Monza: Series preview

Bayliss Takes Healthy Points Margin to Monza for Round 5 Following his double victory at Assen, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) will come to Monza for the IDS Italian Round of the HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend with a...

Bayliss Takes Healthy Points Margin to Monza for Round 5

Following his double victory at Assen, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) will come to Monza for the IDS Italian Round of the HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend with a healthy 70 point lead in the table over his closest rivals as the series reaches third distance. In eight races so far on his Ducati 1098 F08, the 39-year-old from Taree has taken the chequered flag on five occasions, finished second twice and has only been off the podium once, in race 2 at Losail. This sort of steamrolling form will guarantee Bayliss an ample cushion from his 178 points in the next few races should a challenge be mounted by the chasing four-cylinder contenders.

Another man who has consistently been in the points since the start of the season is Spain's Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), who has impressed in his rookie season so far. A veteran of many a year in 500cc/MotoGP, the 35-year-old from Barcelona has taken his Japanese machine to two runner-up slots in his 108 points this season, but the win is still eluding him. Monza will be a bit of an unknown quantity for Checa, but the speed of his four-cylinder CBR machine will certainly prove to be of assistance as he chases his maiden win.

Three podium appearances this year, including a second place at Phillip Island, are the results that have helped to take another double world champion, Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB), to the third slot in the table with 89 points. Corser has been winless since Phillip Island in 2006, but Mr Superpole's qualifying form (41 poles to his name, on five different makes of machinery) continues to be outstanding and a breakthrough for the 36-year-old Australian on the YZF-R1 machine is surely not far away.

Two Spanish riders Fonsi Nieto (Suzuki Alstare) and Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati) are next up, fourth and fifth with 85 and 81 points respectively. Nieto appears to have lost his way somewhat since his opening round win, while at Assen Xaus was one of the key contenders but was eliminated early on by Haga in race 1 before picking up a useful fourth in race 2.

The last two rounds have seen Noriyuki Haga hit superb form on the YZF-R1 factory machine from the Yamaha Motor Italia WSB team, based a stone's throw away from the Autodromo. The 33-year-old from Japan picked up a win and a second place at Valencia and Assen, but would certainly be much further up the table than his current sixth place had he not scored two DNFs in the first race of each round. However Haga scored a dominant double victory at Monza twelve months ago and is aiming to do the same again this weekend to restart his title ambitions.

Max Neukirchner (Alstare Suzuki) scored a podium and a fifth place in the Netherlands and is fast becoming the top Suzuki contender. The 25-year-old German from Stollberg has been in World Superbike since 2005 but now he has the right machinery to emerge Max is becoming a regular front-runner. From one Max to another, this time Biaggi, whose positive recovery from a wrist fracture took a wrong turn at Assen as a lack of feeling with the front end of his Ducati 1098RS caused him to miss out on Superpole and score two disappointing results in the two races.

Gregorio Lavilla (VentAxia VK Honda) and Lorenzo Lanzi (RG Ducati) make up the top 10, the Italian recovering from his Assen crash, in which he fractured a bone in his right elbow, while Michel Fabrizio will also be fit to race following recent forearm surgery. Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati) is another rider to watch as he tries to transform his recent impressive qualifying form into positive race results. Meanwhile Makoto Tamada and Regis Laconi will be looking to make further progress at Monza after both ran comfortably inside the top 10 on their improving PSG-1 Corse Kawasaki ZX-10R machines.

FIM Supersport World Championship

The Dutch Round of the championship saw a return to the classic 'wild bunch' battles of the past, and at one stage 13 riders were all within the space of 3 seconds up at the front. Six were in with a chance of victory on the final lap, but in the end the win, his second of the year, went to Australian Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) who burst out of the final chicane on the last lap to get the better of team-mate Jonathan Rea, who had led for much of the race. Despite a Ten Kate 1-2, the result was in no way a foregone conclusion however and a number of other riders were all in with a chance of the win.

Starting with Joan Lascorz (Glaner Motocard.com Honda), whose third place was another impressive result for a man who this year is racing on a private Honda machine. The 23-year-old from Spain now leads the table from Pitt by a margin of 20 points. Broc Parkes and Fabien Foret (Yamaha World Supersport) took fifth and fourth place respectively at Assen, but were slightly outgunned by the Honda machines. Joshua Brookes (Hannspree Stiggy Motorsport Honda) was back on the pace at the last round, but his fifth place is now coming under attack from two British riders, Rea and Parkalgar Racing Honda's Craig Jones, also a potential winner in the Netherlands.

Superstock 1000 FIM Cup

The Superstock 1000 classification has taken on an unfamiliar look, as two possible title winners Claudio Corti (Yamaha Motor Italia Junior Team) and Brendan Roberts (Ducati Xerox Junior Team) both made errors and crashed out of the second round at Assen. As a result the race win and points leadership went to 18 year-old Maxime Berger (Hannspree IDS Ten Kate Honda). The Frenchman, who dominated last year's Superstock 600 series, has immediately got to grips with the 1000 category and with Sebastien Charpentier as his team manager, he now has a promising future in this championship as well. Belgium's Xavier Simeon (Alstare Suzuki) is just a couple of points behind his French rival, with Michele Pirro (Yamaha Lorenzini by Leoni) the same distance away from second place. Italians Davide Giugliano (Cruciani Suzuki) and former champion Alessandro Polita (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati) are currently in fourth and fifth place respectively, while the ultra-fast Monza circuit will probably be another penalizing track for Rene Maehr on the bright orange KTM RC8.

European 600 Superstock Championship

Two races down and two different winners in Superstock 600 as well, as the 19-year-old ex-250 GP rider Dan Linfoot (Beowulf Racing Yamaha) from the UK takes over at the top from 15-year-old French youngster Loris Baz (YZF Yamaha Junior Team). Italian Daniele Beretta (Cruciani Moto Suzuki Italia) will be looking to do well in front of his home crowd, while Patrick Vostarek (Intermoto) from the Czech Republic is the first Honda rider in the table in fourth place.

About Monza

The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is a place that has always produced outstanding racing, slipstreaming action at speeds of over 300 kph, demon late braking moves and uncertainty right down to the line. It is located near the town of Monza, north of Milan and is one of the most historic motor racing circuits in the world. It is notable for the fact that riders are on full throttle for a higher-than-average percentage of the lap due to its long straights and is clearly the fastest circuit on the WSBK calendar. Noriyuki Haga set a new record lap for motorcycles in Superpole last year, 1'44.941 (198.729 km/h) on a Yamaha, while Michel Fabrizio clocked 322.7 km/h at the end of the pit straight on a Honda, the highest speed ever reached by a production-based Superbike in the world championship.

-credit: worldsbk.com

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Carlos Checa , Troy Bayliss , Andrew Pitt , Noriyuki Haga , Broc Parkes , Gregorio Lavilla , Ruben Xaus , Fonsi Nieto , Troy Corser , Fabien Foret , Craig Jones , Michel Fabrizio , Jakub Smrz , Lorenzo Lanzi , Sébastien Charpentier , Max Neukirchner , Jonathan Rea , Xavier Simeon , Claudio Corti , Alessandro Polita , Daniele Beretta , Davide Giugliano , Josh Brookes , Maxime Berger , Brendan Roberts , Laconi Régis , Joan Lascorz , Loris Baz , Dan Linfoot , Phillip Island