The Test of Europe smiles on the favorites
The fifth round of the World Superbike took place last Sunday in England. The overcast and capricious sky of the tests gives way to a shy sun, forcing the riders to race on more or less well-tuned motorcycles… Ready ?
This weekend was held the fifth round of the 2006 World Superbike season, a "European Round" taking place in England on the physical and technical circuit of Silverstone (read).
Last year, Ducati won thanks to a supercharged Regis Laconi and then a recovered James Toseland, while Corser increased his lead in the championship by grabbing two second places. But this year, Regis and James are racing on Japanese – Kawasaki and Honda respectively – and Troy has had a much more difficult start to the season than in 2005 because of a certain Bayliss…
Author of two consecutive doubles (read and), Troy Bayliss indeed crushes his compatriot and the entire field, riding an official Ducati which ultimately has nothing to envy the best 4-cylinders.
As proof, during the rainy Superpole session, only the guest driver Tommy Hill – of the British Superbike, n ° 81 – succeeded in the feat of overtaking the leader of the championship by completing his lap in 1’38.003. Troy Bayliss finished a quarter of a second behind the young Englishman – 21! – and ahead of another local, Chris Walker, Noriyuki Haga completing the first row.
|Silverstone, 05/28/2006 – Black weekend for Yamaha Motor France rider Sebastien Gimbert. Video Site.|
Michel Fabrizio, Alex Barros, Ruben Xaus and Karl Muggeridge are placed on the second row while on the third, Regis Laconi and Sebastien Gimbert surround Troy Corser and Andrew Pitt. Fabien Foret on his Suzuki is in 25th position.
In Supersport, Sebastien Charpentier took his fifth pole thanks to his best time on Friday, closely followed by Kevin Curtain and Broc Parkes. Pere Riba – British Supersport driver, invited to this event – takes advantage of his excellent knowledge of the track to reach the front row too.
|Silverstone, 05/28/2006 – Matthieu Lagrive’s winning comeback in Mondial Supersport. Video Site.|
As for the French Matthieu Lagrive, he signs his return to world supersport with a promising 6th place on the starting grid, just behind Roccoli but ahead of two serious clients: Fores and Stigefelt. We then find the two Megabike riders, Katsuaki Fujiwara and Yoann Tiberio – winner of the last event (read) -, followed by Sanchini and Andersen.
David Checa of Team GMT94 is in 13th position, Maxime Berger 16th, Julien Enjolras 17th, Gregory Leblanc 19th and Stephane Chambon, 26th, was unfortunately deprived of his last lap by a red flag…
Despite the adjustments made between the two rounds, the Superbike races offered a similar scenario with Troy Bayliss, Nori Haga and James Toseland as the main players. And it is in this precise order that the three men crossed the English finish line twice..
However, the redundancy of the result did not prevent the show from being up to par, the three pilots and the rest of the field literally electrifying the spectators who came in droves..
It all started with the first corner of the first race: Fabien Foret made a particularly impressive high-side, including in his crash Corser and Barros. The Brazilian, who "feels"that his motorbike is behind him, turns around and gives the audience a remarkable" jump-motorbike-blaze "…
During the second start, Alex Barros misses completely and points to 17th place at the end of the first lap! On the contrary, Haga, Bayliss, Walker and Xaus achieved a perfect takeoff and started a particularly fast start to the race..
An immediate action to which we are used, but which the testimony of Tommy Hill – starting from pole – puts into perspective: "I couldn’t believe it! Usually, in the English league, the guys increase the pace gradually but there, everyone starts at 110% from the first round !"exclaims the Englishman who will valiantly finish twelfth in both races.
Victim of this start to the race with fanfare, Troy Corser fell at the end of the second lap, in the very slow chicane which precedes the pit lane. The Australian left on his mule will regret the settings of his motorcycle n ° 1, damaged during the crash of the first corner. "The front tire was too hard and I lost control in the last chicane. I walked away and tried to keep going, but it was hopeless", admits Corser who gives up on the 6th lap.
Rid of the reigning world champion, the pilots then engage in an arduous and aggressive battle which quickly turns into a Bayliss – Haga duel. But in the peloton, Ruben Xaus, James Toseland and Andrew Pitt are also very impressive. Walker may struggle like hell, he cannot resist the onslaught of his pursuers..
