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Web @ June 2004
Page 1 • Superbike, MotoGP Racing & Calendar Girl News
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The sight of four exhaust pipes on the new Ducati Twin Pulse MotoGP04 with one per 4 valve cylinder, the rear 2 cylinders exhausts exhiting under the sea, t and the front cylinders under the swingarm,really looks agressive. We are afraid. Click for a better view.

Ducati Revises its "Big Bang" Theory - Should the Universe be Very Afraid?
Catalunya (Spain), Monday 14 June 2004 - The new Twin Pulse engine that was given its shakedown last week at Mugello by factory tester Vittoriano Guareschi, was used for the first time today by both Ducati Marlboro Team riders, who stayed behind at the MontmelÚ circuit the day after the Catalunya Grand Prix. Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss backed up the positive view expressed by Vittoriano: that the new engine, with its irregular firing order, represents a step forward over the previous version. It improves 'rideability' and allows the riders to have better consistency in their performance. The new irregular firing order Twin Pulse engine has met with approval since being tested at Mugello and, as confirmation of this, both Ducati MotoGP Team riders will use the new engine in the Dutch TT at Assen.

Editor's Note; When the V-4 Desmosedici was first developed in 2002 it was tested in a V-Twin style "Twin Pulse" (ie "Big Bang") tandum piston stroke and firing order on each bank to give it the successful power impulse of Ducati's winning V-2 Superbike engines. It was also tested with s a conventional 90-degree firing order with staggered piston / crank pin placement. The origional Twin Pulse design and tandem firing order proved to be too violent on the lightweight GP engine design's reliability and was never raced. This new Twin Pulse engine for 2004 retains the old tandem crank/piston movement per cylinder bank, but the firing order is now 180 degrees apart per cylinder, staggering the power impulses evenly over the 720 degrees rotation of a 4-stoke engine to fire a cylinder and not overstress the engine.

Does it provide the successful tire traction of a V-Twin with the smooth power delivery of an Inline Four? If so, look for Capirossi and Bayliss running closer to the front of the MotoGP field beginiing at Assen, but beating the field's 2 fastest riders, Rossi and Giberneau, will be a tall order. - Jim Gianatsis

More pictures and details in New Bikes: Ducati MotoGP04

MotoGP World Championship, Assen Round 6

Assen Thursday Open Qualifying in Rain for Ducs
Assen, Holland, June 24th,
- Ducati MotoGP Team riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi were 5th and 11th fastest in this afternoon’s rain-lashed opening qualifying session at Assen. Both riders have two different engines at their disposal here – one ‘standard’ four-pulse motor and one twin-pulse engine apiece. The new engine – identified by its deeper exhaust note and four exhaust pipes – uses different firing intervals to produce greater traction during the crucial corner-exit acceleration phase. Both riders were impressed by the engine during first tests at Catalunya following the recent Catalan GP.

“It’s been a strange day with some very heavy rain,” said Ducati MotoGP Team director Livio Suppo. “Troy did a good job this afternoon, mostly riding the four-pulse engine. We saw at Jerez that he likes this engine in the wet, so it made sense to use the four-pulse. Loris started the day on the four-pulse and then jumped on the twin-pulse, which he likes a lot more, he finds it a lot easier to ride. I think we’ve made a good start, and we hope for better weather tomorrow.”

Today was dominated by high winds and torrential rain, in other words traditional Dutch TT weather since this event is often disrupted by poor weather conditions. Three of the last four Assen races have been affected by rain. Ducati MotoGP Team rider Troy Bayliss was fifth quickest in today’s soaking qualifier, using the four-pulse Desmosedici motor. The Aussie is almost fully recovered from the heavy tumble he took during the Catalan GP two weeks ago.

“For the first day we’re doing pretty good,” he said. “Really it just worked out that I spent most of my time on the ‘standard’ motor because we wanted to try a few things with it. My injuries from Barcelona aren’t hampering me but my right ankle still isn’t nice and I’ve aggravated an old back injury. Today I didn’t use too much the new twin-pulse engine, but I feel it is definitely a step forward. During the tests we did at Barcelona I did good lap times after 18 laps on a tyre, and the tyre was cooler and looked better than the tyre we used in the race. The new motor is easier to ride and that’s what it’s all about - making the bike comfortable to ride, so the lap times come easier without going too much above yourself.”

Loris Capirossi was 11th but the Ducati MotoGP Team rider knows better weather is forecast for Friday, so he wasn’t pushing too hard in the treacherous conditions. Nevertheless, he enjoyed himself with the rider-friendly twin-pulse motor.

