The return of the two Australian kings !
This weekend at Magny-Cours was the penultimate round of the World Superbike. A French event that Troy Bayliss and Andrew Pitt were waiting for with the greatest impatience: the two Australians could win the world titles…
For the first time this season, Noriyuki Haga sets the best time in the Superpole event on Saturday afternoon. With his time of 1 ‘38.444, the official Yamaha rider sets a new track record and is therefore at the top of the starting grid..
Behind his R1 are three motorcycles of different brands: Fonsi Nieto on his Suzuki (Alstare n ° 10) is ahead of Troy Bayliss and his Ducati (Xerox n ° 21) as well as Carlos Checa and his Honda (Ten Kate n ° 7). Proof if necessary that the overall performance of the machines is equal…
We retain, however, the superb performance of David Checa (GMT n ° 94) who thanks to his "new engine" – "the work with the MG Competition team and the support of Jiro Izaki of Yamaha Japan paid off", indicates the GMT -, slips to 7th place on the grid, just behind Roberto Rolfo (Honda Althea n ° 44) and Max Neukirchner (Suz ‘Alstare n ° 76), and in front of Max Biaggi (Ducati Go Eleven n ° 3) !
Behind the Ducati n ° 3, in 3rd place, are placed three other 1098: those of Michel Fabrizio (Xerox n ° 84), Lorenzo Lanzi (RG Team n ° 57) and Ruben Xaus (Go Eleven n ° 111) . Troy Corser, alias "Mister Poleman", only obtains the 12th place on the grid, his official Yam ‘n ° 11 having lost the front in the last corner of the only lap of Superpole.
Sebastien Gimbert (GMT 94, but n ° 194!) Ranks 13th, while Regis Laconi is only in 21st position on the handlebars of his official Kawasaki n ° 55. ZX-10R which suffers on the Nivernaise track: Badovini is 20th, Tamada 22nd and Iannuzzo 25th…
In Supersport, Broc Parkes (Yam ‘n ° 23) recorded his 7th pole of the season! He precedes the two Ten Kate drivers who are racing for the title: Jonathan Rea (# 65) and Andrew Pitt (# 88). Then follow the two Suzuki of the Hoegee team: Didier Van Keymeulen closes the 1st row, Barry Veneman opens the 2nd.
Lascorz, Harms and Brookes complete the 2nd row, while the 3rd is occupied in order by Roccoli, Nannelli, Aitchison and Viziello. As in SBK, you have to wait for 13th place to see the name of one of our compatriots, in this case Matthieu Lagrive !
Fabien Foret, back from a long convalescence, signs the 16th fastest time for this "test" weekend. Julien Enjolras is 23rd and Thierry Mulot 29th out of 30.
We remember that on Saturday, after a superb race where the first five finished almost in the same second, Loris Batz – finally 2nd in "his" French round – won the Superstock 600 title. A European championship which serves as an antechamber to the Mondial Supersport … The next generation of Chambons, Foret and Charpentier is here !
In Superstock 1000, let us also underline the excellent result of Freddy Foray, who also finished 2nd in the Nivernaise race. A first podium for Freddy in this category, while Maxime Berger finished in 11th place but remains in the race for the title, which will be played in a month in Portimao….
First Superbike race
Winner of the two rounds of the 2007 French edition and the two Italian rounds of Vallelunga two weeks ago (read), Noriyuki Haga leaves no chance to his opponents in this first race: ahead at the start by Bayliss and Nieto, Nitro Nori takes the lead from the first loop and escapes with Troy.
On a good start, Nieto gave up his 3rd place to Checa in the 3rd lap, then his 4th place to Michel Fabrizio the following lap. And the Italian does not stop there: swift and incisive – especially when braking on the angle of the turn called "180 °" -, he is 9th on the 1st lap but ends up taking the 3rd step. from the podium on the 12th lap !
