News 27 Apr 2009

SPIES AND HAGA SPLIT ASSEN WSBK

Infront Motor Sports press release:

Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) and Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) continued their two-way domination of the 2009 Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at the Assen TT Circuit in the Netherlands by taking a win apiece in front of 76,000 spectators.

The Texan pulled out a fantastic pass on his Japanese rival to take a last-gasp win in the first race, but then crashed out of race 2 early on, leaving Haga the winner. Leon Haslam rode superbly to take home two podiums for the Stiggy Racing Honda team, while Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati) scored his best-ever result with third in race 2. In the championship Haga now has a 60-point lead over Spies, 180 to 120.

Race 1

Spies took his fourth win of the season by forcing his way past points leader Haga in a thrilling final lap. The decisive move came a couple of turns from the flag, and the Texan then closed the door on his rival to win. Third place went to Haslam, who had the satisfaction of recording a new lap record. Yamaha’s good all-round performance was completed with fourth place for Tom Sykes, the British rider finishing ahead of Max Biaggi (Aprilia), well up again after struggling in qualifying. Sixth place went to Smrz, while Michel Fabrizio could only manage eighth with the second factory Ducati. Troy Corser put in a good performance on the BMW, while Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Alstare) could only finish 13th after crashing out from second place and then rejoining. Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) also crashed out while trying to catch up after a poor start.

Ben Spies: “I was trying to set a really good pace in the first few laps, but just didn’t have the same feeling I had in practice with the bike, and Nori came by and I saw nobody was behind Haslam, so I just sat back and watched. When the tyres started going off we made some moves, there were some close moments with Leon but we kept it clean. I knew I had to go and I fought it out with Nori over the last two laps. Actually I didn’t know where to pass Nori, but I got a good run and it was close.”

Noriyuki Haga: “I am a little bit disappointed but we did a very good race. I got a good start but just at the beginning of the race Ben was quite faster and I tried to catch up with him. It was difficult because I had a little problem with the bike. I caught up again and passed him and tried to push but couldn’t. So at this point I just lost a few points for the championship.”

Leon Haslam: “I felt really good to be fair, the race pace was good and I was just sitting behind Nori. I was losing a lot of time out of the hairpin and onto the start-finish straight and was trying to match Nori through there and the next minute me and Spies had a good elbow session but it was a fantastic race and again a big thanks to the team to give me a package to do that.”

Results: 1. Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 36’31.338 (164,628 kph); 2. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 0.154; 3. Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 0.779; 4. Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 8.775; 5. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 11.275; 6. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 16.126; 7. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 19.555; 8. Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 19.760; 9. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 23.006; 10. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 24.285; 11. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 26.003; 12. Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 27.814; 13. Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 36.962; 14. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 39.025; 15. Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 41.505; 16. Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 41.810

Race 2

The outcome was decided on lap 2 when Spies slid off into the gravel while in the lead. This left Haga with an unchallenged run to the flag as he leveled the score with Spies with his fourth win of the year, together with a new fastest lap. Haslam improved on his result in the first encounter with a second place in race 2, the British rider now proving to be a true podium contender. Smrz scored his first-ever career podium in third, the Czech rider getting the better of Fabrizio in the final stages. The Italian had a broken gearbox in the end but managed to bring his 1098 home fourth. In the all-British battle for fifth, Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) got the edge over Sykes. Suzuki’s disappointing weekend was completed with a ninth place for Neukirchner and 12th for Yukio Kagayama. Corser scored another tenth place for BMW, just ahead of team-mate Ruben Xaus. Biaggi’s race came to an end at the start with a clutch problem, while Shinya Nakano failed to take the start after his crash in race 1 in which he damaged his previously operated-on shoulder.

Noriyuki Haga: “First of all, I’m sorry for Ben and his crash, I hope he is fine. After the first race we changed the suspension a little bit and the bike was really comfortable, so a big thanks to everyone in the team. I think it’s nine years since I won here, in 2000, so I’m very happy and now I’m looking forward to Monza.”

Leon Haslam: “I was a little bit ambitious into the first turn but I thought the pace was OK. I rose through to pass Fabrizio, but it took me a lot of the race and when I finally did get past, there wasn’t much left and maybe with the cooler conditions the grip wasn’t quite so high. I made a few little mistakes but managed to get enough of a break to run into second.”