“It made no sense to push too hard in such heavy rain,” he said. “If the weather is better tomorrow, I will go faster anyway; if it rains again, I will push harder. I tried both engines this morning and spent most of this afternoon with the twin-pulse, working on set-up. The wet can be difficult for me because I’m so light, so I get less traction than other riders, but we found a good wet set-up and that’s what counts. I don’t care about the lap times at this stage. I prefer the twin-pulse much more than the other engine, especially in the wet. And I think today was the first time I’ve really enjoyed myself on the Ducati in the rain.”

Below and column at left: Strikingly beautiful Andra Cobb is featured in the new 2005 Fast Dates and Iron & Lace calendars, and will be one of our Calendar Angeles at Laguna Seca World Superbike July 9-11th and at the LA Calendar Motorcycle Show with the Confederate Wraith.

MotoGP World Championship, Assen Dutch TT Round 6 - PREVIEW

Rossi Aiming to Make His mark at Historic Assen

Dutch TT Assen, Netherlands, June 24, 25, 26 2004: With MotoGP race wins at Welkom, Mugello and now Catalunya notched up by Valentino Rossi, and with the podium scaled by his team-mate Carlos Checa at Le Mans, the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team approaches the unique challenge of Assen with a spring in its step. Assen, which hosts the sixth round of the 16-round MotoGP series, is one of the all-time classic Grand Prix venues, specifically chosen and continually modified for motorcycle use. Much revised throughout its history, it continues to offer a truly individual challenge to any rider, victories being more valued at the Circuit van Drenthe than at almost any other venue. This will hold doubly true this year, as there are record numbers of potential winners jousting their way across the continents in search of MotoGP glory.

Thanks to his three peerless wins, Rossi now sits only five points from the lead in the World Championship standings, despite having only competed in five events on the ever-developing Yamaha YZR-M1. The four-cylinder machine has also helped lift Checa to a second place finish at Le Mans, when the 31-year-old Catalan beat all but race winner and championship leader Sete Gibernau with no small degree of élan.
Few in MotoGP racing could have predicted just how immediately the union of Rossi and the M1 would bear gilded fruit, but now the partnership has proved itself in impressive fashion, leaving 25-year-old Rossi hungry for more wins and the ultimate prize. Now resident in London, Rossi is a previous Assen TT winner, his lone Dutch triumph in the premier class coming in 2002, when he set the lap record pace.

The 6.027km Assen circuit has offered Checa podium places in the past, including a runner-up performance in 1997. His most recent Assen podium was a third in 2002, in his first season riding the Yamaha YZR-M1.

The fluid nature and historical importance of Assen are appreciated by Rossi, who doffs his cap with respect at the very prospect of riding the horizontal roller coaster that is the Circuit van Drenthe. “Assen is a really good track that all the riders like,” he stated. “It’s such a big emotion to race there because it’s different from all the other courses; it’s historic, very old, and isn’t a ‘computer’ track like all the others. It’s still called a TT and I always feel privileged to be racing in a TT. I have never ridden the M1 there but I think it will go quite well, as the M1’s handling is so good and Assen is all corners.”

Assen’s location in the North of the Netherlands brings its own challenges, as Rossi describes. “The big problem with Assen is when it will rain, not if! I think we’ve still not overcome some of the problems we have with the bike in wet conditions. Sete and his bike are obviously very fast in the rain, I’m sure they are faster than us, so I really hope for a dry race if it’s possible, and let’s see what happens. I would always prefer to race in the dry given the choice. Assen holds good memories for me anyway as I had a fantastic race there when competing on a 125 in 1997. It was one of the best of my career, with a brilliant fight between five or six riders. I’m looking forward to racing there again this year.”

Carlos Checa, more of a connoisseur of the sport than most other MotoGP riders, acknowledges that Assen is something extra special, a true challenge to the complete racecraft of any rider. The usual hordes of Dutch and German fans who flood across the spectator areas and grandstands on raceday will also be joined by some visitors from Checa’s native Spain.

"Assen is a track I like very much; it's a very historic circuit and there is always a great atmosphere so I am looking forward to it a lot,” said Checa, energised by a great recovery to fourth position from a fourth row start at his home event in Catalunya. “It's always a very special race and the fans are great. This time many of my best friends from home will come, maybe 30 of them. Some are coming on bikes, some with motor homes, so it should be great fun. Let's hope for good weather and a great race."

