2012 Magny-Cours World Superbike And World Supersport Previews
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams, as well as the WSBK press office, ahead of this weekend's season finale at Magny-Cours:
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Magny-Cours - Preview
Munich/Stephanskirchen, 1st October 2012. Stage set for the finale: Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport travels to Magny-Cours in the heart of France this weekend (5th to 7th October) for the final round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship. Having recently endured a few difficult races, the team and factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Leon Haslam (GBR) are out to return to the kind of success they enjoyed earlier in the season when they take to the track at the “Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours”. Marco and Leon have so far claimed six wins, 15 podium finishes and five fastest laps between them on their BMW S 1000 RRs.
BMW arrives at the season finale in second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship with 394 points – 28.5 points behind leader Aprilia. Marco is currently third in the Riders’ Championship with 308.5 points. This puts him 38.5 behind leader Max Biaggi (ITA). Leon is seventh on 189 points. Both stepped onto the podium in Magny-Cours last year: Marco finished runner-up in both races, while Leon came home in third and fourth on the RR.
Marco spent last week at home in Italy recovering from the injuries he picked up in Portimão (POR). He suffered two broken ribs and serious bruising to his back when he was hit by another bike after crashing at the start of the first race. However, there is nothing preventing him from starting in France. Meanwhile, Leon has fully recovered from the injuries he picked up in Moscow (RUS) and at the Nürburgring (GER).
Magny-Cours from the rider’s point of view:
“I spent the time after Portugal back home taking a rest and recovering from my injury. It still hurts, but I am feeling better with every day and cannot wait to head to Magny-Cours. The last two race Sundays were difficult, but they are behind us now and we are as motivated as ever to fight on. The final round of the season will definitely not be an easy one, as it is fiercely competitive at the front of the field. It is important for us to work hard from the first day on in order to prepare as well as possible for the races.
I like the Magny-Cours circuit. Last year I raced there for the first time and had two very good races. It is a difficult but interesting circuit, which offers a combination of everything. When I first rode there, it took me some time to find the best way of braking for the slow corners, but then I found a good feeling and was riding pretty fast. I also like it because the surface is very smooth. I had a lot of fun there last year and that is my target for this year, too. I want to enjoy the final round and finish the season with the best possible performance and the best possible results.”
“The recent race weekends have been difficult for me, so hopefully now my luck will change. I know we have had the pace to win races over the last three, four rounds. It is my last race weekend for BMW Motorrad, so I obviously want to finish strongly and, if possible, with a win. We will give 110 per cent, as always.
Magny-Cours always comes late on in the season so it is normally pretty cold. The track has a lot of hairpins and tight corners but also has a very fast back straight. It is quite technical and the weather is always a key point there, as the temperatures have been low there in recent years.”
Magny-Cours from a technical point of view:
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
“The best ever season for BMW Motorrad Motorsport will come to an end at Magny-Cours. It has been an amazing and difficult championship full of ups and downs. Our clear target is to finish it with great races and the best possible results. The track is a technical one and lacks a natural driving rhythm. It is a combination of everything, fast and slow corners, one of the slowest hairpins around, chicanes and a fast straight. It will be demanding for the riders and difficult for the team to find the best set-up. Another characteristic is its smooth surface, which is sensitive to the weather conditions and temperatures. Considering how quickly the weather could change at this time of the year this could be a key factor, so we must be ready for any conditions.
Marco is facing the most difficult time of the season; he is working very hard to recover from the injury he suffered in Portimão. We are confident that he will be fit and ready to fight with the top guys. He is very strong and this difficult time will give him extra motivation. He likes Magny-Cours, where he only missed out on winning both races by a matter of seconds last year. The whole team is behind him. For Leon, Magny-Cours will be his last race for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. We enjoyed the time together and we would really like to part ways with a big result. We all know what he is capable of achieving and he has good memories of Magny-Cours, where he got a fantastic podium last year. We all are confident that he will be able to fight for the podium again and the whole team will work hard to help him achieve this target.”
Magny-Cours from Pirelli’s point of view:
The slick solutions Pirelli will bring to Magny-Cours for the grand finale of the 2012 Superbike World Championship will be three on the front and just as many on the rear. These will be joined as always by the intermediate and wet tyres. The conditions of the French circuit are ideal for perfecting the 16.5’’ range which will be made available to British Superbike next year as well as to private consumers all over the world who want to continue using a racing range in these sizes.
For the front the brand with the long “P” will bring two SC1 solutions and one SC2. In fact, the riders will be able to choose the N1159 as the standard SC1, used in all the rounds so far this season, or the P1280 as an alternative development SC1, introduced for the first time at Donington and also used at Misano Adriatico, Aragón, Brno, Silverstone, the Nürburgring and Portimão because of its ability to provide better grip at low temperatures. The third and final option will be the P773, a mid-hard SC2 solution which has been available for all the races this season. For the rear, on the other hand, Pirelli is bringing one SC0 and two alternatives in an SC1 compound. The SC0 is the R548 which premiered at Misano and was also brought along to the Brno round and more recently to Portimão. The two SC1 solutions are the P1060 which was available for use in all the 2012 races except for Monza and Moscow, and the R302 development SC1, introduced during the Imola tests in April and then used at Donington, Miller, Aragón, Brno, Silverstone, Moscow, the Nürburgring and Portimão.
