TITLE COUNTDOWN GETS UNDERWAY AT ASSEN The World Superbike Championship enters a crucial phase with the final third of the season set to unfold over the coming weeks. Following the Brands Hatch thriller, which saw Troy & ...
TITLE COUNTDOWN GETS UNDERWAY AT ASSEN
The World Superbike Championship enters a crucial phase with the final third of the season set to unfold over the coming weeks. Following the Brands Hatch thriller, which saw Troy Superman' Bayliss increase his stranglehold on the championship for the Ducati Xerox Team, the first of two double-header events to conclude the series gets underway this weekend at the Assen TT circuit, immediately followed in seven days time by the German round.
This year's race at the legendary Van Drenthe TT track will take place on the new layout of the circuit, which has been shortened by one-quarter of its distance to make way for a new car park and spectator complex. As a result all records will now have to be rewritten to take account of the new 4.55 km layout.
Bayliss comes to Assen with a points cushion over Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) that is sufficient to control the situation but not enough to clinch the title this weekend. The Australian has had mixed times at the TT circuit on the three occasions he has raced there, retiring twice in 2000, then clinching the 2001 title at the Dutch round but crashing out the following year to ruin his chances of a title repeat.
"I've had mixed results at Assen but every time I've been there I've been at the front, which is good to know. The first part of the track has changed a bit now and it's going to be different so that makes me a bit more optimistic about the place. The last race at Brands was pretty much situation normal again and I feel like we're back on track again now. I thought Corser was going to be the most consistent but it's turned out to be Haga now. The other guys are right there as well but I'm on form and they're going to have a hard time to beat me. The strategy remains the same. I always treat every session like we're planning to win at the weekend but you can't say anything until the lights turn green and then you see how the situation is."
With the Assen race, team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi now begins to retrace the steps that took him to two superb wins late last year at Lausitz and Magny-Cours and his form will surely be galvanized by this crucial final part of the season. Lorenzo has raced once in Superbike at Assen, last year, scoring a seventh and a sixth place.
"I like the Assen track but I feel sure that it was better before they modified it. We'll be racing on the short circuit, but in any case they've only modified the first part so it's not all totally new. Assen is fast and I like fast tracks, the only unknown factor is the weather. We'll see what it's like when we arrive. I'm going into the final four races aiming to do well. Hopefully we'll have a bit more luck in these races and I can show what I'm really capable of."