Valencia: Ten Kate Honda race report

Toseland secures a Valencian victory HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's James Toseland extended his lead in the 2007 World Superbike Championship by 13-point margin at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia today. The British rider suffered mixed ...

Toseland secures a Valencian victory

HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's James Toseland extended his lead in the 2007 World Superbike Championship by 13-point margin at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia today. The British rider suffered mixed fortunes in the two 23-lap races at the 4km track in one of the most thrilling rounds of the series so far. Team-mate Roberto Rolfo performed well to maintain his ninth place in the standings.

Race one saw Toseland miss out on a place on the podium for only the second time this season. After starting from fifth on the grid, a severe problem with chatter in the rear wheel prevented the British rider from passing the leading pack. He held fast in fifth position for the entire race to pick up 11 points and maintain his lead in the standings. Spaniard Ruben Xaus took the victory, followed by Noriyuki Haga and Troy Bayliss in second and third places respectively.

Race two was a different story for Toseland, who stormed to victory in a nail-biting race that kept the Valencia crowds on the edge of their seats. The thrilling contest was incredibly close-run, with the five front runners within less than a second of each other for almost the entire 23-laps. The HANNspree Ten Kate Honda rider fought his way up from fifth on the grid to take third place by lap three, second place by lap nine and first place by lap 16.

From then on it was a three-way battle between Toseland, Max Biaggi and Noriyuki Haga. The three rivals were rarely more than a second away from each other as they fought for the top place on the podium, changing places frequently and with great skill. On the last lap Biaggi pushed hard to pass both Haga and Toseland, but the British rider fought back and secured the first place with a 0.287 seconds advantage.

Two strong performances from team-mate Roberto Rolfo saw him move from 17th on the grid to a tenth place in the first race and twelfth in the second. In race one the 25-year-old was involved in a tussle with second place championship contender Max Biaggi for the majority of the contest. At the end of the day, Rolfo picked up ten valuable points to add to maintain ninth place in the championship standings.

Ronald ten Kate:

"After the problems we had in the first race when we didn't get the result we were hoping for, we made some changes to James' bike for the second race. It obviously worked so thanks to his crew for getting that done so quickly and big compliments to James for riding so well. This is a hard track to overtake on, especially when all the front runners are on the same pace. Roby also did well to climb up from 17th place on the grid. We came here as leaders in the championship and we have not only kept that, we have extended it in both classes so we are obviously very happy and looking forward to the home round in Assen."

James Toseland:

"The problems in the first race were due to the tyre moving in the wheel rim and that's the end of my excuses for that. The second race was just awesome! We used Friday's set-up on the number two bike so thanks to my team for getting it ready so quickly after the first race. I am just so happy to have got the win here. Last year I was ninth and eleventh here, so I was determined to do better this year. It really was a great race and I had to give it everything to hang in there until the end, but I did it and I leave here as the leader."

Roberto Rolfo:

"The weekend has not been too great for me because starting in the fifth row it is hard to get to the front of the pack. I pushed pretty hard and had a good fight with Biaggi in the first race, but the second it was not working for me. I have two weeks before Assen and I will work hard to come back fighting for the team's home race"

-credit: htkh

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Max Biaggi , Noriyuki Haga , Ruben Xaus , James Toseland , Roberto Rolfo