Monza gets ready for another slipstreaming thriller As the gates opened at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for the traditional SBK Open Paddock, riders taking part in this weekend's races have been facing up to an intense day of PR activity,...
Monza gets ready for another slipstreaming thriller
As the gates opened at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for the traditional SBK Open Paddock, riders taking part in this weekend's races have been facing up to an intense day of PR activity, both inside and outside the circuit.
The first appointment of the day saw six Superbike riders -- Troy Bayliss, Max Biaggi, Carlos Checa, Noriyuki Haga, Makoto Tamada and Max Neukirchner, together with the leaders of the other three categories, Joan Lascorz (Supersport), Maxime Berger (Superstock 1000) and Dan Linfoot (Superstock 600) -- take part in the traditional pre-event press conference in the delightful 14th century Castello della Bicocca building within the grounds of Pirelli headquarters in Milan.
In front of a packed hall of national and international journalists and TV stations, the riders took the opportunity to talk to the media of their experience of the legendary Monza track and their thoughts about this weekend's upcoming fifth round of the championship.
Championship leader Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) has won six times at Monza, three double wins in 2001, 2002 and 2006, so has a special feeling for the Italian track. "I think Monza is a very special place, not just for me, and I've always enjoyed my time here. It's also special because I started my career with Ducati here in 2000, basically I was signed there and then and I've had a good ride since then. Nori was strong last year but we're doing our best this year and I've love to get a couple of good results in front of the Ducati fans."
"I raced here for the first time in 2007, the track is a bit strange for Superbike and not very twisty, we riders like curves, but I like coming her" declared Max Biaggi (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati). "I've put the Assen race behind me, I'm coming here intending to do a couple of good races on Sunday, hopefully it'll be a nice day and a lot of people will come and see this great championship."
Last year's double winner Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB) is aiming for more of the same on his R1 machine at what is the team's home race. "I won here in 2007, and I want this year to be more of the same. I hope it will be good weather during the weekend, we tested before the Assen race with the rain and when it rains Monza is dangerous. Unfortunately I've lost a lot of points already, now we have to recover."
Following this, nine Superbike riders then ventured out on to the circuit for a three-lap race around the Monza Junior track -- The Alfa Romeo Bike Experience - on exclusive 'Stradale' pushbikes kindly supplied by championship sponsor Alfa Romeo. Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse rider Regis Laconi, no mean pushbike rider himself, took home the 'Stradale' bike for the winner after overtaking one of the race favourites Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox), who eventually finished third behind Karl Muggeridge (DF Racing).