WINSTON RIDERS SEEK VICTORIES AT FRENCH FINALE
Winston Ten Kate Honda's Australian pairing of Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge make the trek from Imola to Magny-Cours this week to prepare for the final round of the 2005 World Superbike championship. With the title decided in favour of Troy Corser at last Sunday's 11th round when race two was cancelled, Vermeulen is assured of second place in the series but is keen to add to his tally of five wins this season.
Muggeridge will be keen to complete his debut World Superbike season with at least one podium finish -- a result that the 31-year-old Australian has threatened and deserved often this season but which has thus far eluded him.
Ronald ten Kate -- team manager:
"We had been hoping to come to Magny-Cours with this year's championship still alive with the possibility of Chris conjuring some more wins. Unfortunately, as we all know, that possibility was washed away with all that rain in Imola last Sunday. So, we come to the final round hoping for a dry event and, as ever, looking for race victories. We had some new bits to try at Imola but, when the first practice there was wet, we opted to keep them packed away and to work with what we know. So we'll unpack them again here and see how they go. The season started pretty badly and ended in disappointment last Sunday but there have been some good positives along the way. We're aiming to finish on a high level and to take that forward into 2006."
Chris Vermeulen -- championship position 2nd, 354 points:
"Nothing's changed since last Sunday -- I'm still not crying about the championship because I think we all knew that it was eventually going to go Troy's way. I guess it would have been a good climax to the season if it was still undecided, but I'm just coming here to win two more races and finish the season on a positive note. We had a really good test here in June but the Suzukis tested here a couple of weeks ago so they'll be the ones to beat. That's what motivates me really, and I think last Sunday's first race win at Imola was one of my most satisfying. To win on an intermediate front and beat Troy and the others on their slicks was a pretty good feeling. It started to slide around after about five laps so I had to change my riding style and move it up to another level."
Karl Muggeridge -- championship position 11th, 111 points:
"Well, zero points at Imola has left me with two races left to do something this season. Last weekend was really frustrating because we made some good steps forward with the bike during the two days of qualifying and the first lap of race one I was feeling really good. I'd made up some places from the start and was confident of passing some more riders but then the clutch just let go. We all know what happened in race two, but it was the right thing to do. I feel positive about Magny-Cours though and we had a good test here back in June. I think we've got some more chassis parts to try first thing on Friday that will hopefully get us in a position for some good results on Sunday."