Jakub Smrz: “I was just staying behind Michel and he had a problem or something, it was really close but I could just pass him at the finish. I’m really happy because everybody said before that I can be fast only in qualifying, so now I showed everyone that I can be fast in the race as well and it’s a great result for me and the team.”

Results: 1. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 36’31.712 (164,6 kph); 2. Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 2.678; 3. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 4.603; 4. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 8.981; 5. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 12.104; 6. Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 14.575; 7. Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 17.449; 8. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 17.729; 9. Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 18.167; 10. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 25.056; 11. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 32.617; 12. Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 32.688; 13. Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 37.415; 14. Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 55.088; 15. Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 55.325; 16. Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’18.514

Points (after 4 of 14 rounds): 1. Haga 180; 2. Spies 120; 3. Haslam 94; 4. Fabrizio 80; 5. Neukirchner 75; 6. Sykes 70; 7. Biaggi 65; 8. Laconi 64; 9. Rea 53; 10. Smrz 44. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 180; 2. Yamaha 145; 3. Honda 109; 4. Suzuki 76; 5. Aprilia 68; 6 BMW 43; 7. Kawasaki 10.

World Supersport

The Supersport race saw a second win of the year for Irishman Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda), who held off a last-lap attack from Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport), the new points leader. Third went to Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Motocard.com), who led for much of the race before losing out to his two rivals in the final stages. Fabien Foret (Yamaha World Supersport) was again up at the front, the Frenchman scoring his best result of the season in fourth, while Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) managed to salvage a fifth place in a disappointing day for the Dutch team, who lost Andrew Pitt in a crash while fighting for a podium place. Mark Aitchison (Althea Honda) was next up, ahead of fellow Aussie Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda) and Dutchman Barry Veneman (Hoegee Suzuki).

Results: 1. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 35’45.160 (160,528 kph); 2. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 0.10; 3. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 0.178; 4. Foret F. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1.777; 5. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1.901; 6. Aitchison M. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 5.492; 7. West A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 12.551; 8. Veneman B. (NED) Suzuki GSX-R600 12.841

Points (after 4 of 14 rounds): 1. Crutchlow 74; 2. Laverty 68; 3. Sofuoglu 65; 4. West 52; 5. Pitt 43; 6. Aitchison 34; 7. Foret 28; 8. Lascorz 27.

Superstock 1000

As expected, the race was dominated by Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Honda), who now becomes the new championship leader, from Xavier Simeon (Ducati Xerox Junior Team) and Sylvain Barrier (Garnier Junior Yamaha). The young Frenchman complicated his race with a poor start and then he went wide and made contact with another rider. After calming down, Berger then began to reel off a series of record laps before taking over at the front on lap 5. Fourth place went to Javi Fores (Kawasaki Pedercini) and fifth went to Claudio Corti (Suzuki Alstare), who failed to emerge in the race, the Italian also losing his points lead. Davide Giugliano (Unionbike MV Agusta) got a bad start from the front row and recovered from fifteenth to sixth before dropping back down to eighth place.

Results: 1. Berger M. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 22’19.407 (159,156 kph); 2. Simeon X. (BEL) Ducati 1098R 3.431; 3. Barrier S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R1 4.240; 4. Fores J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R 4.369; 5. Corti C. (ITA)Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 7.504; 6. Baz L. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R1 10.191; 7. Jones G. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R 10.604; 8. Giugliano D. (ITA) MV Agusta F4 312 R 11.050

Points (after 2 of 10 rounds): 1. Berger 41; 2. Simeon 40; 3. Corti 36; 4. Fores 26; 5. Burrell 18; 6. Barrier 16; 7. Beretta 15; 8. Jezek 12.

Superstock 600

A series of upsets marked the European Superstock 600 race, with the two favourites Danilo Petrucci (Yamaha Trasimeno) and Vincent Lonbois (MTM Yamaha) both eliminated while in the lead. First the Italian was hit by his team-mate Marco Bussolotti, and then the Belgian crashed just a few corners before the chequered flag. Then with the flag in sight, Dutch rider Joey Litjens (VD Heyden Yamaha) messed up his entry into the chicane, leaving the win to Britain’s Gino Rea (Ten Kate Honda), who becomes the new championship leader. Third place on the podium went to Frenchman Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Yamaha).

