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September 2011 Page 1

Imola World Superbike to Rea and Checa
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2011 MotoGP Season Preview and Opeing Race at Qatar
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2011 World Superbike Season Opener from Phillip Island
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World Lagest Displacment Sportbike FGR 2500cc V6
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Kawasaki ZX10R Ninja - 2011 All New 200hp Superbike Weapon
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Ducati's New 2012 Production MotoGP and Superbikes!
2010 LA Calendar Motorccyle Show Event Covergage

NCR D16! OMG 240hp / 316 pounds!
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Preview: Checa on the verge of Magny-Cours WSB title celebrations
Magny-Cours, France, Wednesday 28 September 2011- Spain’s Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) will need to pick up just three points in this weekend’s penultimate round at Magny-Cours to become the first Spanish rider to take the World Superbike title in the championship’s 24-year history. Once again therefore the circuit on the outskirts of Nevers in central France becomes the venue for the deciding round, even though the outcome is bordering on certainty for Checa.
With Max Biaggi abdicating his 2010 title at Imola, the only rider now left with a mathematical chance of eclipsing Checa is Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team), but the Italian was in difficulty last weekend and is coming to a circuit that he has never ever seen before. For his part Biaggi will again miss a race, his second in just one week, due to the as yet unhealed bone fracture in his left foot.
The Ducati machines traditionally go well at Magny-Cours and Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert – Liberty Racing) will be doing his best to bring home a maiden WSB win in front of his home crowd. The Frenchman was just beaten for the podium by Michel Fabrizio last year on his Suzuki.
All eyes will again be on Imola race 1 winner Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) after the young Northern Irishman showed last week that he has fully recovered from his Misano crash injury and that his Honda CBR machine is still a winning performer, especially with the new ride-by-wire system. Another British rider in great form is Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike), who won at the Nurburgring and then set pole at Imola, while Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport), following an encouraging fifth place last week, is now looking to finish off the remaining four races with the best possible results.
In Biaggi’s absence, Melandri’s team-mate Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) now has every chance of fighting for the overall third place slot. But the competition for the top positions will be tough this weekend, starting with Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) who has now re-emerged as a race win contender on a superbly prepared Aprilia machine in this final part of the season. Two second places at Imola were an excellent example of Haga’s fighting spirit and the Japanese rider is a wily veteran of the Magny-Cours track.
Points (after 11 of 13 rounds): 1. Checa 417; 2. Melandri 320; 3. Biaggi 281; 4. Laverty 256; 5. Haslam 187; 6. Camier 171; 7: Guintoli 158; 8. Haga 155; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 441; 2. Aprilia 376; 3. Yamaha 375; 4. BMW 232; 5. Kawasaki 192; 6. Honda 162; 7. Suzuki 158.

Carlos Checa and the Althea team closed within 3 points of the 2011 Championship with 2 rounds / 4 races remaining.

2011 SBK World Superbike Championship, Round 11 of 13 Imola

Rea and Checa score Superbike Victories at Imola, Checa delayed the Crown
Imola, Italy), Sunday 25 September 2011 – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) came within three points of winning the Superbike World Championship outright at Imola, after posting a third place in race one and his 12th victory of the year in race two. He was only stopped in his title tracks by the eighth and sixth places put in by Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) who is now 97 points behind Carlos with only two rounds left to go. Had Melandri left 100 points or more behind the Spaniard, Carlos would have been champion today.
A superb day of entertainment saw Jonathan Rea win for Castrol Honda in race one, from Noriyuki Haga (Pata Aprilia) who in the absence of former championship challenger Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) was the top Aprilia rider on show, finally posting two second places. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) was also a podium man today, despite running off the circuit in race two.

Carlos Checa and the Althea team after their win at Donnington earlier this year.

Imola Preview- World Superbike heads to Imola with title there for the taking
Imola (Italy), Wednesday 21 September 2011
– Excitement is growing over the 11th round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship, which comes to Imola’s Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit, one of the most spectacular in the history of motor sport. A new track resurfacing should help to mix up the cards but in any case Imola, with its legendary title battles of the past still fresh in the memory, still remains a fascinating and atmospheric venue for all fans. 
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) will emerge from the pit garages for the first time on Friday strong in the knowledge than he is the firm favourite for the title. Eleven wins this year (together with a double win here in 2010 on the same bike, on the day of Max Biaggi’s 2010 triumph), have left the Spaniard with a 74 point lead over Marco Melandri, and he will clearly be aiming to seal the deal this weekend at a circuit congenial to both him and his machine before heading to the final two rounds (Magny-Cours and Portimao) which could favour the four-cylinder bikes. Checa needs just 26 points to clinch his first-ever world title this weekend, so in any case race 2 could be the decider.
Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) will clearly be doing everything in his power to keep the title chase open, but the man from Ravenna last raced here in 1999 when he won on a 125 GP machine. Melandri’s experience and Superbike rookie enthusiasm will compensate for lack of knowledge of the circuit and after the recent testing at Misano, where Melandri was in terrific form for the entire two days, the Yamaha man could certainly be a contender for the wins.
A wave of uncertainty surrounds the presence of Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team), who will have his protective brace removed on Wednesday following his Nurburgring incident. Even though he has all but given up on any title hopes, the reigning champion desperately wants to race at the Italian round and the final decision will remain with the doctors.
Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) has a special relation with the Imola circuit, where he won race 2 two years ago and in Superstock 1000 back in 2003, so expect to see the man from Rome produce some good form on the Belgian team’s GSX-R1000 machine.
Following the latest FIM deliberations, the Imola round should also see the debut of ‘ride-by-wire’ throttle control on the Castrol Honda CBR1000RR of Jonathan Rea, the Irishman now finding the Fireblade much more to his liking in Misano testing. This  should help increase the winning potential of Rea, who in the past has failed to gel with the track, and together with his recent resigning for the team in 2012 should do wonders to boost his morale.
The same can be said for Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsports) who despite scoring points in five of the six races in which he has taken part at Imola, has never finished higher than fifth, a position he obtained last year, when he battled Biaggi for the title. And still in BMW, this time in the Motorrad Italia SBK camp Ayrton Badovini, who won the Superstock 1000 race here in 2009, will be looking to continue his good form. His team-mate for the final rounds of the season will be Spain’s Xavi Fores, who makes his Superbike debut.
Three Italian wild-cards will make up the entry-list: Federico Sandi (Althea Racing Ducati), Matteo Baiocco and Alessandro Polita (Barni Racing Team Ducati).
Riders Points (after 10 of 13 rounds): 1. Checa 376; 2. Melandri 302; 3. Biaggi 281; 4. Laverty 232; 5. Haslam 176; 6. Camier 154; 7: Fabrizio 141; 8. Guintoli 139; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 400; 2. Yamaha 351; 3. Aprilia 336; 4. BMW 214; 5. Kawasaki 171; 6. Suzuki 158; 7. Honda. 132.

Biaggi to miss Imola WSBK round with foot injury
Thursday, Sept 22nd - Max Biaggi tried right until the very end, but the response of the medical exam today quelled any hopes that the reigning WSBK champion had of racing at Imola in the eleventh round of the World Superbike Championship.The fracture to the metatarsus on his left foot which he suffered during practice at the Nurburgring three weeks ago has not healed and prevents even the most basic limb functionality for the Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team rider. Located precisely at the contact point with the shift lever, operated by the left foot, the bone injury prevents any possibility of riding on the track. Max wanted to be at Imola for one final try in spite of the discouraging signs after the brace was removed on Tuesday.

Dr. Claudio Costa, who examined Max today in the Clinica Mobile at Imola was not able to give the go-ahead for the Italian rider: "It is a bad split fracture which - fortunately - is progressing well. But it has not healed and the X-ray today shows that. Max - summoning up reason - was forced to acknowledge the situation. Now what he must do is observe complete rest until Sunday and begin proper therapy on Monday in order to have any hope of racing at Magny Cours".

Max Biaggi: "I came here to try, because my hope was to race on this track which provided me with such great emotion last year, but I have no choice but to painfully acknowledge what has been determined by the last medical exams, conducted just a few minutes ago. The pain has not let up, the fracture is not healed and I don't have the mobility to be able to ride. It is very painful for me to be here stating that I cannot race. I hope that now I will be able to recover in time to be back in the saddle at Magny Cours".

