TOSELAND AND LACONI (DUCATI XEROX TEAM) LINE UP FOR WORLD SUPERBIKE FINALE AT MAGNY-COURS Magny-Cours (France), Thursday 6 October: The 2005 World Superbike Championship draws to a close at the Magny-Cours circuit in central France this weekend.
TOSELAND AND LACONI (DUCATI XEROX TEAM) LINE UP FOR WORLD SUPERBIKE FINALE AT MAGNY-COURS
Magny-Cours (France), Thursday 6 October: The 2005 World Superbike Championship draws to a close at the Magny-Cours circuit in central France this weekend. Following last weekend's washout at Imola, which handed the title automatically to Troy Corser (Suzuki) and the runner-up slot to Chris Vermeulen (Honda), Ducati Xerox Team riders James Toseland and Regis Laconi have Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) in their sights as they aim to make up the gap to third place.
Ducati Corse Superbike technical director Ernesto Marinelli explains the sort of set-up required for the 4.411 km circuit. "Magny-Cours is the sort of track where you may need fog lights on the bike during the morning practice sessions!" joked Marinelli.
"Seriously speaking though, we shouldn't have any particular problems here. You need a neutral set-up because the track is normal and doesn't have any major set-up difficulties like Imola or Laguna Seca. There are several short radius curves and quick curves. The baseline set-up always goes well here, the only problem could be the gear ratios. Due to the layout of the track and the distances between one curve and the next one, the ratios are never quite exact and you have to work to get the best compromise. Either the first gear is too long or second gear is too short. The track also tends to be damp and covered with fog in the morning so this could create a few grip problems".
James Toseland, whose 25th birthday was on Wednesday, lies 27 points adrift of Haga in the race for third place but lost some points to his Japanese rival at Imola. "I have some good memories from this track from last year so I'll be looking to go well again" declared Toseland.
"I'm a bit disappointed we didn't do the second race at Imola because I could have gained some points on Haga and made it easier for myself to get the third place. Now I just want to finish the season on a high really, it's been a long hard struggle back to form and despite the results I feel I've been riding well recently. I never used to like the Magny-Cours track but as soon as I started going well, I've always looked forward to coming here. You've got such tight corners and such heavy braking for that hairpin that you need a compromise with the feeling for the corners and also with the support on the suspension for the braking".
Regis Laconi returns to France for the final round of the year with one aim only, to finish the 2005 championship with further wins to add to his three this season. "My arm feels a bit better than at Imola but I think I'll need at least a couple more weeks before it's back to normal", said Laconi.
"It didn't bother me too much last weekend, let's hope it's the same here because there are more right-hand curves at this track. I want to finish the championship with two good results at my home circuit. I like it a lot but unfortunately I just haven't had many good results here. The most difficult part are the hairpins, but me and my engineers have been working on the right ratios so we should go well. It's going to be difficult to get third place, so the most important thing for me is to win the races, the rest doesn't count anymore. For sure I won three races this year but I also scored zero points on numerous occasions; that's the story of my season and that's why I want to finish off the championship with a couple of wins".
CIRCUIT INFO: The Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours circuit has hosted a round of the World Superbike championship on three previous occasions, in 1991 and for the last two years. Ducati riders have won every race so far, with two wins going to Polen in 1991 and one each to Hodgson, Xaus, Toseland and Haga. The circuit itself measures 4.411 km and has a finish-line length of just 250 metres.