Results: 1. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 17’36.124 (155,266 kph); 2. Litjens J. (NED) Yamaha YZF R6 0.363; 3. Guarnoni J. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 4.877; 4. Kerschbaumer S. (AUT) Yamaha YZF R6 10.028; 5. La Marra E. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 12.345; 6. Lombardi D. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 13.139; 7. Guittet B. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 15.734; 8. Van Leuven K. (NED) Yamaha YZF R6 16.738

Points (after 2 of 10 rounds): 1. Rea 41; 2. Litjens 30; 3. Guarnoni 27; 4. Petrucci 25; 5. Kerschbaumer 22; 6. Lonbois 20.

Yamaha Racing press release:

It was another mixed weekend’s racing for the Yamaha World Superbike Team at the famous TT circuit in Assen. An incredibly close first race Saw Ben Spies take the chequered flag a mere 0.154 seconds ahead of Championship rival Noriyuki Haga. Although initially the race leader, the American Yamaha rider had struggled to find a good race pace for most of the race, dropping back from first to third position on lap 11 behind race leader Haga and second place Leon Haslam.

Spies tucked in and followed the pair until the three laps from the end of the race when he and Haslam spent three corners abreast in a heart stopping battle for second position. There was no daylight between the bikes as they exited turn five, Spies coming out the victor and setting off after Haga as the penultimate lap drew to a close. He attempted a pass on the hairpin where Haga had passed him earlier but failed to take top spot, eventually pulling a daring pass on the last corner he shot through to take the chequered flag.

Tom Sykes enjoyed a good first race, starting from eighth on the grid the British rider made a strong pass up the inside on the first corner to move up into sixth position. The back straight then offered the opportunity to pass again and move up to fifth. Two laps later and another clever move up the inside on turn one saw Sykes into fourth position. He hung on with good race pace and held fourth for the chequered flag. Race two saw a difficult start and a lot of work to do. Sykes fought hard to make up places and briefly fought with Rea for fifth before settling for a sixth position finish.

Spies leaves Assen still second in the championship with 120 points, trailing leader Haga by 60. Team-mate Sykes heads to Monza in sixth place in the standings with 70 points.

Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team (1st,dnf)
“We got the win in race one and everything was pretty good with that. It took me a while to find a good race pace but as the tyres started to go off I found it and we managed to make some moves, it was pretty exciting at the end, really fantastic racing with both Haslam and Haga. Race two I was feeling good, the bike, even only a lap and a half in, felt better than with the tyres in race one. I was pushing and got out wide in turn one and touched the Astroturf piece and high-sided. It’s a shame as I felt really good and the bike felt right. You never know if you can win the race but I felt we could have had a faster race than the first. We’ll build on it though, we had a good test in Monza so we’re set up for there and I haven’t hurt myself today so it’s ok.”

Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team (4th,6th)
“The first race went ok, I was pretty pleased with the results. I managed to make a couple of passes early and move up but then lost some feeling in the front which held me back. Race two was not what I expected. I got a horrendous start and left myself a lot of work to do. I worked hard over the next few laps to make some passes but unfortunately let the front group get away. I was bitterly disappointed with that because I knew I could run with the front. I’d just like to thank all the boys for this weekend putting so much hard work in. We had two offs and I left them with some work to do but they came through and had my bikes ready for me to race.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“The first race was unbelievable, Ben was really impressive and deserved the win. In the second race he had a bad high-side, and unfortunately missed the opportunity to challenge Nori for the second win. Tom had a good fourth in the first race and a good sixth in the second. He’s coming along really well. I think he’ll get the podium he’s chasing soon. We’re ready for Monza and confident of success.”

Ducati Xerox press release:

he Dutch crowds were witness to two spectacular Superbike races today at the historic TT circuit and Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) followed up a second place finish in Race 1 with a brilliant victory in Race 2, his second win at this track after the first, achieved nine years back in the year 2000.

In Race 1 Ducati Xerox rider Noriyuki Haga did not made a brilliant start and spent the first laps playing catch up to Ben Spies and Max Neukirchner. Once the second-placed Suzuki rider was out of the way, after an unfortunate fall during lap six, Noriyuki was able to choose his moment carefully to pass Spies during the twelfth lap. He subsequently held on to the lead ahead of Spies and Englishman Haslam until the very last lap when the American executed a well-timed pass that left Nitro-Nori with no time to retaliate, meaning that man in red Haga just missed on victory by a tenth of a second.

