Michelin Laguna Seca preview

Lausitz was the 7th round of the 2001. When he got to the German race, held on June 10th, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) had a 17 point lead on Troy Corser (Aprilia) and a 19 point lead on Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin). As...

Lausitz was the 7th round of the 2001. When he got to the German race, held on June 10th, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) had a 17 point lead on Troy Corser (Aprilia) and a 19 point lead on Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin). As each race win carries with it 25 points, the title chase was wide open. Bayliss ran well in Germany, winning one leg and coming second in the other. Edwards also won, but was third in the next race. That helped him move up to second overall ahead of Troy Corser, fifth and seventh on that day.

For the next round, at Misano on June 24th, Bayliss was once again very much in control taking another win and another second place. The Ducatis were very competitive in Italy and American Ben Bostrom also won a race and finished second in the other. Edwards put his Honda Castrol VTR 1000 SP2 on the podium in one leg with third but fell in the other race. However he remounted to finish 11th. That lost him a little ground in the championship but of the three championship leaders, it was Corser who came out worse. The Aprilia man scored a seventh and a ninth place. So in two races, Edwards has gone from 19 to 47 points down on the leader and Corser has slipped from 17 to a huge 71 points down. But the championship is far from over. After Laguna Seca, World Superbike moves on to Brands Hatch (UK) on July 29th, then Oschersleben (Germany) on September 9th and finally at Imola (Italy) on September 30th.

Tadayuki Okada (Castrol Honda-Michelin), Colin Edwardsi team-mate, is 9th in the provisional standings while Spaniard Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin), team-mate to Troy Bayliss, is 11th. Four riders are vying for the unofficial 'best privateer' title : James Toseland (Ducati) has 37 points, only one more than young Australian Broc Parkes (Ducati NCR- Michelin), who scored a fine seventh place at Misano. But his best result remains the impressive fifth place he managed at the start of the season at Phillip Island. Third in this privateer race, Giovanni Bussei is on 28 points and so has to look out for Robert Ulm (Ducati Gerin WSBK Team-Michelin), just behind on 27 points. Note that Bussei, who started the season out using Michelin tyres, has switched brand since Misano. That race was the first for a new machine, the Benelli Tornado 3 cylinders ridden by Peter Goddard.

Different strokes

Troy Bayliss is the only rider to have won four races this year. Born on March 30th 1969, he lives in Taree, Australia. A married man, he has two children, Mitchell and Abbey. He started racing in 1992, in the 250cc production class. British Superbike Champion in 1999, he was called upon to take Carl Fogartyis place in the Ducati Infostrada team the following year when injury forced the four times World Superbike champion was forced into early retirement.

He won at Hockenheim, then again at Brands Hatch to finish the year in sixth place in the championship. A good result for a man who joined the fray after the season had already started. Last year, Bayliss also got himself noticed by taking the Laguna Seca Superpole. This year, heis obviously the man to beat there and the many fans who flock to the circuit every year (69 000 people in 1999 and 82 000 last year) are bound to cheer him on. Last yearis event was also covered by 149 american journalists.

World Champion Colin Edwards is younger than Bayliss, but he is also a more experienced World Superbike racer. Born on February 27th 1974 in Houston, Texas, he now lives in Conroe and is married to fellow-american Alyssia. Edwards started racing in 1991 and clinched his first professional win in a 250cc race at Daytona. AMA 250cc champion in 1992, he won the 1996 Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance race with Noriyuki Haga on a Yamaha. Edwards rode a Yamaha in the AMA championship in 1993 and 1994 before moving up to the World Superbike championship in 1995, still with Yamaha. Castrol Honda snapped Edwards up in 1998. At the time, the team was still campaigning the RC 45. Edwards won three races that year, at Monza and Brands Hatch (2 wins) and ended the championship in 5th place. He continued improving in 1999, taking 5 wins (Donington, Albacete, Brands Hatch twice and

A-1 Ring) and second overall in the championship. With the introduction of the brand new VTR 1000 SP2 in 2000, Edwards at last had the perfect tool to let his talent shine through to eight race wins and a world title (wins at Donington, Monza, Assen, Kyalami twice, Oschersleben twice and Brands Hatch).