More seasoned than his young compatriot Tommy Hill at the cannon starts of his comrades, James Toseland does not regret the excellent start to the race of the two leading men: "it’s a shame that Troy and Haga found their rhythm so quickly, because it took me a little while to get back up the peloton and the other riders were running really well, which didn’t help"… Having started from 14th position, James declared himself"happy"to climb the third step of the podium.
Andrew Pitt does not demerit either since he transforms his 11th qualifying time into a satisfactory 5th place. Unfortunately, the premature wear of its front tire limited its good comeback in the middle of the race on Xaus and Toseland. Andrew therefore slows down in the very last laps and ensures his best result since his podium at the start of the season in Qatar (read).
The good surprise of this first round comes from Ruben Xaus, who sets the best time in the race and manages to hoist his private Ducati to the foot of the podium, his best ranking since the start of the season. Chris Walker also signs his best result (6th) riding his ZX-10R, just ahead of the French Regis Laconi.
Disappointment on the other hand for Sebastien Gimbert who abandons the first round following an electrical problem which will also prevent him from completing the second round (see our video interview).
As for Fabien Foret, after his heavy fall he got back on his Suzuki for the second start but too stunned to be perfectly concentrated, he gave up on the 9th lap of the first round and 15th of the second.
In the second heat, Walker got the best start ahead of Bayliss and Haga while Hill managed to get in 4th position ahead of Corser, Muggeridge, Toseland, Xaus and Pitt !
Karl Muggeridge is faster than in the first heat but remains a tone below his direct competitors: "I couldn’t hold the lines in the fast curves", admits the Australian who must be satisfied with the 9th place.
In front, the leading men are not content to widen the gap: Haga and Bayliss overtake each other several times without letting the leader Chris Walker escape. The Briton shows his usual resentment but gives in to the assaults of the two new kings of England.
Then it was Corser’s turn to find himself under the flames of Walker’s pots. "I had throttle grip issues", underlines the Australian who manages to overtake Walker and Xaus only in the penultimate lap.
This fierce fight between the Suzuki (Corser) and the Kawasaki (Walker) temporarily prevents the Honda (Toseland) and the Yamaha (Pitt) from joining the leading duo, who take the opportunity to separate themselves definitively from the rest of the troop..
The leaders then engage in a daunting chase, Nitro Nori being the only driver to push Bayliss this weekend: "I really had to fight hard for the two victories", recognizes the leader of the 2006 championship. And it is fortunate because without the Japanese, the third double of Troy would not have had the same flavor … To be conquered without peril…
On the French side, in addition to the retirement of Gimbert and Foret, Regis Laconi ended his weekend with a disappointing second round. "I have experienced dribbling issues and box issues", regrets the Frenchman who finished in 14th place.
In the championship, Troy Bayliss with 226 points considerably increased his lead and left England in a situation almost identical to that of Troy Corser in 2005. The latter retained his second place (149 points) while Noriyuki Haga (133) jumped from 5th to 3rd place overall at the expense of Toseland (129) and Barros (113).
On the constructors’ side, Ducati leads widely with 226 Bayliss points ahead of Suzuki (161), Honda (156), Yamaha (153), Kawasaki (75) and Petronas still in neutral (4).
SBK Silverstone first race results:
|1||Bayliss T.||Ducati Xerox||40 ‘49.894||28|
|2||Haga N.||Yamaha Motor Italia||40 ‘50.784||28|
|3||Toseland J.||Winston Ten Kate Honda||40 ‘51.599||28|
|4||Xaus R.||Sterilgarda – Berik Ducati||40 ‘58.179||28|
|5||Pitt A.||Yamaha Motor Italia||41 ‘02.197||28|
|6||Walker C.||PSG-1 Kawasaki Corsica||41 ‘13.610||28|
|7||Laconi R.||PSG-1 Kawasaki Corsica||41 ‘15.377||28|
|8||Muggeridge K.||Winston Ten Kate Honda||41 ‘15.943||28|
|9||Barros A.||Klaffi Honda||41 ‘19.544||28|