Meanwhile Noriyuki’s team-mate Michel lost a few positions due to a not particularly fast start and although he made up a few places by mid-race, the ensuing close battle between himself, Smrz, Rea and Laconi made things tough and Fabrizio thus concluded Race 1 in ninth position.

In Race 2 Noriyuki got off to a flying start and went straight to the head of the pack, a fraction of a second behind Spies, who passed the leader’s baton on to Haga during the second lap when he highsided in spectacular fashion and was thus forced to retire from the race. Haga then ran a lonely race up front, with team-mate Fabrizio and Honda rider Haslam fighting behind him for the second and third positions. Unfortunately Michel, who held off fourth-placed Smrz for the majority of the race, began to have problems getting his 1198 into gear during the final laps and eventually this meant that he just lost out on third, having to settle for a fourth place finish.

Noriyuki’s performance today means that he has further increased his championship lead, with 180 points and a 60 point advantage over second-placed Spies. The manufactures championship continues to be led by Ducati with 180 points, ahead of Yamaha with 145.

Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – winner)
“It’s been a great day for us and after nine years I have finally won again at Assen; I am very happy. In Race 1 I was a little disappointed to just lose out on the win on the very last lap but it was a great race. I set off strong but Spies and Haslam rode so hard today. First I had to push hard to catch Spies which was quite difficult as my bike was still not working perfectly and then to hold the lead was not easy either as the two of them were breathing down my neck. We changed the setting of the bike slightly for Race 2 and I was extremely comfortable on it. I’m sorry that Ben fell as I think we would have had another good battle but for me and my team it’s been a very good day. I thank my engineer, my team, Ducati and the sponsors and now we head to Monza for the next challenge.”

Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 – 9th, Race 2  – 4th)
“I am of course very disappointed as I did my utmost to be on the podium here today. I had to grit my teeth in both of today’s races as I was once again having problems with my forearm. In the last few laps I was having trouble changing gear and this then forced me to slow in the last lap, which meant that Smrz passed me at the final corner. I guess that, looking on the positive side, it’s a good thing it happened at the end of the last lap because at least I was able to finish the race and take important points. These things happen and we look ahead to Monza. After recent testing there I’m sure my team will work hard to give me a winning bike for the next round and I hope to be able to celebrate a win with them there.”

Honda Racing press release:

Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) completed an impressive weekend of World Superbike competition at Assen with two podium finishes, third in race one and then second in race two, as he moved up to third in the championship rankings. He is now 26 points behind Ben Spies, who won race one and fell in race two, while Noriyuki Haga scored a win and a second place to extend his championship lead.

Front row qualifier Haslam set a new lap record on lap 11 of the first race and was looking like a strong candidate for the outright win until the very last lap, when eventual winner Ben Spies and he locked elbows for four high speed corners and Spies took the advantage. This allowed Spies to close on second place rider Noriyuki Haga, and sweep past to win, with Haslam only 0.779 seconds behind.

In race two Haslam was once more in the mix from the start, sitting in second place for much of the race, although he got held up in the early laps, which left him unable to make a challenge on the front-running Haga, who took the new lap record from Haslam as well.

For the other Honda riders in the championship Assen was a tough challenge. The next-best combined points score from this event came from Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda Racing CBR1000RR) 11th in qualifying, who went on to secure seventh in race one and a fighting fifth in race two, re-passing Tom Sykes near the end and holding on to the finish flag.

Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) played a clever game in Superpole qualifying seventh on the gird and starting each race from the second row. A fall in race one was followed by seventh in the second 22-lap contest, making him the last Honda points finisher home in that race.

Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) took the last point in race one, one place higher than the 16th he posted in Superpole, but he retired in race two with a technical problem.

Tommy Hill (Honda Althea CBR1000RR) made it into Superpole and was 17th on the grid, but scored no points in the races, falling on lap one of race one then retiring with a minor technical problem in race two. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Squadra Corse Italia Honda CBR1000RR) had a double DNF, retiring on each occasion.

