Michelin Imola preview

Superbike World Championship - round 13 Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari / Imola (Italy) - September 30th 2001 Championís homecoming for Troy Bayliss Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) was crowned 2001 Superbike World Champion at ...

Superbike World Championship - round 13 Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari / Imola (Italy) - September 30th 2001

Championís homecoming for Troy Bayliss

Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) was crowned 2001 Superbike World Champion at Assen. He now comes to Imola to celebrate that title a few kilometres away from the Ducati factory. " I didn't realize I was champion until the slowdown lap when I saw all the guys of the team with the T- shirt", Bayliss explains." I'd like to thank the Ducati Infostrada-Michelin team, all our sponsors and suppliers and all the engineers in Ducati. I'm smiling all the way through now and looking forward to going to Imola and have a decent race with all the pressure off!"

Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) was the perfect teammate at Assen, helping his team leader clinch the title through two fine races. "I'm happy for Troy and the world championship and for Ducati it's fantastic," Xaus smiles.

Colin Edwardsí (Castrol Honda-Michelin) Assen weekend was far less pleasant. "The championshipís gone now but weíve still got two more races to look forward to at Imola and Iíll be going all out to win," warns the 2000 Superbike World Champion. "Troy (Bayliss) deserves the title. Heís ridden hard all year and heís been consistent."

Edwards lies in second place in the current championship. He has a 31 point lead on Ben Bostrom (Ducati) with two races to go.

"The Michelin team is very happy for Troy Corser and his World Title," says Jean HÈrissÈ, Michelinís Superbike manager. "Now weíre looking forward to Imola and to doing our best to help Colin Edwards keep his second place in the provisional standings."

Imola test ñ 17/18 July 2001

On July 17th, Troy Bayliss did 92 laps at Imola. The Australian made the best of good weather to produce a best lap of 1m51.53, despite strong winds (morning temperatures: 27 / track 40 - afternoon temperatures: 29 / track 43 - clear skies). "This is my first visit to Imola and it's coming along nicely", said the 32-year-old. "The circuit is not too bad and I'm glad we came testing. The track was slippery this morning, but I'm sure tomorrow the grip will be much better." Bayliss was right. The next day, his best time dropped to 1m50.52 (morning temperatures: 27 / track 35 - afternoon temperatures 28 / track 35 - clear skies ñ strong winds). " I'm really pleased the last round of the season is in Italy," he added. "It's close to the Ducati factory and that means there'll be a good crowd for the race"

Ruben Xaus wasnít so lucky in July. "Thereís not much I can say about Imola because I was still injured when I got to those tests and then I crashed on the first day. Itís a nice track where I think the front tyre is more important than the rear because you go into slow turns really fast. Of course, everyone is looking for a good result there because itís the best way to get a good deal for next year."

Colin Edwards was the fastest man at the tests. "Times arenít that important," he said. "We only used race Michelin tyres during the tests. Being fastest gives us a head start but anything can happen during practice or the races. I like the track. But the main thing is that my bike likes it too. Racing the last round of the season on a new track doesnít bother me. It will be the same for everyone." <pre> Non-official times (Times curtosy of Honda - Ducati - Kawasaki and Aprilia teams) 1. Edwards (Honda) 1m49.42 7. Antonello (Aprilia) 1m50.99 2. Laconi (Aprilia) 1m49.70 8. Lavilla (Kawasaki) 1m51.20 3. Okada (Honda) 1m49.72 9. Yanagawa (Kawasaki) 1m51.30 4. Corser (Aprilia) 1m49.93 10. Martin (Ducati) 1m51.86 5. Bostrom (Ducati) 1m50.34 11. Parkes (Ducati) 1m52.49 6. Bayliss (Ducati) 1m50.52

World Superbike 2001 provisional standings (after 12 rounds) Pos. # Rider Manufacturer TOTAL 1 21 T. Bayliss Ducati 369 2 1 C. Edwards Honda 317 3 155 B. Bostrom Ducati 286 4 3 T. Corser Aprilia 264 5 100 N. Hodgson Ducati 254 6 4 P. Chili Suzuki 225 7 11 R. Xaus Ducati 191 8 5 A. Yanagawa Kawasaki 170 9 8 T. Okada Honda 149 10 6 G. Lavilla Kawasaki 147 11 55 R. Laconi Aprilia 127 12 24 S. Chambon Suzuki 114 13 52 J. Toseland Ducati 91 14 19 H. Izutsu Kawasaki 63 15 M. Tamada Honda 50 16 36 B. Parkes Ducati 41 17 35 G. Bussei Ducati 33 18 33 R. Ulm Ducati 28 19 99 S. Martin Ducati 26 20 E. Bostrom Kawasaki 22 </pre> How Bayliss won the title
Troy Bayliss is nothing if not consistent. It is this unwavering ability to score points at nearly every race that earned the Australian the 2001 World Superbike crown. Bayliss starts the year by taking out a subscription to second place... thatís where he finishes for the first four races of the season, at Valencia (Spain) and Kyalami (South Africa). At a drenched and windswept Phillip Island (Australia), where conditions are so bad that one of the dayís two races even has to be cancelled, Bayliss is third. Back in Europe, at Monza (Italy), Bayliss takes two fine wins, beating his main rival for the title and fellow Michelin rider Colin Edwards both times.

Something new for Lausitz
Michelin brings new tyres for the Lausitzring (Germany) race. They instantly prove very effective, helping Colin Edwards to a first race win ahead of Bayliss and Tady Okada. Bayliss wins the second leg and scores another one-two finish at Misano (Italy).