Magny-Cours is a town with a population of about 1,500 in the heart of France, around 250 kilometres south of Paris. It is located in a rural area in the region of Burgundy and belongs to the department of Nièvre, the capital of which – Nevers – is just a few kilometres away. Magny-Cours can look back on a motorsport tradition stretching back over half a century. The first racetrack in Magny-Cours, the “Circuit Jean Behra”, was opened in 1961. This triangular circuit staged international automobile races, including rounds of the Formula 2 series.
Back in the 1970s the development of the circuit was advocated by François Mitterrand, who went on to become the President of France. From a political point of view, this offered an opportunity to give the underdeveloped region an economic boost. The course was expanded and modified for the first time in 1971. After a financially difficult time, the new start came in 1989: the circuit was reopened as the “Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours” following more modifications. More work followed in 2002, during which the dangerous final combination of corners leading into the start/finish was made less hazardous. As well as the actual racetrack, today’s complex includes a club circuit, a kart track, a technology centre, a museum and a golf course.
From 1991 to 2008, Magny-Cours was a regular fixture on the Formula One calendar, hosting the French Grand Prix. Motorbike racing also enjoys a long tradition here: the “Bol d’Or” endurance classic, which has been held here since 2000, is particularly renowned. The FIM Superbike World Championship made its debut at the French circuit in 1991. However, it did not return to Magny-Cours until 2003. The championship has held races at the “Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours” every year since then.
The circuit is extremely demanding, with three hairpins giving it a unique stop-and-go character. It also features a mixture of fast and slow sections, corners and chicanes of differing severity, and a long straight. As such, the top speed, stability, steering response and braking of the BMW S 1000 RR are all key factors in Magny-Cours. The riders often approach the slowest corners they face all season at very high speeds, sometimes downhill. This applies in particular to the “Adelaide” hairpin, which comes at the end of the back straight and requires the riders to brake hard from over 280 km/h to under 50 km/h. Among the characteristics of the circuit is the smooth asphalt, which can become very slippery in low temperatures or rain. This is particularly important in autumn, as the weather at this time of year can change quickly. The teams and riders are faced with the challenge of finding the ideal set-up to not only cope with the unique layout of the circuit, but also the varying weather conditions.
Now a BMW Motorrad factory rider, Marco Melandri (ITA) made his first appearance in Magny-Cours last year and narrowly missed out on a brace of wins, finishing runner-up in both races. Leon Haslam (GBR) joined him on the podium after race one, finishing third on his BMW S 1000 RR, before going on to finish fourth in the second race. This made Magny-Cours his best race weekend last season.
Jules looking for home glory at season finale
PTR HONDA'S in-form Jules Cluzel is hoping to cap the 2013 World Supersport season with a home win at the 13th and final round at Magny Cours in France this Sunday 7th October.
Ronan Quarmby on his PTR Honda is still in contention for seventh in the Championship and will be doing his best to score as many points as possible. Riders PTR Honda's Martin Jessopp has battled all season to adapt his riding style to suit the 600 and is hoping to bring it all together at one of the few tracks he has ridden previously.
The race takes place at 1330 CET on Sunday 7th October.
Jules: "I am looking forward to this weekend, I can't wait. I have only ridden at Magny Cours back in 2005 in the French 125cc series. I have a good feeling there in 125cc. I need to learn the track with my PTR Honda and I am not scared about this. The hardest place to learn was Portimao and I was quick and won there, which is encouraging. Lots of my family and fans will attend and there is no pressure on me as I am assured second in the Championship. I will just try to win the race and make the fastest lap as well to win that award if I can."
Ronan: "Magny Cours is a nice track, and last year I finished 10th so I have a good pace there. I am really psyched for France. I want to get a good set up early and then make tiny changes - I don't want to make big changes anymore. I will try to finish seventh in the Championship. That is my target and I have really been putting time and effort in to my fitness so it should be good this weekend."
Martin: "I can't believe the season has gone so quick. I did practice and qualifying at Magny Cours last year and I really enjoyed the track. It is nice to be going to a track I know. I think that I will be taking some more risks than normal as I will really be pushing the boat out to get a good result this weekend."
Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "Jules is in great form and really looking forward to racing at his home event. He has little experience at Magny Cours but as he has shown all season, he learns quickly and now that the pressure of the Championship is off, we expect him to be challenging right at the front and it would be great to end the season with another victory. Ronan is targeting seventh but will need one of his best results of the season to achieve it. Martin continues to improve with every race and deserves more points for his efforts."
