Bayliss homes in on third World Superbike title at Vallelunga This coming weekend will be the second time the Superbike World Championship makes its appearance at the Autodromo 'Piero Taruffi' di Vallelunga following the success of the inaugural...
Bayliss homes in on third World Superbike title at Vallelunga
This coming weekend will be the second time the Superbike World Championship makes its appearance at the Autodromo 'Piero Taruffi' di Vallelunga following the success of the inaugural 2007 event. Whereas last year three riders were still in with a realistic shout at the title, this time round the title run-in looks a little more clear-cut, with Ducati Xerox's Australian rider Troy Bayliss in with a good chance of taking his third world crown this weekend.
Bayliss in fact has a 101-point lead, but with 150 points remaining on the board from the last three rounds, it looks increasingly unlikely that any of his closest pursuers can prevent him from taking the title. The simplest solution for Troy to take the title, not an easy one even though he has already done it three times this year, is that he wins both races, or even finish first and second. Another possibility is that he doesn't lose any points to his adversaries (as he did at Donington), or that he loses a specific amount to each of the chasing quartet. In Troy Corser's case, it's 1 point, with Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) it's 5, with Carlos Checa (Honda) 18 and with Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) 28. If this happens, Bayliss will be champion.
The battle for the runner-up slot is becoming interesting. Recent races have seen Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB) the man on form, and the 36 year-old from Wollongong has risen to second place with a string of excellent mid-season results. Four points behind on 254 is Max Neukirchner (Alstare Suzuki), whose championship hopes have faded somewhat recently, but the 25 year-old German has already earned numerous plaudits this year. Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) has been overtaken in number of wins by his team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari and Vallelunga will be an unknown quantity for him in his rookie year.
Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB) is in fifth place on 230 points, a good 40 or so clear of the three-way battle for sixth between Fonsi Nieto (Suzuki Alstare), Max Biaggi (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati) and Kiyonari. Rome-born Biaggi won one of the races at Vallelunga in 2007 and will be aiming to get off the mark this time around on his private 1098 machine, a result that may not be such a remote possibility given his recent run of four podiums in the last four rounds.
Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox), who hails from nearby, will have considerable local support as well as he attempts to move up the field from ninth place in the remaining rounds, while BMW-destined Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati) showed at Donington that he can still get on the podium but this time round will be aiming to remain there.
Such is the wealth of competitive talent in this year's Superbike World Championship that the Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse pairing of Regis Laconi and Makoto Tamada are struggling way outside the top 10, in seventeenth and eighteenth place, with just one point between them in the last four rounds.
FIM Supersport World Championship
With three rounds left and 75 points up for grabs in Supersport, Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) is well on his way to a second world title following on from the one he won in 2001. The Australian has a 31-point lead over his compatriot Joshua Brookes (Hannspree Stiggy Motorsport Honda), who took his first win since 2004 at Donington and who will be now trying to upstage Pitt. Jonathan Rea has also impressed this year on the second Ten Kate machine, the youngster notching up two successive wins to lie firmly in third place. Beyond these three Honda riders, it is difficult to see anyone else get a look in, with the Yamaha World Supersport attack decimated due to Fabien Foret's crash and injuries at Brno and Broc Parkes's recent form. The remaining battle for an eventual top 5 place could go to either Joan Lascorz (Glaner Motocard.com Honda) or the on-form Dutchman Barry Veneman (RES Software Suzuki).
Both the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup and the European 600 Superstock Championship take a break at Vallelunga but will return for the penultimate rounds of their respective series at Magny-Cours in October.
The Autodromo Vallelunga "Piero Taruffi" is located near the town of Campagnano, in the countryside on the northern outskirts of Rome. It was built in 1951, but has been completely overhauled and modernized to meet with today's standards. Track extension work was carried out in 2005 to help completely revamp the circuit and the track now measures 4.110 km. The new layout has received FIA and FIM homologation and has also become the venue for numerous international car and bike tests. In 2007 Vallelunga once again hosted an international event with the arrival of the Superbike World Championship.