World Superbike: Brno no longer jokes !
Four weeks after the Pirelli private testing in Brno, the SBK Mondial returns to the Czech track this weekend. And if the weather could redistribute some cards, 4-cylinders should retain their advantage over twin-cylinders… Presentation.
The ninth event out of the thirteen in the 2007 World Superbike calendar, Brno (Czech Republic) is one of the most technical and demanding circuits: stationed on the side of the hill, it requires careful handling and an engine that is both powerful and controllable…
"Personally I consider Brno to be one of the most difficult tracks", attests our national Ninja, Regis Laconi. Nevertheless, on the handlebars of his Kawasaki ZX-10R, the French pilot has a great card to play.
Because since its return to the world championship in 2005 (after two appearances in 1993 and then in 1996), the Czech circuit has smiled more on 4-cylinder than on twin-cylinder: three Suzuki victories, one Yamaha and only two Ducati podiums during the very first round in 2005 (Toseland and Laconi, read).
The recent tests carried out on the Czech track have also confirmed the domination of the Japanese over the Italians: Kagayama, Corser, Haga and Toseland placed their motorbikes ahead of the 999 of Lanzi and Bayliss (read).
Admittedly, Regis Laconi was relegated to last position, almost a second and a half behind the No. 71 Suzuki. But the tests were held in almost winter weather conditions … And under the blazing sun of this late July, who can predict what will happen on Sunday ?
The Kawasaki, difficult to lead in slow bends, seems more at ease in big bends. However in Brno, even the passages resembling chicanes are rows that are negotiated at high speed !
A track for the ZX-10R ?
A characteristic which did not go unnoticed by Fonsi Nieto, another driver of the PSG Kawasaki team: "Brno is the only track of this type and the others are more "stop-and-go", so we will have to work in Brno to get our bike running.", notes the Spanish.
"I still have big problems with the front tire. The tests we had done weren’t too bad and I was quick on racing tires", remarks for his part Laconi who occupies the 11th place in the general classification.
The driver from Meuse has only climbed into the top 10 twice this year and had a very frustrating 2006 edition in Brno (fall then 16th place, read). Hopefully 2007 will be a better vintage !
Yukio Kagayama favorite
On the other hand, the one who would be delighted to repeat his 2006 performance is obviously Yukio Kagayama: "last year it was my very first double in the World Superbike", remembers the Japanese pilot !
After a difficult first half of the season spent looking – in vain – for the limits of his GSX-R 1000, Yukio and his team seem to have found the right settings: "I feel much better on the bike and I can attack a lot more", testifies the n ° 71 of the Alstare Suzuki team.
Statements which find their echo directly in the good results of Kagayama in Misano then in the tests of Brno and which should not fail to be reaffirmed by a good result this weekend. "Now it’s up to me and my team to improve my feelings and run for the podium in each race", launches Yukio who no longer fears the competition.
9 podiums, 5 victories for James Toseland and Troy Bayliss
Among the tenors of the eagerly awaited category this weekend is naturally James Toseland: leader of the championship with 260 points, the Briton is counting on the Czech event to get back on a podium that has eluded him for four rounds….
"We did two rounds of testing since Misano and both went very well", rejoices JT – pronouncing" DjiTi ". It is on the electronics that the efforts of his Honda Ten Kate team have mainly turned, resulting in a notable improvement in the performance of the CBR1000RR n ° 54.
"I can’t wait to run again and start winning again", warns Toseland who aims for a second world title in Superbike … before running for MotoGP ?
Having completed the opposite course – he returned from MotoGP to win a second SBK title last year – Troy Bayliss has the same number of podiums (9) and victories (5) as James Toseland this year, but he has a 21 points behind in the general classification.
On Sunday, the Australian’s main goal will be not to lose too many points compared to his rivals … "We did two race simulations and things went well, but we didn’t get what we were looking for", regretted Bayliss after the Brno tests.
Even if in qualifying rubber, the n ° 21 "Kangourou" of the Ducati Xerox team had been the fastest, managing the horde of 4-cylinders over 20 laps promises to be difficult….
9 podiums, 3 victories for Noriyuki Haga
Winner in 2005 (it was then Yamaha’s first victory of the season and the R1’s first victory in the SBK World Cup, read), Noriyuki Haga will once again be a serious customer for Bayliss as for the rest of the field. !
"I like Brno because it’s a real challenge to drive there properly", explains the famous n ° 41. And on a track where the engagement of the pilot and the engine power are determining, Nitro Nori and its R1 should unmistakably make sparks !
While 26 points separate him from Toseland, his goal "is to reduce the gap as much as possible, but you never know what can happen before the checkered flag", explains Noriyuki, recent victim of Biaggi … Hopefully his right wrist injury will not affect his ends of the race on Sunday !