The prospect of Checa enjoying a great result at Assen is enhanced by the impressive capabilities of his machine and team, a fact that is not lost on Carlos himself. “The bike is working very well at the moment and hopefully we can find a good set-up. It's a very twisty circuit and some of the changes we've made to the bike this year might make it a little different to ride at Assen. With the wider rear tyre it may be difficult to change direction so quickly. However I think we should have very good grip on the side of the tyre because of the bumps on the circuit; this means I can get more traction and a better lean angle. We may need a much stronger suspension at Assen than at some other circuits in order to stop the rear smashing down.”

Davide Brivio knows that the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team are onto a good thing, and is looking forward to the chance for his riders to shine again this weekend, “Assen is another kind of ‘home’ circuit because our Yamaha European headquarters are based in the Netherlands. Many of our staff will come up to Assen for the race so we hope to give them a good show. We’re coming from two fantastic races where we were able to win, so now we must continue to try to win as many races as possible.

“We had a good test in Barcelona the day after the race, which might help us for the rest of the season,” Brivio explained. “Each time we test we are continuing to improve the set-up of the bike, working to let Valentino and the M1 get to know each other better every time.

“There is clearly a big improvement in Yamaha’s racing since last year, the Yamaha riders are in the top positions most weekends, and not just Valentino. It’s a good sign of the great work our engineers have done so far. There is still room for improvement, and we fully expect a reaction from our competitors so we cannot afford to relax.”

Part of the perennial success and popularity of the Assen event is its ability to modernise its facilities and layout without losing one iota of its unique character and appeal, to riders and fans alike. Starting out its racing life as a 28km street circuit it was shortened in 1955 and then again in 1984, when it was also widened somewhat. In many ways Assen is the granddaddy of the contemporary MotoGP circuits and is the longest still in current use, at 6.027km. With 23 distinct corners and many more subtle changes of direction and lean angle in between, it is possibly the most cerebral of challenges for riders and teams.

Despite the rapid, flowing corners and high average lap speed, outright power is not necessarily the determining factor at Assen. A good power output and a linear throttle response are nonetheless essential ingredients to the set-up mix but camber is King at Assen, a circuit that mimics the characteristics of a real road more than any on the current MotoGP calendar.

With a pronounced crown on the ‘road,’ the high speed switchbacks of much of the Assen circuit mean that camber goes from positive to negative to positive again as each corner is dealt with. This unique characteristic of Assen demands not only judicious throttle control from the rider when crossing the cambers but suspension capable of dealing with its ever changing characteristics, not to mention a chassis package with a useable blend of good stability and high speed agility.

To prevent the rear end squatting under the combined forces of positive camber and acceleration, a higher rating of rear spring will be required for Assen, altering the usual front to rear balance of the M1. To handle the tarmac ripples and bumps, and because there are few places where heavy braking is called for, the front forks can be left on a softer setting than the rear.

One relatively recent piece of track modification has added another complication to the set-up. The double apex corner of Duikersloot, tightened and brought inwards to improve run off in the event of a crash two years ago, now has a largely flat camber, a fact which can catch out riders who forget that they have had the help of a positive camber at most other corners of the circuit.

Tyre performance is another key at Assen. The cambers aid outright grip in most instances and with the tarmac being grippy but not overly abrasive Assen is not the hardest circuit on tyres per se. The front tyre is particularly important, however, such are the frequently encountered fast corner entries. Braking has frequently to be performed right up to the apex of the turn to attenuate speed, rather than violently reduce it, maintaining valuable momentum and machine balance.

Rossi (46) and Gibernau (behind) powerslided side by side around Catalunya the entire race, constantly trading the lead.

MotoGP World Championship, Catalunya Round 5

Rossi and Yamaha on top again in Catalunya
in another exciting race long struggle with Honda's Gibernau

Catalunya, Spain, June 13th - Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider and reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi won his second consecutive Grand Prix in Catalunya today, his third so far – leading a charge of three Yamahas into the top four places. Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 pilot Marco Melandri landed the first podium of his MotoGP career after a brilliant ride, finishing third behind Honda rider Sete Gibernau, while Rossi’s team-mate Carlos Checa rode a fantastic home race to finish fourth after starting 12th on the grid.