Jonthan Rea Honda Imola World Superbike photo

Rea cooks up a sizzler on Day One
Imola Practice Friday 23rd  – Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) was the man to watch in Friday’s first qualifying session at Imola as the Northern Irish rider powered to a time of 1 minute 48.241 seconds, just a fraction away from the 2010 best lap set by Carlos Checa. On a hot day of qualifying, with temperatures almost reaching 30 degrees C, there wasn’t much in it at the very top, however, as Althea Racing Ducati man Checa (last year’s double winner and favourite for this year’s title) finished just a tenth away from Rea, and in second place. For the first time this season Rea was running a ride-by-wire throttle control system on his Honda machine, after a recent change to the technical rules in the Superbike class.
Third place on the provisional grid went to Britain’s Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport), who took his S1000RR close to the leading duo after looking competitive right throughout the hour. Leon was followed home in fourth by Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare), who also looked at ease on the newly resurfaced Imola track.
Fifth was the other title contender Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike), who got home ahead of Nürburgring winner and last year’s Imola poleman Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike). Frenchmen Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati) and Maxime Berger (Supersonic Ducati) completed the provisional second row.
The virtual third row after the first qualifying session featured four riders who were all within a second of leader Rea, the first of them being Noriyuki Haga (Pata Racing Aprilia), followed by Guintoli’s team-mate, Jakub Smrz. Local wildcard Federico Sandi (Althea Racing Ducati) was an impressive 11th fastest, followed home by another local for the Barni Racing Ducati team, Alessandro Polita.
Lone works Aprilia Alitalia rider Leon Camier was 13th, but still only just over a second from Rea out front. BMW Motorrad Italia SBK’s replacement for the recently retired James Toseland, Javier Fores, was 22nd in his first ever WSBK ride.
Friday Superbike Times: 1. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'48.241; 2. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'48.400; 3. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.701; 4. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'48.726; 5. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'48.844; 6. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'48.884; 7. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'49.003; 8. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'49.023; 9. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'49.041; 10. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'49.072; 11. Sandi F. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'49.125; 12. Polita A. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'49.134; 13. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'49.282; 14. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'49.394; 15. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'49.665; 16. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'49.781.

Carlos Checa

Carlos out front in Tissot-Superpole at Imola
Imola Superpole, Saturday 24th  – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) took his sixth Tissot-Superpole win of the season on his Ducati at Imola, heading off Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) with a new track best of 1 minute 47.196 seconds. Rea came within a tenth of Checa in the final session, with Aprilia rider Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team) third and fastest man from combined qualifying, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) fourth, and the last rider on the front row.
Carlos Checa: “Jonathan has been very strong all weekend and we knew it was going to be hard to beat him. Basically we’ve been struggling with the qualifying tyres, and in the end we put on the race tyre and improved. I did a really good clean lap with no mistake, and when I saw the time, I was pretty sure that no one was going to beat it.”
Jonathan Rea: “It’s been such a big journey to get here on my side with my family, the physio and the doctors, and on the team’s side because they’ve worked so hard with the new ride-by-wire system and Cosworth are helping us a lot so I can’t thank everyone enough for their belief in me. I think we can be really competitive tomorrow but at this point I’m really looking forward to 2012!”
Noriyuki Haga: “I’m really happy for this position, especially because I made a little mistake in the second exit of Superpole, but finally I got third position with a race tyre and the front row and I’m feeling good.”
Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) was fifth, Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) sixth, Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) seventh and Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati) in eighth place.
Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team), Checa’s championship rival, exited in Superpole 2, and he now starts from ninth place on the grid, at the head of the third row. Behind Marco is a bunch of potential top finishers come raceday, with Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) tenth, and perennial hard trier Michel Fabrizio Suzuki Alstare) 11th. Maxime Berger (Supersonic Ducati) is the final rider on row three, on his privateer machine.
The riders who exited Superpole in the first of three sessions were Jakub Smrz (Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati), Federico Sandi (Althea Racing Ducati), Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Alessandro Polita (Barni racing Ducati). In all 22 riders qualified, with 21 of them within 1.869 seconds of each other.

Imola Superpole
Superbike Superpole Times: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'47.196; 2. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'47.274; 3. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.442; 4. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'47.468; 5. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1'47.929; 6. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.081; 7. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.234; 8. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'48.416; 9. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'47.781; 10. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.858; 11. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'48.126; 12. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'48.334; 13. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'48.741; 14. Sandi F. (ITA) Ducati 1098R; 1'48.812; 15. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.89; 16. Polita A. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'49.091; etc.
World Supersport
Broc Parkes (Kawasaki held off the challenge of Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) to take pole at Imola, earning his second top starting position of the season. Parkes also set a new track best of 1 minute 51.592 seconds on his way to pole, in a session twice interrupted by red flag incidents. Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was in sparkling form and went third, one place up on Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO). David Salom, Parkes’ team-mate, was fifth with Yamaha rider Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service RT) sixth. Massimo Roccoli (Kawasaki Lorenzini by Leoni) and Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) completed the second row.
Times: 1. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'51.594; 2. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'51.669; 3. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'51.737; 4. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6; 1'51.852; 5. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'52.120; 6. Tamburini R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'52.140; 7. Roccoli M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'52.353; 8. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1'52.543; etc.
Superstock 1000
FIM Cup leader Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) set the quickest time in Superstock 1000 qualifying, putting almost four-tenths of a second between himself and his chief rival Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team Ducati). Alongside the two Italians in third can be found Frenchman Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia STK), who crashed towards the end of the session, while the front row will be completed by Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati). Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia STK), currently lying second in the FIM Cup 23 points behind Giugliano, set the fifth quickest time, followed by Niccolò Canepa (Lazio Motosport Ducati).
Times: 1. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'50.016; 2. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'50.402; 3. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1'50.588; 4. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'50.768; 5. Zanetti L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'50.794; 6. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'50.940; 7. Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'51.220; 8. Reiterberger M. (GER) BMW S1000 RR 1'51.396; etc

Carlos so nearly the King as Rea and Checa score race victories
Race Day Sunday 25 September 2011 – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) came within three points of winning the Superbike World Championship outright at Imola, after posting a third place in race one and his 12th victory of the year in race two. He was only stopped in his title tracks by the eighth and sixth places put in by Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) who is now 97 points behind Carlos with only two rounds left to go. Had Melandri left 100 points or more behind the Spaniard, Carlos would have been champion today.
A superb day of entertainment saw Jonathan Rea win for Castrol Honda in race one, from Noriyuki Haga (Pata Aprilia) who in the absence of former championship challenger Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) was the top Aprilia rider on show, finally posting two second places. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) was also a podium man today, despite running off the circuit in race two.
A wide range of machines filled the top places at Imola, with Honda, Ducati, Aprilia, Kawasaki and BMW machines all taking a turn inside the top five. Behind those dizzy heights, and in front of a 78,000 strong impassioned crowd, Effenbert-Liberty Ducati riders Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz were sixth and seventh respectively in race one, and Guintoli seventh in race two.
Home rider Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) had a miserable time and crashed in race one, retiring in the second 21-lap contest. Tom Sykes was on course for two top four places until his Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike machine stopped with braking issues in race two. He was only just beaten to the podium by Checa in race one. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) was top BMW finisher today, fifth in race two.
Race 1 to Jonthan Rea / Ten Kate Castrol Honda
Rea won his second race of the year with a front-running display that needed to be strong in the final laps to hold off Haga. Behind the leading two, by some nine seconds, Checa scored an important podium but had to wait until the final lap to get the better of the impressive Sykes. Championship hopeful Marco Melandri was only eighth, after getting involved in several fights in the middle order.
Jonathan Rea: “It’s a great day for me especially after my race at Imola here last year and my injuries, so all credit to everyone for getting me back to the top step. Nori kept me on it for the whole race, I had to dig so deep at the end to try and get that win, but I’m so happy, we’re a very strong team.”
Noriyuki Haga: “First of all I made a mistake at the start and then to make up positions I used a lot of my stamina to catch up the pack. I tried to push until I caught up with Johnny, but he was riding very well and I didn’t find any space to pass him in the corners.”
Carlos Checa: “It was a nice clean and exciting fight with Tom until the end, I was a bit quicker than him. We passed each other three or four times, I didn’t want to touch him but on the outside I was able to keep the position and take him. It’s always nice to be on the podium especially at Imola with this situation in the championship!”
SUPERBIKE RACE 1: (Laps 21 = 103,656 Km)
1 / J. REA / GBR / Castrol Honda / Honda CBR1000RR / 38'03.396
2 / N. HAGA / JPN / PATA Racing Team Aprilia / Aprilia RSV4 Factory / 0.111
3 / C. CHECA / ESP / Althea Racing / Ducati 1098R / 9.449
4 / T. SYKES / GBR / Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike / Kawasaki ZX-10R / 9.792
5 / E. LAVERTY / IRL / Yamaha World Superbike Team / Yamaha YZF R1 / 14.699
6 / S. GUINTOLI / FRA / Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing / Ducati 1098R / 16.82
7 / J. SMRZ / CZE / Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing / Ducati 1098R / 24.227
8 / M. MELANDRI / ITA / Yamaha World Superbike Team / Yamaha YZF R1 / 24.935
9 / A. BADOVINI / ITA / BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team / BMW S1000 RR / 25.224
10 / J. LASCORZ / ESP / Kawasaki Racing Team / Kawasaki ZX-10R / 25.487
11 / M. AITCHISON / AUS / Team Pedercini / Kawasaki ZX-10R / 26.148
12 / T. CORSER / AUS / BMW Motorrad Motorsport / BMW S1000 RR / 26.444
13 / F. SANDI / ITA / Althea Racing / Ducati 1098R / 29.761
14 / A. POLITA / ITA / Barni Racing Team S.N.C. / Ducati 1098R / 30.083
15 / L. CAMIER / GBR / Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team / Aprilia RSV4 Factory / 34.862

