WSBK – The Mondial Superbike returns to the USA! –

The Mondial Superbike returns to the USA !

WSBK - The Mondial Superbike returns to the USA! -

It is in the United States, and more precisely in Salt Lake City in Utah, that the World Superbike riders (but not Supersport …) landed this week in order to compete this weekend in the 6th round of a resolutely global championship !

It has been four years since the Mondial Superbike set its wheels on the new world, its last visit dating back to 2004, to a Laguna Seca track that the MotoGP stars now take once a year….

After Braired (from 1989 to 1991) and Laguna Seca (from 1995 to 2004) therefore, the "Miller Motorsport Park" – this is the name of the track visited this weekend in Salt Lake – will therefore be the third circuit to welcome a world Superbike event.

Created by a wealthy American businessman (see box), the Salt Lake City track opened in 2006 and has already received two AMA Superbike colleagues – the American championship – twice. This weekend, moreover, Ben Spies and his comrades will also be out … But not on the same track !

Sacred Ricans !

Originally, the circuit based near Salt Lake City was to be a simple "turnstile" for Larry H. Miller, an American businessman, in particular owner of the NBA team "Utah Jazz" and whose personal fortune is estimated at $ 480 million.

But very quickly, the small project of 5 million dollars became a colossal site of 85 million, supported by the local industries (of two-wheelers and four-wheelers).

Designed by Alan Wilson – also at the origin of the superb Barber Motorsports Park – the Miller Motorsports Park now hosts rounds of the AMA Superbike, the American Le Mans Series, the Nascar … and the Mondial Superbike. , for three years !

No need to try to compare the times of Spies and Bayliss since the two pilots will evolve on two different tracks: the "full" loop for the double American champion (i.e. a 7.2 km lap swallowed in 2 ’47 for the best yesterday!) and the outer loop for the double world champion (4,876m).

"I missed America", admits Troy Bayliss. And although he regrets not returning to Laguna Seca – where he had obtained a victory in 2002 and a nice 6th place in MotoGP in 2005 -, the Australian is impatient to discover the new track by Miller !

"I met the owner and designer of Miller’s track in Assen and saw the layout that doesn’t look bad at all"Says the # 21 of the Ducati Xerox team. Located near the mountains and a large salt lake,"the track seems safe but it could get very dusty so we have to wait and see", still specifies Troy.

Despite his missed meeting at Monza (after his 3rd place in the 1st round he had to give up in the second, read) Bayliss was able to consolidate his lead in the championship: leading by 78 points, the kangaroo and his 1098F08 await the new American challenge firm paw !

But his namesake "Troy" Corser is at least as motivated for this new event, even if he does not know the track either. Because when he was racing in AMA SBK – he won the American title in 1994 – Miller Motorsports Park was not on the program….

Suddenly the old crocodile from Australia inquired: "I chatted with a few guys who went on motorcycle and car ride days and they looked excited", indicates the n ° 11 of the Yamaha Italia team.

Holder of the record for the number of podiums in the United States in the SBK World Cup – three wins, six 2nd places and two 3rd places or 11 in all -, Troy Corser intends to increase this score on Sunday: "we have had some tough races this year but the team is ready to race and win", warns the double world champion, who has only obtained three 3rd places this season…

His teammate Noriyuki Haga (3rd in the championship with 112 points and two victories) is also a regular at the World Superbike: he has already won two victories in California, in 1998 and in 2000..

And coming to a new circuit does not frighten him too much: "it will be a very informative weekend for all the drivers and all the teams, because it is new for everyone", predicts the famous n ° 41 !

Second and then first of the last races at Monza three weeks ago, Nitro Nori seems very confident: "we are competitive in every race", recalls the Japanese rider who will therefore be one to watch, like Max Neukirchner, the Suzuki revelation of this year…

First then second in the Italian heats, the German continued his excellent start to the season: overall, he was a small point behind Haga and only five behind Checa 2nd. No wonder his Suzuki Alstare team proudly – and promptly – announced the renewal of their contract for the next two seasons. !

BMW will therefore not be able to get its hands on this little German genius before 2012 … Time for the Bavarian manufacturer to refine its Superbike and set off with Max to assault the world title? (read)

But before that, Neukirchner will have to confirm his good health. Starting with this weekend in Salt Lake, where Max and his team-mate Fonsi Nieto and Yukio Kagayama will run exceptionally under the colors of Globasol, a subsidiary of the Globalia group which also includes the usual sponsor of Francis Batta’s GSX-R1000: "Pepephone".

On the Honda Ten Kate side, the Hannspree decorations will remain unchanged, but the team – of three drivers like at Suz ‘- will once again be in full force. Forced to leave Monza urgently to join his family in Turkey – his brother was killed on a motorcycle – Kenan Sofuoglu will resume service…

Ryuichi Kiyonari will try to continue his progress: on the podium during the very last race, the Japanese want to repeat the experience this weekend. But Honda n ° 23 sees two good reasons to believe…

On the one hand, unlike other weekends, the two-time English Superbike champion’s competitors won’t know the track any more than he does! And on the other hand, Ryuichi knows what he needs to work on to go faster: "find the best braking marks and go slowly in the bends to come out well", he notes carefully.

Finally, Carlos Checa, as Honda leader and Bayliss’ first opponent in the championship, will have to complete two good races. And he too has already spotted a few key points on this track which will "looks interesting, very technical"…

"There are a lot of direction changes so we will have to focus on the handling of the bike.", thus reveals the Spanish n ° 7."We have no data on this track and neither do Pirelli so it will be important to select the right tires to have good grip on this fast track.", adds Carlos.

As for his little brother David, he will be present this weekend within Team GMT94: "our rider David Checa, the multi-talented rider, the Barcelona man, will be on the track this weekend in Salt Lake City", announces proudly Christophe Guyot, even if the Spanish will be there"without a specific objective if not to have fun".

His teammate Sebastien Gimbert will obviously be there on the other blue R1 to defend the tricolors, just like Regis Laconi on his green ZX-10R…

The n ° 55 prefers not to advance too much on his chances of shining on the new track. "I played SBK 08 video game which includes Miller track, maybe this will help me! At least I would know where the bends are", just remarks Regis, who was on the" last "American podium in 2004.

Besides Bayliss, Corser and Haga, a fourth man has already climbed to the top step of this podium: Ruben Xaus! The Spaniard won the second round of Laguna Seca in 2003 at the controls of his official Ducati 999.

This year, it is on the handlebars of the private 1098R of the Go Eleven team that the n ° 111 will try to repeat this performance. A victory – or two – which he would badly need to get back into contact with the leading men: he has so far totaled 90 points and is in 7th place in the provisional classification.

A place behind Xaus – but 25 points! – Max Biaggi will also be looking to score big points at Miller Park. "I did some internet research and saw pictures: it seems to meet European standards", reassures the Roman Emperor, who feared an American circuit"not secure enough nor wide enough"…

Pleasantly surprised by the growing interest of Americans and their "star system"Regarding motorcycle racing, Biaggi still regrets that the SBK event takes place in the middle of the United States."In time I think people will come here too", nevertheless assures the Italian. What if everything depended on the spectacle on the track? Maestros, to your motorcycles !

To be continued: video interview with Regis Laconi, 4th time of the first free practice session! Stay connected !

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