WINSTON'S VERMEULEN TARGETS MORE SUPERBIKE WINS With just four races remaining in the 2005 World Superbike championship, Winston Ten Kate Honda's Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge head for the penultimate round at the historic Imola circuit...
WINSTON'S VERMEULEN TARGETS MORE SUPERBIKE WINS
With just four races remaining in the 2005 World Superbike championship, Winston Ten Kate Honda's Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge head for the penultimate round at the historic Imola circuit in northern Italy this weekend. Vermeulen knows that only race wins will give him the chance of the 2005 title and the most dramatic comeback in the history of the championship.
With Vermeulen trailing championship rival, Troy Corser, by 60 points -- and with a maximum of 100 points available from winning the last four races -- his Winston Ten Kate Honda team-mate and fellow Australian, Karl Muggeridge, hopes that two solid race performances at Imola will help Vermeulen achieve the seemingly impossible.
Ronald ten Kate -- team manager:
"We can only hope that we bring our form from the last two rounds at Assen and Lausitz to Imola this weekend and then to Magny-Cours next week. Chris has taken 95 points from the last four races but we really need to take at least another 30 points from Troy (Corser) this weekend to keep the championship alive. Back-to-back races make for an exciting climax to the season but they will be quite hard work for the team. We'll be doing everything we can to help Chris and Karl collect as many points as possible in Imola. For that, we have some new chassis parts to try, and we hope that we don't have any mishaps like last year when Chris fell off on the warm-up lap of race two!"
Chris Vermeulen -- championship position 2nd, 329 points:
"I'm not feeling any pressure because, as I said after the last round in Germany, this is Troy's title to lose. The last two rounds were good and we took 50 points out of his lead but we have to do even better than that over the last two rounds. We had a little hiccup at Imola last year but I won the Supersport title here in 2003 and I like the circuit a lot; I think the bike will work here as it really has been getting better and better all season as the last few results have shown. But, as well as Troy trying to wrap things up, there are going to be some other quick guys at Imola-- the Ducatis were strong last year so Toseland should be in there, and Laconi if he's fit enough. Haga will be fast for sure and hopefully Karl (Muggeridge) can start to get the kind of results his qualifying form has suggested."
Karl Muggeridge -- championship position 11th, 111 points:
"I like Imola and won the Supersport race in 2003 and again last year on my way to the title. I don't see any reason why we can't get a good result on the Superbike this time round. I know the race results haven't been exactly spectacular this year but I'm actually feeling pretty confident in myself and in the bike. We just need everything to fall into place to unlock this thing. The season's been pretty up and down -- I've had my share of bad luck and the good things that need to happen to get a good result just haven't all happened together! Everyone in the team is trying really hard to make it happen and I really believe that it's a question of 'when' now, not 'if'. I'm looking forward to Imola and Magny-Cours - I like the fact that they're back-to-back races, and I'm hoping to finish this year on a high."
Imola World Superbike event schedule: Friday 30 September -- 10.30-11.30 free practice, 14.15-15.15 qualifying; Saturday 1 October -- 11.00-12.00 qualifying, 14.45-15.45 free practice, 16.00 Superpole; Sunday 2 October -- 09.20-09.40 warm-up, 12.00 race one (21 laps -- 103.593 km), 15.30 race two (21 laps -- 103.593 km).