Starting from second on the grid, Rossi took a close lead from Gibernau for two laps before running wide and surrendering his place to the Spaniard. He then stuck close to Gibernau’s heels as the two quickly opened up a distance from the chasing pack. Rossi and Gibernau swapped the lead twice more; before Rossi passed his rival once again two laps from the end, hanging on to win by less than two tenths of a second ahead of Gibernau. His back-to-back victories are the first for Yamaha in the premier class since Garry McCoy scored two in a row in 2000. Melandri stormed to a fine third place after working his way up through the field. The Italian charger showed what a fighter he is, defying the ‘arm pump’ trouble that had plagued him at Mugello, to finish a gruelling race looking as strong as his former 250 days.

Checa meanwhile moved up through the field with a series of bold passes, finding himself in fifth by lap 12 and fourth a few laps later. Rossi (101 points) now sits five points behind Championship leader Gibernau (106pts) in the standings, whilst Checa (49pts) moves up to fourth behind Max Biaggi (Honda, 80pts).

Valentino Rossi
(Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha), first

“I’m really, really happy to have won, first in Mugello and now here; they’re both very important races for me. We’ve done a lot of fast work this weekend and my team and Michelin have worked so hard to improve the bike; we’ve literally been working every second we’ve had. After warm-up today we made another change to the bike, which paid off. It was a really hard race at the top level, and we went at a very hard pace. Sete and I were more than ten seconds ahead of the others. At one point Sete was able to get away but then he started to spin and slide so I was able to get in front again. To have won three races at this stage of the Championship is fantastic. I’m really happy to see the other M1s up front as well. Today was less dramatic but more tactical than Mugello, but still a great race.”

The Doctor Is In
Immediately after crossing the finsih line for the win, Valentio pulled to the side of the track where friends in hospital gowns were waiting to rush over and dress him as his nickname "The Doctor", complete with stethiscope. Then he took his victory lap.

Sete Gibernau, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, second: “I tried to play my cards well again today and we did the best we could with what we had. We knew we couldn’t use the same tyre as Yamaha and used a softer compound to try and have the same traction that they would have with the h arder one. Obviously that meant that at the halfway stage their tyres would improve whilst mine deteriorated. I don’t want to give any excuses, I never have done, and I have to congratulate Valentino although I knew this could happen even though I gave 120%. I hope to keep going on the same path, have a chat with Honda about how we can improve the situation and do everything I can to make them understand that we have to face up to Valentino and Yamaha, who are improving a lot. I don’t feel as thoughI lost today – as far as I am concerned we have won because I am getting 100% out of what I have at every race”.

Marco Melandri (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3), third: “This is a great day. I’ve waited a year and a half for this. And after I thought I’d get a podium at Jerez this year, this is a very good feeling. Thanks to the team, to Yamaha, to Michelin – we’ve done it here! After five laps everything felt okay and I didn’t push too hard once I saw I had the advantage over Biaggi. I just raced smart, stayed focussed and that’s why I’m on the podium.”

Carlos Checa (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha), fourth: “That was a good race as I started from 12th and finished fourth. I passed many riders during the race and for me this is proof that I could do well after what happened in Mugello. I had much more confidence in the front braking today so it was easier to pass people. By the time I caught up with Marco he was pushing hard but I couldn’t keep the same pace anymore because of the tyres. I am so pleased with this result after yesterday’s qualifying and my fall yesterday morning. This afternoon I recovered the feeling and pace. Tomorrow we have a test and I hope we can make some more improvements, especially on the softer tyres for qualifying.”

ColinEdwards , Telefonica MoviStar Honda : 5th : “I made a good start but I couldn’t stop them from coming past me and ended up fifteenth after the first lap. I kept my clam and started to pass riders but I lost a lot of time trying to get past Troy Bayliss. When he crashed I just concentrated on getting my rhythm together and in the end I was able to finish fift! h. Now we go to Assen – a circuit I know well after winning there several times in Superbikes – and I’m hoping to take a big step forward”.

Max Biaggi, Camel Honda (Michelin Tyres),8th: “I’m very disappointed, after the practices I was ready to get a top result. In the warm-up I went out with a used tyre to prepare the second part of the race. I got a good start which took me into the top group. Then I began to get a problem in the rear tyre that just made everything impossible. In the analysis at the end of the race we realised that it was defective and that was the cause of the chattering that made the bike virtually impossible to ride. It’s a big disappointment and we need to put this result to one side and continue with our work in tomorrow’s tests at this track. I’m completely confident in Michelin and in the brilliant work they have always done. This is just a one off, a lucky one, but a one off.”

