Fabrizio and Haslam score in Kyalami thrillers Two very different races delivered two types of riveting spectacle for the enthusiastic fans at Kyalami, with race two the pick of the day's action. The opening race was taken by a rejuvenated...
Fabrizio and Haslam score in Kyalami thrillers
Two very different races delivered two types of riveting spectacle for the enthusiastic fans at Kyalami, with race two the pick of the day's action. The opening race was taken by a rejuvenated Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) in front-running style. Race two victor Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare), on the other hand, battled it out right to the end, with the top four riders all within a second of each other after 24 intense laps. The net result is an extended championship lead for Haslam, now on 222 points to Aprilia Alitalia rider Max Biaggi's 207.
Fabrizio took an early lead in the first race of the day at Kyalami and the factory Ducati Xerox rider did not put a wheel wrong as he dominated throughout. Behind was Carlos Checa, on an Althea Ducati privateer machine, while third went to a patient Haslam, who extended his championship lead over fourth place rider Biaggi. Jonathan Rea, from Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, made an amazing charge towards the end of the race, taking fifth place for his efforts. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) had the late pace to stick with Rea on the last couple of laps, but Yamaha Sterilgarda team-mates James Toseland and Cal Crutchlow were unable to drive as hard in the final reckoning and went seventh and eighth. Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Ducati) was a battling ninth, and right on the tail of the Yamaha duo on the very last lap. Peculiarly, Fabrizio's winning time of 2010 was only 0.033 seconds faster than the first race time he set to go second in 2009.
Michel Fabrizio: "I am very happy for Ducati and so happy to win for myself as well. I needed it. We tried our best from the very start and I rode an intelligent race to control the gap to the rider behind."
Carlos Checa: "We started with a very strong pace; 1'38 low was very fast. I was focused to be behind Fabrizio and we kept a good pace early on. Then the tyres dropped down and I thought maybe at that point I would have been able to manage the tyre better, but Fabrizio did very well. On some laps I could improve one tenth but then I would lose it. The bike is working well here."
Leon Haslam: "It was pretty tough out there, a long race doing 24 laps round here. It is really key to make the start but the biggest thing round here is that it is hard to pass, so you definitely have to get the start done. I was feeling pretty good in that race but I was having a little bit of chatter every time I pushed to try and get on the back of the front two."
Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) wrapped up a magnificent race two win as five riders were covered by 1.479 seconds at the flag and any one of three were in with a real chance of winning even in the final lap. Second was long-time leader Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Max Biaggi went third for the Aprilia Alitalia team. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) completed the top five, all on different manufacturer machinery. James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) battled hard to record sixth place, with both he and Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad) overhauling a fading Fabrizio at the end. Jakub Smrz was again ninth and 2009 double race winner Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) tenth. The top Kawasaki rider was Tom Sykes, 14th, while Camier and Sheridan Morais (Emtek Aprilia) failed to finish. In the championship Haslam now has 222 points, Biaggi 207 and Rea 141, tied with Checa.
Leon Haslam: "Racing is all about winning and I felt I was in a position where I was strong in a few places and I had to go for it. And it worked out. It was a high risk last few laps with the front and rear moving about but we didn't make too many mistakes and we won."
Jonathan Rea: "It seems we now have a base with the bike that works everywhere. I really enjoyed the race, it was good fun but I wanted to win so badly. Leon rode well and every time he passed me he would run deep and I was able to cut back inside. With two laps to go I thought maybe it would be mine if I just covered myself, but Leon made a lunge three corners from the end of the penultimate lap."
Max Biaggi: "A nice and close race. In race two I made a good start and that was maybe 50% of the final result. In race one I was held up and could not go through but in race two I went away with top two guys and could match their pace. At the end I tried but my attack did not come off."
Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) ripped open an early gap he was to extend all race long and scored his third race win in a row; his fourth of the year. Second place rider Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) now leads the championship, as previous leader Joan Lascorz was only fifth today on his Motocard.com Kawasaki. The leading points totals are now Sofuoglu 117, Laverty 116 and Lascorz 112. In finishing third in today's race, ParkinGO Triumph BE-1 rider Chaz Davies is in a clear fourth place overall, on 71 points. It was Davies' second podium finish of 2010.
"The Pirelli team worked all weekend with SBK teams and their suspension engineers to find bike setups to handle the very rough racing surface of Kyalami. Some teams utilized quite extreme suspension setups, causing the tyres to lose contact with the asphalt in certain sections. Riders demonstrating a consistent pace throughout practice sessions and qualifying led the two very exciting races with competition from every angle. Ducati riders Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) and Checa (Althea Racing) brought strong performances in Race 1, mounting the mid-soft (B) compound on front and rear for a 1-2 finish, and Fabrizio even thook home a Pirelli Best Lap and Kyalami lap record. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) was the only rider who chose the newest soft compound (A) solution for the rear, finding a podium in Race 2. Five different manufacturers in a row for the final SBK race of the weekend is an ideal result for a tyre supplier, and left nearly everyone in the crowd and the paddock something to celebrate." - Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director, Pirelli Moto