Lowes ready for season finale at Magny Cours
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's Sam Lowes will take part in the thirteenth and final round of the World Supersport Championship at Magny Cours in France this weekend, while still in contention for third in the overall standings and aiming to finish the season with a win.
His Bogdanka PTR Honda teammate and World Supersport rookie, Mathew Scholtz, heads to Magny Cours fresh from equalling his season's best result, a tenth position, last time out at Portimao, and will be looking to end the year with a career best result on another new circuit.
The Bogdanka Honda PTR squad will again be joined by the Portuguese veteran, Miguel Praia, who takes over from the Polish youngster, Adrian Pasek, who raced for the team at Portimao. Having raced for Bogdanka Honda PTR at the Nurburgring and just missing out on 15th position, Praia will be aiming for a point scoring finish when the race starts on Sunday at 13:30 CET.
Sam Lowes: "Magny Cours is a circuit that I like and it suits my style so I'm looking forward to going there and doing a good race, the last race of the season. This season was very good at some points and not so good in others, so I'm looking forward to a big finish and want to win the last race. I've been training hard and can't wait to get there really. For me the aim is always to be a Champion so I'm not thinking at all about if I finish third or fourth overall and all I want is to win the last race of the season."
Mathew Scholtz: "Magny Cours will be another new circuit for me but it looks fun and I'm really looking forward to ending my first World Supersport season on a high. I want to improve on my best result and finish inside the top ten again. I've been training hard recently and can't wait to get back on my Bogdanka PTR Honda for the last time this season."
Miguel Praia: "I'm really keen to go back to Magny Cours with the Bogdanka Honda PTR team. I'm feeling much more confident now than ahead of Nurburgring having had some track time with the bike and team under my belt. We've just missed out on the points in Germany so the goal is to score some strong points on Sunday with this bike. We've done a good job in Germany and I'm really happy about teaming up again. To be honest, Magny Cours isn't my favourite track but it doesn't really matter and I'm looking forward to a good weekend."
Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "Sam is fourth in the Championship and determined to do all he can to finish third. It will all come down to this race and he knows what he has got to do and we'll be behind him the whole way. Mathew is starting to pull together some promising results and we are looking for another top 10 finish this weekend to finish the season on a positive."
Superbike face-off at Magny-Cours for Biaggi, Sykes and Melandri
Rome (Italy), 1 October 2012 – Three riders and three different manufacturers will be facing off on Sunday in the final showdown at Magny-Cours for the 2012 eni FIM Superbike World Championship titles. Not for the first time will the French circuit play host to the championship’s grand finale, which this time sees two Italians, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorad Motorsport) and a British rider, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), currently second in the standings, mathematically still in with a chance of winning.
The last round in Portugal, which produced a number of surprises and upsets, saw Max Biaggi gain ground on his rivals and the 41-year-old from Rome now has 347 points, against 316.5 for Sykes and 308.5 for Melandri. The 30 year-old from Ravenna was involved in a crash that eliminated him from race 1 and he cracked a couple of ribs in the process, but since then he has embarked on an intensive recovery programme in order not to miss out on the final encounter.
The current standings show that Biaggi can easily win the sixth world title in his career, his second in Superbike, with just two sixth places. Even if Sykes takes a double win (50 points), Biaggi just needs 20 to take the title. Judging from his previous form there, the title is within easy reach: he has raced eight times at Magny-Cours and has always finished in the top 6, with four podiums to his name and a win in 2010 when he got the better of Cal Crutchlow in a ferocious duel after he had already clinched the title.
Tom Sykes on the other hand has never finished higher than eighth, with three crashes to his name. The Kawasaki has improved massively throughout the season however and Sykes has taken three of his four race victories in 2012. Marco Melandri only raced at Magny-Cours last season, twice finishing runner-up after two terrific recoveries.
In twenty-five editions of the Superbike World Championship this will be the 15th time the title is assigned at the final round. Magny-Cours has been decisive on three occasions: in 1991 Texan Doug Polen took his first title with three rounds remaining, while in both 2004 and 2007 the championship went right down to the wire, with Britain’s James Toseland getting the nod on both occasions – the first when he beat home favourite Règis Laconi, the second against Noriyuki Haga.
The Manufacturers’ battle is also at stake: Aprilia lead the way with 422.5 points, against BMW on 394 and reigning champions Ducati on 375. As well as Max Biaggi the Italian manufacturer can count on excellent support from Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) and Chaz Davies (ParkinGo MTC Racing Aprilia), two youngsters who have already celebrated their first win on the RSV4 in the last two rounds this year, respectively at Portimao and Nurburgring. If they manage to win this title, for Aprilia it would mean a 50th title conquered in Superbike, Grand Prix Road Racing and Off-Road.
