Monday, June 26, 2006

Bayliss extends unbeaten run to eight

Before taking a tumble in Race 2 at Misano
Troy Bayliss extended his unbeaten run to eight at Misano Adriatico as the first race saw the Ducati Xerox Team rider take a superb win from seventh on the grid. With clinical efficiency Bayliss picked off the six riders ahead of him on the track one by one to take the lead on lap 11 and power to the 25 points.

The second race of the day could have produced a similar result until Bayliss slid onto the grass on lap 17 while challenging for second place and then remounted to finish twelfth as Andrew Pitt (Yamaha) headed for his maiden WSBK win.

With championship contender Troy Corser (Suzuki) crashing out twice, Bayliss now has a 94 point lead over Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) as the World Superbike Championship enters the second half of the season.

"We are all very happy with the result but a dampener has been put on things because the Team's warehouse guy Lorenzo Ghiselli lost his life in a road accident on Friday night so I'd like to dedicate this win to Lollo who will be sadly missed by everybody," declared Troy after race 1. "To be honest I really wanted to win the second race and after a mixed start it took me a long while to get into the rhythm. Then finally when I caught the guys the bike just didn't feel as good as in the first race at the front and I stepped over the edge a bit. Maybe I should have settled for third, but I'm a racer and I wanted to keep the winning streak going. Now it's broken but we increased our points lead from 76 to 94 so I'm happy for everyone and now we move on.

Lorenzo Lanzi had a difficult race 1 to finish seventh after starting from eighth on the grid. The result was the same in race two, seventh place, but the Italian's performance was much improved as he put in a surge on the final lap to pass Toseland.

"It was a great battle with James, but I really wanted to finish ahead of Fabrizio as I was constantly quicker than him," commented Lorenzo. "The last few laps I was one of the fastest guys out there but I got bogged down a bit because the bike wasn't quite right in certain parts of the track. I really have to get better starts because I know I can stay up there with the guys in front as I proved last year. But I've got a great team around me; hopefully we can improve as quickly as possible because I want to get back to winning again."

"Pity, Troy was going very well and the crash happened when he wasn't pushing that hard," declared Ducati Corse Director General Filippo Preziosi. "With his race 1 win he demonstrated to be the best rider out there and for this we are very proud of him and what he is doing in the championship. Lorenzo also contributed to the good result because he managed to pass Toseland on the last lap and take points away from a tough rival so a big thanks to him as well."

Nightmare for Troy Corser!

He left Misano bruised and without any points
The sixth round of this year's Superbike World Championship will not be remembered with any affection by Troy and his team."
Chasing runaway series leader Bayliss (Ducati), Troy need a pair of strong finishes to keep up the pressure, but instead he left the track bruised and without any points! Two crashes, fortunately without any serious injury, ruined Troy's day and leaves him fourth place in the title race.

In race one, Troy Bayliss stormed though from seventh on the grid to take his eighth win in a row, with James Toseland (Honda) second and Troy's team mate Yukio Kagayama third. Race two was one of the most exciting and action-packed of the season, with thrills galore. Troy led the first seven laps and looked in command, but then fell off at the final chicane when he ran wide trying to avoid some cement dust.

Andrew Pitt (Yamaha) won the race - his first ever victory in World Superbikes - with Alex Barros (Honda) second and Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) third.

"Well that was a day to forget, for sure! And it probably all stemmed from me having to miss the Brno test recently. Today, in the first race, the bike jumped out of first gear at La Querca corner and I was thrown off the bike. There was no warning, one minute I was in gear and OK and the next minute - bang! I made a good start in race two, but I'm not sure how because I had virtually no feeling what the bike was doing off the line! I managed to get the lead and held it for seven laps I guess. It felt pretty comfortable and I could see that nobody was catching me, so I didn't push hard. I didn't want to screw up the tyres by pushing too hard, too soon.

"All seemed OK, but then there were a few niggly gearshifts and I began to wonder if the bike was going to jump out of gear again and that made me a bit nervous exiting the turns. There was cement dust in the final chicane from a crash earlier in the day and unfortunately it was right on my racing line. I had to run wider then I wanted to make sure I avoided it and one lap I ran a bit too wide. I tried to change direction, but the tyre wouldn't grip and bang - down I went again."

"I picked the bike up to get going again, but I could see it was full of stones and gravel, so I knew it was a waste of time. What a day! As I said, at the beginning, the problems we had this weekend would have surfaced at the Brno tests and we would've solved them before we started practice this weekend. But, I wasn't at the tests and the problems happened in a race situation and we lost out. That's how racing is sometimes. Wish me better luck in Brno."

Unlucky race for Scuderia SC Caracchi

Rolfo: “I leave Misano with just a couple of points”
Not a lucky race day at Misano for Scuderia SC Caracchi. During Race 1 the bike of Roberto Rolfo had jolt on the starting line and the Italian rider has been penalized for jumping start, this penalty consists that the rider is requested to ride trough the pit lane during the race respecting the speed limit, and then rejoin the start. Despite that Roby achieved a 15th place, the same position that he recorded in Race 2.