On the other hand, it will be very hard for the official Ducati n ° 84 to get back on the leading man, Haga. Because since the 6th lap, the n ° 41 has engaged in high gear, leaving Bayliss to manage alone the rise of the chasing peloton composed of Checa, Fabrizio and Nieto…
Bayliss can’t keep up with the Japanese but it doesn’t matter: in this configuration – Haga in the lead and Corser and Neukirchner behind his Ducati n ° 21 – the Aussie just needs to stay on the podium to seal his third title. !
As often discreet at the start of the race, Max Biaggi goes on the attack in the 12th loop where he passes Corser then passes Carlos Checa in the 17th … In this same lap, David Checa is unfortunately forced to give up due to a mechanical problem, he was in 10th place since the start of the race !
Two laps later, Bayliss ended up giving up his 2nd position to a faster and faster Fonsi Nieto as his fuel level fell, so his GSX-R became more agile: "everything worked fine and the only problem I had was initially when my tank was full "", will notice the Spanish n ° 10.
Somewhat disappointed to have lost his place on the podium in favor of Fonsi Nieto, Michel Fabrizio made a mistake in this same 19th lap … Thus the old man of Biaggi inherited the 4th place from his young and fiery compatriot !
Behind the Roman Emperor, Corser and Neukirchner are engaged in a superb battle for 5th place, finally won by the young German: "I quickly lost grip and my rear was slipping a lot", will underline Max.
Noriyuki Haga crosses the finish line with a comfortable lead of more than 6 seconds over Fonsi Nieto and Troy Bayliss, crowned for the third time in the World Superbike (read) !
Max Biaggi fails half a second from the podium ahead of Max Neukirchner, Troy Corser, Carlos Checa and Yukio Kagayama. We also note the beautiful 9th place of a Kenan Sofuoglu barely recovered from his catapulting from Vallelunga, the courageous 11th place of Regis Laconi and the 3 points scored by Sebastien Gimbert.
It’s hard to summarize the Supersport race as the action was so present! Thus, from the first to the ninth lap, the seven leading men roll in the same second and a half and keep changing places….
This band of "seven mercenaries" is composed, in the order of: Jonathan Rea and Andrew Pitt – the two Ten Kate pilots who are fighting for the title! -, Barry Veneman and Didier Van Keymeulen – the two Suzuki riders who end the season on the hats of wheels -, Joshua Brookes and Robbin Harms – the two Honda Stiggy riders who are often involved – and Broc Parkes – the only Yamaha representative -…
The spectacle is impressive, especially when braking in Adelaide where the pilots sometimes find themselves four abreast: "the first laps were crazy with the fight of all these pilots", testifies Joshua Brookes !
Riding in a very tight formation, almost all the turns are an opportunity to elbows, to gain one or even two places by igniting the public in Nivernais !
Behind the leading group, another pilot sets "his" spectators on fire: Matthieu Lagrive! The quadruple Endurance world champion, recent winner of the Bol d’Or (with his fellow SERT, read our) is enjoying himself on the same track at Magny-Cours, but this time at the controls of his CBR600RR prepared by the Intermoto team Czech.
Starting from 13th place on the grid, Matt the "Mystic Rider" is in 14th place the first two laps. Time for him to find his marks and begin a superb comeback, which hoisted him to 8th position at the end of the 8th lap..
And it is in the 9th lap that the event of the race intervenes: in Adelaide, Robbin Harms places himself inside all his little comrades and tries a Kamikaze braking, which brings him straight into the wheel Jonathan Rea’s back !
The Northern Irishman falls in front of Robbin who remains on his wheels. The latter is then struck by Broc Parkes who in turn falls … But lets Robbin Harms and his CBR n ° 127 continue their race !
On the Dutch side of course, we are very small: "The bike was sliding badly here and there but I wanted to stay in the leading group so I pushed hard to keep up the pace", explained Robbin who, in lap 9, ended up missing his brake mark….
