With six rounds already raced, this week-end's event at Lausitz in Germany pushes the 2001 World Superbike season into its second half. World championship leader Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada- Michelin) comes to this new circuit with a 17 point...
With six rounds already raced, this week-end's event at Lausitz in Germany pushes the 2001 World Superbike season into its second half. World championship leader Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada- Michelin) comes to this new circuit with a 17 point advantage over Troy Corser (Aprilia) and 19 points ahead of Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin). These three have stamped their mark on the first eleven races it should have been twelve but the second race at Phillip Island was cancelled due to bad weather. After Germany, six rounds are left: Misano (Italy), Laguna Seca (USA), Brands Hatch (United Kingdom), Oschersleben (Germany), Assen (Holland) and Imola (Italy).
At Monza, Bayliss won both races and joined the exclusive 2001 superbike winners club. Seven riders have won at least once this year but no one has managed to take more than two victories. Troy Corser won first, followed by Ben Bostrom (Ducati), Colin Edwards, Makoto Tamada (Honda), Troy Bayliss, Neil Hodgson (Ducati) and Pierfrancesco Chili (Suzuki). These statistics alone show how diverse and competitive the World Superbike field is. Manufacturers Aprilia, Ducati, Honda and Suzuki have all taken race wins. Kawasaki riders have climbed the podium (in Valencia, Sugo and Monza) but not quite all the way to the top. Other riders are set to join those that have already won over the next few races. These include Tadayuki Okada (Castrol Honda-Michelin) and Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin).
Practice has been no less competitive with five different men claiming superpole. Troy Corser is the only one to have taken two superpoles (Spain and Australia). Other fast men include Ben Bostrom (in South Africa), Tamada (in Japan), Troy Bayliss (in Italy) and Steve Hislop (at the last round in Donington).
With so many men capable of leading and winning, this season is great for spectators and fans of World Superbike. And the championship is still so open. A 17 points lead is no way near enough for Bayliss to rest easy, especially with 14 races left to run! There's a total of 350 points still left up for grabs (25 points a win) so Bayliss can draw little comfort from the 160 points he has so far amassed. With so much still to fight for, Bayliss will not only have to watch out for Corser and Edwards but also for other riders who have so far failed to show their true potential.
<pre> WSB 2001 provisional standings Pos. Riders Bikes TOTAL 1 T. Bayliss Ducati 160 2 T. Corser Aprilia 143 3 C. Edwards Honda 141 4 P. Chili Suzuki 119 5 N. Hodgson Ducati 103 6 B. Bostrom Ducati 97 7 A. Yanagawa Fuchs 89 8 G. Lavilla Fuchs 77 9 R. Laconi Aprilia 63 10 S. Chambon Suzuki 61 11 T. Okada Honda 59 12 R. Xaus Ducati 51 13 M. Tamada Honda 50 14 H. Izutsu Kawasaki 43 15 G. Bussei Ducati 26 16 B. Parkes Ducati 25 17 J. Toseland Ducati 24 18 R. Ulm Ducati 22 19 A. Ryo Suzuki 20 20 S. Ito Honda 20 21 L. Pedercini Ducati 19 22 T. Serizawa Kawasaki 16 23 S. Hislop Ducati 16 24 M. Borciani Ducati 15 25 S. Martin Ducati 11 26 J. Reynolds Ducati 11 27 A. Gramigni Yamaha 10 28 M. Sanchini Ducati 8 29 M. Craggill Pacific 7 30 J.B. Borja Yamaha 7 31 W. Yoshikawa Yamaha 6 32 Y. Kagayama Suzuki 6 33 B. Stey Honda 6 34 M. Malatesta Kawasaki 3 35 A. Maxwell SRT Almax 3 36 J. Rodriguez Honda 1 37 J. Mrkyvka Ducati 1 38 L. Holon Kawasaki 1
Italian charger Paolo Casoli (Yamaha) looks like he has a comfortable lead coming into this German round with a total of 83 championship points. Behind Casoli, it's a tough fight for second. Karl Muggeridge (Suzuki) has 57 points, Kevin Curtain (Honda BKM-Michelin Pilot) and Andrew Pitt (Kawasaki) 56, Jorg Teuchert (Yamaha) 54 and Pere Riba (Honda) 53! Wins have been as diverse as in the superbike class. Casoli has two (Sugo and Donington). Pere Riba has one (at home in Valencia), Kevin Curtain also (in Phillip Island). James Whitham (Yamaha) is the last to have won a race this year, at Monza. Paolo Casoli has set two poles. So has Vittoriano Guareschi (Dienza Ducati Racing-Michelin Pilot). French star Fabien Foret (Honda) has also set pole once.