"Race 1 has been a good race, despite the starting trouble when I've lost the clutch," related Roberto Rolfo. "After the ride trough penalty I had a good pace and recover to 15th place, with a point for the world championship. I must say that has been a positive race, because I rode always with a pace that could allowed me to stay just behind the leaders."

"On the contrary during Race 2 everything was wrong, since the start because I remained in the group and at the first passage I was 4,5 seconds behind as well at the second I lost 3 seconds more. The bike was difficult to manage at the beginning, then improved but passing the Curvone Muggeridge went out in the grass and shot hardly some gravel on me," added Roberto Rolfo. "I suffered a hard pain that forced me to slow down, then passed, but I had anymore the concentration and the pace to recover positions. That's a pity because I would get a good result on this home race and on the contrary I leave Misano with just a couple of points for the standing."

Luka Nedog had a good start, the during the early laps earned several positions, but after eleventh laps he rejoined the pits because the bike became difficult to manage.

"We decided to start with a tyre with a good grip and in which I was more confident," said Luka Nedog. "But with such hot track this tyre deteriorated quickly and the bike started to slide too much, so I preferred to stop. It's a pity because in the early laps I was riding well, recording the same lap time as during the qualifying and I recovered some position too."

Stuart Easton decided to renounce to start for Friday's crash consequences. "At the moment I had any pain," said Stuart Easton. "But last night I had a hard pain at the right hip that didn't allow me to slip so, agree with the team, I preferred renounce to start."

Scuderia Caracchi

Toseland on the podium and the gravel

After dramatic Misano race
James Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) added to his Misano Superpole win with a second place finish in the first 25-lap race of the afternoon, before misfortune struck on lap 18 of race two, and he ran onto the gravel while attempting to take the lead.

Karl Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) had two tough races, starting from way down the field in the high temperatures experienced on raceday.

In the first race Toseland led in the early laps, and despite being passed by eventual winner Bayliss, he held off the challenge of Corser, until Corser fell. A fine ride on an overheated track surface gave James his sixth podium finish of the year. Muggeridge was less fortunate in race one finishing 11th but fighting hard throughout, from a lowly 20th place start position.

In race two Toseland ran on during one of the fastest sections of the track, and skilfully rejoined the race, despite dropping from second place to sixth. He would eventually finish eighth, after experiencing a problem with his tyres after running through the gravel. Muggeridge again had to contend with a packed midfield, but made progress from his start placing to finish 14th.

Ronald Ten Kate – Team Manager: "In race one James did very, very well, but we are all obviously a bit disappointed for race two, because we saw James riding well again for most of the race. He looked like he was going to battle for the win until he ran off the track. Luckily he didn't crash it, because at that point of the circuit it is very fast. He managed to hold on and get it back on track. He brought it back in with some points, but I think that we could all see that a win would be possible.
With the way James has been riding, with the way the bike has been behaving around here, we have to be happy, but we are just a little bit less happy with the final result of race two. On Karl's side we have had quite a bad weekend, we did not get the bike to work well and we didn't have grip at all. Luckily we go testing so we can get him back on track here."

James Toseland (Race 1: 2nd– Race 2: 8th– Championship: 3rd)
"I was slowly catching the leader Andrew Pitt and going round the hairpin and I was going to line him up to pass down the back straight. As I accelerated out of the hairpin, into third, then fourth, the track kinks left and the rear just came round and didn't stop. So I went off into the gravel. After that the bike started to vibrate, like the tyre had moved on the rim, so the left-handers were very difficult. I am disappointed for the team and myself, because there was a possible race win. Pitt was riding very well, but if I didn't run on we could have been second in the championship, not just third. I gave it my all this weekend, got pole position, second place in race one, and I am just going to try like this until the end."
Karl Muggeridge (Race 1: 11th – Race 2: 14th – Championship: 14th)
"Off the start coming around for the first lap I was already something like ten seconds down, and just got boxed everywhere, every time, and then you have to ride with the crazies at that point. So they just try and ram up the inside every time. It was very hard and I had to use up my tyre to try and avoid them, so in the end I had no tyre left. We have a test at Lausitz now for three days and that will be very important for us."

Winston Ten Kate Honda

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Valentino Rossi's front tyre at the Chinese GP

The results of Michelin's analysis
On lap 16 of last month's Shanghai GP, Valentino Rossi had to pit due to excessive vibration from his front tyre, which was found to have been caused by the loss of a small piece of tread.
The tyre remained inflated despite the missing piece of tread.

The analyses conducted at Michelin's Clermont-Ferrand HQ did not show any fault in the tyre. The same tyre specification was used by seven other Michelin riders in the same race without any trouble throughout the 22 laps.

The very high level of stress experienced at Shanghai by the centre part of the tyre is the highest during the whole MotoGP season, because of frequent decelerations from over 320km/h to 60km/h within less than eight seconds.

It would appear that this tyre could not sustain that level of strain; the safety margin we always include when we develop a tyre was apparently not enough in this particular case.

The parameters that influence the levels of stress that a tyre undergoes are, among others: track layout, grip level, riding style and bike set-up.

We apologise wholeheartedly to Valentino and the Yamaha team for having failed in this case to provide a front tyre capable of being competitive throughout the race.

We have, of course, already taken all necessary measures, where physically possible, to ensure that such an event doesn't happen again.