Fastest Lap: 12 Noriyuki Haga 1'47.960 164,594 Km/h
Lap Record: 2010 C. Checa 1'48.877 163,210 Km/h
Best Lap: 2011 C. Checa 1'47.196 165,770 Km/h

Race 2 - Rea Leads Again then Breaks, Checa Closes the Title to 3 Points
The 24-year-old from Northern Ireland, whose season ended in injury during the corresponding round last year, almost made it a dream return as he also led race two from the moment the lights went out. With only four laps remaining, Jonyhan Rea held a 3.5 second lead over Carlos Checa when a connector on his machine’s battery failed, forcing him to pit.Checa won the second dramatic race of the Imola weekend with a 4.6 second lead over runner-up Nori Haga, but he was unable to clinch the championship at Ducati’s home circuit.Haga took his second runner-up place of the day, while Camier earned a podium in another classic race at this classic track. Eugene Laverty went fourth to keep his challenge on for a final third place finish.

Carlos Checa: “It was a great weekend, mathematically we don’t have the title but it’s very close. We feel it already, but especially we’re so enthusiastic for today’s win. It was a shame for Johnny, I think he deserved to win so we were a bit lucky, but this year has been going so good and to win here in Imola for us has been so good”
Noriyuki Haga: “Race 2 was very tough, I wasn’t as close to the leaders as in race 1. I changed the suspension settings from the first race, but again I made a mistake from the start. Then I consumed my tyres to make up on the leaders, but I’m really happy for two podiums in one race.”
Leon Camier: “It was really hard to be honest. We’ve had a really up and down season so far but it’s good to get a podium for Aprilia, it’s an awesome feeling even though I feel so tired as well. Shame for Jonathan but well done for Nori and Carlos.”

SUPERBIKE RACE 2: (Laps 21 = 103,656 Km)
1 / C. CHECA / ESP / Althea Racing / Ducati 1098R / 38'04.538
2 / N. HAGA / JPN / PATA Racing Team Aprilia / Aprilia RSV4 Factory / 4.631
3 / L. CAMIER / GBR / Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team / Aprilia RSV4 Factory / 15.159
4 / E. LAVERTY / IRL / Yamaha World Superbike Team / Yamaha YZF R1 / 17.195
5 / L. HASLAM / GBR / BMW Motorrad Motorsport / BMW S1000 RR / 17.388
6 / M. MELANDRI / ITA / Yamaha World Superbike Team / Yamaha YZF R1 / 18.533
7 / S. GUINTOLI / FRA / Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing / Ducati 1098R / 19.615
8 / J. LASCORZ / ESP / Kawasaki Racing Team / Kawasaki ZX-10R / 20.063
9 / M. AITCHISON / AUS / Team Pedercini / Kawasaki ZX-10R / 24.194
10 / A. BADOVINI / ITA / BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team / BMW S1000 RR / 28.485
11 / R. XAUS / ESP / Castrol Honda / Honda CBR1000RR / 28.6
12 / F. SANDI / ITA / Althea Racing / Ducati 1098R / 41.802
13 / M. BERGER / FRA / Supersonic Racing Team / Ducati 1098R / 54.75
14 / J. FORES / ESP / BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team / BMW S1000 RR / 1'12.281

Fastest Lap: 13 Carlos Checa 1'47.934 164,634 Km/h
Lap Record: 2011 N. Haga 1'47.960 164,590 Km/h
Best Lap: 2011 C. Checa 1'47.196 165,770 Km/h

1 CHECA 417, 2 MELANDRI 320, 3 BIAGGI 281, 4 LAVERTY 256, 5 HASLAM 187,
6 CAMIER 171, 7 GUINTOLI 158, 8 HAGA 155, 9 BADOVINI 147, 10 FABRIZIO 141,
11 REA 138, 12 SYKES 127, 13 LASCORZ 125, 14 SMRZ 118, 15 CORSER 71.

Fabien Foret, Sam Lowes Imola 600 Supersport photo
Fabien Foret holds off Sam Lowes through the chicane for the win after early race leader Chaz Davies broke down.

World 600cc Supersport
Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) had the title within his grasp as he led the WSS race by over ten seconds, but when his machine broke down in spectacular fashion he left the Imola circuit with a greatly reduced championship advantage. The race winner was Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) who was locked in a midfield battle in the early laps, only to break free and overhaul an impressive list of riders, including eventual fellow podium men, Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) and Broc Parkes (Kawasaki
Fourth was Foret's team-mate Florian Marino, and fifth another early struggler who showed great pace late on, David Salom (Kawasaki The top five were covered by only six seconds, the top four by just under four seconds.
Supersport Results: 1. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 35'56.214 (156,581 kph); 2. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 0.166; 3. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2.499; 4. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 3.833; 5. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 6.325; 6. Ellison J. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 21.872; 7. Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 25.826; 8. Praia M. (POR) Honda CBR600RR 27.553; etc.
Points (after 10 of 12 rounds): 1. Davies 171; 2. Foret 136; 3. Salom 123; 4. Parkes 120; 5. Lowes 109; 6. Scassa 96; 7. Ellison 72; 8. Marino 71; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Yamaha 201; 2. Honda 194; 3. Kawasaki 161; 4. Triumph 30.

Superstock 1000
A thrilling fight for much of the race between Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Ducati) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) eventually saw Petrucci almost crash but then collect his thoughts well enough to run out the winner by two clear seconds. Niccolò Canepa (Lazio MotorSport) was third in a Ducati clean sweep of the podium positions at the Imola round. Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati) headed off practice faller Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock) for fourth place.
Markus Reiterberger (Garnier Alpha Racing Team BMW) finished sixth, just ahead of top Kawasaki runner Sheridan Morais (Lorenzini by Leoni). Ducati has now won six of eight races in 2011 and in the championship fight Giugliano has an impressive 160 points, Petrucci 119, Imola faller Lorenzo Zanetti 117 and Barrier 96.
Superstock Results: 1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 22'10.546 (160,261 kph); 2. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2.087; 3. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 3.339; 4. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 14.422; 5.Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 16.130; 6. Reiterberger M. (GER) BMW S1000 RR 20.645; 7. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 21.317; 8. Magnoni M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 21.483; etc.
Points (after 8 of 10 rounds): 1. Giugliano 160; 2. Petrucci 119; 3. Zanetti 117; 4. Barrier 96; 5. Canepa 96; 6. Baroni 70; 7. Reiterberger 62; 8. Antonelli 58; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 190; 2. BMW 153; 3. Kawasaki 75; 4. Honda 66; 5. Yamaha 16.

2012 Honda CBR 1000 Launch photo

Honda’s Jonathan Rea unveils 20th anniversary 2012 CBR1000 Fireblade
Friday 23rd Sept 2011 - In carefully-coordinated presentations this evening, Honda riders Jonathan Rea and John McGuinness took the covers off the 2012 version of Honda’s CBR1000RR Fireblade. Rea is racing for the Castrol Honda team at Imola in Italy in round eleven of the World Superbike championship this weekend, while McGuinness is competing for the Honda TT Legends World Endurance championship team at the iconic 24-hour race at Le Mans in France.
Both riders will contest the weekend’s races on the current version of the Fireblade but officially revealed next year’s model, which will also be on public display at the forthcoming EICMA show in Milan (8-13 November), for the first time this evening. The iconic Fireblade will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2012 and the new model maintains the original’s ethos of ‘total control’, a philosophy that has been continually refined and evolved during the past 20 years.
The 2012 Fireblade features new wheels and front and rear suspension enhancements to improve handling, traction and braking performance. The advanced Balance Free Rear Cushion rear suspension (not explained in this press release - editor) is a world-first for a production motorcycle.
The design team has also created a new, even more aggressive styling to better communicate the dynamism and sheer speed of the new CBR1000RR. In addition, the already comprehensive instrument panel has additional functionality making the bike more user-friendly, helping riders get the most from Honda’s most exciting and advanced supersport machine yet.

“This is a stunning-looking new Fireblade,” said Jonathan Rea, after revealing the bike in Imola. “But it’s not just cosmetic changes on this model – there’s some clever new technology on the bike, too. I’m looking forward to these final three rounds of this year’s World Superbike championship, but I can’t wait to begin testing for next year on the new machine.”