"I thought I could make it up but instead I came back to Dan Rea", continued the Stiggy Motorsport driver …"I’m so sorry for what happened it wasn’t my intention at all, just a mistake"Robbin insisted after the race – that he finished 15th.
For Jonathan Rea, who runs towards his motorbike and leaves in 17th position, this blunder is synonymous with loss of the 2008 title … Because with these 11 points ahead – before Magny-Cours -, Andrew Pitt has only to ensure. But far from him the idea of waiting for the coronation, the n ° 88 wants to go get it !
"I consider this a race incident, and I’m not the resentful type", Johnny will point out,"but it’s just a shame that I can’t fight for the title in Portugal" !
Broc Parkes, who could not do anything to avoid the rear wheel of Robbin Harms, also leaves Magny-Cours with a draw. "I felt good and we knew we could be competitive at the end of the race", will regret the Australian n ° 23…
Pitt and Veneman take advantage of the collective fall to slightly distance Brookes and Van Keymeulen. But the n ° 83 and 25 were quick to join the pots of the two leaders. In the 11th lap, Andrew Pitt widens into Adelaide and finds himself in 3rd position. Would the future World Champion be under pressure ?
"I didn’t know he (Jonathan, NDLR) was out of the race by observing the giant screen", revealed Andrew! Certain that if Johnny had stayed behind him, the fratricidal battle would have continued"until the end", Pitt regains control of the race from the 14th lap … to never leave it.
In the last five laps, as Pitt soars to his second world title, driver Suz ‘Van Keymeulen gradually loses Brookes’ wheel. But behind the Belgian in loss of speed, Matthieu Lagrive continues to chain the "chrono laps" !
So much so that in the 18th lap, Matt’s Honda passed in front of Didier’s Suz ‘. Our national n ° 14 goes so far as to steal his 3rd place at Brookes but the n ° 25 CBR has resources. Behind Andrew Pitt, Barry Veneman, who has carefully chosen his trajectories to protect himself from Brookes ‘attacks, hoists his Suz’ on the podium for the first time this season..
A podium completed by Josh Brookes, delighted with "finish in 3rd place", despite his fall the same morning during the warm-up and the obligation to ride on his" mule ". With 16 points recorded in France – against 0 for Parkes -, Josh secures his 3rd place in the championship with 157 points, against 164 for Rea and 139 for Parkes.
Still in the championship, Matthieu Lagrive won a place: he now has 56 points and is in 12th place. As for Fabien Foret, he finished in a satisfactory 8th place at Magny-Cours and restarted his counter, stopped since four events: the n ° 99 is tied on points (105) with Joan Lascorz, the two drivers sharing 5th place..
"Well you can’t say that I didn’t win a race in this championship !", finally remarks Andrew Pitt, whose first coronation on the handlebars of the 2001 Kawa ZX-6R had been somewhat denigrated because of a total lack of victory during this season….
"I’ve never enjoyed a season so much", insists the 2008 champion,"the team are a fantastic bunch of guys and the way they fixed my bike yesterday is typical of their mindset". This Batavian side,"real warriors", Sebastien Charpentier told us, titled two years in a row with Ten Kate (read).
A seventh consecutive title for Ronald’s team therefore, after that of Foret in 2002, then that of Vermeulen, Muggeridge, both of Charpentier and that, last year, obtained by Kenan Sofuoglu. The Turkish who will make his comeback in 2009 in the World Superport after a too difficult year in Superbike, while Jonathan Rea, who came close to the title in 600 for his first season, will climb on the CBR1000RR of the same team…
Second Superbike race
Relieved of all pressure, the new world Superbike champion Troy Bayliss is keen to win the second round. And as in the premiere, the Australian takes the wheel of Yamaha n ° 41, definitely very fit !
So in shape to tell the truth that Noriyuki Haga was quick to stick one second – then two! – to Carlos Checa then 3rd at the start of the race. But behind the Ten Kate n ° 7, the Yam ‘n ° 11 is pressing: from the 4th lap, Troy Corser virtually climbs on the podium and sets off to hunt his compatriot, preceded by his teammate. !