MotoGP: a mediatic phenomenon

More than 5 billion of viewers in 2005!
The arrival of the MotoGP era has not simply signified a technological revolution.
The spectacle of the world's premier motorcycle sport has captured the imagination of the public and the media, seeing an incredible upturn in general interest over the past few years. The sight of great champions doing battle on track, beamed onto television screens all over the world, has turned it into one of the most fashionable sports on the planet.

The recent Grand Prix of Italy was enjoyed by 90,000 spectators onsite, whilst national television figures almost hit record highs, with 7,902,000 viewers and a 50.9 % share. This figure is second only to last year's Grand Prix of Catalunya, which was followed by an incredible total of 8,446,000 people in Italy.

This level of success has been possible thanks to the enormous efforts of Dorna and national TV stations to transmit the passion of motorcycle racing.

In Italy the event is broadcast by MEDIASET, who have spectators hooked all year round - from the preseason tests right the way through qualifying practice sessions and the races. Each race weekend is given nine hours of coverage by ITALIA 1 with 30 members of staff onsite including journalists, technicians, production staff and four cameras (2 in boxes and 2 in the studio), which add to the coverage provided by Dorna. For their home GP this effort was increased to 40 members of staff, including 10 cameras in the studio, box and paddock.

Overall the Grand Prix of Italy was followed by 90 cameras between Dorna and Mediaset.
Not a single centimetre of the track or paddock was left uncovered, with footage from the track feed complimented by onboard cameras and action from the boxes, pit-lane, paddock and studio.

The Italian event was broadcast by a total of 107 television stations from 36 countries, who are able to follow the entire championship and enjoy the passion of motorcycles from home.

In 2005 the MotoGP World Championship was seen by a total of 5 billion and 290 million viewers - averaging at 311 million per event. A total of 3,790 hours of coverage was broadcast on the MotoGP class alone.

TV in numbers:

5 billion and 290 million MotoGP television viewers, with an average of 311 million per race (2005 season).

3,790 of televised coverage of the premier class in 207 countries - 142 of which show lives races.
107 television stations in 36 countries following the championship, as well as 112 radio stations from 22 countries.

184 countries broadcasting live coverage of the MotoGP races.

10,020 accredited journalists for the season from 59 countries with an average of 589 per GP.

1243 newspapers headings from 55 countries. Italy has the record of 773 journalists present throughout the 17 race championship

Pedrosa ready to shine in front of home fans

Catalunya : Repsol Honda - Preview
The Motorcycling World Championship which will be remembered as the championship with the most even and thrilling season start of the latest years will travel this weekend to Catalonia to stage round seven of the 2006 season.

The Repsol Honda Team arrives as one of the teams that has been playing the main role this season so far, having their both riders among the top four of the MotoGP World Championship and leading the teams' classification. Nicky Hayden is second overall, level on points with the leader Loris Capirossi, and young Dani Pedrosa is fourth, thirteen points behind the two leaders.

In the teams' standings, the Repsol Honda Team has an advantage of 42 points over the second qualified team, the Ducati Marlboro Team.

Nicky Hayden, third at the Italian Grand Prix, is still looking for his first victory of the year but keeping the lead thanks to his regularity. After the last ten consecutive races staged between 2005 and 2006, the Repsol rider accounts for nine podium finishes, proving for his tremendous regularity.

Dani Pedrosa, who already knows what it means to win in MotoGP, will be racing at home this weekend and that will make him feel really wrapped up by his fans. The fact of having been to Barcelona for the preseason test sessions will be with no doubt of big help in order to face the preparations for the seventh Grand Prix of the 2006 season.

Last year Nicky Hayden was fifth in MotoGP and Dani Pedrosa took the victory in the 250cc.

Dani Pedrosa: "Catalunya GP is always special for me because I'm at home, all the crowd is looking forward to enjoying a good race and my family and friends will be there. I don't really have more pressure being at home - I always want to get the best result I can - but it's not a secret that a lot of people will come to the circuit for us and I would like to thank them for their support with a great race. When we were at this track for the IRTA test, I could see that people were very excited then - and the race is always much more important. I think we are doing a good job with the team and Honda and we need to keep our concentration to continue this way. Some previous races this season have been difficult for me because I didn't have information with the MotoGP bike. But we have good data from the IRTA test in Catalunya, so I hope it can help us to prepare for the race."

Nicky Hayden: "I quite like the Catalunya circuit. It's quite fast, it's got some quick corners and I've gone ok there in the past so I'm looking forward to it. This weekend starts off three back-to-back races so we're going to have to get it on because there's a lot at stake. We know how important it is to start these three weeks off strongly. I've tested at Catalunya and raced there so I know the track well, and the Spanish crowds always get really into it too. We had a great test after the last race at Mugello so hopefully we can keep rolling. Plus it's Repsol's home, so it's kind of like a home GP for the team. They're a great sponsor so there's definitely a lot of pride going there riding for Repsol Honda. Hopefully we can give them a good result."

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ducati & Bridgestone continue development

In a one-day test at Mugello
The Ducati Marlboro Team got straight back to work at Mugello today following Loris Capirossi's superb second-place finish in yesterday's thrilling Italian Grand Prix.