Davide Brivio, Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha team director: ”What a race! It’s been a very good day; unbelievable. We’ve had two victories at two circuits which we expected to find very difficult. Yamaha and the team have worked so well and we’ve got a fantastic rider. Valentino rode a perfect race. This is a good day for Yamaha; Carlos had a brilliant race too; it was very difficult for him starting from the fourth row but he didn’t stop fighting for the whole race and finished fourth. It’s good to see Marco doing well and Yamaha filling three out of the four top places. We are now really looking to enjoy the rest of the season! Thanks to everyone involved, today all their hard work and effort has paid off, again.”

Jeremy Burgess, Valentino Rossi’s crew chief: “We made some changes this morning and maybe they worked! This is a terrific result. We’ve now won consecutively at Mugello and Catalunya, which are fast circuits where the opposition has the advantage on speed, so we are really pleased with the results.”

Makoto Tamada, Camel Honda (Bridgestone Tyres) – Retired on lap thirteen while running a stong 3rd: “I unexpectedly lost grip and then got these strong vibrations that made the bike difficult to control. To continue made no sense, not even to help with development. Tomorrow we will test some new material and we will try to find some solution to the difficulties we are currently having. I know Bridgestone will react and things will soon return to normal.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team: retired: “Just so disappointed. This morning I went out on used tyres to get a feel for the conditions and it all felt pretty positive. I seemed to have problems all weekend with practice starts and in the race it was a disaster. Just couldn’t get any power down right up to turn one by which time half the grid had got past. During the race the bike seemed to loose power and I noticed some fluid on the windscreen that I guess must have been water because when the bike eventually stopped we discovered the radiator had been holed a small stone I guess. I’m definitely disappointed not to get a result again. Onto the next race!”

Race classification MotoGP
Round: 5 - Catalunya Grand Prix, Circuit: Catalunya , Circuit Length: 4727 , Lap Record: 1' 44.641 (Sete Gibernau, 2004)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 44.641 (Sete Gibernau, 2004)

Race: 25 Laps
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Total Time
1 V. Rossi Yamaha ITA 44' 3.255
2 S. Gibernau Honda ESP +0.159
3 M. Melandri Yamaha ITA +13.923
4 C. Checa Yamaha ESP +19.213
5 C. Edwards Honda USA +21.205
6 R. Xaus Ducati ESP +22.847
7 S. Nakano Kawasaki JPN +24.014
8 M. Biaggi Honda ITA +24.104
9 N. Abe Yamaha JPN +35.676
10 L. Capirossi Ducati ITA +40.775
11 A. Hofman Kawasaki GER +40.862
12 N. Hodgson Ducati GBR +56.157
13 S. Byrne Aprilia GBR +1' 3.679
14 A. Pitt Moriwaki AUS +1' 5.933
15 N. Aoki Proton KR JPN +1' 18.199
Fastest Race Lap:
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Total Time
1 S. Gibernau Honda ESP 1' 44.641
hampionship standings MotoGP

Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Points
1 Sete Gibernau Honda ESP 106
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 101
3 Max Biaggi Honda ITA 80
4 Carlos Checa Yamaha ESP 49
5 Alex Barros Honda BRA 48
6 Colin Edwards Honda USA 44
7 Marco Melandri Yamaha ITA 38
8 Loris Capirossi Ducati ITA 34
9 Norick Abe Yamaha JPN 28
10 Nicky Hayden Honda USA 27
11 Troy Bayliss Ducati AUS 23
12 Ruben Xaus Ducati ESP 23
13 Shinya Nakano Kawasaki JPN 20
14 Makato Tamada Honda JPN 15
15 Kenny Roberts Suzuki USA 12
Manufacturers standings MotoGP

Pos. Manufacturer Points
1 Honda 110
2 Yamaha 108
3 Ducati 45
4 Kawasaki 22
5 Suzuki 15
6 Aprilia 13
7 Proton KR 7
7 Harris WCM 7
8 Moriwaki 2

250cc Grand Prix to France's Randy de Puniet on Arilia
Dani Pedrosa, Telefonica MoviStar Honda: (2nd.): “It was a really nice race and I enjoyed it a lot. It was a real learning experience for me riding so hard on spent tyres. In the head-to-head with De Puniet he was passing me on top speed and on the brakes, whilst I was quicker through the corners and on acceleration with the worn tyre. On the last lap I tried everything I knew I had to get to the stadium section first if I wanted to win but it wasn’t to be. In any case I am happy because we have completed our objectives I had a good race, the bike was fantastic thanks to the hard work of my team and we are back on the podium. I have to thank the crowd for the incredible support they have given me all weekend”.

