Lausitz: Michelin preview

29 points between Bayliss and Edwards at mid-season. With 12 races gone and 14 races to go, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) 260 points leads the world championship with Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) 231 points in second ...

29 points between Bayliss and Edwards at mid-season.

With 12 races gone and 14 races to go, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) 260 points leads the world championship with Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) 231 points in second place. Neil Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) is 3rd in the standings on 157 p oints, Noriyuki Haga (Playstation 2 Aprilia) is 4th on 129 points and Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) is 5th on 120 points. Ben Bostrom (Ducati) is just one point behind in 6th place.

Troy Bayliss has won 9 of the first 12 races of the year while Colin Edwards has been on the podium 11 times and won twice. The two men are the only riders, with Neil Hodgson, to have scored points at every race. Ben Bostrom is nearly as consistent and has scored points at 11 races. So have James Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) and Chris Walker (Kawasaki). Top privateer is Juan Borja (Ducati Spaziotel). The Spaniard is 10th in the championship. Results are also good for Benelli's 900cc 3 cylinder Tornado. The It alian machine has finished 3 of the last 4 races in the points.

Wins galore

Michelin's incredible run of success in the World Superbike championship shows the quality of the French manufacturer's tyres. Michelin riders have won 16 of the last 18 races and 11 of this year's 12 events. Those wins have come on dry or wet tarmac, on c old or hot days and on circuits as different as Monza and Sugo. Two weeks ago at Silverstone, Bayliss won the second race. He crossed the finish line a huge 58 seconds ahead of Chris Walker, best-placed non-Michelin rider.

The first race was a lot more eventful for Bayliss who crashed twice! "I was very lucky to finish," agreed the championship leader. "The bike could have had a broken lever after the first crash. And then to get away with it two times in one race is pretty unbelievable. I must have got some gravel in there because the throttle wouldn't operate properly. It's my fault though for pushing too hard. In the end everyone was having trouble so I just put my head down and went for fifth. I didn't want to crash for a third time because there was no way I could have picked the bike up again."

Race one at Silverstone went much better for Colin Edwards. He won, but ran into trouble before the second race even started. At the end of the sighting lap, he pulled into the pits with ignition problems and switched to his spare bike. He then slipped off during the warm-up lap! Luckily his bike was relatively undamaged and he was able to start. He led into the first corner and ended the race 2nd to Bayliss. "I had a bit of everything happen before the race and with all of that I thought it was better just to get to the finish," explained Edwards after the race. "Second place and 20 points had to do this afternoon. My biggest problem out there was visibility - I couldn't see a thing, which is why I made the move on Troy and led the race, to get out of the s pray, but even then I was struggling to see. It's not been a bad day overall though and I've closed the gap to the lead of the championship."

Interview: Francesco Zerbi, FIM president.

As far as the International Federation is concerned, what is the current situation for the World Superbike Championship? - The championship works well and keeps on improving. With four-strokes now racing in GPs, there might be some problems for Superbike but there could also be problems for Grands Prix. I am certain that within a year or two, each championship will have sett led down again. Both championships are just as important, for this sport and for the motorcycle industry. Grands Prix are the ultimate technological proving ground while in Superbikes, we see road-bike technology applied to the track. So Superbikes give th e manufacturers a great means of promoting their products for a low price.

The FIM has two good championships in GPs and Superbikes but for television, can too much racing become a problem? - That's true, but I would like to tell you about what I call my "dream". That would be to spread Grands Prix and Superbikes evenly throughout the year. We could start in January in the Southern hemisphere. In the near future, we could have a motorcycle ra ce every weekend, throughout the year. That is my dream.

GP bikes are prototypes and Superbikes are derived from production sports bikes. Are there plans to have them race on the same day at the same circuit? - No, that would create problems for television. The event would be too long. Three hours is too long. It's better to have a one-and-a-half-hour long program for each championship. That's why it's better to have a race every weekend. It's imperative even.

New manufacturers like Foggy Petronas or Mondial are coming to Superbikes. Will the homologation rules change with respect to the minimum number of road bikes, which have to be built? - Not for the time being. We want each championship to have its own identity. GP bikes must be prototypes and Superbikes production machines. Even if they are limited editions, they must be production bikes.

Lausitz and tyres

"Last year was our first at the Lausitzring," recalls Nicolas Goubert, chief of Michelin's motorcycling competition department. "Everything went well. We did a podium in the first round as we already did four times this year. I hope things go just as well this season."

Troy Bayliss : "It's good for the people in the stands watching. I had a good result there last year. I have a good following in Germany so I like to race in Germany. This is a strange little track, it's very short and it's hard to pass."

Colin Edwards : "We ended up winning the race here last year so it's a good track! It's a bit different, maybe more of a Speedway type, but better than in the States. You know what you get in the States is sometime kind of Mickey Mouse, really slow, 50 sec ond lap times, but Lausitzring is more laid out like a normal race track where you actually do use part of the bowl".

Ruben Xaus : "This track is better suited to car racing. Having said that, it's not bad. There are a couple of good turns but it's not my favourite place".

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 elsewhe re. 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 Super bike a 4265km long circuit. But F1 racing can also be catered for, over a 4.5km long course, Endurance racing has a 11.3km circuit while the Super Speedway tri-oval is 3.2km long.

There are a total of 120,000 seats for spectators with 96,000 of them giving a full view of the circuit. Total tarmac surface is an impressive 90,000m2. Compare that to Valencia's already large 49,066m2 or Oschersleben's 60,000m2.

60 km 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.

Michelin and Lausitz brings a total of 600 tyres (400 rears and 200 fronts), wet and dry, for this race. Sizes are 19/67-420 (16,5 inch) for rear slicks, rain tyres and intermediates. Front tyre sizes are 12/60-420 (16.5 inch) tyres. 's on-site personnel includes one team manager, two technicians, four tyre fitters and one press officer.

Lausitz stats

Official practice record (2001) 1m40.212 Troy Corser (Aprilia), 153.215 kph average speed.

Superpole record (2001) 1m40.205 Neil Hodgson (GSE Racing Ducati), 153.226 kph average speed.

Lap record (fastest race lap 2001) 1m40.599 Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) 152.630 kph average speed.

Circuit record (unofficial) 1m40.036 Steve Martin (Ducati DFX Racing) 153.480 kph average speed (during last year's second free practice session).

8th round of the Superbike World Championship: June 23 at Misano (Italy)

-michelin-

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Troy Bayliss , Colin Edwards , Noriyuki Haga , Neil Hodgson , Steve Martin , Ruben Xaus , Chris Walker , James Toseland , Troy Corser , Juan Borja , Ben Bostrom