After celebrating the stirring rides of Capirossi and team-mate Sete Gibernau last night, the team, its engineers and riders continued development work with the Desmosedici GP6.

Capirossi and Gibernau started testing at noon, after the track had been thoroughly cleaned following yesterday afternoon's massive post-race crowd invasion. They were forced to stop work earlier than expected, when rain began falling at 4pm.

The pair focused primarily on testing Bridgestone tyres, splitting the workload between them, Capirossi focusing on evaluating different compounds while Gibernau concentrated on trying different constructions. The Italian and Spaniard also continued detail work on set-up, the development and evolution of the GP6 a non-stop process.

Capirossi rode 44 laps, with a best of 1m 50.77s, while Gibernau completed 54 laps, with a best of 1m 50.70s.

The Ducati Marlboro Team returns to action next week at the Catalan GP outside Barcelona, where the seventh race of the 17-event MotoGP World Championship will take place on June 18.


Ambient: 25 degrees

Track: 35 degrees

Mugello - 05/06/06 (unofficial lap times)
1. Marco Melandri - Fortuna Honda - 1m 49.80s (64 laps)
2. Nicky Hayden - Repsol Honda - 1m 50.01s (73 laps)
3. Dani Pedrosa - Repsol Honda - 1m 50.54s (53 laps)
4. Colin Edwards - Camel Yamaha - 1m 50.
65s (37 laps)
5. Valentino Rossi - Camel Yamaha - 1m 50.67s (24 laps)
6. Makoto Tamada - Konica Minolta Honda - 1m 50.71s (38 laps)
7. Sete Gibernau - Ducati Marlboro - 1m 50.72s (54 laps)
8. John Hopkins - Rizla Suzuki - 1m 50.73s (48 laps)
9 Loris Capirossi - Ducati Marlboro - 1m 50.73s (44 laps)
10. Kenny Roberts Jr - Team Roberts - 1m 50.80s (45 laps)
11. Chris Vermeulen - Rizla Suzuki - 1m 50.90s (45 laps)
12. Shinya Nakano - Kawasaki Racing - 1m 51.43s (54 laps)
13.Toni Elias - Fortuna Honda - 1m 51.69s (52 laps)
14. Alex Hofmann - Pramac d'Antin - 1m 53.4s (34 laps)
15. José Luis Cardoso - Pramac d'Antin - 1m 53.6 (33 laps)

Michael Schumacher rides Ducati two-seater

With Randy Mamola!
F1 racing's most successful rider Michael Schumacher experienced a new kind of thrill yesterday, riding round Mugello aboard the Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici two- seater.
The seven-time World Champion rode two laps of the high-speed circuit behind former GP winner Randy Mamola, after several other guests had taken their turn, including the reigning Miss Italy, Edelfa Masciotta.

"It was very impressive! Impressive is about the only word I can find at the moment," smiled Schumi, a keen street rider who has already piloted a Desmosedici here during private tests, just to satisfy his own curiosity. "It was a very special experience, obviously very different to what I'm used to, different even to riding here on the Desmosedici last winter. On a bike you feel the speed more, you feel the machine moving around more, which is very different from a car, when you're inside and feel more protected. Plus, when you are riding with someone, you don't know what's going to happen and that makes it very interesting!"

"The fact that I wasn't in control was what made it particularly impressive," explained Michael Schumacher.
"I patted Randy on the back a couple of times to remind him that I've got the Silverstone F1 GP next week! It was a spectacular experience but now I have ridden a MotoGP bike myself and ridden the two-seater, I think I have done enough, I'm not planning to become a bike racer myself!"

Masciotta, unlike Schumacher riding a racetrack for the first time in her life, was stunned by her experience. "Randy was fantastic, he gave me total confidence before the ride," said Masciotta, 21, from Turin. "By the end of the ride I had no more strength in my arms, because riding was very physically demanding. But the ride was wonderful, I'm still trembling. This was the first time I've ever been on a racetrack and it's an experience I will never forget. The biggest things for me were the speed and the corners..."

Local hero Rossi wins again

Hayden shares points lead
Valentino Rossi (Camel Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) secured a crucial victory in sensational style at Mugello yesterday afternoon, winning a titanic battle with Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici) and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V- Michelin) to claw back valuable World Championship points after a run of ill luck.
Rossi beat Capirossi by half a second to secure his fifth consecutive home-race success, Hayden another two tenths back in third spot. Michelin riders filled seven of the first nine finishing positions with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) taking fourth place, just two seconds behind the winner, and Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V-Michelin) finishing sixth, another second behind Pedrosa.

With six of 17 rounds done, Hayden shares the championship points lead with Capirossi on 99 points while Rossi sits in fifth spot, 34 points down on the leaders.

"That was a great race, very entertaining for everyone and faster than last year's by a whisker," said Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing.
"We also had strength in depth with seven of the top nine riders using our tyres. Valentino's pace was very consistent, plus he had enough grip to make the difference over the last lap. He rode a great race and it was good to see Nicky up front again, he's strong everywhere this year. Valentino chose different tyres from our other top finishers but he chose what was right for his bike and for his riding style."