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World Superbike 2001provisional standings

     Pos. Rider                 Manufacturer    TOTAL
      1  T. Bayliss             Ducati          250
      2  C. Edwards             Honda           203
      3  T. Corser              Aprilia         179
      4  P. Chili               Suzuki          153
      5  B. Bostrom             Ducati          147
      6  N. Hodgson             Ducati          141
      7  G. Lavilla             Fuchs           116
      8  A. Yanagawa            Fuchs           110
      9  T. Okada               Honda           100
     10  S. Chambon             Suzuki           80
     11  R. Xaus                Ducati           77
     12  R. Laconi              Aprilia          75
     13  H. Izutsu              Kawasaki         63
     14  M. Tamada              Honda            50
     15  J. Toseland            Ducati           37
     16  B. Parkes              Ducati           36
     17  G. Bussei              Ducati           28
     18  R. Ulm                 Ducati           27
     19  A. Antonello           Aprilia          21
     20  A. Ryo                 Suzuki           20
     21  S. Ito                 Honda            20
     22  L. Pedercini           Ducati           19
     23  S. Martin              Ducati           17
     24  S. Hislop              Ducati           16
     25  T. Serizawa            Kawasaki         16
     26  A. Gramigni            Yamaha           15
     27  M. Borciani            Ducati           15
     28  M. Sanchini            Ducati           13
     29  J. Reynolds            Ducati           11
     30  M. Craggill            Pacific          10
     31  B. Stey                Honda             7
     32  J.B. Borja             Yamaha            7
     33  W. Yoshikawa           Yamaha            6
     34  Y. Kagayama            Suzuki            6
     35  A. Maxwell             Kawasaki          3
     36  M. Malatesta           Kawasaki          3
     37  J. Mrkyvka             Ducati            1
     38  J. Rodriguez           Honda             1
     39  L. Holon               Kawasaki          1

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Laguna Seca and tyres

Laguna Seca Raceway was built in 1957 by SCRAMP, acronym for the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula. A very difficult circuit, this track is a real challenge for tyre manufacturers. Laguna Seca has many types of corners, very slow ones like Turn 2, an 80 kph left hander, and much faster ones. The section after the infamous Corkscrew is special because itis all downhill. Laguna Seca is a hilly circuit with a maximum downhill slope of 30%. In 1988, the length of the track was increased from 2,9 km to 3,6 km (1,9 miles to 2,2 miles) to ensure world championship homologation. Laguna Seca hosted GPs from 1988 to 1994 and has been a World Superbike venue since 1995.

For Michelin, part of the challenge at Laguna Seca is the local knowledge other manufacturers enjoy there and the number of riders using other brands of tyres. Most of the top american superbike teams use Dunlop products (Dunlop is part of the american Goodyear group). Dunlop riders clock many more test miles in America than do the Michelin men and also have the advantage of racing at Laguna Seca during the American Superbike round held there. With a limited number of riders using Michelin tyres in America, development is not as brisk as it could be.

Laguna Seca is in California, 185 km south of San Francisco and 480 km north of Los Angeles. Itis about 15 km east of Monterey, near Carmel and Pebble Beach.

Michelin at Laguna Seca

Michelin brings a total of 1100 tyres, wet and dry, for this race.

Riders can choose from: 19 / 67-420 (16,5 inch) and 18 / 67-17 rear slicks, rain and intermediate tyres.

For the front, riders use 12 / 60-420 (16,5 inch) tyres. A total of 800 dry tyres, 200 rain tyres and 100 intermediates are brought for superbike Michelin riders. Michelinis on-site personnel includes one team manager, three technicians, eight tyre fitters and one press officer. <pre>

Fastest lap in practice 2000 1'25.770 Ben Bostrom (Team Ducati NCR-Michelin), 151,522 kph average speed. Superpole 2000 1'26.273 Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin), 150,638 kph average speed. Lap record (fastest race lap 1999) 1'25.185 Anthony Gobert (Vance & Hines Ducati), 152,560 kph average speed. First race results 2000 1. Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha WSBK), 28 laps (101,080 km) in 40'40.379, 149,111 kph average speed. 2. Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) at 2.664 3. Troy Corser (Aprilia Racing) at 3.571 4. Ben Bostrom (Team Ducati NCR-Michelin) at 3.594 5. Pierfrancesco Chili (Suzuki Alstare) at 14.525 Second race results 2000 1. Troy Corser (Aprilia Racing), 28 laps (101,080 km) in 40'38.714, 149,213 kph average speed. 2. Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha WSBK) at 7.755 3. Ben Bostrom (Team Ducati NCR-Michelin) at 9.011 4. Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) at 9.821 5. Akira Yanagawa (Kawasaki Racing) at 14"562

No Supersport race at Laguna Seca. Round 10 of the World Superbike championship: July 29th at Brands Hatch (United Kingdom).

MICHELINiS PARTNERS Superbike DUCATI Team Infostrada Ducati T. Bayliss - R. Xaus HONDA Team Castrol Honda C. Edwards - T. Okada

Private teams: DUCATI Team N.C.R Ducati B. Parkes YAMAHA Team Panavto J. Borja DUCATI Team WSBK Team R. Ulm Supersport DUCATI Team Ducati Motorola V. Guareschi - D. Thomas HONDA Team Castrol Honda C. Vermeulen HONDA Team Honda BKM K. Curtain - C. Migliorati HONDA Team Honda Alpha Technic A. Fergusson - M. Barth

--Michelin

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