At the final round of the 25th edition of the FIM Superbike World Championship, numerous other riders will be aiming to finish off the season with a podium place or a result that may modify the outcome of the title. These will undoubtedly include the outgoing champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) who began testing with Ducati’s new 1199, which will be fielded in 2013, after the Portimao round. Team-mate Davide Giugliano, at 22 years of age one of the revelations of this year, also took part in the testing.
All eyes will also be on Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) following his double experience in MotoGP with Honda HRC. The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland has never really had much luck at Magny-Cours but one year ago he did manage to score the Tissot-Superpole.
Expectations are high for the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team following some great recent performances. The Japanese manufacturer has never won on this track, but it does have six second places to its name, so maybe Leon Camier, who went well at Portimao, will manage to buck this trend.
The final round will define the remaining top positions with Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Racing Ducati) currently holding onto the eighth place he has conquered with two wins and some other great races, while another Frenchman Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) is also looking to finish his debut season, with one win and three podiums to his name, on a high note: the 19-year-old is currently 12th overall and will be racing in front of his home fans. Two last-minute changes see the Effenbert Liberty team declare themselves absent from the final round completely, while one of the team’s former riders Maxime Berger lines up for Red Devils Roma in place of the injured Niccolò Canepa.
Points (after 13 of 14 rounds): 1. Biaggi 347; 2. Sykes 316,5; 3. Melandri 308.5; 4. Checa 278.5; 5. Rea 255.5; 6. Laverty 241.5; 7. Haslam 189; 8. Guintoli 172.5; 9. Davies 156.5; 10. Fabrizio 133.5; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 422.5; 2. BMW 394; 3. Ducati 375; 4. Kawasaki 356.5; 5. Honda 270.5; 6. Suzuki 130.5.
Magny-Cours will see celebrations all the way for Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini), who took the title at the previous round in Portugal, the 27-year-old from Turkey clinching a third crown after the ones he won in 2007 and 2010. It was great satisfaction also for the team run by Vanni Lorenzini, who won his first world title despite the repercussions of the earthquake in Emilia that seriously damaged the Mantova base of the Italian outfit, which was forced to work for some time in its trucks.
Sofuoglu’s toughest rival throughout the season has been Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda), the 23-year-old Frenchman who came from GP racing and who in his debut Supersport season has already scored three wins. On his home track he will have a chance of increasing his success rate and consolidate second place in the championship. The battle is also on for third, with another Frenchman, Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) now ahead of his British rival Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda).
Points (after 12 of 13 rounds): 1. Sofuoglu 218; 2. Cluzel 185; 3. Foret 160; 4. Lowes 152; 5. Parkes 135; 6. Morais 94; 7. Baldolini 86; 8. Quarmby 84; 9. Iannuzzo 60; 10. Leonov 52; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 262; 2. Kawasaki 257; 3. Triumph 115; 4. Yamaha 102; 5. Suzuki 6.
Magny-Cours will be the decider for the entry-level categories which are reserved for tomorrow’s champions. In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup Frenchman Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) grabbed the lead back from Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati) but they are separated by just three points. There is still a small mathematical chance for Australian Bryan Staring (Kawasaki Pedercini) who has to hope for a win with the other two riders picking up DNFs. In the previous nine rounds Barrier has won four times, Staring three and La Marra once. The under-26 Cup is also a technical challenge between BMW, Ducati and Kawasaki. Barrier will have the advantage of racing in front of his home crowd, but La Marra and Staring still have their last remaining cards to play.
Points (after 9 of 10 rounds): 1. Barrier 133; 2. La Marra 130; 3. Staring 111; 4. Guarnoni 98; 5. Savadori 91; 6. Reiterberger 85; 7. Bergman 78; 8. Massei 71; 9. Coghlan 68; 10. Baroni 56; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 168; 2. Ducati 165; 3. BMW 161; 4. Honda 71; 5. Aprilia 17.
The final round of the UEM European Superstock 600 Championship for under-22 year-olds sees a clash of two talents who have dominated proceedings since the start of the season: Dutchman Michael van der Mark (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) and Italian Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha), both 19 years of age. Van der Mark has won five rounds, and the other four have gone to Russo who now has seven points to make up on his rival. The situation is slightly in favour of the Dutchman who can even afford to finish second if Russo proves to be unbeatable. On the other hand, the Italian has to beat van der Mark and hope that someone finishes in between. The last round will be held on Saturday evening at 6pm.
Points (after 9 of 10 rounds): 1. Vd Mark 194; 2. Russo 187; 3. Duwelz 91; 4. Nestorovic 74; 5. Vitali 66; 6. Schacht 65; 7. Morbidelli 63; 8. Calero Perez 59; 9. Gamarino 58; 10. Chesaux 50; etc.