"The Hondas also seemed very well suited to their tyres choices, Kenny Roberts Junior (Team Roberts KR211V-Michelin) enjoying an excellent ride in front of many factory bikes. It was also nice to see that another great Italian rider, Max (Biaggi, Repsol Honda RC211V-Michelin), still holds the lap record from last year!" concluded Nicolas Goubert.

Valentino Rossi cools prospect of future F1 switch

Cars on the agenda but probably not F1
Valentino Rossi is already cooling speculation that he might try to switch to F1 in the future.
The MotoGP champion, who at Mugello returned to winning ways at the weekend, recently turned his back on rumours of a four-wheeled debut by vowing to race bikes again in 2007.

But by signing only a one-year contract with Yamaha, 27-year-old Rossi might be seen to have left the door to the F1 paddock wide open.

He told a press conference in Italy: "In the future I am sure I will do car racing, but maybe not F1."

The flamboyant Italian rider, however, insisted that his tests for Ferrari were genuine, but admitted: "I can go fast with cars, but it would not have been easy to win."

A Rossi 'source', meanwhile, told Motorcycle News: "Valentino realised (at his test at Valencia) that the driver is nothing in Formula One."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Edwards and Rossi set the pace

Le Mans : Camel Yamaha – Day One
Camel Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were the fastest two riders in each of the first free practice sessions on the opening day of action at the Grand Prix of France today.

Rossi lapped the Le Mans circuit in a time of 1'35.288 during the morning, when Edwards was just behind him with the second fastest time, whilst in the afternoon the roles were reversed as the American set the pace with a lap of 1'35.170, followed closely by his Italian team-mate.

The factory team have arrived in France in determined mood as they look to turn around their early season misfortunes, aided by the latest improvements to the YZR-M1 machine brought to this circuit by Yamaha.

Rossi today ran back to back tests with a brand new chassis, designed to eliminate vibration problems suffered with the bike during the opening four rounds, and reported positive results. He will therefore incorporate the update into both of his machines tomorrow, when Rossi and Edwards try to repeat today's success in the official Qualifying session.

COLIN EDWARDS (1st; 1'35.170, 52 laps)
“It wasn't a bad day. We came here off the back of a good result in China, just brought the bike off truck this morning and everything seemed to work pretty well. Valentino is trying to fix a few things with the new chassis so we're able to focus on working hard towards a race setting and seeing what we can get. I said yesterday that I'd know after four laps what my objective can be for the weekend and now I can say it's to win.
Why not? Since the test in Turkey we've hardly touched the bike and I've got a level of confidence and feeling that I know what the bike will do. This morning it worked really well and although the chatter started to come this afternoon when we got more grip, we were still able to push so that's encouraging. We know this chassis has its limit but we can get it there pretty easily and at this track, where the Yamaha goes well, at least it should allow us to push as hard as anyone else.”

VALENTINO ROSSI (2nd; 1'35.282, 36 laps)
“I'm happy because both Colin and I are fast from the start and it seems the M1 machine is working very well at this circuit. Now we are in the first and second places so this is a very good result for our team and it gives us some confidence. I was very fast in the morning and in the afternoon we spent the time making some tests for the setting with the new chassis for tomorrow. This job is very important because they say it might rain tomorrow, but we have already found a good base, so I'm very happy about that. I like the new chassis and I think it will help us to go faster. It is much better for the vibration and even at this early stage we can see it has a lot of potential. Yamaha have always gone well at Le Mans so now we wait for tomorrow and see if we can keep it going.”
“We've made a good start today with both Colin and Valentino. Both specs of the bike are working well so this is a very positive thing for us. Today was a good chance for us to gather some data in the dry because it looks as though it will rain tomorrow and we at least know we have a good base setting if it is dry again for the race on Sunday. Tomorrow Valentino will have the new chassis on both bikes and Colin will remain on the standard version but it seems both are working well so we look forward to seeing what happens tomorrow.”

Camel Yamaha

Nakano targets front row

As de Puniet suffers Jerez flashback
Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano got his French Grand Prix weekend off to a flying start during this afternoon's free practice at Le Mans, finishing the hour long session third fastest aboard his Ninja ZX-RR, as the top twelve riders were split by a margin of less than one second.

While Sunday's race is predicted to be dry, the forecast for tomorrow promises only rain during practice and qualifying. With this in mind, Nakano and his crew concentrated today on identifying a suitable tyre for Sunday's 28-lap race. The 28-year-old Japanese rider evaluated a number of different rear slicks from Bridgestone, with positive results, but will leave the decision as to which tyre to race on until he's had a chance to assess the track conditions on Sunday.

Nakano is confident that, whatever the weather conditions during qualifying tomorrow afternoon, he has a set-up on his Ninja ZX-RR that will allow him to set his sights firmly on the front row of the grid.

Nakano's Kawasaki teammate, Randy de Puniet, overcame significant problems during this afternoon's free practice session, to finish in a respectable 12th place, and less than one second behind Colin Edwards, who topped the timesheet on the opening day.

After settling into a rhythm early on in this afternoon's session, de Puniet was involved in a collision with Toni Elias, which resulted in the 25-year-old Kawasaki pilot crashing heavily and destroying his number one machine.

