from the first corner is passed by Regis Laconi! From the first passage of the hairpin to the right, Xaus wins a place by overtaking Bayliss: the Spaniard left with the same configuration as in the first round could he sign the double ?
In the last corner, Toseland – who rides his second bike with his Friday setup – gets inside Corser, who also has to let Xaus pass. After showing James his front tire several times, Ruben takes advantage of "his" pin to overtake the provisional leader of the championship.
p> While distancing the Kawasaki of Laconi, the official Ducatis of Bayliss and Lanzi observe the four leading motorcycles, and seem unable to keep pace with the 999 model 2006 of Xaus! However, in the 4th lap, Bayliss takes Corser’s asp and dislodges him at the end of the straight line..
After initially resisting the attacks of Xaus – including in the famous pin! – Haga must let pass the Spaniard who is back in the lead. Jostled by Toseland, the Japanese dropped to third position just ahead of Bayliss.
In the 5th lap, Max Biaggi took advantage of the straight line to overtake Laconi: the two pilots joined the leading group! Unfortunately, Regis let go and left Biaggi alone to overtake Corser, who was then in full decline. "I had exactly the same tires as in the first round but I had no grip: I did not understand why", still wonders crocodile n ° 11…
In front, Haga regained his second position against a James Toseland much more combative than in the first round. In the 8th lap, the Japanese took command of the race and moved away from Xaus enough to avoid being "pinned" by the n ° 111…
On the next lap, Toseland also manages to overtake Xaus and protect himself from any Spanish response. At 1.5 seconds from there, Lanzi gives in under pressure from Biaggi: in the pif-paf preceding the long left curve, Suzuki n ° 3 leaps in front of Ducati n ° 57.
Three laps later, Max passes Bayliss while Haga and Toseland have substantially increased their lead over Ruben Xaus. In the 16th lap, the Spaniard and his private Ducati undergo the law of the Roman Emperor and his GSX-R1000 without being able to react.
At the same time, Toseland takes the lead! English is gradually separating from Japanese but it is the Italian Biaggi who then turns faster.
In the 17th lap, Haga reacts and glues back to Toseland. Nitro Nori passed James in the next straight line but the n ° 52 was decidedly faster in the curve and narrowly failed to regain the lead of the race. The few hesitations and slight changes in the trajectory of the two leading men allow Biaggi to grab precious tenths.
So that with three laps from the end, the podium is far from established! Biaggi third is in Toseland’s wake and Haga swerves slightly in the last curve: not fully controlling the glide of his R1, Noriyuki leaves his saddle for a short time and allows Toseland to start the last lap in first place. !
At the end of the straight line, Honda rider Ten Kate retains the advantage over Yamaha rider until the first pin on the circuit. In this turn to the left, Toseland does not regain the rope and lets Haga pass. But two corners further, Toseland regains the advantage and will not lose it again !
Finally, conscientiously applying the Xaus method, Biaggi deals the final blow to Haga: the revenge of the Italian on the Japanese after Donington (read) !
The top of the provisional standings in the drivers’ championship therefore remains unchanged: Toseland (151 points) increases his lead over Max Biaggi (138) while Noriyuki Haga scores as many points as the Englishman (36) and so far has 124 points..
Corser remains 4th (101 points) while Bayliss (90) returns in front of his teammate Lorenzo Lanzi (87). Regis Laconi gains a place (10th with 37 points) while Fabrizio and Brookes climb two each.
In the constructors’ championship, Honda slightly increases its lead (160 points now) while the fight between Suzuki (138), Yamaha (134) and Ducati (132) intensifies! Kawasaki is last with 53 points.
SBK Valence results second round:
|1||Toseland J.||Honda hannspree||37 ‘02.596||23|
|2||Biaggi M.||Suzuki Alstare Corona||37 ‘02.883||23|
|3||Haga N.||Yamaha Motor Italia||37 ‘02.971||23|
|4||Xaus R.||Ducati Sterilgarda||37 ‘09.223||23|
|5||Lanzi L.||Ducati Xerox||37 ‘10.587||23|
|6||Bayliss T.||Ducati Xerox||37 ‘12,806||23|
|7||Brookes J.||Honda Alto Evolution||37 ‘13.457||23|
|8||Laconi R.||Kawasaki PSG-1||37 ‘16.962||23|
|9||Corser T.||Yamaha Motor Italia||37 ‘18.107||23|
|10||Neukirchner M.||Suzuki Germany||37 ‘22.312||23|
|11||Fabrizio M.||Honda DFX Corsica||37 ‘27.883||23|
|12||Rolfo R.||Honda hannspree||37 ‘29.033||23|
|13||Kagayama Y.||Suzuki Alstare Corona||37 ‘37.588||23|
|14||Morales R.||Yamaha team Laglisse||37 ‘42.583||23|
|15||Bussei G.||Ducati Sterilgarda||37 ‘45.041||23|
Best round of the round: 1 ‘35.746 – Haga (5th round)
Best lap in previous race: 1 ‘35.007 – Hodgson (2003)
Provisional SBK classification:
|1||Toseland J.||Honda hannspree||151|
|2||Biaggi M.||Suzuki Alstare Corona||138|
|3||Haga N.||Yamaha Motor Italia||124|
|4||Corser T.||Yamaha Motor Italia||101|
|5||Bayliss T.||Ducati Xerox||90|
|6||Lanzi L.||Ducati Xerox||87|
|7||Xaus R.||Ducati Sterilgarda||83|
|8||Neukirchner M.||Suzuki Germany||56|
|9||Rolfo R.||Honda hannspree||46|
|10||Laconi R.||Kawasaki PSG-1||37|
|11||Fabrizio M.||Honda DFX Corsica||32|
|12||Brookes J.||Honda Alto Evolution||32|
|13||Nieto F.||Kawasaki PSG-1||30|
|14||Kagayama Y.||Suzuki Alstare Corona||27|
|15||Smrz J.||Ducati SC Caracchi||25|
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