The 2012 model is essentially a light revision of the current 2010-2011 model. The current economic situation and reduced motorccyle sales world wide makes it difficult for the Japanese budget development of new genertion sport bikes. The claimed patented “layered” bodywork with a more pointed fairing nose and revised shapes and cutouts is said to be more aerodynamic. “Shark’s tooth” sidepanels are sharper and more aggressive-looking. A revised chin spoiler reduces lift at high speeds. Claimed curb weight is 441 pounds, 2 lb. more than the 2011 model.

Combined ABS is, once again, optional. No rider-variable power modes or traction/wheelie control, features that are either standard or available as options on most, if not all, of the CBR’s European and Japanese competition? Those rider aids are unnecessary, snorts Honda, when you have a “machine designed from the get-go with both a sound concept and strong execution.” They obviously haven't noticed the Castrol Honda Ten Kate team with rider Jonthan Rea does use such traction control, and now a fly-by-wire computer controlled throttle in World Superbike.

While the liquid-cooled, dohc, 16-valve, 999cc inline-Four is itself unchanged, revised fuel-injection settings are intended to give the RR more-linear response, especially at smaller throttle openings. The last CBR1000RR Cycle World magazine tested (“Turn & Burn,” July, 2008) produced 159.3 horsepower. In comparison, BMW’s S1000RR, the class powerhouse, made 179.5 hp (“Electronic Warfare,” August, 2011), while Kawasaki’s ZX-10R managed 165.5.

The 2012 CBR1000RR is scheduled to arrive in U.S. dealerships in December. MSRP for either the Pearl White/Red/Blue or Black model is $13,800—an increase of $401—with the C-ABS version in Red commanding a $1000 premium.

John Hopkins, British Superbike Championship oints leader photoHopper leads the BSB Championship on the Cresent Samsung Suzuki, with plans to move to World Superbike next year.

2011 British Superbike Championship, Round 11 of 12, Silverstone

Hopkins and Brookes trade British Superbike Wins at Silverstone, Hopper Pulls out the Ponts Lead
American John Hopkins on the Samsung Cresent Racing Suzuki carded 1st and 3rd Place finishes at Silverstone this weekend to pull out a small lead in the British Superbike Championship with one round remaining.  

Autoafondo, the Spanish Motosports TV Show and Magazine
covers our 2011 LA Calendar Motocycle Show!

2012 Yamaha R1  photo

New 2012 Yamaha R1 with Traction Control and Updates
September 15th 2011 - The Yamaha YZR1, which was already bristling with MotoGP® technology has been updated for 2012 with even more innovations derived from the World-Championship-winning YZR-M1®. The biggest addition is an all-new, seven-level Traction Control System, which was developed specifically so the rider doesn’t feel any unnatural or harsh intervention from the system. Coupled with a new ECU optimized for acceleration and controllability in the mid-to-low-speed range, as well as a the proven three-level D-Mode electronic throttle response control, 2012 R1 riders will have no less than 21 different choices available to tailor to their riding preference.

The large choice of settings enables the R1’s TCS to compensate for subtle changes in the contact patch between the tire and the riding surface. In addition, because TCS results in less wheel spin, the system can aid in reducing tire wear.

Other MotoGP-influenced changes to the R1 include an all-new top triple clamp with styling taken directly from the M1, and the 2012 R1’s footpegs have been redesigned for improved boot-sole contact and better ergonomics.

And the changes to the 2012 R1 don’t stop there. The bike also receives a new upper fairing with a revised headlight cowl for more modern and aggressive styling, new LED position lights for a more menacing and distinctive look, and new hexagon-shaped muffler caps and heat shields for a sharper profile at the rear.

With Yamaha celebrating its 50th year in World Grand Prix Road Racing, the factory MotoGP team commemorated the occasion twice in America this past summer, with the M1s of Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies resplendent in brilliant red-and-white livery at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

That celebration literally rolls on with the 2012 R1, as the bike can be had in the same limited-edition Pearl White/Rapid Red livery, with a 50th Anniversary emblem on top of the fuel tank and a specially engraved and numbered plate showing the production number of only 2000 bikes that will be produced worldwide in the commemorative colors. Special gold Yamaha emblems and MotoGP-inspired graphics and sponsor decals complete the stunning package. The R1 will be available in dealerships beginning in October in four colors: Raven, Pearl White/Candy Red, Team Yamaha Blue/White, and the limited-edition 50th Anniversary color scheme.

Alongside, but not playing second fiddle to its liter-class big brother, the AMA Pro Racing Supersport-Championship-winning YZF-R6® is back for 2012, and it will also be available as a limited-edition model in the same Pearl White/Rapid Red 50th Anniversary Edition colors as the limited-edition re-and-white R1. Light, yet powerful, the R6 is the most advanced production 600cc motorcycle that Yamaha--or anyone else, for that matter--has ever built. The R6 will also arrive in dealerships this October, and it will be available in the same four colors as the R1, with the limited-edition 50th Anniversary R6 arriving in January.

Yamaha’s full lineup of Super Sport models, including the FJR1300, FZ1, FZ8, and FZ6R will all be back for 2012 with new colors and class-leading features. Full information on all of these models, as well as the complete line of GYTR Performance Accessories, Riding Apparel, Demo Schedules, additional Rider Resources, and more can be found by visiting

new 2012 Ducati 199 Superbike

Ducati's 2012 Superbike Revealed Further with new 'SuperQuadro' engine and Rossi Graphics
September 1st - We now have the first leaked official factory press photo of the all new Ducati 1199 Superbike, dressed in special edition Valentino Rossi MotoGP livery to commentate the famous Italian rider's marriage to the Bologna motorcycle brand. Were guessing the picture was leaked from a press kit provided by Ducati to a print magazine, who's 2-3 month in-print lead time would coincide with the bike's world wide premier at the EICMA Show in November.

The small resolution / size of this particular leaked press photo (above) makes it difficult to read, but we're guessing the model name on the side of the fairing below "Ducati" is '1199P' with the 'P' denoting a new 'Panigale' designation for the up-specification, Ohlins equipped formerly named 'S' model Superbike. As is usual Ducati's practice from previous Superbike generation releases, the Standard and S-models are released the first year, with the R homologation race model coming the following year. Also making us believe this is not the 'R' model are the base model wheels and street legal exhaust system. An R-model would have the full race spec Termignoni Exhaust System and lighter forged machined Marchesini race wheels as seen on the factory Corse race Superbike which Troy Bayliss is seen testing in the photo above.

Ducati announces 2012 Superbike name as “Ducati 1199 Panigale”

Bologna, Italy, Sept 21, 2011 -Ducati officially announces the naming of its new generation 2012 Superbike as the “Ducati 1199 Panigale” and confirms that the unveiling and first public display will be at the EICMA International Motorcycle Show in Milan, Italy, November 10-13, 2011.
Having attracted massive, world-wide interest during the machine’s many test phases, the exciting new model is also now officially named in an emotional video released on the Italian manufacturer’s website,, and Ducati Motor Holding’s official Youtube channel. The wait to discover the incredible performance, innovative design and ground-breaking technologies of the new 1199 Panigale will continue for just a few more weeks.

Pronounced “Pan-ee-gah-lee”, the new model breaks with Ducati’s Superbike tradition by adding a name to its 1199cc engine capacity (referred to as eleven-nine-nine), making a significant and warm association to its historic roots in the Borgo Panigale area of Bologna. In an Italian territory known as “Motor Valley” and where high performance and racing runs through the veins of its passionate people, Ducati now underline their pride in being world ambassadors for the “Made in Italy” title by immortalizing their home town in the name of the new Superbike.

Developed as a true sport bike with competition in its DNA, the Ducati 1199 Panigale will first see racing action in the 2012 FIM Superstock Championship and, in accordance with the factory’s development program, make its debut in World Superbike in 2013.

The two-stage introduction enables Ducati additional development for the Superbike version of the 1199 Panigale, appropriate to the more open regulations of the World Superbike category, and in addition help control costs for World Superbike teams who can continue to compete with a 2012 version of the 1198 with technical support from Ducati Engineers.

Editor's Note: This delayed introduction of the new 1199 Panigale in the World Superbike Championship, first to race in the Superstock class in 2012, then the Superbike class in 2013 could be based on a number of factors, not limited to just their Ducati's claim to want to support the privateer teams using the current 1198R model. First, with the 1198R still dominant and set to win the 2011 World Superbike Championship, why bring out an all-new higher performing bike in the Superbike Class that could get heavily restricted by the FIM. Starting with introduction in the 2012 Superstock Class will assure the bike will be a winner right out of the box, without being restricted. Next, Ducati may still have some current 1198 bikes in their warehouse they need to sell off into next year 2012, so if the 1198 bike is still being raced next year, this will help those sales. And per usual Ducati practice, the higher spec homologation 'R' version on which the new 1199 World Superbike machine will be based, won't be introduced until November 2012, next year, as a 2013 model. And then too, might want the new 1199R to take advantage of development by Valentino Rossi now taking place of the MotoGP GP12 bike with its similar monocoque airbox chassis.