From then on, Carlos Checa set off on a long solo race: after a risky choice of tires in the first round, the Spaniard benefited from better tires in the second. Despite this, "we had rear stability issues coming out of tight bends", regrets the n ° 7, who estimates a loss of about three tenths per lap.
Carlos, however, manages to separate from his two compatriots Fonsi Nieto and Ruben Xaus, who compete for two laps during 5th place. Ruben, betrayed by the box of his Ducati in the 1st round, this time takes the best on Fonsi and his Suzuki.
Behind the three Spaniards, three Italians are struggling: Roberto Rolfo, Michel Fabrizio and Max Biaggi. Already very animated, this beautiful battle is enlivened by a fourth thief, this one German: Max Neukirchner! The n ° 76 fights with its GSX-R.
"We opted for a softer rear shock spring in the second run but it was the same! The rear was slipping a little more and it was difficult to change direction", Neukirchner noted after his eventful race.
At the head of the race, the fight between Haga and Bayliss is also remarkable: after having set the best time of the heat on the 5th lap, Troy takes the reins of the race in the 8th. Despite the arrival of a fine rain, Corser decides to keep his pace on dry ground and takes two full seconds from the two leading men. !
Unfazed, Carlos Checa retains his 4th place while Ruben Xaus prefers to cut the gas slightly: "when the drops fell my lost podium in Donington Park came to mind", will explain the n ° 111.
But Xaus’ break only lasts one lap and Nieto can’t take advantage. Likewise, Haga who has just been overtaken by his teammate quickly climbs back to 2nd and then to 1st step of the podium! On the 11th lap, therefore, we find the order of the start of the race: Haga precedes Bayliss and Corser. The latter, victim of an involuntary slip of the back of his Yam during the braking of the "Lycee", mortgages his chances of victory.
Then it was Max Biaggi’s turn to make people talk about him: halfway through the race, he left the group made up of Neukirchner, Fabrizio, Kagayama and Rolfo to melt Nieto, still in delicacy with his Suz ‘. In the 15th lap, the Max overtakes Fonsi and now targets his teammate Ruben Xaus…
In two rounds, the Italian returns to the pots of the Spanish: then begins a formidable fight! "We fought with fair play and we and the audience – I hope – had a lot of fun", will deliver Max.
Same story with Ruben: "we fought a duel during which we passed and passed several times", will underline the future BMW rider, finally 5th ahead of the future Aprilia rider !
But the leading duo is not left out! They too are fighting dearly for their place and delighting the French public. A public which does not have any representative in the points: Sebastien Gimbert retired in the 5th lap "due to an engine having weakened from the start of the race", will regret his team, while Regis Laconi rides"more than 100%"to return to the points after being accompanied off the track by Martin Bauer, Kiyonari’s replacement…
In front, the fight for victory intensifies but Troy Bayliss seems the most motivated: as proof, the world champion (2001, 2006 and 2008) twice fails to fall while passing the finish chicane! "I gave everything, I didn’t have much to lose, in the end I did three good laps: it was a great victory", will exhibit the n °" 2 + 1 "…
"In the last five laps my rear tire was worn out and I couldn’t put the throttle on the way I wanted but Troy and I had a great fight", declared Nitro Nori, 2nd in the race but also 2nd in the drivers’ championship with 325 points. !
Troy Corser secures 3rd place in the heat and becomes 3rd in the provisional standings with 316 points. Max Neukirchner, who finished the round a distant 9th place, therefore occupies 4th place overall with 298 points, or 14 more than Carlos Checa, 4th in the second French round..
In the constructors’ standings, Ducati (520 points) is declared world champion for the 15th time in 18 years! Yamaha is sure to take 2nd place with 461 points while Honda (384) and Suzuki (379) will have to wait for the final in Portimao to decide. Fifth, Kawasaki has only 82 points.
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