Race classification GP250
Round: 5 - Catalunya GP250 , Circuit: Catalunya , Circuit Length: 4727, Lap Record: 1' 47.302 (Daniel Pedrosa, 2004)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 47.302 (Daniel Pedrosa, 2004)

Race: 23 Laps
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Total Time
1 R. de Puniet Aprilia FRA 41' 29.955
2 D. Pedrosa Honda ESP +0.109
3 T. Elias Honda ESP +9.521
4 S. Porto Aprilia ARG +20.871
5 F. Nieto Aprilia ESP +34.337
6 H. Aoyama Honda JPN +37.569
7 S. Guintoli Aprilia FRA +42.087
8 A. Debon Honda ESP +45.850
9 A. West Aprilia AUS +45.938
10 F. Battaini Aprilia ITA +46.235
11 E.. Bataille Honda FRA +50.694
12 A. Baldolini Aprilia ITA +50.980
13 C. Davies Aprilia GBR +56.785
14 N. Matsudo Yamaha JPN +56.895
15 J. Smrz Honda CZE +57.366
Fastest Race Lap:
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Total Time
1 D. Pedrosa Honda ESP 1' 47.302
Championship standings GP250

Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Points
1 Randy de Puniet Aprilia FRA 98
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 90
3 Sebastian Porto Aprilia ARG 63
4 Fonsi Nieto Aprilia ESP 56
5 Toni Elias Honda ESP 54
6 Roberto Rolfo Honda ITA 41
7 Alex de Angelis Aprilia SMR 40
8 Alex Debon Honda ESP 37
9 Anthony West Aprilia AUS 36
10 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 35
11 Manuel Poggiali Aprilia SMR 29
12 Franco Battaini Aprilia ITA 24
13 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia FRA 13
14 Arnaud Vincent Aprilia FRA 11
15 Joan Olive Aprilia ESP 11
Manufacturers standings GP250

Pos. Manufacturer Points
1 Honda 115
2 Aprilia 110

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See our visit to
Ducati Racing School
At Misani Italy!

British Superbike
Brands Hatch to
Renyolds and Haslem

June 21, 2004Leon Haslam rode the Team Renegade 999RS04 to his first ever Superbike victory in race two of yesterday’s British Superbike Championship round at Brands Hatch while Sean Emmett recorded a pair of second place finishes to move up to 3rd place in the series standings.
Renegade duo Haslam and Noriyuki Haga were entered as wild cards in order to gain valuable track practice ahead of the World Championship event being staged at the same venue at the end of July. But the testing mission turned into elation for the 21 year-old Haslam and his family. Just inside the top ten at the start of the race, Haslam worked his way through the field to take the lead on the penultimate lap, eventually finishing almost six seconds ahead of the second placed Ducati of Emmett.

“My team had made some radical changes to the set-up of my bike just to see what would happen,” said a calm Haslam. “The conditions were very wet and I was instructed to pull in after four laps once I had tested the settings. But my bike was so good I couldn’t resist continuing and I was able to work my way through the field quite easily.”

Racing legend and father Ron Haslam could not believe his son’s dominance of the race given the nature of the changes made to the machine, commenting “You just don’t get the chance to try all of the things you would like when you’re trying to qualify during a WSBK event and competing in this round allowed us to experiment. I do not doubt my son’s ability and the bike set-up allowed him to shine. It was some father’s day present!”

Team Owner Mark Griffiths was quick to congratulate his young hero, and provided the following summary of the day’s events.
“Leon was devastating in the second encounter. He had to pass all of the stars to win the race and the victory was earned in every sense of the word. There were a lot of very accomplished and experienced riders in the field today, which were made to look very ordinary by Leon’s sensational display. The bike set-up was magnificent and Pirelli proved that they are gaining ground very quickly with tyre developments. Their tyres were spot on.”

Having qualified his MonsterMob Ducati 999RS04 in second place on the grid, 34 year-old Sean Emmett from Weybridge led both races early on as conditions deteriorated around the Kent circuit. In race one he had to give second best to championship leader John Reynolds (Suzuki) and then when it looked like victory would come his way in race two, a last lap charge by fellow Ducati rider Leon Haslam saw him denied victory again.

“Considering those conditions that wasn’t a bad day’s work. I took the biggest points score of the meeting (40 points) and I’m now up to third in the championship and closed on Michael Rutter by gaining 27 points on him. That’s four rostrums in a row. Had it been dry I would have had a chance of a double, but the conditions were very tricky and it was important to finish,” said Emmett.

