Yamaha riders aim for victory at favoured venue As the five-week summer break in the World Superbike Championship calendar comes to an end this coming weekend at Donington Park, Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team) will...
Yamaha riders aim for victory at favoured venue
As the five-week summer break in the World Superbike Championship calendar comes to an end this coming weekend at Donington Park, Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team) will each have particularly good recent memories to draw on. Haga won race two at this classic venue last year and Corser scored a double podium, each riding for the current Yamaha squad.
In fact the Donington circuit has played a pivotal role in each rider's career in their early years of international competition and more recently. Haga came to European prominence with his first ever double win at Donington in April 1998, again while riding for Yamaha. He now has 30 WSB race wins to his credit, four of them so far in 2008.
Corser's first WSB race weekend in Europe took place at Donington way back in 1994, he scored a race two podium in that event. After almost 300 rides in WSB Troy now has 33 WSB race wins to his credit and a quite remarkable 123 podium finishes.
Currently Corser is only 10 points from second place in the overall championship chase, while Haga is fifth, only 12 points from Corser.
The Donington circuit is effectively a track of two halves. One is the main section from the start-finish to the exit of Coppice corner, which features sweeping corners and constant changes of elevation and camber. Smoothness and conservation of momentum are rewarded on this part. The final section of the Melbourne loop features one slow chicane, and two short straights with tight off-camber hairpins at the end, all of which demand good acceleration in low gears and strong braking performance to score the quickest lap times.
With vast experience of this venue, Donington holds no fears for the likes of Corser and Haga, particularly as they will have the option of running full electronic suspension this weekend, provided by official partner Ohlins.
Haga has spent his summer break back home in Japan, kicking back and clearing his mind for the final assault on the championship. "I'm relaxed and my battery is fully charged, so I'm looking forward to racing at Donington Park. I always like to race at British circuits, like Brands Hatch, Silverstone and Donington and I always seem to have very supportive fans. I also usually have good results in British races. Last year at Donington race one was very strange because after the first few laps I did not seem to have any grip, and by the time I did I could only finish fourth. Race two was special because it was my first win of 2007 as the race was held in April last year. I had a very exciting battle with Max Biaggi and I have a good memory of the last corner of the final lap. This year I will try to get maximum points from each Donington race."
Troy is also using positive memories of his previous Donington experiences as the benchmark for what he intends to be a winning weekend. "I'm looking forward to Donington because our results there last year were quite good, and it's a track that I like. I had my first European wildcard ride there back in 1994 and I got two podiums there last year. Right now I am looking to Donington to get my first win for Yamaha, that's my aim this weekend. We will be using Ohlins electronic suspension and I think it will be most useful for bump absorption."
Shinichi Nakatomi (Yamaha Team YZF) will start the Donington weekend 20th overall after two no-scores through sustaining an injury at the previous round in practice.
David Checa (Yamaha GMT94) is currently 24th, with his team-mate Sebastien Gimbert (Yamaha GMT94) on a total of seven points, although Checa is ranked higher because of a better personal best race finish. David has confirmed his contract to continue riding with the Yamaha GMT94 team for 2009, talks continue for the 2nd rider spot.
Technically speaking - Donington according to Massimo Meregalli (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team Manager)
"We will have one important technical advance to try at Donington, because we will have Ohlins electronic suspension to use for the first time in a race scenario. The feeling we had with the suspension in Vallelunga during a summer test was very good, so we asked Ohlins for the possibility to get two sets for the last few races of this season. They have gone ahead and made it happen. In the end they have completed a great job to make us not only two sets but also some spares, so we can use them right through from Donington to the end of the season. We are expecting that we can do better with this suspension than the conventional set-up. They should assist Troy in particular, as he used this system at Vallelunga and he was very happy with it. It should be good at some braking points at Donington, where we should really find an improvement with this type of system. We will run one bike for each rider on normal suspension and one with the new electronic system. We left all our equipment and machines with Yamaha UK after the previous round at Brands Hatch, so other than the suspension the only new things to see this weekend will be our unique race day livery, designed by a Yamaha Livery Design competition winner in partnership with MCN. The winning Yamaha livery design will be revealed in the WSB paddock on Saturday evening at 18.00pm. We are all rested and ready to fight after our summer break, and keen to get back to business."