The World Superbike Championship returns to Europe this weekend for round 5 of 13 at the high-speed Monza Grand Prix circuit on the outskirts of Milan. The legendary 5.793 km track always sees close, slipstreaming battles for the lead and this...
The World Superbike Championship returns to Europe this weekend for round 5 of 13 at the high-speed Monza Grand Prix circuit on the outskirts of Milan. The legendary 5.793 km track always sees close, slipstreaming battles for the lead and this year promises more of the same, with all eyes on reigning champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada), whose charge towards the 2001 world title began exactly one year ago at this circuit.
Troy has won six of the eight races held so far this year and considers the Monza parkland circuit one of his favourites. "I'm really looking forward to racing at Monza, it's one of my favourite circuits and we got a double win there last year," he declared. "We tested there last week and things went well. I just love the atmosphere and the park makes it really special. This year it's going to be tougher than ever, Colin will be up there and so will Ben, Ruben, Haga and Hodgson after his performance in Japan. There will be five or six guys slipstreaming at the front for a while and then we'll see what happens in the last couple of laps."
Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada), who injured two fingers of his left hand in a crash at the last round in Sugo, comes to Monza after an operation last week to patch up his skin. "I like Monza, it's a great place to race, but it all depends on the weather, which for the moment doesn't look too good for the weekend," declared Ruben. "If it rains then you have to set the bike up both for the wet as well as the dry and in that case you won't see much slipstreaming. My hand feels OK now and I can't wait to start the races on Sunday."
Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M), who celebrated his 28th birthday on Tuesday, also approaches the Italian WSBK Round in a confident frame of mind. "There are no words to describe Monza and I'm very excited about the race this weekend," declared Ben. "I now feel a lot happier with the set-up after we tested here last week. We changed the steering geometry a bit to make it feel more comfortable and I'll be able to fine-tune it on Friday and Saturday in qualifying. I really enjoy the Monza track, with its long straights, left-right chicanes and the strong exit from the Parabolica curve and it's just a fantastic atmosphere riding through the trees."
THE MONZA CIRCUIT
The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza was the third permanent circuit to be built after Brooklands (1907) and Indianapolis (1909). Work began in 1922 and was completed in 110 days. Since then the circuit has been continuously renewed and today Monza is one of the most modern, functional and safest tracks in the world. The latest reconstruction work involves the pitlane complex and hospitality suites. Monza has hosted World Superbike racing since 1990.
NEW WIND-INFOSTRADA COLOURS
The Monza WSBK round will also see the Ducati Infostrada bikes of Troy Bayliss and Ruben Xaus sport an exciting new colour scheme. Following a strategic integration between the various activities of Gruppo Wind, which has also led to the logos of Infostrada and Libero being revamped, the orange and blue colours that characterise all the company's communications activities will now also be present on the Ducati Infostrada team bikes of Troy Bayliss and Ruben Xaus, starting from Monza.
CITY OF BOLOGNA
Monza will mark the first appearance on Italian soil for the partnership between Ducati Corse and the City of Bologna. Sanctioned in a brief ceremony in City Hall on March 15th by the Mayor of Bologna, Giorgio Guazzaloca and Ducati Motor Holding CEO Carlo di Biagio, the aim of the initiative is to underline the close ties between the Borgo Panigale manufacturer and its city. As a result the Ducati Infostrada 998 Factory bikes of Bayliss and Xaus will race in the remaining rounds of the World Superbike Championship with the coat of arms of Bologna City Council on the front and side fairings.
Lap Record: Edwards (Honda) 1'48.913 (2001)
Superpole: Bayliss (Ducati) 1' 48.649 (2001)
Qualifying: Chili (Suzuki) 1'48.584 (2001)