But the Frenchman's problems didn't end there; in a rerun of his qualifying session for the opening race in Jerez, de Puniet misjudged his braking marker and ran on into the gravel trap after just two laps aboard his spare Ninja ZX-RR, incurring a ten minute delay as he waited for his crew to check over the bike in the Kawasaki pit box.

Despite the problems de Puniet recovered well, quickly finding a good rhythm on the bike with 15 minutes of the session remaining. A switch to a different rear Bridgestone tyre on his Ninja ZX-RR allowed the Kawasaki pilot to shave almost one second from his previous best lap time, to finish today less than a second from pole position.

Shinya Nakano: 3rd - 1'35.447
"The weather forecast is predicting a dry race on Sunday, but with rain during practice and qualifying tomorrow, so it was important for us to try and identify a race tyre during the dry conditions today. Bridgestone have brought a lot of new tyres to Le Mans, and I think today we tried them all. Every one was very consistent, which is good for us, but I think we will wait to see what the track conditions are like on Sunday before making a firm decision about which tyre to race. I like the changes that they've made to turn one since last year, but then I wasn't a very big fan of the original first turn to be honest. For me the new layout is better, although it has been quite hard to find the best braking point for the new turn one. Overall, the feeling with the bike has been good today, but I think that we can find some improvements through small changes to the chassis and suspension, together with some tweaks to the engine management package. At the moment I'm having to change my riding style and lines through the turns slightly to get the best from the bike, but I think it is possible to improve the situation before the race, as long as we get at least one dry session tomorrow, which I hope will be the case."

Randy de Puniet: 12th - 1'36.159
"This afternoon's practice session started well; after just a few laps I had a good feeling on the bike and my lap times were good, but then I had a collision with Toni Elias just after the Dunlop chicane and crashed, with the bike too badly damaged to continue. When I returned to the track on my spare bike I overshot one of the turns and ran on into the gravel trap. I lost ten minutes of the session while the guys sorted out the bike, and it took some effort to try and stay cool, and ride smoothly, when I did make it back out on track. At first my lap times were slower than at the start of the session, but then we switched to a different rear tyre and I was able to get back up to speed very quickly. It's a shame I wasn't able to continue with both bikes, as we're running a slightly different engine specification in each, and I would have liked to have had more time to run a comparison between the two, to see which was best suited to the Le Mans circuit. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do this in the dry tomorrow, but the weather forecast doesn't look too promising! Overall I'm happy with the result today; I'm less than one second slower than the fastest rider and I'm confident we can close the gap even further tomorrow if the wet weather holds off."

Monday, May 15, 2006

Pedrosa takes brilliant first win

Shanghai : Repsol Honda - Race
The Repsol Honda team celebrated a brilliant one-two in today's Grand Prix of China as new signing Dani Pedrosa scorched to his first premier-class victory in only his fourth MotoGP race.

The Spaniard's faultless performance in the 22-lap race made him the equal second- youngest winner ever in the premier class. Pedrosa's team-mate Nicky Hayden pushed him all the way, finishing a close second and extending his lead of the riders' world championship.

In a gripping race Pedrosa slipped back from his pole position start to lie fifth at the end of the first lap, but soon began moving up through the field, reeling in the leaders with a series of fastest laps. By lap nine he passed John Hopkins' Suzuki for second place and a lap later overtook the early leader Colin Edwards on the Yamaha.

Hayden shadowed Pedrosa for the whole race, with the gap hovering at one second as the Repsol Honda pair traded fastest laps. The American tried to apply pressure to his team- mate but the reigning 250 World Champion didn't crack, finishing the race 1.5s clear of Hayden, to score the first Repsol Honda one-two since the 2002 Catalunya Grand Prix. Colin Edwards took third and the final step of the podium.

Pedrosa also secured the fastest lap at the 5.281km (3.280 miles) Shanghai circuit – with a new lap record of 1m 59.318s - and completed the clean sweep of pole position, race win and fastest lap.

Not to be out-done, Hayden extended his lead in the world championship to 13 points as his nearest rivals struggled, displaying speed to match his impressive consistency on the evolution RC211V. This second place was his eight podium finish in succession. Pedrosa moves up to third in the championship, 15 points behind.

Dani Pedrosa - 1st
“This is a perfect result for me and it was a fantastic race for the whole Repsol Honda team. They have been working really hard and it was a great result for both riders – so I'm really happy. The race was hard and the pace was high, but the conditions today were very good and I was able to get into a good rhythm. The tyres worked very well today and so I have to thank Michelin for that. I did a good start this time but I left the braking a little bit late for the first corner and I went slightly wide so I was not able to keep a tight line and lost a few places. But I was able to pick off the positions one by one. Once in the lead I was always looking at the pit board and seeing zero point something. I was trying to maintain the gap but it was not easy because Nicky was pushing more and more and the tyres were losing a little grip. Winning is always very special but the level in MotoGP is higher, so this is extra special for me.”
Nicky Hayden - 2nd
“I tried to go a little bit faster every lap and put some heat on Dani, but that dude just wouldn't crack! So I definitely give Dani credit because he rode a really strong race. I felt good when I upped the pace, but it just wasn't enough and when I got close to him I didn't want to do anything silly. Congratulations to the team, and not just my guys but all the guys involved in Repsol Honda, they deserve it. I'm trying to be consistent in every race and every session, and while getting the points and podiums is good, I really want to win. I like to think the that win's not far away. It's nice to pull out a little gap in championship but it's early days. Honda's fighting hard for this championship so I'm looking forward to getting to Le Mans next weekend.”