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Calendar Kitten Tiffany Toth is newest Playboy Playmate for September 2011!
August 20th, 2011 - Fast Calendar Kitten Tiffany Toth is Playboy magazine's newest Playmate for September 2011 as revealed in the latest issue of Playboy on newsstands now and on the website. pubkisher Jim Gianatsis discovered Tiffany and start shooting with her some 5 years ago and she has appeared in all our Calendars since the 2008 through to the latest 2012 editions. Tiffany now joins a long list of Calendar Kittens who have gone on to become, or have been Playboy Playmates beginning with legendary Pamela Anderson on the cover of our first Fast Dates Calendar in 1991.

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Vintage Motocross Magazine
I don't know how many of you know about it, but Vintage Motocross Magazine produced by Ken Smith out of Australia is the best publication in the world covering vintage motocross, dirt bikes and racing. Lots of cool historical racing and collector bike features, and an incredible source to find the new replica parts to restore your European and Japanese project bike. Published Quarterly, large 8.25 x 11.75 high quality gloss paper, perfect bound. Yours Truly is featured in the newest issue #47. Subscribe online today at

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Final 2011 MotoGP Asian Run to Begin at Motegi
Preview, Japanese MotoGP, Sept 26th - The Grand Prix of Japan takes place this weekend as the 2011 MotoGP World Championship heads into a swift conclusion which will see three of the final four rounds – starting at Motegi – take place in the space of three weeks.

Taking a 44-point lead into this weekend’s 15th round is Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner, who with victory last time out at Aragón – his eighth of the season – extended his advantage at the top over defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. Stoner won last year’s race at Motegi and a repeat of that result would put him in a position to be able to secure the 2011 title in the following round, his home race at Phillip Island.

The Australian knows that is purely hypothetical at the moment however and remains fully focused on taking each race as it comes. Likewise Lorenzo knows that whilst his chances of retaining his title are now slim, there is still everything to play for. The Yamaha Factory Racing rider was fourth in last year’s Motegi race on his way to the 2010 title, but won the previous year so knows his way around the Japanese track well.

Consistency has been the cornerstone of Andrea Dovizioso’s 2011 season and is the reason for the Repsol Honda rider’s current position of third in the Championship, but the rarity of a DNF at Aragón – the first time he has failed to score points in a race this season – will have angered the Italian. He will be keen to put that right at a circuit at which he finished second in last year’s race.

Close on the tail of Dovizioso after a third straight second-placed finish in the previous round, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) is looking to score wins as 2011 draws to a close and would be eager to do so at a track at which he sustained a broken collarbone in a practice crash last year. Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies would also dearly love to add to his win tally having taken a debut GP victory earlier in the year, as he chases a possible top-four Championship spot.

One of the protagonists of the battle of the season last year was Valentino Rossi, who fought then team-mate Jorge Lorenzo fiercely for the final podium position at Motegi. The Italian finds himself in a very different situation this year however as the search for an improvement in performance continues at Ducati, with Rossi and factory team-mate Nicky Hayden currently sixth and seventh respectively in the overall standings.

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) scored a 250cc win at Motegi in his title-winning 2008 campaign and the Italian will be challenging to add to his single podium achieved at Brno this year, and Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) currently complete the Championship top ten. For Aoyama the Motegi round presents the most important race of the year for the Japanese rider as he aims to reward the home fans with a solid result.

The MotoGP field will be expanded this weekend with the addition of two further names, with HRC test riders Kousuke Akiyoshi and Shinichi Itoh both participating in the Grand Prix of Japan. Akiyoshi, who rode at Assen earlier this year, will be on an LCR Honda with Itoh on an RC212V for the Honda Racing Team.

Loris Capirossi will unfortunately not be able to ride this weekend after the Pramac Racing rider suffered a heavy crash at Aragón which aggravated an existing right shoulder injury. The Italian hopes to be fit for the following round in Australia.

Agreement signed in Rome to bring FIM World Superbike World
to Russia in 2012

 Rome (Italy), 22 September 2011 – Exactly four months after the press conference held in Moscow in which Paolo Flammini, CEO of Infront Motor Sports and Alexander Yakhnich, CEO of YMS Promotion Ltd announced a partnership agreement, a contract was signed in Rome between the two companies on Wednesday making YMS Promotion Ltd the official organizer of the Russian Round of the FIM Superbike World Championship.
The accord, which will have a ten-year duration, stipulates that next year the FIM Superbike and Supersport World Championships will make their first appearance in Russia at the Moscow Raceway circuit on the outskirts of Moscow.
The date scheduled for the event is 26 August 2012.
Paolo Flammini declared: "In the last few months we have been working very closely with Alexander Yakhnich and his team and we have managed to define all the details in preparation for the arrival in Russia of the championship in 2012. To hold a race in Moscow, in the very first year, was our declared intention and we are therefore extremely satisfied with the choice of Moscow Raceway, a truly state-of-the-art circuit that is in an advanced phase of construction, and which will be completed in a few months time. World Superbike will be the first championship to arrive in Russia, a demonstration of Infront Motor Sports’ commitment to opening up important new markets for motor sport".
Alexander Yakhnich added: "We are delighted to be able to officially represent such a prestigious championship as Superbike in Russia.  We know that months of hard work lie ahead of us for the organization of the event but we are certain that in August everything will be ready to give a worthy welcome to the Superbike and Supersport Championships and their protagonists. The commitment of my group for the development of motorcycle sport in Russia will also be shown by the debut of the Yakhnich Motorsport team in the 2012 FIM Supersport World Championship with Russian rider Vladimir Leonov and another rider still to be decided".

AMA Releases 2012 Pro Road Racing Rules Package
Sept 23rd - The 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing Rules Package has been released and is now available at the Competitor Information section of  All changes from the 2011 rules package are noted in red.  A direct link to the file follows:
2012 AMA Pro
Road Racing Rule Book

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Imola World Superbike Team Press Releases

Rea takes Castrol Honda back to top of Podium,
with a Loose Battery Cable costing a Double Win

Imola, Sunday Sept 25th - Jonathan Rea took his Castrol Honda CBR1000RR to the top step of the podium at a sun-drenched Imola in Italy this afternoon, winning the opening race of this weekend’s eleventh round of the 2011 World Superbike championship.
The 24-year-old from Northern Ireland, whose season ended in injury during the corresponding round last year, almost made it a dream return as he also led race two from the moment the lights went out. With only four laps remaining, Rea held a 3.5 second lead over Carlos Checa when a connector on his machine’s battery failed, forcing him to pit.
Checa inherited victory to go with his third place in race one, while Noriyuki Haga, who had pushed Rea all the way to the flag in the first outing, finished second again in race two, ahead of Leon Camier.
Rea and his Castrol Honda team arrived at Imola seeking to develop a new ride-by-wire system for the 2012 season and the new Honda CBR1000RR which was unveiled at Imola on Friday evening.
They admitted to being prepared to sacrifice results in pursuit of that goal but Rea’s team-mate, Ruben Xaus, was also developing the new electronics system. The Spaniard made a big step forward himself in the second race today, finishing just outside the top ten, after placing 17 in race one.
Jonathan Rea – 1st and DNF
 Race one was pretty emotional, because it’s been a long journey back. Last season ended for me here, so it’s a credit to all the people around me – my family, my friends, my girlfriend, and of course the team – who have got me back to the top step. I used last year’s disappointment as a big motivation today and race two was looking really good, too, so it was disappointing not to finish. I know the guys behind me were pushing pretty hard but I felt quite comfortable at the front.

We’ve come a long way and I’m not going to get wrapped up in the negative of race two. What happened was a failure of a one-Euro battery connector so in my heart I know we had two really good races today. The biggest result was the continued development of the new electronics system, so I can’t thank the team enough for the faith they’ve shown in me to keep pushing with that development. We’re still looking to improve in other areas, too, not just electronics, so that fills me with confidence for next week in Magny-Cours.
Ruben Xaus – 17th and 11th
 It’s been a hard weekend for me after two months off the bike and trying to develop the new electronics, which I believe will be very strong, at the test last week and then here. Of course, there have been some difficult moments, seeing Johnny (Rea) getting good results while I have struggled, but I have tried to be professional and keep trying as hard as I can. We changed something for race two to improve the engine braking and the lap times were much better. My race time improved by around 15 seconds in the second race, which doesn’t sound much, but it’s a big improvement. I’m looking forward to making some more progress at Magny-Cours next weekend.
Ronald ten Kate – manager
 Of course, it’s difficult for any of us to be satisfied with the final result of the day. It was clear that it could have been a brilliant weekend for us but we came here with the clear goal of developing the ride-by-wire system and that’s what we’ve done. We can’t help but feel slightly robbed of the win in race two because it was a faulty battery connection, which had nothing to do with the new electronics. On the other hand I think we can all leave this paddock with our heads held high and take the positives to Magny-Cours next weekend. We also saw a big step forward on Ruben’s side as he is developing the system in a good way. He was actually catching the big group in front of him towards the end of race two, so it’s positive all round.