|10||Abe N.||Yamaha Motor France Ipone||41 ‘22.102||28|
|11||Nieto F.||PSG-2 Kawasaki Corsica||41 ‘29.501||28|
|12||Hill T.||Virgin Mobile Yamaha||41 ‘31.444||28|
|13||Lanzi L.||Ducati Xerox||41 ‘31.829||28|
|14||Kagayama Y.||Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra||41 ‘40.279||28|
|15||Nannelli G.||D.F.X. Honda Treme||41 ‘42.620||28|
|20||Gimbert S.||Yamaha Motor France Ipone||28 ‘17.435||19|
|24||Drill F.||Alstare Eng. Corona Extra||13 ‘44.677||9|
SBK Silverstone second race results:
|1||Bayliss T.||Ducati Xerox||40 ‘42.003||28|
|2||Haga N.||Yamaha Motor Italia||40 ‘43.588||28|
|3||Toseland J.||Ducati Xerox||40 ‘54.061||28|
|4||Pitt A.||Yamaha Motor Italia||40 ‘56.564||28|
|5||Barros A.||Klaffi Honda||40 ‘58.829||28|
|6||Corser T.||Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra||41 ‘03.233||28|
|7||Xaus R.||Sterilgarda – Berik Ducati||41 ‘04.059||28|
|8||Walker C.||PSG-1 Kawasaki Corsica||41 ‘04.552||28|
|9||Muggeridge K.||Winston Ten Kate Honda||41 ‘04.711||28|
|10||Nieto F.||PSG-2 Kawasaki Corsica||41 ‘16.028||28|
|11||Abe N.||Yamaha Motor France Ipone||41 ‘16.742||28|
|12||Hill T.||Virgin Mobile Yamaha||41 ‘17.115||28|
|13||Kagayama Y.||Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra||41 ‘17.521||28|
|14||Laconi R.||PSG-1 Kawasaki Corsica||41 ‘18.325||28|
|15||Fabrizio M.||D.F.X. Honda Treme||41 ‘29.853||28|
|21||Gimbert S.||Yamaha Motor France Ipone||25 ‘27.891||17|
|22||Drill F.||Alstare Eng. Corona Extra||22 ‘36.332||15|
SBK provisional general classification:
|1||Bayliss T.||Ducati Xerox||225|
|2||Corser T.||Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra||149|
|3||Haga N.||Yamaha Motor Italia||133|
|4||Toseland J.||Winston Ten Kate Honda||129|
|5||Barros A.||Klaffi Honda||113|
|6||Pitt A.||Yamaha Motor Italia||103|
|7||Lanzi L.||Ducati Xerox||62|
|8||Xaus R.||Sterilgarda – Berik||56|
|9||Abe N.||Yamaha Motor France-Ipone||51|
|10||Walker C.||PSG-1 Kawasaki Corsica||51|
|11||Nieto F.||PSG-1 Kawasaki Corsica||48|
|12||Rolfo R.||Ducati SC – Caracchi||46|
|13||Muggeridge K.||Winston Ten Kate Honda||45|
|14||Laconi R.||PSG-1 Kawasaki Corsica||42|
|15||Fabrizio M.||D.F.X. Honda Treme||37|
|Drill F.||Alstare Eng. Corona Extra||10|
|23||Gimbert S.||Yamaha Motor France-Ipone||7|
In 600 cc, Sebastien Charpentier once again crushes the competition by leading the race from start to finish. However, "it was not an easy race"Contrary to appearances, specifies General Seb.
The bumpy surface and the smallness of the track tested the Charentais, who could well become the most victorious driver in the Supersport category on his next outing by taking a 12th victory – and who would doubt it today. ?
But the race was much harder for Yoann Tiberio, recent winner at Monza and the victim of a poor tire choice at Silverstone. Fifth during the first third of the race, the young Frenchman, wearing too soft rubber, was unable to avoid his tumble to 14th place under the checkered flag.
A record diametrically opposed to that of David Checa, the most French of the Spanish pilots – although his brother Carlos runs at Tech3 – who makes a fantastic comeback: 33rd at the end of the first lap after a collision, David applies to overtake one by one the pilots placed in front of him !
Thus the colt of Christophe Guyot turns at the same time as those who are fighting for 5th place and finishes very good 11th, 2 seconds ahead of Maxime Berger and his ZX-6R, while Chambon places his Ninja in 17th place. Gregory Leblanc and Julien Enjolras unfortunately do not cross the finish line.
The prize for the most beautiful fight goes unquestionably to Matthieu Lagrive, who fights from the first laps for the fifth place which he will occupy for three laps (see our video interview). The new French recruit of Klaffi Honda fights in his first race of the season with the regional of the stage, Riba, but also with Harms, Roccoli and Fores who are among the best of the field.
A superb performance from Lagrive, the level of which will however have to go up a notch to be able to covet the podium, trusted not only by Charpentier but also by the official Yamaha. Because this weekend, Curtain and Parkes have again shown excellent form, in the shadow of the reigning world champion.