9 podiums and a victory for Max Biaggi
Totaling the same number of podiums as his opponents, Max Biaggi only won one victory at the start of the season (read) and is now 43 points behind the provisional leader.
On a track known as one of his favorites, Max will benefit from a GSX-R 1000 tailored for the Czech track. Victorious of the second round in 2005 with Corser then of the two rounds in 2006 at the hands of Kagayama, the Suz was again the fastest during the tests of last June, again with Yukio.
Unfortunately, the chemistry is not yet perfect with Italian and this one is aware of it. "I know there are a lot of things to do on the bike to get it ready, as usual", remarks Max, 7th of the last tests in Brno. Will he find the magic formula? Answer Sunday…
5 podiums for Troy Corser
Another pilot to appreciate this track "fast and smooth", Troy Corser is aiming for a win this weekend."It’s been too long since I climbed the highest step", protested the second man of the official Yamaha team, who has not won a round for over 16 months (read).
Fifth and fourth last year, the Australian "Crocodile" underlines the resemblance between the Czech and Australian tracks on which he obtained good results and is building confidence. In 1996 at the controls of his 916, Corser had also achieved the double in Brno. He was then on his way to his first world title…
This year, his title race seems to be compromised … But go and explain it to an "old" Australian: he will fight to the end and will undoubtedly be the referee of this end of the season..
1 victory for Ruben Xaus
"Ducati suffers a little on this track with climbs and stretches, but I remain optimistic", points out Ruben Xaus who intends to play well"protagonists on all the last tracks"…
Equipped with a Ducati 999 F06, the Spaniard is ahead of the official Lanzi rider and should therefore benefit from special attention from the Borgo Panigale firm! "Ducati will lend us a hand for electronics", confirms Ruben.
After all, Xaus and his Sterilgarda team have four times brought valuable points to the Italian brand which is at the top of the constructors’ standings! "They know I can be of help too", recalls the n ° 111, to follow this weekend even if it is not sure to fight at the forefront…
In the Supersport category, Gianluca Nannelli is the only representative of the Italian brand. Injured during the Silverstone event, the Italian got back on his 749 at Vallelunga but could only achieve 19th time out of 20 participants.
"My leg hurts in the left turns", laments the Ducati SC team rider Caracchi, usually so fiery. Once again, the fight should only oppose 600 Japanese…
As for Kenan Sofuoglu, he poses as the favorite of the event: "I was 3rd last year so I would like to get the win this year", explains the Turkish driver for the moment alone at the top of the provisional classification. And to" cover "him, Kenan will be able to count on his teammate Sebastien Charpentier.
The French pilot, world champion in 2005 and 2006, already knows that his world crown will leave him this fall. Suddenly, General Seb wants at all costs "achieve good results for his team"."I am determined to do my best to support my teammate", promises Charpentier sportingly.
But the task will not be easy … In the Yamaha camp first of all, Broc Parkes will be keen to prove that the tuning forks brand does not need to look for new riders to make the R6 win! Because during the last three races, the number 23 driver had been stolen from the spotlight by a certain Anthony West…
At his side, however, a new replacement for Kevin Curtain will have to be lined up: Jason O’Halloran (read). The 19-year-old has been competing in the Australian Supersport Championship for three years and could well win it next August. Having already taken part in the Vallelunga tests, the young rookie of the official Yamaha team will be one to watch !
Another Australian could also shine this weekend: Joshua Brookes. Best practice time in Italy two weeks ago, Yoann Tiberio’s replacement (read) believes he has "learned a lot and developed the bike during these two days".
In 2004, during his only visit to World Supersport at his home in Phillip Island, Josh had already stood out with the victory. On a Czech track relatively close to the Australian, the n ° 125 of the Honda Stiggy Motorsport team could well create a surprise…
Of course, we hope that Fabien Foret will also benefit from the similarity between the two tracks! Winner of the Australian event at the beginning of this year, the pilot of the ZX-6R n ° 9 unfortunately had a lot of difficulty in handling his mount during the last tests..
"We had some problems", recognizes the French who – like his teammate Pere Riba – will have to find the right settings so as not to be constantly sidelined by a rebellious Ninja…
Finally, we will have to follow and encourage our other French drivers: Sebastien Gimbert, Matthieu Lagrive, Julien Enjolras, Gregory Leblanc and maybe even Arnaud Vincent !
"After having courageously rolled injured during the Albi round of the French Superbike Championship, following a dislocation of the thumb following a trial session, Arnaud Vincent, who wishes to ride in the World Supersport in 2008, will go to the Brno circuit for replace David Checa if he had to give up riding due to his recent hand surgery", announced Monday the GMT on its official website … Stay tuned !
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