John Hopkins (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) was forced out of the Assen race after a first day practice crash dislocated his left hip, and also caused a hairline fracture close to the top of his femur. He flew back to the USA for more checks and therapy on Saturday night, hoping to return to race action soon.

In the overall championship rankings, Haga has 180 points, Spies 120, and Haslam 94. Rea has 53 points for ninth place and Checa 40 for 11th.

Laverty Wins Another Assen WSS Thriller

Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) moved up from fourth in qualifying to win a classic 21-lap WSS race at this most classic of circuits, beating Cal Crutchlow across the line by only 0.107 seconds. Third place rider Joan Lascorz was only 0.178 seconds behind, after leading into the final few corners.

There had been a nine-rider leading group at one stage and ten changes of lead across the start-finish line, with many more passes put in on other parts of the track. Laverty played a strong tactical hand at the end, passing Lascorz inside at the final chicane and holding his line cleverly, with Crutchlow capitalising as well to go second.

This was Laverty’s second win in four races since joining his Parkalgar Honda team, and he now sits second in the championship on 68 points, with Crutchlow leading on 74.

Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) went third on the starting grid but after leading at the start, he finally dropped to fifth, still less than two seconds from the win. He is now third in the rankings, with 65 points.

Sofuoglu’s team-mate Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) made up for tenth in qualifying with a strong ride to the lead on lap three, only to fall with six laps remaining, losing the front as he passed inside two Yamaha riders who had run wide. His left arm was hit by a following rider but Pitt escaped without serious injury.

12th Mark Aitchison (Honda Althea CBR600RR) was in the front group almost throughout, taking his 2008 Honda to a fine sixth place in an eventually lonely race. Second row qualifier Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) was in the leading mix for some time, but ran wide and off track, losing places and time, but recovering well to finish seventh, and go fourth in the overall rankings, with 52 points.

Robbin Harms (Veidec Racing RES Software Honda CBR600RR) was in great form and raced to a solid ninth place finish but teammate Arie Vos was one place off a points scoring finishing 16th. Jesco Günther suffered severe front tyre wear that caused him several fraught front end slides during the race and he wisely pulled into the pits to retire.

Like Pitt, Matthieu Lagrive (Honda Althea CBR600RR) crashed out of contention, with the French rider feeling drained of all energy. Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) and Gianluca Vizziello (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) each retired from the race with technical issues.

WSB Rider Quotes

Leon Haslam said: “It’s been a tough day but an exciting one. In the first race I thought I could have challenged for the lead but I just missed out, in the second race I got caught behind Fabrizio for one too many laps, but I can’t complain with two podium finishes. Our team is new but we have a really good relationship now. They have given me a bike I can ride hard and the confidence to ride it hard so it’s producing results. I’m looking forward to the next one.”

Jonathan Rea said: “It’s no secret that we’ve had some problems, but we’ve done a lot of thinking in the last three weeks and I really want to thank everyone in the team who dug deep to find some solutions. We came here with a good setting and had a couple of unrelated issues in qualifying, which led to a difficult starting position, but the bike is really going in a direction now that I’m happy with. I got a really bad start in race one, which was followed by a bit of arm pump. That was much better in race two and I really started to enjoy riding the bike again. Unfortunately, by the time I got some clear track in front of me, the leading four had gone. But I’m really pumped for Monza – I feel like I’ve got a really good working relationship with the team now and we’re definitely going in the right direction.”

Carlos Checa said: “Not such a nice raceday for me. At the beginning of race two it felt like I could be there with them but then I started to get tired, particularly my right arm, a little bit like arm pump. At the same time the chattering started from the rear and at the end it was very hard. I was struggling to do the lap times and I lost some positions. I had a bad start in race one, then I was catching some other people and then I arrived in turn five and lost the front.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari said: “Race one was very frustrating because I continued to have very little confidence in the font end and after a difficult start I found it hard to push. Race two I had a much better feeling with more confidence but then we had a technical problem and I had to stop.”

Tommy Hill said: “I’m very disappointed for what happened in race one. My start was pretty good but unfortunately in one of the first corners the front went away from me, probably because the tyre wasn’t quite warm. In race two I managed to get a good start again, and get into a rhythm, and for most of the race I battled for thirteenth position. As the race progressed, the bike started to misfire, but I pushed on hoping for my best finish so far.”