For the second race in a row, Kevin Curtain finished behind his teammate Broc Parkes. After his engine failure at Monza, the No. 1 Yamaha rider slows down his pace a little before halfway through the race, because of a choice of rubber that is too soft at the rear. Broc took the opportunity to go hunting for the Honda n ° 16 of Charpentier but without success.
In the championship, Sebastien Charpentier now has a 40-point lead against Curtain. Robbin Harms, subscribed to fifth place in the race, retains his third place but is threatened by Parkes. Yoann Tiberio clings to his fifth place overall while Matthieu Lagrive suddenly takes 17th place in the standings.
In the constructors’ championship, Honda with 125 points continues its full card ahead of Yamaha which collects second places (93). Ducati, who scored only a small point this weekend thanks to Easton, remains on the third place of the podium despite the comeback of Kawasaki which doubles its score thanks to Riba (from 14 to 27 points). Finally Suzuki is fifth with 10 points.
SSP Silverstone race results:
|1||Carpenter S.||Winston Ten Kate Honda||41 ‘54.640||28|
|2||Parkes B.||Yamaha Motor Germany||41 ‘57.442||28|
|3||Curtain K.||Yamaha Motor Germany||42 ‘01.407||28|
|4||Riba P.||MSS Discovery Racing Kawa||42 ‘11.756||28|
|5||Harms R.||Stiggy Motorsports Honda||42 ‘20.742||28|
|6||Roccoli M.||Yamaha Team Italia||42 ‘21.073||28|
|7||Fores J.||SLM Racing Yamaha||42 ‘21.737||28|
|8||Lagrive M.||Intermoto Klaffi Honda||42 ‘22.132||28|
|9||Stigefelt J.||Dark Dog Stiggy Mr. Honda||42 ‘23.713||28|
|10||Fujiwara K.||Megabike Honda Team||42 ‘35.905||28|
|11||Checa D.||Yamaha – GMT 94||42 ‘36.255||28|
|12||Berger M.||Gil Motor Sport Kawasaki||42 ‘38.242||28|
|13||Andersen K.||Hoegee Suzuki||42 ‘38.719||28|
|14||Tiberio Y.||Megabike Honda Team||42 ‘42.178||28|
|15||Easton S.||Manila Grace SC Ducati||42 ‘44.259||28|
|17||Chambon S.||Gil Motor Sport Kawasaki||42 ‘47.184||28|
|26||Leblanc G.||Vazy Racing Team Honda||42 ‘39.934||27|
|29||Enjolras J.||Tati Team Beaujolais Yam||21 ‘37.860||14|
Provisional general classification SSP:
|1||Carpenter S.||Winston Ten Kate Honda||116|
|2||Curtain K.||Yamaha Motor Germany||76|
|3||Harms R.||Stiggy Motorsports Honda||63|
|4||Parkes B.||Yamaha Motor Germany||58|
|5||Tiberio Y.||Megabike Honda Team||50|
|6||Roccoli M.||Yamaha Team Italia||46|
|7||Fores J.||SLM Racing Yamaha||39|
|8||Stigefelt J.||Dark Dog Stiggy Mr. Honda||35|
|9||Sufuoglu K.||Winston Ten Kate Honda||27|
|10||Fujiwara K.||Megabike Honda Team||22|
|11||Brookes J.||Ducati SC – Caracchi||21|
|12||Vizziello G.||Yamaha Team Italia||17|
|13||Zaiser C.||LBR Ducati Racing||15|
|14||Riba P.||MSS Discovery Racing Kawa||13|
|15||The Grelle S.||Legrelle – Honda Belgium||12|
|17||Lagrive M.||Intermoto Klaffi Honda||8|
|19||Checa D.||GMT 94 Yamaha||8|
|22||Chambon S.||Gil Motor Sport Kawasaki||6|
|24||Berger M.||Gil Motor Sport Kawasaki||4|
|–||Enjolras J.||Tati Team Beaujolais Yam||–|
|–||Leblanc G.||Vazy Racing Team Honda||–|
Next meeting on June 25 in Misano for the Italian event, where tests were held last month allowing pilots to preset their machines unlike Silverstone (read). Even tighter and more spectacular fights in perspective !
Finally, note that the last round of the championship supposed to take place in South Africa having been canceled, the World Superbike final will therefore take place again this year in France. !
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