More progress at Suzuka
Despite these wins, Michelins engineers are busy further developing the tyre that topped the Lausitz podium. A new evolution of the tyre is introduced at the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour race. The only two Michelin equipped teams Rossi-Edwards and Okada-Barros (Cabin Honda-Michelin) use the new tyre and end the race in first and second place !

The next World Superbike race is Oschersleben, where this evolution tyre is also put to good use. Edwards wins the first leg with Ruben Xaus second, but Bayliss has a once-in-a-season DNF. The World Champion to be is back on the podium in the second leg though, behind Xaus and Edwards.

When the World Superbike Championship finally makes its yearly pilgrimage to motorcycle racingís cathedral, Assen (Holland), Bayliss is all set for his first title. He wins the first race then... wins the second, getting crowned in the process.

This year, Michelin riders have taken wins in all sorts of conditions, from glorious sunshine and perfectly dry tracks to circuits soaked by thunderstorms. Whatever the circuit layout, whatever the track temperature, whatever the machine, thanks to constant development Michelin tyres stayed winners in 2001.


Three possible champions
Paolo Casoli (Yamaha) took a fine win at Assen and leads the championship. He has 147 points, 11 more than Andrew Pitt (Kawasaki) and 21 more than Jorg Teuchert (Yamaha). Kevin Curtain (Honda BKM-Michelin Pilot) is fourth in the standings and number one Honda rider. He has 100 points while Pere Riba (sixth on a Ten Kate Honda) has 83. <pre> World Supersport 2001 provisional standings (after 10 races) Pos. # Rider Manufacturer TOTAL 1 2 P. Casoli Yamaha 147 2 8 A. Pitt Kawasaki 136 3 1 J. Teuchert Yamaha 126 4 11 K. Curtain Honda 100 5 69 J. Whitham Yamaha 90 6 7 P. Riba Honda 83 7 5 K. Muggeridge Suzuki 72 8 99 F. Foret Honda 65 9 9 F. Pirovano Suzuki 62 10 6 I. MacPherson Kawasaki 57 11 14 C. Cogan Yamaha 54 12 12 P. Bontempi Yamaha 51 13 4 C. Kellner Yamaha 51 14 37 K. Fujiwara Suzuki 50 15 24 A. Fergusson Honda 49 16 22 V. Guareschi Ducati 43 17 21 C. Vermeulen Honda 21 18 15 W. Daemen Yamaha 19 19 K. Harris Suzuki 17 20 31 V. Iannuzzo Suzuki 16 </pre> April 23rd 1972, Imola, Ducati wins
Organised straight after the 1972 Daytona 200 miles race, the Imola 200 miles was a classic. An extraordinary number of manufacturers were involved in the 750 class (Superbikeís ancestor). Italians against American and English makes: Ducati, MV Augusta, Moto Guzzi, Patton, Laverda, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Triumph, BSA and Norton. Ducati won the race thanks to Brit Paul Smart, who led teammate Bruno Spaggiari home with Walter Villa third. This 1972 race was organised thanks to Francesco Costa, whoís son Claudio later created the now-famous Clinica Mobile which provides medical assitance to both World Superbike and Grand Prix riders.

Imola and tyres
The "Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari" started life in 1950 as a public road circuit. Imolaís first large-scale motorcycle race was held in 1953. Imola became a permanent racing circuit in 1979 and welcomed the Formula One championship for an exhibition race (held a week after the Italian GP at Monza). The first F1 championship race happened the following year and was called the "Gran Premio Dino Ferrari". Twelve motorcycle GPs have been held at Imola: seven Nations GPs (1969, 72, 74, 75, 77, 79, 88), two San Marino GPs (81, 83) and three City of Imola GPs (96, 97, 98). Freddie Spencer (Honda-Michelin) took his first 500cc World Championship at Imola in 1983, beating Kenny Roberts by just one point.

Imola is one of few European anti-clockwise tracks (Misano is another). It used to be extremely fast but average speeds were greatly reduced after Ayrton Sennaís tragic 1994 crash. Imola now has five chicanes.

"Lines are very important at Imola because some turns are off-camber," says Jean Valton, the Michelin race technician who works with Team Castrol Honda. "A rider has to concentrate on using exactly the same piece of tarmac, lap after lap. The track isnít very grippy but it does wear tyres nonetheless. Some of the fast sections heat the left side of the tyres up quite a lot. The five chicanes donít create specific problems so they donít require special attention from us." Imola is 35 km southeast of Bologna (home of the Ducati factory), 90 km from Florence, 16 km from Faenza and 35 km from Forili.

Michelin at Imola
Michelin brings a total of 2000 tyres, wet and dry, for this race.

Superbike riders can choose from: 19 / 67-420 (16,5 inch) rear slicks, rain and intermediate tyres. For the front, riders use 12 / 60-17 (17 inch) and 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 donít have to be.

Michelinís on-site personnel includes one team manager, three technicians, eight tyre fitters and one press officer.

500 GP reference times
These times are from the last Imola 500 GP, in 1999.

Pole position - 1m49.750 by Alex Criville (Honda Repsol-Michelin) Race lap record - 1m49.339 by Alex Barros (Honda Movistar-Michelin) Winnerís average speed - 160.456 kph by Alex Criville (Honda Repsol-Michelin), 25 laps in 46m05.244


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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Alex Criville , Ayrton Senna , Troy Bayliss , Colin Edwards , Andrew Pitt , Alex Barros , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Ruben Xaus , Troy Corser , Jorg Teuchert , Pere Riba , Paul Smart , Kevin Curtain , Freddie Spencer , Ben Bostrom , Phillip Island