SUPERBIKES RETURN TO EUROPE After the opening rounds in Qatar and Australia, the World Superbike championship returns to Europe this weekend at the tight and twisty Ricardo Tormo Circuit just outside Valencia in Spain where Winston Ten Kate ...
SUPERBIKES RETURN TO EUROPE
After the opening rounds in Qatar and Australia, the World Superbike championship returns to Europe this weekend at the tight and twisty Ricardo Tormo Circuit just outside Valencia in Spain where Winston Ten Kate Honda riders Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge will be looking to build on their development of the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
With third and fourth placings in the two Phillip Island races last time out, 22-year-old Vermeulen retained fourth position in the championship; meanwhile his fellow Australian and team-mate Muggeridge was unable to maximise fully on a strong qualifying performance and his first Superpole event, finishing in eighth place in the first outing but crashing out in race two.
Ronald ten Kate - team manager:
"Although the CBR's engine specification is pretty much as we used in Australia, we have some new chassis parts to test here at Valencia and quite a lot of different options to go for. We'll be using the practice sessions to test those parts on one bike and use the other with settings from our successful test here in March. Our aim here is clearly to move forward to regular podium finishes and, if all goes well, we should be battling for wins from here on."
Chris Vermeulen - championship position 4th, 21 points:
"Phillip Island was good, especially after starting on the third row, but we had some chassis issues which we'll hopefully resolve with some new components in Valencia. The forks we're using this year are virtually prototype so we're still learning a lot about how to get them working really well. I'm looking forward to the weekend because we enjoyed a productive test here last month, which was our first real opportunity to get some time on the bike; and, despite an electronics problem in race one last year, I did OK in our very first outing here on the Fireblade."
Karl Muggeridge - championship position 12th, 7 points:
"I can't wait to have another go at Valencia after a kind of mixed time in Australia. Practice and qualifying went OK there - making those steady improvements I'm looking for, and then getting through my first Superpole in sixth. But race day at Phillip Island wasn't so good, with a crash in warm-up and a couple of difficult races. At least I was able to put that out of my mind when Isabelle and I got married the following Friday and then had four days off. But now I'm just focused on Valencia, testing some new chassis and clutch parts and getting back to business."
Valencia World Superbike event schedule: Friday 22 April - 10.30-11.30 free practice, 14.15-15.15 qualifying; Saturday 23 April - 11.00-12.00 qualifying, 14.45-15.45 free practice, 16.00 Superpole; Sunday 24 April - 09.20-09.40 warm-up, 12.00 race one (23 laps, 92.115km), 15.30 race two (23 laps, 92.115km).
World Superbike championship points after two of 12 rounds: 1 Troy Corser AUS (Suzuki) 91, 2 Yukio Kagayama JPN (Suzuki) 85, 3 Regis Laconi FRA (Ducati) 54, 4 Chris Vermeulen AUS (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 50, 5 Max Neukirchner GER (Honda) 37, 6 Norick Abe JPN (Yamaha) 33, 7 Andrew Pitt AUS (Yamaha) 31, 8 James Toseland GBR (Ducati) 22, 9 Giovanni Bussei ITA (Kawasaki) 20, 10 Fonsi Nieto ESP (Ducati) 17, 12 Karl Muggeridge AUS (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 15.