Yamaha WSB Team Delivers Strong Performance in Two Tough Races at Imola
Yamaha WSB riders Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri fought hard in two difficult races in the hot Italian sunshine today at Imola to gain valuable points ahead of the last two rounds of the season.

In the opening race of the day, Laverty maintained fourth place off the grid before climbing up to third by the fourth lap. The WSB rookie put on a strong battle to fight off advances from Checa and Haga until an error on his behalf on lap six caused him to slip back to fifth place. Following a solid performance Laverty proceeded to the line to take a fifth place finish. A perfect start in race two saw Laverty shoot straight into second place. A chattering issue at the early stages of the race caused the Northern Irish rider to fall back as far as seventh. Mid race Laverty made a small adjustment to the engine brake setting enabling him to improve his race pace and gradually fight through the pack ahead to complete the second race of the day in an impressive fourth position.

Marco Melandri had a less successful race day at his home round at Imola. Struggling with a less than perfect race set up in race one, the Italian fought hard but was unable to improve on his eighth position off the starting grid. Having switched to a softer tyre for the second race, the Italian had more confidence on his machine and worked his way up to sixth place on the track that offers few opportunities to overtake. An error on “acque minerali” caused the Yamaha rider to go wide, bumping him to 11th place. Melandri put on a strong battle to work his way through his adversaries and cross the line in sixth.

Yamaha World Superbike Team riders will be back on track in Magny Cours next Sunday. Melandri heads to the French track in second place in the standings on 320 points 97 behind championship leader Carlos Checa which makes him the only rider theoretically standing in the Spaniard’s way to obtain the title. Team-mate Laverty remains in fourth place on 256 points, 25 short of Biaggi in third place. With a 124 point advantage the Yamaha World Superbike Team cannot be exceeded by any other team for the top place in the official 2011 Team standings.

Sykes on Kawasaki Misses The Podium By A Fraction At Sizzling Imola
Imola, Sept 25th - Tom Sykes took his official Ninja ZX-10R to within a whisker of a podium finish in race one at Imola as his fellow Kawasaki rider Joan Lascorz battled hard to finish his races tenth and eighth.

Sykes was on great form from the outset of race weekend and led race one for four laps after making the most of his front row grid spot, and before eventual winner Jonathan Rea came past. In hot conditions Tom worked hard to get a dry weather podium and he was in third place right until the final lap, when championship leader Carlos Checa got past and held off Tom in the final corners by only few tenths of a second.

Lascorz had been forced to start from 18th on the grid after missing out on a Superpole place, but recovered as well as he could at a circuit he could not figure out optimum machine settings for in his rookie WSBK season.

In race two Sykes was on course for another podium-challenging ride but an inconsistent feeling from his braking set-up saw him lose places to other riders and he eventually retired.

In the points table Tom is 12th, Joan 13th, with only two points separating the top two Kawasaki riders in the category.

Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki Pedercini Team) was once more on good form, despite starting from 17th on the grid. He finished race one in 11th place, and race two ninth, only four seconds from Joan. Mark’s team-mate Roberto Rolfo suffered a head knock in practice and was 18th and then a non-finisher due to a technical issue today.

Tom Sykes: “We got a fourth position in dry weather and just missed the podium. I feel we would have been able to take a podium in race two as well. We are building on our positives and looking forward to France. I had an unfortunate brake problem; a little bit of a negative feeling with the brake so I could not go on with the race. It was a massive call to pull out but apart from that we have found some speed in the dry and been riding well. We are still working very well as a team and been consistently in the top five all weekend, which is very positive.”

Joan Lascorz: “I had several big fights with other riders, but for me it was very difficult to pass them because I did not feel good on the brakes at this particular circuit. We had some of the same problems as we had in practice but we improved them a little bit in race two. In race one I did not get a good start and it was difficult. In the first lap in the second chicane of race two I went straight but I lost time. My pace was good in the second race, so that is a positive to take away.

Podium for Camier at Imola as Aprila Retakes 2nd in Manufacturers Championship
 Imola, September 25th, 2011 – Imola always provides an exciting race day. The Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit, which hosted the triumph of Max Biaggi last year, provides the Aprilia colours with a great day again in 2011. This time it was Leon Camier who stirred up the fans of the manufacturer from Noale, with a second race built on perseverance taking him to the third step of the podium. The English rider, exhausted as he crossed the finish line, set his pace after a brilliant start which placed him in third place, even taking second at one point during the race.
At the midway point Leon struggled a bit, settling into fourth place until Rea, leading until four laps from the end, had problems due to technical issues. So he crossed the finish line in third place which, summed with the second place that Pata Racing Team's Nori Haga brought home on his Aprilia RSV4, was enough to earn the Veneto factory second place in the manufacturer standings, overtaking Yamaha and moving in behind Ducati.
The first race was disappointing for Leon, compromised when he overshot the last chicane which resulted in a 5 second stop-and-go. The loss of positions was too great for him and Camier's comeback stopped at fifteenth place.
“We’ve had a really up and down season – Leon admits at the end of Race 2 – and it’s good to get a podium for Aprilia, it’s an absolutely awesome feeling. These races and the season in general have been truly tiring, I’m exhausted! It’s a shame about the first race, we could have done a lot better without that mistake, and I’ve got to feel sorry for Jonny Rea – he deserved to come away with a double today. He’s had an awesome weekend, just back after an injury and out there leading the race, so it was a shame for him. Well done, on the other hand, to Carlos and Nori, they were really quick today".

No Home Track Success for Fabrizio / Alstare Suzuki
Imola Sept 1th -
Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio endured a day of disappointment in Imola, crashing out of the first race and retiring from the second after eleven laps. Hoping to do well in front of his home fans, he started superbly in race one and was up to seventh place at the end of the first lap. But, on the very next lap, he hit the kerb at Variante Alta with the left side of his engine and was pitched off. Fortunately he was uninjured, but was unable to continue. In race two he was up to ninth after lap one and moved up to seventh before he started experiencing gearbox  problems. Downshifting became more and more difficult and he had no choice but to pull in after 11 laps.

Jonathan Rea (Honda) won race one, with Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) second and series leader Carlos Checa (Ducati) third. Rea then comfortably led race two and was on course for a double until a problem with a battery connector put him out of contention. With Rea sidelined, Haga and Checa were left to fight it out for the lead. Checa slipped past Haga on the approach to the final chicane on lap 16 and was then never headed on his way to victory, over four seconds ahead of Haga at the flag, Third went to Leon Camier (Aprilia) with Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) fourth and Leon Haslam (BMW) fifth.

Michel - Race 1: DNF,
Race 2: DNF

"That was a very disappointing and frustrating day because, although my grid position was not ideal, I knew that my race pace was good and that I would have a chance of fighting with the leaders. I made a good start to race one, but I was just maybe a bit too aggressive going into the Variante Alta and when the left side of the engine hit the kerb, I crashed. It happened so quickly that I couldn’t recover. I ran to to the bike and pulled off some of the fairing so that I could get back onboard, but I could see that there was too much damage to continue.

My start was a bit calmer in race two and I set about moving up the order a bit more cautiously this time. However it wasn’t long before I started having problems changing gears - on the downshifts. I kept going for a while, but it got worse so I pulled in. 
After the disappointment in the last round, at the Nurburgring, today was even more disappointing and very unlucky. I know that my race pace is pretty good, but I have not had a chance to show it in my last four outings. I am hoping that my luck will change in the next round in Magny-Cours, because I certainly need something to happen!"