KTM European Junior Cup
The KTM European Junior Cup gets its grand finale as well, with the entry-level category organized by Racedays for under-19 year-olds coming to an exciting conclusion. The battle will be on identical KTM Duke 690 machines supplied directly by the Austrian manufacturer. Magny-Cours will have two rounds, one of which on Saturday will make up for the cancelled race at Monza in May. With 50 points still up for grabs, eight riders are still in with a chance of winning the title. The standings are led by Austrian Lukas Wimmer (95 points), who is being chased by Spain’s Gaston Garcia, Javier Orellana and Christian Vidal. They are followed by Poland’s Artur Wielebski, Jamie Patterson from Northern Ireland, another Pole Adrian Pasek and France’s Jean-Francois Demoulin.
Points (after 6 rounds of 8): 1. Wimmer 95; 2. Garcia 78; 3. Orellana 75; 4. Vidal 64; 5. Wielebski 59; 6. Patterson 57; 7. Pasek 54; 8. Demoulin 48; etc.
Alfa Romeo launches the Mito-SBK at the Paris Motor Show
A special Superbike version of the Alfa Romeo Mito – the Mito SBK – has received its official unveiling at the Paris Motor Show – which is currently being held in the French capital from 27 September to 14 October. This is the first time in the history of World Superbike that a company of such global importance and notoriety has chosen to activate such a close association with the product.
On display at the Paris Show are a Superbike Limited Edition 170 hp, a special 85hp Superbike 1.9 Turbo Twin Air, the “Safety Car” version used in the 2011 Superbike World Championship and a version with Sporting Pack. The Alfa Romeo stand also contains an Aprilia RSV4 Factory machine which Max Biaggi is racing in the championship, as well as highlights videos of the races and Alfa Romeo’s involvement.
This season is the sixth successive year of official collaboration between Alfa Romeo and the FIM Superbike World Championship: the Italian brand has in fact been Top Sponsor and Official Safety Car for the production-based series since 2007, sharing the same values of sport, technology and safety.
ALL ON BOARD FOR MAGNY-COURS, THE 2012 SBK SEASON WRAPS UP THIS WEEKEND
Magny-Cours (France), Tuesday 2nd October 2012: the 2012 eni Superbike World Championship comes to its conclusion this weekend at Magny-Cours, Francia. Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano have fond memories of the 2011 edition of this race and each has his own objectives for the final round of the 2012 season.
Two weeks ago at the Portuguese track of Portimao, Carlos was back on the podium in race 1 and subsequently battled his way through the pack to take fifth place in the second race. Davide was struck by more bad luck, knocked off his bike in race 1 and forced to retire from the second due to technical problems.
Turn the clock back one year and Magny-Cours was the setting for Checa’s World Championship victory. Having arrived at the French track just three points short of what he needed, Carlos aimed to do the job in style, and that’s exactly what he did, dominating throughout the weekend before securing the double race win come race day.
And this was not all - over in the STK 1000 category Althea’s Davide Giugliano was also celebrating title success, after a fifth place finish in his race assured him of overall first position in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup. Thanks to the Althea Racing team’s performance at Magny-Cours, Ducati also lifted the manufacturer’s trophy in both the SBK and Stock 1000 categories, meaning a quadruple cause for celebration.
In 2012, Magny-Cours will host the final round of the season, and it will also be the final outing for the Ducati 1198. With the arrival of the new 1199 Panigale, Althea’s Checa and Giugliano hope to bid a fond farewell to the 2011 championship winning bike by scoring the best possible results this Sunday. Although Carlos is no longer in the mix for the title, he is in with a mathematical chance of closing in overall second or third position in the standings. Davide lies in eleventh position but will be going all out to finish his rookie year inside the top ten.
“I have great memories of this track in 2011 of course! It would be nice to round off the year with a podium place but as we have seen at recent rounds that is no easy task for us now. I am not thinking about the points or the final classification, I have taken it one race at a time and so will continue to do that this weekend, putting all my efforts into finishing the 2012 season in the best way we can. It remains to be seen as to whether we’ll be racing in pouring rain, always a possibility at Magny-Cours in October, but I’m prepared to do my best whatever the conditions.”
Checa’s Superbike form at Magny-Cours:
2011: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 - winner
2010: Race 1- 3rd, Race 2 – 9th
2009: Race 1 – 6th, Race 2 – 9th
2008: Race 1 – 7th, Race 2 – 4th
“I had a great trip to this track last season – definitely the highlight of my career so far! This year, my first in Superbike, has been a steep learning curve and although I feel that I have grown and learned more as each round has gone by, I know there is still much more to do. My goal this weekend is to close the season in as positive a way as possible, hopefully scoring enough points to finish inside the top ten in the overall standings.”
Honda’s Superbike duo head for season finale
Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama will line up for the final round of the 2012 World Superbike championship this weekend (5-7 October) at Magny-Cours in France, rounding out the 25th year of the world’s foremost production motorcycle race series.
The Honda World Superbike duo are out of contention in the title race this season but both are looking to finish the season in style with two good races at the 4.411km circuit, which lies just 10km south of Nevers in central France.
Rea has enjoyed mixed fortunes at Magny-Cours, finishing on the podium in his first World Superbike visit in 2009. However, the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland struggled with a wrist injury the following season. He started from pole position for last year’s races but a crash in race one and a technical problem in race two prevented Rea from converting his advantage.
