WINSTON MEN HEAD FOR HIGH-SPEED ENCOUNTER Winston Ten Kate Honda's two World Superbike championship riders, Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge, head for the high-speed circuit of Monza this weekend for round four of the 2005 season. The ...
WINSTON MEN HEAD FOR HIGH-SPEED ENCOUNTER
Winston Ten Kate Honda's two World Superbike championship riders, Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge, head for the high-speed circuit of Monza this weekend for round four of the 2005 season. The Australian pair left the third round at Valencia, Spain recently after contrasting weekends - Vermeulen with two second places and Muggeridge with two non-finishes.
With a motorsport heritage like no other circuit on the SBK calendar, Monza presents entirely different challenges to the tight and twisty Valencia. Long straights at the 5.8km track that lies 15km from Milan produce intriguing slip-stream battles and speeds that are likely to exceed 320kph.
Ronald ten Kate - team manager:
"On Tuesday and Wednesday we will be testing a new exhaust system with our partners at Arrow. It's been designed for the high-speed characteristics of the Monza circuit and we hope it will work well for us this weekend. Chris's two second places at the last round were good for the team and at Valencia we found the right direction to go with our new front forks; since then our engineers having been working hard with WP technicians to start with some good settings for Monza. Despite what many people think, Monza is not all about having a fast engine. We need a good set-up to give the riders confidence through the high-speed corners and the Ascari chicane, which has its own special set-up requirements."
Chris Vermeulen - championship position 3rd, 90 points:
"I've just had a good scan on the wrist that I broke at the end of last season and I'm really looking forward to Monza - it's a special place and always a great event on the SBK calendar. It's a fast track, and technical, but in a different way to Valencia and I've had some decent results there in the past. Last year was our first on the CBR1000RR and I managed to lead race one for a while until clutch problems dropped me back to fourth. Then I finished second in race two, but we were excluded because of a technical problem. With a year of development behind us, the Honda should be strong at Monza, although Troy (Corser) is bound to be fast again. Brakes are really important here but hopefully, the issues we've had with the front of the bike in the first three rounds won't create so many problems."
Karl Muggeridge - championship position 16th, 15 points:
"As they say, Valencia was not a good weekend for me - just one to forget. I left feeling pretty sore with a sprained right ankle and thigh muscle from the second race crash but I've had some rest and I'm feeling fine now. I would've gladly taken those points from a safe seventh place in Valencia and I'd eased off a bit just to bring it home. But now we head to Monza - it's a place I like and I've some good memories from winning the Supersport race last year. I've spent a lot of days thinking about how the CBR1000RR will work there and I reckon we should be OK. As long as we can stop the bike coming up as fast as it has been and gas it out of the corners well, speed won't be a problem. I'm still getting used to the bike I guess, and we've still got work to do, but I'm definitely feeling positive about it."
Monza World Superbike event schedule: Friday 6 May - 10.30-11.30 free practice, 14.15-15.15 qualifying; Saturday 7 May - 11.00-12.00 qualifying, 14.45-15.45 free practice, 16.00 Superpole; Sunday 9 May - 09.20-09.40 warm- up, 12.00 race one (18 laps, 104.274km), 15.30 race two (18 laps, 104.274km).