Meanwhile MonsterMob Ducati British Supersport rider Michael Laverty lost ground in his chase for the championship after a seventh place finish in the wet conditions which prevailed throughout the day. The 23 year-old from Toomebridge was circulating with the leading bunch until dropping back late in the race which was won by main championship rival Karl Harris.

“That was just survival. There was so much lying water at the start I couldn’t see where I was going and the bike was aquaplaning everywhere. I just had to ride as sensibly as I could. Fair play to Karl as he must have rode really well in the conditions and he’s now 20 points ahead of me in the championship, but that’s the way it goes,” said Laverty.

Team owner Paul Bird commented: “Another good weekend. Sean had two good strong second places. Michael was just steady away as he didn’t feel too confident so he just did enough to bring the bike home. Sean is riding well at present so we’re happy, but there’s a long way to go yet.”
Despite the atrocious weather conditions, the Ducati Coventry Lloyds racing team finished their British Supersport weekend with renewed enthusiasm following a great 4th position performance by team rider Matt Llewellyn.
Llewellyn, who qualified on the second row of the grid during Saturday’s dry conditions, was left with no choice but to run the untested Dunlop wet tyres on race day.

“Our wet-weather set up was completely untested before the race so we really had no knowledge of how we would perform,” commented Matt. “The bike is blisteringly fast and it was obvious straight away that the tyres would be no problem. By lap four we had a fastest lap and I settled into a comfortable race pace despite the conditions.”

Team Manager Ken Foley commented: “Today is just what the team needed. We’ve been so desperate to perform at the top and this makes up for the disappointment at Thruxton. Matt rode a great race and we can only build from here onwards.”

Superbike Race 1
1. Reynolds (Suzuki)
2. Emmett (Ducati)
3. McGuinness (Kawasaki)
4. Kagayama (Suzuki)
5. Rutter (Honda)
6. Haydon (Yamaha)
7. Hill (Yamaha)
8. Haslam (Ducati)
9. Corke (Suzuki)
10. Thomas (Ducati)

Superbike Race 2
1. Haslam (Ducati)
2. Emmett (Ducati)
3. Kagayama (Suzuki)
4. Haydon (Yamaha)
5. Smart (Kawasaki)
6. McGuinness (Kawasaki)
7. Reynolds (Suzuki)
8. Hill (Yamaha)
9. Coxhell (Honda)
10. Mason (Yamaha)

British Superbike Standings
1. Reynolds (Suzuki) - 261
2. Rutter (Honda) - 232
3. Emmett (Ducati) - 186
4. Kagayama (Suzuki) - 181 5. Smart (Kawasaki) - 164
6. Thomas (Ducati) - 101
7. Hill (Yamaha) - 88
8. Kiyonari (Honda) - 87
9. Richards (Kawasaki) - 78 10. Mason (Yamaha) - 64

Ducati Now Wants
to Buy All of Aprilia!

The ongiong saga of Aprilia's financial woes continues, despite positive press releases from Aprila to the contrary. Last month we reported that Ducati was making a bid to purchase the Moto-Guzzi brand from Aprilia, who had out bid Ducati back in 2000 to purchase Moto-Guzzi, leading in part to Aprili's current financial downfall.

Now the word is that Ducati has purchased Moto-Guzzi, but it is part of an offer for the entire Aprilia Group! And that the financial backing for this expensive deal will come from Ducai SpA's financial parter and one of the world's leading venture capitailists, Texas Pacific.

The idea being, Ducati President Frederico wants to round out the Ducati product line with high performance dirt bikes. And the newly developed Aprilia off road line featuring its V-Twin Enduro, MX and Supermoto bikes in 450cc - 550cc capacities are just the ticket.

But the Aprilia Group is more than just dirt bikes, there is, after all, their huge scooter line for the European market and the very successful Aprilia Sportbike line which is sold world wide in competition to Ducati.

The speculation is, that afer buying the Aprilia Group, Ducati in turn would resell the motorscooter and Aprilia 1000cc sportbike division to Italian manufacturer Piaggio, manufacturer of Vespa scooters.

Piaggio is already the supplier of Aprilia's 200cc motor scooter engine and drivetrain. And they have been looking at getting stronger into the street motorcycle market. Purchasing the Aprilia assembly facility with the Aprilia sportbike and scooter lines from Ducati might be the way to go. Paggio already owns the historic Gilera name with a small line of streetbikes.

If the deal gets done, the only question remaining will be if Aprilia superbikes might be named Gilera, instead. But in thecurrent world market the Aprilia brand and name is deinetly stronger and should be let intack we hope.