For the final time this season, Hiroshi Aoyama, must learn a new circuit but the Japanese rider is looking forward to finishing his time with the Honda World Superbike Team on a positive note.
I’m really looking forward to going to Magny-Cours this weekend and trying to finish this season off in style. We often get some variable weather at this race, with pretty cold mornings, but it would be really nice to avoid another race that’s dictated by conditions like we’ve had a few times this year, including race one at Portimao. It’s especially frustrating when we’ve got the bike working well like we did there. I really like the Magny-Cours circuit though and I hope to have a couple of good races to complete the amazing journey that I’ve been on these last few weeks. It’s not just the last few weeks, actually – 2012 has been an unbelievable year for me, both professionally and personally. I’d like to get it finished properly and then get home to recharge the batteries and get myself motivated again to start pre-season testing and prepare for 2013.
I’m looking forward to learning another new track at Magny-Cours this week. I have looked at some videos of previous races and, although it’s never easy, the circuit doesn’t look as difficult to learn as Portimao. I was able to enjoy that track by the end of the weekend, so I hope to do the same at Magny-Cours. I will try my best as usual but, as these will be my last races with the Ten Kate Honda team, I hope even more to make some good results this weekend.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
While some might be looking back at the 2012 season, I can confirm we are firmly focused on looking ahead to 2013 with the exciting new line-up in both Superbike and Supersport that we announced at Portimao. In the meantime, there are two races at Magny-Cours to deal with and, for a start, we hope that the weekend will be completely dry. Magny-Cours brings some good memories for us because we have won both races and, more importantly, championships there. We’re not fighting for any titles this time, but we’ll give everything again for the best possible results and see if we can maybe gain a place in the final standings. This weekend also marks the last outing with the team for Hiroshi. It would be nice to finish the season on a high but, unfortunately he has to learn another new circuit, so it won’t be easy for him. While this season hasn’t exactly brought everything we were aiming for, it has been a pleasure working with Hiros hi and we wish him every success both this weekend and for the future.
LAVERTY READY FOR THE FINAL ROUND OF WORLD SUPERBIKE 2012
THE RIDER AND MANUFACTURER TITLES WILL BE DECIDED ON THE FRENCH CIRCUIT AT MAGNY COURS
MAX AND HIS RSV4 ARRIVE AT THE DECISIVE ROUND WITH A SOLID LEAD IN THE STANDINGS
COMING FROM HIS FIRST VICTORY ASTRIDE THE RSV4, EUGENE LAVERTY WANTS HIS FIRST SEASON WITH APRILIA RACING TO FINISH STRONG.
Intermot, Cologne, 3 October 2012 - It will not be a weekend for the faint of heart. The 2012 Superbike season is drawing to a close with the last round on the French circuit at Magny Cours, and the race for both world titles (rider and manufacturer) is still wide open. The Aprilia standard bearer, five time world champion Max Biaggi, after excellent performances at the Nürburgring and Portimao, is in the lead of the rider standings with a 30.5 point advantage over Sykes and 38.5 ahead of Melandri. The challenge these three riders face revolves around the 50 points that are up for grabs in the two French races.
The Corsair can count on his excellent form, highlighted by the grit and tenacity demonstrated at Portimao during a weekend ravaged by poor weather. The French track has already seen him win in 2010, while last year Max had to take a forced break due to the injury he suffered at the Nürburgring.
From the Cologne Intermot Motorcycle show, where today he unveiled the new Aprilia RSV4 Factory ABS MY13 with its 184 HP engine, advanced electronics, new ergonomics and latest generation sport ABS, Max Biaggi had this to say: "I want to tackle this race like any other. I know the pressure will be high because of the current standings, but we must not lose focus because we are the ones with the most to lose. Being out front puts you in the bullseye. Our rivals know that any weakness on our part could reopen the competition. In any case I am calm and focused as always. We've demonstrated that we can do well when we are able to take advantage of every practice session and I can't wait to get onto the track and get to work".
Eugene Laverty turns up at Magny Cours after his first victory under Aprilia colours. His excellent performance in recent races has contributed to strengthening the Italian brand's hold on its leadership in the manufacturer competition (Aprilia leads with 28.5 points ahead of BMW, 47.5 over Ducati, 66 over Kawasaki, 152 over Honda and 292 over Suzuki), and it has also pumped up the rider from Northern Ireland, who now knows without a doubt that he can be competitive on any track.
"We've reached the final round of the season at Magny Cours in 6th position in the championship. I'm within reach of achieving 5th overall and so that is my aim for the weekend. The first half of the season was disappointing but since then we've finished on the podium several times. It was a huge relief to win last time out in Portimao and it was nice to reward the team for all their hard work in turning our season around. Another victory would be great so let's see what the weekend brings”.