Makoto Tanaka - Repsol Honda Team Manager
“There is nothing to say except that this is a perfect result for the Repsol Honda team today. I want to say thank you for your hard work to all our team members. Dani and Nicky both rode faultlessly, maintaining near-qualifying pace until end of the race. We will be working to keep this level of performance so that we're battling for the podium positions at every race. But the rivals are closing in so we have to keep pushing as we head for the European rounds. Anyway, thanks to our riders, team members, Michelin tyres, Honda R&D and all the team's partners.”

First 250cc victory for Barbera

Jorge Lorenzo fourth
Hector Barbera is on a roll.

After taking his first 250 podium in Turkey, he went one better in China and, after starting from pole, clinched his first victory in the 250 class to add to his six in the 125 category.

However, it was not such a good day for FORTUNA APRILIA team-mate Jorge Lorenzo who finished off the podium in fourth after suffering a number of problems.

Barbera battled it out with Andrea Dovizioso for victory after the early fall of Alex de Angelis and Lorenzo's unexpected inability to keep pace at the front. After passing each other a number of times, the race was decided on the final lap. It was the Spaniard who got the best drive on the final long straight to steal an advantage he did not give up and take the chequered flag.

It means he now moves into second in the championship, three points behind the Italian.

Behind them, Jorge Lorenzo had an intense battle with Japanese riders Hiroshi Aoyama and Yuki Takahashi but always looked set to pull away and challenge the front two. It was not to be, however, and he even missed out on the podium altogether, dropping to third in the championship behind both Barbera and Dovizioso.

HECTOR BARBERA, 1st : “I am so happy and want to dedicate this win those that have always supported me, my family and all the team. In two races I have claimed my first 250 podium and now my first win, what more can you ask for?! It was quite an easy race, a straight fight with Andrea, without the stress there was in Turkey when there were five riders battling it out. I was studying his moves and knew I had more speed on the straight and then I held him off. There was a lot of strategy and luckily I was able to get on that top step of the podium. The season is very long but I am only three points off the lead in the championship and the title is in sight for me."

JORGE LORENZO, 4th : “I would prefer not to say anything now. I will study what happened and talk after the race in Le Mans."

Friday, May 12, 2006

5th fastest time for S. Aoyama in the 250cc

In his first contact with the Chinese track
Positive day for Shuhei Aoyama, after his unfortunate Sunday performance in Istanbul two weeks ago and complicated first timed session for Sebastián Porto.
Aoyama, has shown in his first contact with the Chinese track, that he feels very comfortable under the rain on the Shanghai circuit, setting the sixth fastest time in the morning and the fifth in the afternoon.

However, team mate Sebastián Porto cannot say the same about this first day under the rain after setting the seventeenth fastest time in the morning and the twenty-second in he afternoon, after crashing in a session that was marked by the several crashes happened in that class.

Shuhei Aoyama (38 laps, 200'678 Km): "I'm very happy with this result because I think that my team deserves it after the hard work they are doing. I like this circuit and the grip of the asphalt in the wet is impressive. We have a good setting for the wet but I'm a bit worried because of the weather, because they are announcing rain again for tomorrow but dry on Sunday and if they're right, the settings will be like a lottery.
The bike has a good set-up right now and what the rider has to do is to keep concentrated on the two remaining days of the GP."

Sebastián Porto (29 laps, 153'149 Km):< "It's been a complicated day. The truth is that we expected a lot because there were several new things to test, but with no doubt this has not been a good day for me. Today, with the rain, things became really complicated. We didn't find the right setting in the morning, and then, in the afternoon I had a crash right after the start of the practice, so I had to take the second bike and it became even worse. But well, we still have tomorrow and Sunday. There's a lot left to do and we have to work to improve if it's a wet race and if it's dry, I think that we'll do much better."

Press Release Repsol

WSBK round in South Africa

cancelled!The Round of the Superbike and Supersport World Championships scheduled in South Africa on October 22 is cancelled. The Championship will thus be ending in Magny-Cours on October 8.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bayliss takes the double at record pace

Monza : Superbike - Races
With the Monza weather proving to be gloriously sunny, it shone brightest of all on Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) as he scored the wins in race one and two. He had serious problems from Troy Corser and Noriyuki Haga on occasion, but taking the new lap record of 1'46.815 in race two to boot, he performed immaculately once again.
RACE ONE – The opening 18-lap race at Monza was the personal property of Bayliss, who won by over three seconds from eventual second place man Alex Barros, who had to work through the pack in assured fashion. Troy Corser took a close third, with Noriyuki Haga just squeezed off the podium in fourth.

A last gasp attempt to get on terms with this trio resulted in James Toseland crashing at the Parabolica on lap 17. A multiple rider first corner pile up, involving 7 riders in total, reduced the midfield and allowed the top riders to make a clean break at the earliest possible opportunity, as the rest picked through the fallen bikes and riders. No riders were seriously hurt in the crash.

