Utah: Series preview

Riders enthusiastic about return of World Superbike to USA With one week to go before World Superbike returns to the USA for the first time in four years, the championship regulars have been giving their opinions about the Miller Motorsports...

Riders enthusiastic about return of World Superbike to USA

With one week to go before World Superbike returns to the USA for the first time in four years, the championship regulars have been giving their opinions about the Miller Motorsports Park circuit not far from Salt Lake City and gearing up for what promises to be a spectacular sixth round of the championship on the new 3.048 miles (4.876 kilometre) track.

This will be the third different venue for the USA Round after previous World Superbike events held at Brainerd (Minnesota) from 1989 to 1991, and at Laguna Seca (California) from 1995 to 2004.

None of the current crop of WSBK riders have raced at the state-of-the-art Miller circuit, which was opened in 2006, so first practice next Friday will be an unknown factor for all concerned. However all have expressed enormous enthusiasm about racing at one of the safest, most advanced and fastest track layouts in North America.

Double WSBK champion Troy Bayliss' American experience began in 2000 when he set pole position at the Daytona 200 Miles event, before Ducati Corse moved the Australian to the World Championship that year as replacement for the injured Carl Fogarty.

"I miss America and so am happy to be going back there" declared the Ducati Xerox rider. "In one way I'm sorry we're not going back to Laguna, a track I enjoyed and know well but, having said that, I met the owner and designer of the Miller track while at Assen and saw the layout and it looks like a great track too. To be honest that is about all I know of the track at the moment, it looks pretty safe but might also get very dusty so we'll have to see when we get there. I have good memories of racing in America, I guess my last visit was when I was in GP and I did ok so yeah, I'm looking forward to going back there again!"

Another two-times champion Troy Corser, together with Ben Bostrom, Anthony Gobert and John Kocinski, is a three-time winner of the USA Round, and he returns to the country where he won the AMA title back in 1994, the first non-American to do so.

"I am looking forward to going back again; it was always a nice race in America" said the Yamaha Motor Italia WSB man. "From all I've heard and seen, the track we are going to is well designed and safe. It should be all good. I still keep in contact with a lot of people over there, sponsors and friends and so on. More so now because they all know we're coming back and they want to come and see the race again! I made a lot of friends over there and we have been keeping contact by e-mail. It's great to be going back to the States again, for the championship and for me personally."

Carlos Checa is a rider who has had more recent US racing experience than most, having campaigned three different MotoGP machines in three years at Laguna Seca from 2005 to 2007.

"I'm looking forward to racing in America again. Its always a good place to go and I try to get there a couple of days ahead and visit friends and do some climbing or cycling" commented the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider. "I have always raced at Laguna Seca, so the Miller track will be a completely new experience for me and I heard it is a very fast track. Then again, it will be new to all the riders in the competition. I think the USA is a good place for the Championship and it needs to be included in the World Superbike Championship. Any credible World Championship should have at least one event in the United States."

Max Biaggi, who has also raced at Laguna Seca in MotoGP, is convinced that the new venue is a safe circuit and in time that the event will become a success.

"I've just watched it on the Internet and seen some pictures" declared the Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati rider. "It looks like it's similar to European-standard tracks which is good. It's not like the American tracks which are not so safe and not so wide. When we started racing in America the sport was not that popular but in the last few years that we raced there a lot of people started to come and there were more people involved from the star-system who came close to this sport. Unfortunately where we go is in Utah, which is very far away, it's not like California. We'll see, it's the first time there and it depends a lot on what people expect from this kind of event. With time however, I think people will also go there."

The sixth round of the HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship, StriVectin-SD USA Round presented by HANNspree will take place over the weekend of May 30/31 -- June 1.

-credit: worldsbk.com

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Anthony Gobert , Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Troy Bayliss , Troy Corser , Carl Fogarty , Ben Bostrom