WSBK - Team Italia FMI on track with the Stk1000 and Stk600 titles up for grabs, with La Marra and Russo in second position in the respective championships
In the FIM Cup Superstock1000, La Marra's consistency (1 victory, four podiums, twice in the Top 5 and only one DNF) didn't allow him to lead ahead of the final round. The Barni Racing Team Italia rider, who trails Barrier only by 3 points, is forced to finish ahead of the Frenchman, who cannot play defense with only 25 points to be scored yet. La Marra can give Italy a title that is missing since 2004 with Renzo Alfonsi.
La Marra's teammate Savadori could finish between the pair, taking important points away from Barrier. He is finishing the championship on a positive note, which leaves the team hopeful for another good result.
Stk1000 Standing: 1. Barrier 133; 2. La Marra 130; 3. Staring 111; 4. Guarnoni 98; 5. Savadori 91; 6. Reiterberger 85; 7. Bergman 78; 8. Massei 71; 9. Coghlan 68; 10. Baroni 56
In the UEM European Championship Superstock600, Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha#84) chases VD Mark from 7 points behind. The two split victories almost evenly until now: 5 for the Dutchman, 4 for the Italian. Russo closed in sixth position in the end last year, and showed great improvements this season, but a title would be the final jewel on the crown.
Luca Vitali (Team Italia FMI Yamaha#70), fifth in the championship, wants to secure a Top 5 finish in the final rankings. He could also finish fourth (he trails Nestorovic by 8 points) but needs to keep Schacht and Morbidelli at bay.
Stk600 Standing: 1. Vd Mark 194; 2. Russo 187; 3. Duwelz 91; 4. Nestorovic 74; 5. Vitali 66; 6. Schacht 65; 7. Morbidelli 63; 8. Calero Perez 59; 9. Gamarino 58; 10. Chesaux 50;
Cristiano Migliorati (FMI Technical Coordinator)
"Our objective was to keep the title chases open until the season finale, and we achieved it. We head to France with full knowledge we need two solid races to seize the titles. La Marra didn't race on this track last year, and neither did the Panigale. Plus, Barrier is on his home track. Savadori, if need may be, could help him out. In the Stk600, a win may not suffice. VD Mark can settle for second place, but Russo is in great shape and needs to be recognized for a great season. We will see how it went at the end of the week-end, but we already know that everyone involved gave his 100%, and not just the riders. Both teams gave great support to the project".
The season is nearly over...
I just thought I would write a quick word as we go into our last round and the year as a whole draws to a close in all series of Motorcycle Racing.
What a year it has been for PTR. I know we have finished runner up for the third time in four years and missed out on the title and congratulations to Kenan. But you have to say Jules Cluzel has been nothing but impressive on the PTR Honda.
Jules never saw the bike until he got to Australia and had never ridden on Pirelli tyres. His first three round scores were fourth, crash and sixth. If we held those events now I think we all know his results would be much stronger and he would have taken the title to the last round with Kenan. For sure, along with Kenan he will be the rider to beat in 2013. Let's hope we can keep him at PTR and give Kawasaki a big fight and for the fans a racing treat. Kawasaki have been interested in Jules but I hope you all agree with me he would be better off on our Honda.
Sam Lowes has been incredibly fast this year and along with Jules has three fastest laps. There is an award for this at the end of the year and it can only now be won by Sam or Jules. There is also a qualifying performance award in which Sam and Jules are separated by one point and cannot be caught by anyone else. So as you see as a team we have been dominant and also given Honda the lead in the manufacturer's table going into the last round.
Sam looked to be in with a great chance of fulfilling his ambition and winning the title for a large part of the season, even after crashing out of Assen and Misano. However, a jump start in Moscow (we can't argue he did jump it) which resulted in only 12th place followed by a crash out of the leading group of four after Foret had run him and Sam wide resulted in only 14th after he remounted put him out of contention.
Fifth place in Portimao after a massive moment at the last corner injured his shoulder means he goes into the last round this weekend at Magny Cours only fourth in the standings. I know Sam wanted to win the title so much and can now only finish third at best and we are all right there with him as his two wins so far this year and tremendous speed at every round deserves nothing less than this.
One last point on the jump-start that I just have to add. So a jump-start means a drive through and eventually 12th place. OK we all know the penalty but how can almost knocking another rider off his bike (the famous Sofuoglu and Foret incident in Aragon) mean only a drop from 2nd to 5th in the race. I am sure you would all agree no matter which rider you are on side with that this just cannot be correct.
Moving on, I know I have said this a number of times but I cannot stress enough how proud I am of our whole team, for their spirit, commitment and drive that has made all our results possible. On top of the superb performances by Sam and Jules, Ronan Quarmby became the first South African rider to get a Motorcycle racing podium for 25 years when he finished third for us at Imola. Add a fantastic ride to fourth at Silverstone where he battled with the leaders for nearly the whole race and other good rides and he is eighth in the championship with more than a reasonable chance of grabbing seventh overall at Magny Cours this Sunday.
