Neukirchner and Haga share the wins in spectacular day of World Superbike action at Monza Max Neukirchner (Alstare Suzuki) and Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) shared the wins in the IDS Italian Round of the HANNspree FIM Superbike World...
Neukirchner and Haga share the wins in spectacular day of World Superbike action at Monza
Max Neukirchner (Alstare Suzuki) and Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) shared the wins in the IDS Italian Round of the HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in front of a record crowd of 112,000 spectators.
Race 1: The first-ever win for a German rider in World Superbike history came at the end of a sprint finish to the line with Haga, just 0.058 seconds behind at the flag. The final podium place went to championship leader Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) after a late attack by Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki Alstare), who finished fourth despite a couple of errors at the chicane. Max Biaggi (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati) recovered from ninth on the grid to finish fifth. The first Honda to the line was the Hannspree Ten Kate version of Ryuichi Kiyonari in sixth, ahead of Fonsi Nieto (Suzuki Alstare) and Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), who lost time at the start after a clash with Nieto. The Spanish rider was relegated to the back of the field but recovered to finish eighth.
Max Neukirchner: "It's the first win by a German rider in World Superbike and I'm really happy about that. My team did a great job this weekend. Our engine for sure is very fast, Suzuki have done a lot of development work on it. I felt the pressure all the way through the race, but once Yukio made a little mistake, I thought 'great! Now I can try and do it alone!"
Noriyuki Haga: "I tried so many times to push but it was difficult to pass Max, but anyway I really enjoyed the race. It was very close but in the straights it seems like my engine is a 250 and Max has 1200! We will have to try and look for some more horses in race 2!"
Troy Bayliss: "I was just missing a little bit of feel there, also I was maybe missing a little bit of jump in the gearing out of the slow corners but I can't take it away from these guys, and in the end I was happy to take third position and increase my points lead."
Results: 1. Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R1000 32'02.851 (195,224 kph); 2. Haga N. (JPN) Yamaha YZF-R1 0.058; 3. Bayliss T. (AUS) Ducati 1098 F08 0.672; 4. Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R1000 0.771; 5. Biaggi M. (ITA) Ducati 1098 RS 08 3.869; 6. Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 5.995; 7. Nieto F. (ESP) Suzuki GSX-R1000 8.788; 8. Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 9.374; 9. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098 F08 10.667; 10. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098 RS 08 10.771; 11. Lavilla G. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 12.180; 12. Corser T. (AUS) Yamaha YZF-R1 14.719; 13. Nakatomi S. (JPN) Yamaha YZF-R1 32.734; 14. Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098 RS 08 36.550; 15. Gimbert S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF-R1 36.607; 16. Holland R. (AUS) Honda CBR1000RR 52.46.
Race 2: Haga took the win over Neukirchner in the second race rematch, which saw a three-rider sprint for the line. This time the gap between the two was even smaller, 0.009 seconds, the fifth closest finish in the history of Superbike. But today's two winners were almost edged out at the end by an extraordinary Kiyonari (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) who was in front as they braked for the final entry into the Parabolica. Fourth place went to Nieto (Suzuki Alstare), who was also up at the front for much of the race. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) brought the first Ducati home in fifth place after a good recovery, ahead of Karl Muggeridge (DF Racing Honda) and Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati). A engine problem brought an end to the race of Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) while the Australian was lying third. Both Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Biaggi (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati) retired, the Italian after a contact with Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati), in which he picked up a suspected fractured little finger and a cut on the ring finger of his left hand.
Noriyuki Haga: "Actually I couldn't change anything for the engine but I just made a few changes to the suspension and that was better than the first race for the feeling. On that last lap I was thinking about what I had to do to win, my head was totally blank but I arrived at the line and couldn't believe the gap, 0.009 seconds. Monza is special for me, here is our home track and I have been thinking for all last week that I must win. During the weekend I couldn't find the right feeling but yesterday my engineer and suspension engineer made a good combination and I was able to enjoy the riding."
Max Neukirchner: "I am sure Nori changed something between the two races and he did it really well because he was really quick in the corners. OK, I was a little bit faster on the straights, but I'm happy to be on the podium again, it's been a great weekend."
Ryuichi Kiyonari: "I am very happy with my results but thinking back I think I missed some chances. I thought it was possible to win and I tried everything on that final lap, but unfortunately I ran wide on the exit of the Parabolica and that stopped me from winning because Haga had the better line."
First triumph of the season for Fabien Foret (Yamaha World Supersport), who won ahead of two Australian riders Joshua Brookes (Hannspree Stiggy Motors Honda) and Broc Parkes (Yamaha World Supersport). The Frenchman recovered from a poor start and after taking over at the front of the field from Parkes, comfortably managed to hold off Brookes to the flag. Fourth place went to Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) who beat a group of four riders to the line - Robbin Harms (Hannspree Stiggy Motors Honda), Craig Jones (Parkalgar Honda), Massimo Roccoli (Yamaha Lorenzini by Leoni ) and Matthieu Lagrive (Intermoto Czech Honda). Championship leader Joan Lascorz (Glaner Motocard.com Honda) managed to score some points with a positive second half of the race, the Spaniard finishing ninth and holding onto his lead.
A multiple crash at the first chicane immediately after the start eliminated most of the chief candidates for the win, with the exception of Xavier Simeon (Alstare Suzuki). With Claudio Corti (Yamaha Motor Italia Junior Team), Michele Pirro (Yamaha Lorenzini by Leoni), Davide Giugliano (Cruciani Suzuki) and Maxime Berger (Hannspree IDS Ten Kate Honda) out of contention, it was an easy win for the Belgian rider. He was followed to the line by Matej Smrz (MS Racing Honda) who edged out Alex Polita (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati) for the runner-up slot. Fourth place went to Brendan Roberts (Ducati Xerox Junior Team) ahead of Michele Magnoni (Yamaha Lorenzini by Leoni).
Young French star Loris Baz (YZF Yamaha Junior Team) moved back into the lead of the championship with his second win in three races. Baz took the win on aggregate after the race had been stopped on lap 4 for a multiple crash at the Ascari curve and then restarted. Baz held off attacks from Marco Bussolotti (Yamaha Motor Italia Junior Team), Daniele Beretta (Cruciani Suzuki) and Danilo Petrucci (Yamaha Team Trasimeno), who finished in that order. Previous 600 points leader Dan Linfoot (StoneBaker Yamaha) had a series of engine problems and failed to start the third round.