Mixed results for HANNspree Ten Kate Honda HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's James Toseland extended his Superbike World Championship lead at Monza today, while team-mate Roberto Rolfo secured his best result of the season so far. Both riders...
Mixed results for HANNspree Ten Kate Honda
HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's James Toseland extended his Superbike World Championship lead at Monza today, while team-mate Roberto Rolfo secured his best result of the season so far. Both riders suffered mixed fortunes in the two 18-lap races at the 5.793km track in front of a crowd of 108,000 spectators.
Race one saw the HANNspree Ten Kate Honda riders dominate the top three for the majority of the race. Toseland fought his way to the front immediately and entered into an exhilarating cat and mouse chase for the top spot with Noriyuki Haga. However, the British rider began to lose pace as his rear tyre deteriorated and he ended the race in fourth position behind Haga, Troy Bayliss and Max Biaggi.
Rolfo put in his best performance to date with an impressive display of riding that thrilled his home crowd. The Italian rider maintained station in the leading pack for the entire race and was heading for a podium finish when a problem with the fuel supply forced him to retire on the final lap.
Race two saw the fortunes of the HANNspree Ten Kate Honda riders take a turn for the better as they joined the front runners in two separate battles. Toseland was involved in a race-long tussle with Haga for the top spot, while Rolfo entered into a three-way battle with Bayliss and Biaggi for the third place on the podium. Bayliss just got the better of the Italian duo, but was unable to close in on Toseland despite a convincing attack in the final seconds.
Toseland crossed the line in second place to further extend his championship lead with a 229-point tally. Rolfo came in fourth ahead of Biaggi to secure his highest-ever World Superbike finish. He remains in ninth position in the standings with 77 points.
Ronald ten Kate:
"At the end of the day I think we can be reasonably happy with the results. In race one we had some big problems with tyre wear on both riders' bikes and also with Roby's fuel supply. Yesterday we changed the engine on hs bike and in the morning session we watched very carefully to see how much fuel it was using. It looked to be the same as the previous engine, so we didn't think there would be a problem. For whatever reason this was not the case and the bike used a lot more fuel than we had anticipated. For the second race we just adjusted the fuel setting and the injection side of things and it was perfect - we didn't have any problems.
"I am very, very happy with Roby and I hope this will boost his confidence so that he can become a front runner for the rest of the season. James is still leading the championship and in fact he has extended his lead even further. This is particularly good when you are up against a rider like Haga, who has been on top form this weekend. Next we go to James' home country and I am hoping for a huge crowd to offer him support in his quest for the double win."
"Trying to keep up with Noriyuki in race two was tough - I don't know what he's eaten today but whatever it is I want some of it! In race one we went for the gamble with the medium tyre but it didn't pay off. For the last five laps the tyre had gone and I just couldn't keep up with the pack. For race two we changed to the harder tyre, although we didn't have the perfect set-up to go with it. That last lap was pretty tough but if I'm honest it felt good to get Troy back for that move at Assen, albeit for second position and not first! It was a great race."
"Race one was going so well for me, but I just needed it to be one lap less to be perfect! I have found a very good feeling on the bike at Monza this weekend. After the second race in Assen we modified the set-up of the bike to better suit my riding style. The start of race one was very, very good, but in the end it wasn't to be. Race two also started well and I really enjoyed the battle with Bayliss, Corser and Biaggi. We changed positions many times in each lap and it was great to race with the front runners. I want to thank the team because they have supported me and done everything that I have asked in changing the bike set-up. I think we have found the right set-up for me and I cannot wait for the next race."