We have also seen very good speed from Mathew Scholtz but his youthful enthusiasm led to more mistakes than he or we would have liked. However, he has shown great character to keep his faith and has been rewarded with a top ten finish in the last round at Portimao. He goes into this weekend in good form and I am confident he will do a great job next year.
Martin Jessopp has been disappointed and we are for him. A few crashes mid season lost him momentum and we all hope he can finish with a season best result this Sunday to end his first World Supersport season on a high.
So, from a PTR side what about 2013? I can tell you if we could we would be happy to keep all our riders as everyone has contributed to a fantastic team atmosphere.
We all know this may not be possible, as Sam for instance would like to move up to World Superbike or Moto GP CRT. As you may know we also manage Sam personally and as much as I would like him to go again and win the WSS title next year I would not in any way want to hold him back. We all want to see Sam reach as high a level as possible in his career.
As I said earlier we are also hoping to keep Jules to challenge Kenan for the title and I expect to be able to tell you all about that soon. Mathew looks set to stay for another year and we are still talking with Ronan. Martin would like to move back to Superbike and if this happens we wish him all the best, he and his family have been a joy to work with this year.
One way or another we will have some new faces in the team in 2013, watch this space and we will update you as soon as we can.
CBR gets 2013 colours for SBK finale
The Honda World Superbike Team will be running its Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades in new colours for the final round of the 2012 World Superbike championship at Magny-Cours in France this weekend (5-7 October).
A new colour scheme for the road-going version of the 2013 Fireblade was unveiled this week at Intermot, Germany’s major annual motorcycle exhibition held in Cologne. The team's CBRs have been updated to promote the new design.
The new graphics on the racing version of Honda’s flagship sportsbike also feature the headlight stickers that will be obligatory in next year’s World Superbike championship, re-affirming the close affinity between the racing machines and their road-going relatives.
This weekend will be the only occasion that the new colour scheme is run since the Honda team will run with title sponsor Pata for the 2013 season with a new design for the racing CBR machines.
Honda World Superbike Team rider Jonathan Rea commented: “I like this new paint scheme, especially as it underlines the fact that we’re racing on production bikes that you can buy at your local Honda dealer. Ours are maybe a little more sophisticated, but the link is definitely there.”
FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI AIMS TO END ON HIGH
Team Suzuki Press Office - October 4.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki is aiming to end the 14th and final round of this year's eni FIM Superbike World Championship at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in the Burgundy region of France on a positive note this weekend.
Leon Camier, John Hopkins and the whole squad will be looking to build upon the progress shown by the team and the Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R over recent races, which has given the riders more of a competitive edge and real chances of challenging for podiums. Camier's best result at Magny-Cours to date is a fourth place last year, whilst Hopkins will again be competing at a circuit he has never raced at before, so will need to spend time learning the circuit before going into attack mode.
Magny-Cours is situated in the Burgundy region of France close to the town of Nevers and approximately 260km south of Paris. The track was originally a kart circuit, but huge improvements and extensions over the years has resulted in a FIA and FIM homologated 4,411m layout, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. This season will see the eni FIM Superbike World Championship decided at the French circuit, with Max Biaggi, Tom Sykes and Marco Melandri all still in with a chance of taking the title, but Italian Biaggi looks favourite to take the sixth world championship of his career, as he heads to Magny-Cours with a 30.5point lead.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki gets its weekend underway on Friday morning with the first free practice session, before qualifying begins in the afternoon, when both Camier and Hopkins will be looking to secure their positions in Saturday's Superpole. Sunday's two races make up the final round of this season's championship, with the first 23-lap event getting underway at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST).
"Since the last round, I have been doing some training and some enduro riding to make sure I'm in good shape for Magny-Cours this coming weekend. My races last year were OK, but my result in race two would've been better were it not for a wrong tyre choice. The track is very hard on tyres, so we'll be trying to get the bike set up to manage tyre life at the same time as trying to qualify well. It's quite a physical track and there are not that many places to rest, but there are a few overtaking places - especially when the tyres begin to wear off towards the end of the race. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki has improved a lot recently and we shall have to see how the better speed and acceleration copes with the French track. I'm looking forward to the races this weekend and my aim is to finish the season with a podium or two!"
"I've never raced at Magny-Cours, so I'll spend the first day learning which way round the track goes and getting up to speed as soon as I can. From what I've seen on TV and heard, it's a much easier track to learn than Portimao, so I'm hoping to be on the pace in final qualifying and get into Superpole without any dramas. I think that the FIXI Crescent Suzuki is now more competitive than it has been all year and I'm excited about riding it this weekend and ending the season with my best results of the year."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"I think we've shown that the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R has come on a lot since the start of the year and it can now run with the best - and that has surprised a few people. Our aim is to get both Leon and John safely into Superpole and take it from there, but I see no reason why we cannot get our best results of the season and that's what we'll all be aiming for."