Camier Takes a 5th for BMW in Race 2 at Imola
After two promising days at Imola (ITA), Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport waited in vain for top results in today’s races. The team leaves the 11th round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship with another top-five result under its belt. Factory rider, Leon Haslam (GBR), finished fifth in the second heat after he fell in race one. His team mate Troy Corser (AUS) finished 12th in the first race, but had to retire in race two.
In race one, Leon kept sixth place on the opening laps. Then he found his rhythm and was able to push, closing the gap to the front runners. After eight laps, he was only 0.2 seconds behind the leading group. But then he fell on lap nine and was forced to retire. Troy started from 15th and was able to make up some positions during the race. After the start of race two, Leon was fighting in the leading group. But then he struggled to go the pace of the front runners and had to settle for fifth. Troy made another good start, but then lost positions and retired on lap 11. The races were won by Jonathan Rea (GBR) and Carlos Checa (ESP). On the grid of the second race, Troy was given a special award by Infront for having achieved his 4000th world championship point at Nürburgring (GER) earlier this month.
In the riders’ championship, Leon is fifth with 187 points. Troy lies 15th with 71 points. In the manufacturers’ standings BMW is fourth with 232 points. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team finished ninth and tenth respectively. His team mate Xavi Fores (ESP) retired in the first race and came home 14th in the second.
In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race four BMW S 1000 RRs were classified in the top 10. Sylvain Barrier (FRA) from the BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock Team finished fifth, followed by Markus Reiterberger (GER) from the Garnier Alpha Racing Team in sixth. Baru Racing Team rider Michele Magnoni (ITA) finished eighth, Fabio Massei (ITA) of Team Piellemoto crossed the line in ninth.
At the 24-hour race at Le Mans (FRA), Team BMW Motorrad France 99 started with its RR from pole position and led until the halfway point, but then suffered technical issues and finished seventh.
Leon Haslam:
Result Race 1: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:48.743 min
Result Race 2: 5th/ Gap to 1st: 00:17.388 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:48.883 min
“In the early stages of race one I was struggling to push properly, but after a few laps I found a good rhythm and caught up to Tom and Carlos. Unfortunately I then got a false neutral. I went into the corner, the gear jumped out and in again and I fell. I am disappointed with the crash. For race two, we made some small changes to try and improve the bike, but the increase in air temperature meant things didn’t work out as we planned. So I lost the contact to the leading group and just had to try and maintain my position.”
Troy Corser:
Result Race 1: 12th/ Gap to 1st: 00:26.444 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:48.976 min
Result Race 2: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:49.287 min
“In race one I did not get a bad start, but then I ran a little bit wide at the ‘Tosa’-hairpin. We had made quite a few changes on the bike, so it took me a few laps to learn how to ride it. Once I had worked it out, I was able to push. In race two I felt something was wrong with the bike, as I could hear a strange noise coming from it. I am not sure where it was coming from or what it was but something wasn’t right. So I decided to play it safe and pull in. It is a shame because I felt good and we could have scored some good points.”
Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
“After our good lap times on Friday and Saturday we, of course, expected more. In the first race we had a crash due to the bike jumping out of gear. Until then the lap times were great. In the second race the times were not that good anymore, so at the end of the day Leon finished fifth. This position was hard fought for, But there is room for improvement and we aim to transfer the information we have collected here into top results next week at Magny-Cours.”

Ducati Diavel

The Devil Made Us Do It!
Testing the Ducati Diavel in Italy

Ducati's Biggest Market is now the USA as Sales, Market Share and Profits Grow
Sept 20th - Ducati Motor Holding president Gabriele Del Torchio announced on Monday that the United States has become the No. 1 market for Ducati motorcycles. Del Torchio made the announcement during the Ducati North America dealer meeting at the Gansevoort Hotel in Miami Beach.

“We sell more bikes here in the United States now than we do in our domestic market. Only 20 percent of our bikes are sold in Italy, and 80 percent are exported,” he said.

The Italian OEM has seen its worldwide market share nearly double over the past four years, from 4.8 percent to 10.6 percent, he said. Ducati also posted record revenues of $650 million, making “2011 the best ever,” Del Torchio said.

“It’s been a quite positive year for us,” Del Torchio told Powersports Business. “Our registrations through the end of August went up by 18.6 percent despite the fact that the worldwide market was down 4.3 percent. I truly believe that by the end of the year, we will reach 42,000 units, which would be a record in our history for highest volume, even better than our previous best year in 2008.”

Ducati dealers were introduced to a host of 2012 models, along with several dealer programs that are aimed to increase product availability, enhance the customer experience and drive revenue.

A new Ducati assembly plant opened in Thailand last week, marking the company’s first plant outside of Italy. Ducati plans to open a similar assembly plant in Brazil in 2012. Both are being established to service their own individual markets.

Ducati dealers can also expect a new SAP-based Dealer Communication System to launch in 2012.

“The level of support that we were giving to dealers was not enough, so we decided to invest in DCS [Dealer Communication System],” Del Torchio said. “I believe that when the system is in place, Ducati will have one of the best DCS in the industry.”

Comedian and Ducati fanatic Alonzo Bodden capped the day-long meeting with a knockout performance on a dinner cruise.

World Superbike SBK yearbook 2010

Lorenzo sees his MotoGP Title Slipping away...
Aranon MotoGP Sept 18th - Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo made the weekend’s hard work count today, taking his first ever Aragon Grand Prix podium with third place. Having dropped from fourth on the grid in the early laps, the reigning World Champion gradually picked up the pace, running well under his qualifying time to gradually reel in the front runners. By lap 10 he had caught both his team mate Ben Spies and Marco Simoncelli, passing them both to take third which he held to the line. The results mean the gap to Championship leader Stoner has now increased again to 44 with four races remaining of the season.

Fellow Yamaha Factory Racing rider Spies had probably his best start of the season so far, shooting off the line to outride both Stoner and Dani Pedrosa for the lead into turn one. Having then dropped to third the Texan was maintaining a gap to fourth, scoring the third fastest lap of the race on lap four with a 1’49.593. A dramatic drop off in grip on the sixth lap then affected his pace. He was passed by team mate Lorenzo and then Simoncelli, dropping to fifth place. The result sees Spies retain fifth in the Championship standings, now 24 points behind Pedrosa in fourth as they head to Motegi next week.

Lorenzo 2nd - “We struggled a lot from the beginning of the race, losing positions and having to recover step by step. We couldn’t get more than a podium; that is the best result we could get today! I didn’t have confidence in the rear and it is impossible to catch Dani on this track. It's a pity, but at least I got the podium I couldn't get last year. We are still fighting for the Championship and that's the most important thing, we are going to Japan with hope still alive."

Ban Spies 5th “I knew the start wasn’t going to last long the way Casey and Dani were riding but I felt pretty good in the beginning. Even when we got to the fourth or fifth lap I thought our advantage to fourth place was growing. I felt really comfortable and thought we had a podium fight in us. Then the sixth or seventh lap the tyre just made a huge drop and just kept going down. Usually they make one drop then stay consistent. I had no confidence in the rear and no grip. I’m frustrated as before that we were riding well and the bike was working great.”

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Hopkins and Brookes trade British Superbike Wins at Silverstone, Hopper Pulls out the Ponts Lead
American John Hopkins on the Samsung Cresent Racing Suzuki carded 1st and 3rd Place finishes at Silverstone this weekend to pull out a small lead in the British Superbike Championship with one round remaining.

Shane Byrne maintained his hopes of taking the MCE Insurance British Superbike crown for a third time as he took two hard earned fifth places in the penultimate round at Silverstone. However his HM Plant Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari had to concede his crown after finishing the opening race last and the running thirteenth next time out.

Both Kiyonari and Byrne were on the back foot for the opening race after a problematic time in both practice and qualifying that confined them both to a fourth row start. Byrne was 13th on the grid, Kiyonari 16th.

Byrne suffered a continuing vibration problem as he explained: "We just can't get to the bottom of the chatter problems. I am absolutely devastated with how qualifying turned out."  In an effort to cure them, the team made radical changes to the bike for the races.

Kiyonari made several changes with the electronics system, reverting to the Motec system for qualifying after using a kit ECU during Friday free practice. He also had changes made to the suspension and set up in an effort to improve turning and exit speed to little effect in the grid deciding session.

Race day morning warm-up practice suggested Byrne had made some progress, radically changing front and rear suspension settings, as he ran third fastest, only 0.154secs down on pace-setting Hopkins, but Kiyonari was back in 17th place, 2.449secs down.

Byrne was in fourth place for the first two thirds of the opening race, but then was taken by Josh Brookes and had to settle for fifth place as Suzuki's John Hopkins took the victory ahead of Yamaha riders Michael Laverty and Tommy Hill.

Byrne took some consolation was his race pace which earned him an improved second row starting slot for the second race, sixth fastest.

Things went from bad to worse for Kiyonari who was pushed into the pits to change his rear tyre as the grid lined-up, beginning the warm-up lap from the pit-lane, but instead of starting from the back of the grid in the race, he took his grid slot and was penalised with a ride through penalty. Running last in the race, he pitted for a qualifying tyre in a bid to gain a good starting slot for the second race, but, he had to settle for a third row start, tenth fastest.

The second race brought a strong start from Byrne who was running in second place after two laps and then leading on the fifth and sixth laps before being forced back into fifth place as Suzuki's Brookes forced through to take the victory ahead of Hill, Hopkins and Laverty. Kiyonari made little impression on the race, slipping back to 19th, but picking up six places to score three consolation points.