Meet the official 2004 SBK World Superbike Fast Dates Calendar Angels and Team Ducati Corse Umbrella Girls for
Laguna Seca July 9-11th
and our
LA Calendar Bike Show July 17-18th.

Andra Cobb, Fast Dates
Superbike Supermodel
- Click for more -

2004 American AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship
Round 11 – Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minnesota, USA
Event Preview

Minnesota’s Brainerd International Raceway remains as one of only two circuits that Mat Mladin has never won a round in the eight years that he has competed in the American AMA Superbike Championship.

The four-times American AMA Superbike champion will be attempting to remedy that situation when the series heads to BIR for round 11 on Sunday, June 27.

“I’m looking forward to the race, it’s going to be a tough one for us, very similar to the last round at Road America, but hopefully we can be a bit closer at the end,” said Mladin.

”With a mile long front straight, Brainerd is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar. It won’t be pretty for us down the front straight, but hopefully we can make up some time around the back part of the circuit.

In the corresponding round last year, Mladin looked as though he may break through for his first race win, but a failing rear tyre, forced him to pit part-way though the race, eventually finishing seventh.

The tyre woes that affected his campaign have been addressed with Mladin not expecting any repeats of last year’s problems.

“Last year we were in the midst of the tyre problems that we were having then and I was forced to pit for a new tyre and finished down in seventh. I don’t expect those sorts of problems again at this round as Dunlop has worked hard on addressing those issues.”

After a blistering start to the season where Mladin scored five race wins from the opening six rounds aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, he arrives at Brainerd holding a 10-point lead in the championship over Honda’s Miguel DuHamel. The second half of the season is shaping up to be a classic battle between two of the champions of the sport.

“At recent rounds, our rivals have taken some points away from us, but the bottom line is that I still have the lead and prefer to have that rather than be chasing it. We’re definitely not out of it yet.”

The determination to succeed which has become such a strong part of Mladin’s character is certain to shine at Brainerd as he chases every possible point that is available to be earned at the round.

Practice and qualifying for round 11 of the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship is scheduled to commence on Friday (June 25), with the Superbike competitors taking to the circuit on Sunday for their 21-lap national.

Circuit length: 4.828km (3.00miles)
2003 Pole position: Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki) 1:35.622 mins
2003 Results:
1. Aaron Yates (Yoshimura Suzuki)
2. Miguel DuHamel (American Honda)
3. Kurtis Roberts (Erion Honda)
7. Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki)
Superbike lap record: Mat Mladin (Team Yoshimura Suzuki) 1:35.320 (2001)

2004 AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship (Points after 10 of 18 rounds)
1. Mat Mladin (329, 5 wins); 2. Miguel DuHamel (319, 4 wins), 3. Jake Zemke (311), 4. Eric Bostrom (235, 1 win), 5. Geoff May (220); 6. Ben Bostrom (184), 7. John Haner (183), 8. Aaron Yates (165), 9. Eric Wood (161), 10. Lee Acree (156).


Sandra Strazzari has been appointed as the International Press & PR Officer, by the FGSPORT Group, for the remaining rounds of the 2004 Superbike World Championship. She will take up the appointment at the seventh round of the Series at Laguna Seca, USA on 7th July 2004.
Sandra has been involved in motor sport since 1987 when she started working with the national media team at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Imola where she undertook translation work during press conferences. Since then she has worked at the Imola circuit for Formula 1 managing journalist and photographer accreditation, management of the media centre and accreditation centre coordination. Since the Superbike World Championshipís return to Imola in 2001 Sandra has worked in the national press office. Her experience is also supplemented by eleven years of work with the Misano Adriatico circuit where she worked in the national press office for both the Superbike World Championship and FIA European Truck Racing Cup.

" This is a new challenge for me. I've run media centres in important motor sport events for many years now in Italian circuits and for this reason I think I can give my support both to Journalists and Organisers involved in this popular Championship. World Superbikes always has a friendly atmosphere in the paddock as well as the media centre and I look forward to helping all the professionals involved by trying to create a efficient and pleasant working environment,î says Sandra.
The International Press & PR Officerís functions, amongst others, will be to keep the worldís media up to date with SBK news and to ensure that members of the international media have their accreditation and the facilities they need at each event. She will also liaise with the national press officers with regard to the accreditation of national media and be responsible for the event press conferences during each weekend.
Nino Barra retains responsibility for the Italian national media as National Press Officer for Italy.