RACE TWO – Bayliss had a three rider fight with Corser and Haga in race two, before stretching the legs of his loping Ducati twin to secure his second win of the day, and his fifth SBK race in a row. A slower starting Barros claimed fourth place, when a battle between himself and Toseland was terminated by Toseland slowing as his bike ran out of fuel. Toseland was clear of the following pack when trouble struck, and took fifth.

BAYLISS EXTENDS LEAD BUT CORSER STILL IN TOUCH – Bayliss now sits on a meaty 175 points from a possible 200 so far, while 2005 champion Corser is still well in the hunt with seven rounds remaining, having scored 139. A close battle is developing for third, with Toseland on 97, Barros on 95 and Haga on 93.

AUSSIES COME ON LEAPS AND BOUNDS – On another good day in SBK for Australian riders, Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia) scored a fifth and a sixth, putting smiles on the faces of his team, which is based only a couple of kilometres from Monza. Karl Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate Honda) finished one place behind Pitt in each race, an encouraging pair of results for a rider recovering from recent spinal injuries.

KAWASAKI RIDERS UP AND DOWN – Régis Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) ran with the leading bunch in each 18-lap race and enjoyed his team's best individual finish of the weekend, with seventh in race one. He was forced out of race two with an electrical problem, and his team-mate Fonsi Nieto scored the top Kawasaki slot, in eighth, one place up on Chris Walker. Nieto was one of the unlucky seven who crashed in the first chicane of race one, an event in which Walker finished 11th.

ROLFO MAKES THE TOP TEN, ABE RACES AND NAKATOMI SHINES – Robby Rolfo (Ducati SC Caracchi) scored an eighth and a tenth place at Monza, in front of his home fans, and was the best scoring home rider of the weekend. Norick Abe (Yamaha Motor France Ipone) raced on Sunday despite his huge crash of Friday, and also missing all of Saturday's practice.
Taken out by the melee on lap one of race one, he rode to 16th for pride's sake in race two. His team-mate, Shinichi Nakatomi, had two good rookie rides at Monza, taking tenth and 12th places.

LANZI TOP TEN AND THEN 11th – Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) did not have his best home weekend, running to a ninth and 11th place finish. A miserable Monza for Michel Fabrizio only gave him two points for 14th in race two, while Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Berik) was one of the first corner fallers in the opener, and took the last point on offer in race two.

SUPERSTOCK 1000 FIM CUP – Alessandro Polita (Celani Suzuki) jumped to the immediate lead in the Superstock 1000 race, with Danilo Dell'Omo (TCM Team Cruciani Corse) and Ricardo Chiarello (Lightspeed Kawasaki) in the second podium slots. At the end of lap three Chiarello had pushed through to second and was closing on the championship leader from then on.

He was unable to match the speed of the Suzuki man, but took a close second, only 0.357 from the win. Badovini made it a good day for the local MV factory, taking third on his Biassono Unionbike F4. In the championship Polita leads Badovini, with 50 points to Badovini's 32 and Chiarello third on 22.

SILVERSTONE NEXT UP FOR SBK HORDES – Silverstone, on May 28th, will form the first of two British races for the SBK field this season.

Troy does it again!

Mr Superpole pips Bayliss
Troy Corser fully lived up to his reputation as ‘Mr Superpole' at Monza yesterday, pipping his fellow countryman Troy Bayliss (Ducati) at the climax of a dramatic 16-rider shoot-out.
Bayliss had put in a stormer of a lap to knock Alex Barros (Honda) off the top spot and looked set to claim Superpole. Troy started his Superpole lap cautiously and was slower then Bayliss at the first split, but was quicker in the second. There was still a lot of work to do though and it was going to take a superhuman effort in the third and final split if Troy was going to do it. But that's just what he did!

The final section was perfection itself and Troy crossed the line three tenths of a second ahead of his rival (1:46.058). Third was Barros, with Laconi (Kawasaki) fourth – making it four different manufacturers on the front row of the grid.

"We tried a new qualifying tyre in the afternoon free practice and decided to give it a go in Superpole," said Troy Corser. "Going into the first chicane I was a bit careful on the brakes, so I knew that was going to lose some time. But then, I was confident that my tyres would do the job OK, so I put my head down and went for it.
The second split was pretty good, and I don't think I could've done the final split any better - it worked a treat."

"The bike's been pretty good all weekend so far and now we've got two long, hard races where tactics and slipstreaming play an important part. You can never make a break at Monza, so it's all going to come down to the last few laps, but I'm ready for that," concluded Troy.

Serious accident in Superstock race

Mathieu Gines in hospital
Yesterday's racing and practice day at Monza was saddened by a serious incident at the start of the Superstock 600 race. Several riders were involved when they crashed at the entrance to the first chicane of the super-fast Italian track.
The most severely injured turned out to be Mathieu Gines: the Frenchman was intubated by the trackside medical staff and immediately referred to the IC unit of the Monza hospital, where he will remain until his brain condition improves.

Good news from the Monza hospital this morning: after yesterday's dramatic accident, Mathieu Gines woke up and was discharged from the IC unit and transferred to another hospital department this morning. Hopefully we'll see him back on track soon.

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