World Superbike Championship - Round 11
Motopark Oschersleben (Germany) -September 2nd 2001
Edwards ( 2000 winner ) and Bayliss ( championship leader ) among the favourites
Last year, the World Superbike Championship made its first ever stop at Germany's new Oschersleben circuit. That round went very well for 2000 World Champion Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin). In fact, it was here that Edwards took a decisive step towards his first world title. His two main rivals of the time, Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) and Troy Corser (Aprilia) failed to make the podium while Edwards set the superpole record and the race lap record. But then World Superbike new boy Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) also ran strong, ending the first race in third place before going one place better in the following event.
This year, both men are competing for the title. An intense fight that is drawing large number of spectators to every World Superbike event. Last round, Bayliss climbed the Brands Hatch podium in the second race and admitted that his British week-end had gone well. "I ended up not losing any points to Colin over the weekend and I'm still 53 points clear so it worked out fine," Bayliss smiled. "Congratulations to the team, we all worked really hard together and did what we had to do."
Edwards may have failed to make any inroads into Bayliss' lead but another American is fast becoming the star of the second part of this season. Ben Bostrom (Ducati) comes to Germany straight from a five race winning streak (1 win at Misano, 2 at Laguna Seca and 2 at Brands Hatch). Bostrom's current form has put him within easy reach of Edwards with only three points separating the two countrymen. Bostrom has now won more races than anyone else this season. He totals six wins while Bayliss has four and Edwards three. Another man on the move is Neil Hodgson (Ducati). The British has taken four podiums in the last four races and now lies 33 points behind Edwards and only 9 behind four-placed man Corser.
Currently 16th among the private teams riders, Broc Parkes (Ducati NCR-Michelin) is still the best- placed in the provisional standings with 41 points. Giovanni Bussei (Ducati NCR) follows in 17th place with 29 points while Robert Ulm (Ducati Gerin WSBK Team-Michelin) is 18th with 27 points. Brands Hatch was a bad week-end for the three riders, none of them scoring any points there. Giovanni Bussei got himself noticed at Brands Hatch by using Pirelli rubber. The Italian had started the season with Michelin before going on to Dunlop and then making the switch to Pirelli.
Teuchert is new leader.
German rider Jörg Teuchert (Yamaha) took a fine win at the Brands Hatch World Supersport round when he crossed the line just 0.011 seconds ahead of Andrew Pitt (Kawasaki) and 0.016 seconds in front of James Whitham (Yamaha). That victory was doubly sweet for Teuchert as it also moved him to the front of the provisional standings with a four point lead over Paolo Casoli (Yamaha), 13 points in front of Andrew Pitt and 27 points ahead of Kevin Curtain (Honda BKM-Michelin Pilot ).
To better prepare for the Oschersleben event, Kevin Curtain tested at the German circuit on July 16th. The Australian rider took advantage of the test session to improve his machine settings and also to make sure his injured elbow was well and truly on the mend. "I was keen to get back out on the bike after the operation because although I've regained more movement in my elbow, they had to remove a lot of skin to prevent the wound deteriorating," Curtain explained at the time of the tests. "So it was a great chance to learn the Oschersleben circuit but I also used the time on the track to put my elbow through its paces as the skin is very tight and still requires physiotherapy. My fitness is not 100% and I have lost strength in my arm due to the operation. I have difficulty mid corner, which is where you can find a lot of time, so when we return to Oschersleben in September when I'm fit, finding the extra time won't be a problem."
Oschersleben and tyres
The Oschersleben circuit is 3 667 meters (2.285 miles) long and between 11 and 13 meters in width. It is a clockwise track with 14 turns, 7 left-handers and 7 right-handers. The longest straight is 680 meters long. Spectators grandstands are designed to resemble a stadium so that more than half the track is visible from around 70% of seats. Runoff area is sufficiently generous to ensure rider safety while spectators safety is obtained by seating them high up (from 6 to 8 meters).
Opened in 1997, Motopark Oschersleben is located south-west of Magdeburg and about 150 km from Berlin. 3 million cubic meters of dirt was moved to build the circuit. The pit area has 29 garages built on a 280 meters long section of the pit/paddock area.
Oschersleben offers a balanced layout, with an equal number of left and right-hand turns which are, for the most part, not very fast. There are no long straights which explains why, upon their first visit, the World Superbike riders expected overtaking to be difficult. As it turns out, this hasn't been too much of a problem.
According to Jean Hérissé, Michelin's Superbike manager : "the surface doesn't have a lot of grip which means we have to use tyres which can help us make the best use of what grip there is and that means that those riders who don't make the right tyre choice may face endurance problems." With front-end grip being very important at this circuit, compound choices tend to be medium-soft on the rear and medium-hard for the front.
Michelin at Oschersleben
Michelin brings a total of 2000 tyres, wet and dry, for this race.
Superbike riders can choose from: 19 / 67-420 (16,5 inch) rear slicks, rain and intermediate tyres. For the front, riders use 12 / 60-17 (17 inch) and 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.
900 Michelin Pilot Race tyres are brought for the Supersport class (120 / 70 ZR 17 fronts and 180 / 55 ZR 17 rears). Dry tyres are homologated for street use. Rain tyres don't have to be.
Michelin's on-site personnel includes one team manager, three technicians, eight tyre fitters and one press officer.
DUCATI Team Infostrada Ducati T. Bayliss - R. Xaus
HONDA Team Castrol Honda C. Edwards - T. Okada
Teams privés :
DUCATI Team N.C.R Ducati B. Parkes
YAMAHA Team Panavto J. Borja
DUCATI Team WSBK Team R. Ulm
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
Fastest official practice time (2000)
1'27.823 Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin), 150,316 kph average speed.
Superpole record (2000)
1'27.799 Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin), 150,357 kph average speed.
Lap record (fastest race lap (2000)
1'28.294 Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin), 149,514 kph average speed on lap 2 of race 1.
Fastest official practice time (2000)
1'31.291 Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda), 144,606 kph average speed.
Lap record (fastest race lap (2000)
1'31.947 Jörg Teuchert (Alpha Technik Yamaha), 143,574 kph average speed on lap 7.
Next: World Superbike Championship round 12: September 9th at Assen (Holland).