Rome (Italy), Tuesday 7 May 2013 - The eni FIM Superbike World Championship returns to Monza’s Autodromo Nazionale for the 4th round of the season, with riders ready to take on the fastest track in the calendar. Following the two races at Assen, Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) is still the Championship leader at 111. The Frenchman, who ended his 7 podium-finish streak in race 2, is now looking forward to riding his works RSV4 on a track that exalts the top-speed of the vee-four Aprilia engine.
Guintoli will have to face fierce competition from a trio of riders ready to challenge him for the lead: team mate Eugene Laverty, double winner at Monza two years ago – in his rookie season – and boosted by the outstanding race 2 win of the last round, is tied in points at 83 with Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) - who dominated in 2011 the weekend in Supersport thanks to a pole position, a win and the fastest lap - and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), the latest race winner at Monza.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) welcomes Kousuke Akiyoshi, former team mate in last year’s Suzuka 8 Hour win, who has been selected as substitute for injured Leon Haslam for the upcoming round, while the British rider is speeding up his recovery in order to race at Donington Park later this month. Rea and the team can count on the experience of the 38 year old from Japan – HRC official test rider – to further improve the CBR1000RR after some good indications from the recent two-day test at Assen.
First of two home races for Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who is back from the unfortunate Sunday at Assen, and for Michel Fabrizio, who scored his maiden World Superbike race win in 2009 at Monza (race 1).
Good memories for Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) from last year’s victory in the Supersport race – his career’s first top-step finish in the series. Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) are about to face a tough challenge on a track that didn’t suit well the Ducati bikes in recent times. The 1199 Panigale R, though, will feature a 52mm air restrictor as per FIM regulations about the performance balance between twin and four-cylinder machines (article 126.96.36.199.3. - also confirmed on a note last April, 28 after race 2 at Assen TT Circuit).
Following the close two-way battle at Assen, Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) and Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) will be back on the track that saw both riders completing the podium behind race winner – and now World Superbike rookie – Jules Cluzel. The reigning Champion from Turkey, scored his only victory so far at Monza in 2007 (his first title season).
Championship leader Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), known for not being at ease on wet track conditions, hopes to find good weather to score another positive result on a favourable track for the French veteran – who won in 2002 and 2008, was 2nd in 2007 and 3rd in 2009 and 2011.
2nd place in the standings Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) has never managed - in the two years racing STK600 - to achieve a podium finish at Monza. Team mate Lorenzo Zanetti, on the other hand, scored his first and only victory in 2011 by finishing the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race with just 0.065 seconds margin over Davide Giugliano (title winner at the end of the year).
Roberto Rolfo (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) has bad memories of his home-track from 2007, when he was racing with Honda in the Superbike class. Italian was forced to pull in from race 1 during the final lap, while he was in 2nd place.