WSS Rider Quotes

Eugene Laverty said: “That was the best race I’ve ever won and it is important for the Championship. It was a tough race and I beat a lot of very good riders so I know we can be strong. I have to say a big thank you to my team as all the guys have worked really hard and I’m glad to repay them with a race win. I’m now second in the Championship just six points off the lead so that will be my next goal.”

Kenan Sofuoglu said: “I am very disappointed with this result because I felt so much confidence going into this race and starting from the front row. Unfortunately, the back section of the circuit, where I was losing a lot of time during qualifying, was still a problem for me and I had to push so hard in the other areas of the lap. After Andrew crashed in front of me, the gap to the leading group was too big, but at least I was able to pick up some points.”

Andrew Pitt said: “The feeling with the front of the bike was a lot better in warm-up, after the guys worked late into the night – so thanks to them for that. It meant that with a good start I felt able to challenge for the win because I had the pace of the leaders. I was still struggling a bit with the front of the bike, though, and I was pushing hard everywhere because I just didn’t want to finish third, fourth or fifth. When the Yamahas tangled in front of me and ran wide, I dived underneath – maybe a little too enthusiastically and I lost the front. I don’t know who ran over my arm, but I lost all feeling in it temporarily and couldn’t pick up the bike. There’s nothing broken but it’ll probably be a little sore tomorrow.”

Mark Aitchison said: “We were a little bit off the pace in qualification so considering that, we did well in the races. Our lap times were fast and consistent, we are just searching a little bit for something from the bike so we can understand more how to be aggressive in a race situation.”

Anthony West said: “We are still missing just a little bit of engine speed and when Sofuoglu made a mistake I also ran wide, onto the gravel and then the astroturf on the circuit edges. My rear tyre felt strange when I got back on the tarmac and I thought I had a puncture at first, but when I got going at good pace again the top guys were too far in front to catch.”

Robbin Harms said: “Today I did everything I could to get the maximum out of the bike and the 9th position I scored was the best I could do. I pushed very hard, but the problem was that I could only follow other riders, and I just didn’t have enough pace and power to overtake them. I hoped for a better result, but that was just not possible today. That’s why I am satisfied with what we have achieved. My team did a good job this weekend and I am happy with the communication and spirit we have.”

Arie Vos said: “I had some problems with the start but happily I was able to make up some places in the first few corners. After following a group which was too fast for me to catch, I was picked up by another group and that helped me to keep pace by slipstreaming on the straight. Unfortunately I was just out of the points at the end but I am very satisfied about my bike’s chassis and about the overall progress we made this weekend. The whole team worked very hard and it was great to ride in my own country. All the fans were fantastic and I want to thank everybody for the support they gave.”

Gianluca Vizziello said: “I clashed with Nannelli in one corner and that made me run off and fall and that meant I had to retire. My bike was running well so it was a pity. But now I can look forward to Monza, which will be important for me.”

Miguel Praia said: “I had to retire from the race as I had a little problem with my rear shock. I went into turn one and the back just came round on me. I had been running in 12th place and I knew I could catch the guys battling for ninth but I lost quite a few places. Then I went into the next turn and it happened again so I decided it was best to pull in.”

Matthieu Lagrive said: “My start was not so good and so I tried to push very hard to make up for the lost positions, but suddenly during the fourth laps I lost my front wheel and crashed. It has been a very difficult weekend for me, mainly because of my poor physical condition. Starting from tomorrow I’ll start a rehabilitation to make sure that I’ll be in top condition for the next race in Monza. A big thanks to all my technical staff for their great job.”

Jesco Günther said: “I am very disappointed that I wasn’t able to finish the race. My start was good and I climbed up to the 18th place, but immediately I noticed that I had problems with my front tyre. On more than once occasion I lost the front as the tyre slid in the corner, and so I wasn’t able to focus on my racing. I was only trying to stay on the bike and that made it impossible for me to ride the full distance safely so I thought it was best to pull in. Overall I am happy with the progress we made here this weekend and I am looking forward to Monza.”