Just like the Superbike Championship, Lausitz is also halfway for the Supersport class. After the German race, five rounds remain: Misano, Brands Hatch, Oschersleben, Assen and Imola.
<pre> World Supersport provisional standings Pos Riders Bikes TOTAL 1 P. Casoli Yamaha 83 2 K. Muggeridge Suzuki 57 3 A. Pitt Kawasaki 56 4 K. Curtain Honda 56 5 J. Teuchert Yamaha 54 6 P. Riba Honda 53 7 P. Bontempi Yamaha 39 8 J. Whitham Yamaha 38 9 F. Pirovano Suzuki 31 10 V. Guareschi Ducati 30 11 K. Fujiwara Suzuki 27 12 C. Cogan Yamaha 25 13 C. Kellner Yamaha 23 14 A. Fergusson Honda 20 15 I. MacPherson Kawasaki 19 16 F. Foret Honda 14 17 D. Thomas Ducati 10 18 K. Harris Suzuki 9 19 C. Lindholm Yamaha 8 20 I. Goi Honda 7 22 J. Hanson Yamaha 7 23 W. Daemen Yamaha 6 24 A. Corradi Yamaha 6 25 V. Iannuzzo Suzuki 5 26 C. Migliorati Honda 5 25 R. Baird Yamaha 4 27 M. Barth Honda 3 28 C. Vermeulen Honda 2 29 S. Le Grelle Honda 2 30 S. Smart Suzuki 1
Lausitz and tyres
A brand new circuit, Lausitz was opened on August 20th 2000. The racing complex follows current trends and includes an oval and a road circuit. This type of configuration originated in the United States but can now be found more and more frequently elsewhere. Examples are Rockingham (near Northampton in England), Jacarepagua (Brazil) opened in 1978, Welkom (South Africa, opened in 1999) and Motegi (Japan, opened in 1997). Stretching over 570 hectares, the Lausitz EuroSpeedway offers sprint events like Superbike a 4265 km long circuit. But F1 can also be catered for, over a 4.5 km long course, Endurance racing can count on a 11.3 km circuit while the Super Speedway tri-oval is 3.2 km long.
There are a total of 120000 seats for spectators with 96000 of them giving a full view of the circuit. Total tarmac surface is an impressive 90000 m2. Compare that to Valencia's already large 49066 m2 or Oschersleben's 60000 m2.
60 kms away from Dresde, Lausitz is 130 km from Berlin. It is about the same distance away from Chemnitz' Sachsenring, where the German Grand Prix has been held since 1998.
Says Xavier Bérengué, Michelin Racing technician, "Lausitz is quite a fast circuit. It has four straights and only two slow chicanes. Most turns are relatively fast. The track is wide, especially the start-finish straight. It seems the surface does not wear the tyres much. At least that's what we've seen so far from the Supersport tyres we've been able to examine.
Most of the turns are slightly off-camber. Rain is a worry. At a recent German championship meeting they had to cancel the second race because it was raining too much. The way the track is built, a film of water rapidly forms over the surface and that makes it very slippery."
Markus Barth (Alfa Technik Castrol Honda-Michelin Pilot) tested at Lausitz in May. "I like the circuit," he says. "But it's difficult to learn. You have to lap there a lot to get confident. It looks easy but it's not that easy to be fast and get good times. Because a lot of the turns are off-camber, it's easy to turn in too soon or too late when you don't know the track very well. That's why it's important to lap there a lot.
You need a lot of acceleration coming out of the turns. But grip is not great. It's similar to Oschersleben. But it's the same for everyone so you just have to cope with it. If it rains, then it will be really tricky because the water just stays on the track surface."
Michelin at Lausitz
Michelin brings a total of 2000 tyres, wet and dry, for this race.
Superbike riders can choose from: 19 / 67-420 (16,5 inch) and 18 / 67-17 rear slicks, rain and intermediate tyres. For the front, riders use 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.