The stunning new Motorland Aragon track - scene of the 13th round of this year's MotoGP championship - is to get a full time spot on the World Championship calendar. According to reports from Spain, the Aragon track is due to sign a contract to host the World Superbike series from 2011 through 2013 on Wednesday.
The deal does not mean that there will be two rounds of World Superbikes in Spain. Instead, the reports (such as the one in leading Spanish magazine Motociclismo.es) state that the Spanish round will switch from Valencia to Motorland Aragon. WSBK's departure from Valencia is believed to come after pressure from some of the parties involved in MotoGP put pressure on the Ricardo Tormo circuit not to stage World Superbikes. The Communitat Valenciana (the regional government) has very close ties to MotoGP and Dorna, and may have elected to put its support behind the MotoGP series, rather than splitting resources over both MotoGP and World Superbikes.
In racing time, Leon Haslam is about a million years old. Born into a racing family, the 26 year-old Englishman has competed on everything from motocross to 500 GP bikes and he has the resume of a much older rider. It seems like the "Pocket Rocket" has been on the scene forever. Since starting his Superbike career in 2003, the one thing that Haslam has lacked has been the Really Good Ride. This year, after a 2009 season spent punching way above his weight on the privateer Stiggy Honda team, Haslam has that good ride with the factory backed Alstare Suzuki team and he's taking maximum advantage of the opportunity.
Aboard what WSBK commentator Steve Martin characterizes as a kinder, gentler version of the GSXR1000 superbike, Haslam has led the championship since the thrilling photo-finish that decided race one at Phillip Island. Last weekend, at what might be the last Superbike race at Kyalami ever, Haslam's third in race one and exciting win in race two put him 15 points ahead of his nearest rival, Alitalia Aprilia's Max Biaggi, and brought him a couple of small steps closer to the 2010 World Superbike title
Race 1 -- Ducks In A Row
It's the Monday after a World Superbike weekend again, and as always, that means that highlights of the weekend's races are up on the official World Superbike Youtube channel. So if you're looking for a way to get the adrenaline pumping again at the start of a week, then grab a coffee, take your phone off the hook and grab ten minutes of the scorching action from Kyalami. And if that isn't enough to kickstart your week, then MotoMatters.com strongly suggests you head on over to the website of Italian broadcaster La7, where they have both World Superbike races in full, albeit with Italian commentary. As an aperitif to tickle your fancy, WSBK race 1 is here, but if you want to watch 40 minutes of the kind of fairing-banging action that World Superbikes is famous for, then WSBK race 2 is here.
World Superbike race 1 highlights:
It is the fate of the World Superbike class to be ever surrounded in controversy. At the heart of the problem lies the so-called parity rules, the rules which have been drawn up to ensure that the different engine configurations can compete on a more or less level playing field. Each time these rules have been modified, there has been an outcry, and the latest switch - the expansion of the rules for twins to allow Ducati's 1200cc 1098 to compete in 2008 - was no exception. When the capacity for the four cylinders was raised to 1000cc, the Japanese factories raised an outcry, over the limited tuning they were allowed to do to the engines. But the expanded capacity made it much cheaper to run a four, making the (then 1000cc) Ducatis incredibly expensive to run, as they were full of lightweight components and needed constant revision.
Results and summary of World Superbike race 2 at Kyalami:
Results and summary of the World Supersport race at Kyalami:
Results and summary of World Superbike race 1 at Kyalami:
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Results and summary of Superpole at Kyalami:
The four cylinder bikes struck back during the final session of free practice at Kyalami, with Cal Crutchlow and Leon Haslam setting the fastest times of the session, less than five hundredths apart. The Sterilgarda Yamaha and Alstare Suzuki lead a bevy of Ducatis, though, with Michel Fabrizio ahead of Carlos Checa and Jakub Smrz.
Once again, Jonathan Green and Steve Martin join David Williams of OnTheThrottle for the usual wrap-up of news and reviews before this weekend's World Superike race from Kyalami. Informative and interesting as ever, get into the swing of Sunday's races by hearing what WSBK's official commentating team have to say.
The Czech rider Jakub Smrz sits on provisional pole before this afternoon's Superpole session at Kyalami, the Pata S&G rider taking over the lead from Xerox Ducati's Michel Fabrizio in the last few minutes of QP2. Fabrizio, who did not improve his time from yesterday, finished the two qualifying practice sessions as second fastest, ahead of Sterilgarda Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow, who also did not improve his time, and HANNSpree Ten Kate's Johnny Rea, who did better his time from yesterday, but only but a few hundredths. Championship leader Leon Haslam was 5th fastest, while his closest contender, Max Biaggi, was down in 8th.