Honda riders again dominated the "back to basics" BSB-EVO class with Graeme Gowland taking a stunning sixth place overall in the opening race to take the victory in the category on his WFR Honda. Gowland completed the daily double with his team-mate Glen Richards second in each of the races to clinch that title.

Honda personnel quotes after the races:

Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda): "We didn't come here for two fifth places, but after the problems of practice and qualifying if anyone had offered me that on Friday or Saturday I would have snapped their arm off. We were learning in race once having made radical changes to the bike and that was the fastest that we had run all weekend and it was getting better. In the second race I was concentrating on getting everything perfect to lead, but Josh was strong when he came through. We are on the back foot, but the championship is from over."

Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda):" It had been a difficult weekend with my qualifying position, but I was not happy to have a mechanical worry on the warm-up lap and came in. The bike didn't feel right and when I went out I didn't realised that I had to start at the back of the grid and was given a ride through penalty. We made little changes to the gear ratios between the races and this had both good and bad effect, but I could not match the speed of the leaders. It has been another difficult weekend and now I don't want to end the season with more results like this in the final round."

Havier Beltran (team manager HM Plant Honda); "We had a massive turnaround for Shane in the first race. We made big changes and it is just a shame they didn't come sooner in the weekend, but to turn around 13th place on the grid to fifth in the race is a big comeback. There is still all to play for and we will be fighting to the last round. We have to figure out how to beat our competitors.  We struggled with Kiyo's set up and are disappointed with the results which are not what we wanted. But, we will re-group for the final at Brands Hatch.

Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda): "Sixth in the first race was by best ever BSB result and I was well surprised to be up there and have to be delighted. The second race was a hard one and now we have to keep the ball rolling and the momentum up. Congratulations to Glen for winning the BSB-EVO title.

Glen Richards (WFR Honda): "A big thanks to the team and my crew, the best in the paddock for the great bike they have given me. I am really happy to seal the title and now can enjoy the final three races with no pressures about the title."

1 / John HOPKINS / USA / Suzuki - Samsung Crescent Racing / 29:46.200 /
2 / Michael LAVERTY / GBR / Yamaha - Swan Yamaha / 29:46.452 / 0.252
3 / Tommy HILL / GBR / Yamaha - Swan Yamaha / 29:46.787 / 0.587
4 / Josh BROOKES / AUS / Suzuki - Relentless Suzuki by TAS / 29:47.097 / 0.897
5 / Shane BYRNE / GBR / Honda - HM Plant Honda / 29:47.673 / 1.473
6 / Graeme GOWLAND / GBR / Honda - Team WFR / 30:09.967 / 23.767
7 / Alex LOWES / GBR / Yamaha - Motorpoint Yamaha / 30:10.706 / 24.506
8 / Michael RUTTER / GBR / Ducati - Rapid Solicitors Bathams Ducati / 30:12.245 / 26.045
9 / Martin JESSOPP / GBR / Ducati - Rapid Solicitors Bathams Ducati / 30:13.121 / 26.921
10 / Tommy BRIDEWELL / GBR / Yamaha - Motorpoint Yamaha / 30:13.407 / 27.207
11 / Ian LOWRY / GBR / Kawasaki - MSS Colchester Kawasaki / 30:16.109 / 29.909
12 / James WESTMORELAND / GBR / Honda - Team WFR / 30:16.172 / 29.972
13 / Glen RICHARDS / AUS / Honda - Team WFR / 30:19.123 / 32.923
14 / Gary MASON / GBR / Kawasaki - MSS Colchester Kawasaki / 30:25.405 / 39.205
15 / Dan LINFOOT / GBR / Honda - Tyco Honda / 30:25.856 / 39.656

Fastest lap: Josh BROOKES AUS Suzuki - Relentless Suzuki by TAS Lap 2 2:06.253 168.29 Km/h

1 / Josh BROOKES / AUS / Suzuki - Relentless Suzuki by TAS / 27:44.338 /
2 / Tommy HILL / GBR / Yamaha - Swan Yamaha / 27:45.971 / 1.633
3 / John HOPKINS / USA / Suzuki - Samsung Crescent Racing / 27:46.287 / 1.949
4 / Michael LAVERTY / GBR / Yamaha - Swan Yamaha / 27:46.448 / 2.110
5 / Shane BYRNE / GBR / Honda - HM Plant Honda / 27:46.662 / 2.324
6 / Jon KIRKHAM / GBR / Suzuki - Samsung Crescent Racing / 27:46.900 / 2.562
7 / Peter HICKMAN / GBR / Honda - Tyco Honda / 27:47.318 / 2.980
8 / Michael RUTTER / GBR / Ducati - Rapid Solicitors Bathams Ducati / 28:00.027 / 15.689
9 / Tommy BRIDEWELL / GBR / Yamaha - Motorpoint Yamaha / 28:00.607 / 16.269
10 / Dan LINFOOT / GBR / Honda - Tyco Honda / 28:00.936 / 16.598
11 / Graeme GOWLAND / GBR / Honda - Team WFR / 28:01.041 / 16.703
12 / Alex LOWES / GBR / Yamaha - Motorpoint Yamaha / 28:01.358 / 17.020
13 / Ryuichi KIYONARI / JPN / Honda - HM Plant Honda / 28:08.054 / 23.716
14 / Gary MASON / GBR / Kawasaki - MSS Colchester Kawasaki / 28:12.501 / 28.163
15 / Ian LOWRY / GBR / Kawasaki - MSS Colchester Kawasaki / 28:14.518 / 30.180

Fastest lap: Josh BROOKES AUS Suzuki - Relentless Suzuki by TAS Lap 6 2:06.698 167.69 Km/h


1 HOPKINS 609, 2 HILL 601, 3 BROOKES 568, 4 BYRNE 565, 5 LAVERTY 565,
6 KIYONARI 521, 7 KIRKHAM 182, 8 RUTTER 146, 9 HICKMAN 146, 10 MASON 139,
11 JESSOPP 101, 12 WALKER 90, 13 BAZ 88, 14 WESTMORELAND 72, 15 EASTON 69.



Suzuki Takes World Endurance Championship lead at LeMans 24hr
Team Suzuki Press Office - September 25th -Suzuki Endurance Racing Team has snatched back the lead in the 2011 World Endurance Championship after finishing second at the Le Mans 24-Hour Race in France today.

Despite fielding a depleted team after SERT's main contender Vincent Philippe broke his collarbone during testing on Tuesday - and team regular Freddy Foray was deemed unfit to ride by his doctor mid-week following his crash and subsequent head injury at a French Championship race at Magny Cours in July - Suzuki's GSX-R1000 was piloted by Anthony Delhalle, Daisaku Sakai and 22-year-old WEC-class newcomer Baptiste Guittet; drafted in at the last minute from the Junior Team Suzuki LMS Superstock squad.

In an exciting and drama-packed race that saw the lead change many times and many of the top teams' crash over its 834 laps - and which finished at 3pm local time with the Suzuki one lap behind winners SRC Kawasaki - SERT's GSX-R1000 performed faultlessly throughout. And with previous series leaders BMW Motorrad France 99 suffering some mechanical problems and finishing 17 laps adrift, SERT's consistency and bike durability has put them nine points clear of BMW with just one round to run at Qatar on November 12th.

From the off, it was clear that 10-times and reigning World Champions SERT had its focus on victory, despite qualifying in a lower-than-usual fifth position. First rider off, Anthony Delhalle, launched out of the sprint-across-the-track start to grab second place behind SRC Kawasaki's Julien Da Costa, hounding him for the first several laps before taking the lead. From there on, it was a cat-and-mouse battle between Kawasaki, Suzuki, Monster Yamaha YART and BMW; who the led for many laps from the four-hour mark until an electrical problem resulted in a loss of 14 laps during the night.

Despite losing their regular rider Guittet to the SERT squad, Suzuki's Junior Team LMS riders Credric Tangre, Julien Enjolras and Loic Napoleone had opened up a lead in the Superstock class at the halfway stage; and despite a minor issue during the night, brought its GSX-R1000 Suzuki home in third position overall.

Le Mans Provisional Results: 1 SRC Kawasaki (Kawasaki) 834 laps, 2 SERT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) - 1 lap, 3 Monster Yamaha YART (Yamaha) - 8, 4 Bolliger Team Switzerland (Kawasaki) - 11, 5 Honda TT Legends (Honda) - 15, 6 YMES Folch Endurance (Yamaha) - 17, 7 BMW Motorrad France 99 (BMW) - 17, 8 TRT 27 City Bike (Suzuki GSX-R1000) -14, 9 Maco Racing (Yamaha) - 39, 10 Team Dunlop Motors Events (Suzuki GSX-R1000) - 43.