MORE ACTION EXPECTED AT PHILLIP ISLAND FOR SUPERBIKE ROUND 2 The second round of the 2008 HANNspree Superbike World Championship takes place this weekend at the Phillip Island Circuit in Australia, just one week after a spectacular start to the...
MORE ACTION EXPECTED AT PHILLIP ISLAND FOR SUPERBIKE ROUND 2
The second round of the 2008 HANNspree Superbike World Championship takes place this weekend at the Phillip Island Circuit in Australia, just one week after a spectacular start to the season in Qatar.
Thrilling racing was seen in both World Superbike and World Supersport and more of the same is expected this weekend for round 2. Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) took the first win of the year at Losail, and the first win for the Ducati 1098, after an exciting battle with Max Biaggi on an identical Sterilgarda Go Eleven machine, while Fonsi Nieto swept to his maiden Superbike win on the powerful Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000 in race 2. In Supersport Fabien Foret gifted the win to his Yamaha World Supersport team-mate Broc Parkes after running out of fuel on the final lap.
With plenty of Australian riders fighting for contention in both categories, above all Bayliss and Corser in Superbike, a large partisan crowd is expected this weekend at the splendid Phillip Island track.
The first race winners of the season were Ducati's Troy Bayliss and Suzuki's Fonsi Nieto. The two riders' respective team managers Davide Tardozzi and Giacomo Guidotti, gave their view on the opening races.
"We are very pleased with the result of the first race. We didn't expect to be so competitive, especially because as the Suzuki showed in race 2, we think the four-cylinder bikes are still the favourites, at least at the Losail circuit" declared Tardozzi. "As for Phillip Island, I think things will be a bit different because we are sure that our bike, both judging from the past and the winter tests, adapts well to this track ...and also because Troy makes all the difference!"
"As for the race in Qatar, we're still clearly on a high, but we are starting to 'mindset' again for Phillip Island. We only expected to be in the leading group, to be close to the front but not to win. We were very pleased with the performance of our rider and our bike, and the tyres worked perfectly" said Guidotti. "We did six days of testing in the winter at Phillip Island, three with the new bike, which formed the basis for the bike that won in Qatar and which we have here. The engine is very powerful, with a controlled delivery, and is very good at getting the power down. This is our current package".
The opening round of World Supersport sprung more than one surprise that regarded two of the top teams in the category. Yamaha factory rider Broc Parkes may have inherited the win from team-mate Foret but he had to fight for it on the last lap and the Aussie will be going for more of the same in front of his home crowd. Meanwhile over at HANNspree Ten Kate Honda, both Jonathan Rea and Andrew Pitt will be fit to race after picking up gashes and bruises in their lap 2 eliminating crash. Joan Lascorz from Spain looked promising on the Honda Glaner machine in the later stages, as did Craig Jones (Parkalgar Honda) in the early laps, while Aussies Garry McCoy and Mark Aitchison will also be working hard to get their new Triumph 675 machines up to the required speed and reliability levels.
About the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
The Phillip Island circuit is one of the most spectacular tracks on the racing calendar. Situated on the picturesque Phillip Island, a couple of hours drive south of Melbourne, it offers a superb mix of fast and slow corners, which blend together to produce a very high average lap speed. It measures 4.445 km and has a total of 12 corners, 7 left- and 5 right-handers. Turn 11 is one of the corners that makes all the difference, the long fast left-hander allowing riders to lay the bike into the corner while still hard on the throttle and head for the line at over 300 km/h for a sprint finish.
Race -- Troy Corser (Yamaha) 1'31.826 (2007)
Superpole -- Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 1'31.887 (2007)
Best lap -- Troy Corser (Yamaha) 1'31.826 (2007).
The Australian Round of the HANNspree Superbike World Championship takes place from Friday 29 February to Sunday 2 March. The action starts with World Supersport and World Superbike free practice and qualifying the first two days, followed by WSBK Superpole on Saturday at 16.00. The two 22-lap Superbike races are scheduled to run on Sunday at 12.00 and 15.30, with the 21-lap Superbike race in between at 13.20 local time.