BMW press release:

Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport rider Troy Corser enjoyed one of the most consistent racedays of the season so far, taking a superb pair of top ten finishes at Assen today. Despite problems in Superpole qualifying, a lowly grid position and a painful left hand, Troy battled his way throughout the two 22-lappers. He was in obvious discomfort changing direction and on heavy braking, due to a cracked bone in his left hand, but somehow he ignored the pain barrier and brought his S 1000 RR home twice, much to the delight of the whole team. He was well supported by his team mate Ruben Xaus, who had also been forced to start from way down the grid. Ruben began both races from the fifth row, but charged his way to 14th in race one and then followed that up with a 11th in race two.

American Ben Spies (Yamaha) won a thrilling race one, with Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) second and Leon Haslam (Honda) third. Spies looked as he was all set for a double, but crashed out of race two after just one lap. Haga took over the lead and was then never headed on the way to an emphatic victory. Second was Haslam, with Jakub Smrz (Ducati) third.

Troy – Race 1: 10th, Race 2: 10th
That was one of our most consistent racedays this season and although I’m never happy with 10th place, I think that is about the best we could’ve done today. Maybe if we hadn’t started the races from the fourth row, I could’ve challenged for sixth or seventh place, but until we qualify better, it’s always going to be a case of playing ‘catch-up’.

My hand wasn’t too bad in race one, but it was definitely more sore in race two. The crack is right where you put pressure on the handlebars, so it’s not something that I could avoid. So, all in all, I think it is pretty good to get two tenths today.

Ruben – Race 1: 14th, race 2: 11th
I think we need some more help from the tyre guys, because it is quite difficult getting a tyre to work with our bike sometimes and that is affecting our progress. But I am happy to finish both races today and I am also happy because I know I did some good lap times, particularly in the second race.

The bike was on the limit in race one, but I felt it was better in race two and that is reflected in the better lap times. Also, I know that there are further improvements to come and once we can put everything together I’m sure we will finish higher up.

Berti Hauser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director)
Today’s results have reduced the pain of yesterday’s Superpole qualifying and shows that we are capable of improving and getting good results. The ideas from our recent Monza tests are bearing fruit and I am happy because it means we are going in the right direction. I think both riders have done a brilliant job today. Troy was in some pain in both races but still fought hard and gave us top ten results. And Ruben took 11th after finishing 20th in Superpole and that shows that he is also a fighter. After four races we are more or less where we expected to be, but 10th position is from where we must now improve on.

We are all happy because to be at this kind of level, in such a competitive championship, shows our strength and ability to run with the top guys, all of whom have much more experience then us.

Suzuki press release:

Team Suzuki Alstare Brux rider Max Neukirchner endured a difficult day in the fourth round of the Superbike World Championship at Assen in Holland, but still managed to take a hard-fought for ninth place in the second race.

Earlier in the day, he crashed on lap seven, whilst in sixth position, but remounted and got back into the race, fighting his way up through the field to finish 13th. In race two, he used the same bike and tyres, but the bike was harder to ride, but he still kept attacking and ended the race in ninth position.

Team mate Yukio Kagayama also endured a tough Assen time: He crashed on lap two of race one and was unable to get back on his bike. And in race two, he suffered problems, but still managed to finish 12th.

Max Neukirchner – Race 1: 13th, Race 2: 9th:

“Race one was good until the crash of course! The chassis was not quite 100 per cent perfect, but I really wanted to get a good result so I was pushing quite hard. I lost the front in the chicane before the start-finish straight and although I got back on the bike and started again, I was down in 22nd place. I decided to keep going and fight for some points and I managed to end up 13th and get a few points, so I think the effort was worth it. We used the same bike and the same type of tyres for the second race, but the bike didn’t work as well. It was harder to ride and more difficult to brake late. It was also not so easy in the turns and so I found it a bit frustrating, but I am only five points behind Fabrizio in the standings, so I know that I can improve a lot.”

Yukio Kagayama – Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 12th:

“I am not sure why I crashed in race one because it seemed to be a bit of a strange crash. Normally you lose the front end – on the brakes – going into turns, but this time I was exiting the turn and just getting on the gas when the front just suddenly went without any warning. I wasn’t hurt, but I was a bit angry.

“In race two, I used the same bike and same tyres, but found it hard getting the bike to stop. It’s possible that there was a small problem with the clutch, but we will not know for sure until we get back to the workshops and look inside the engine after seeing all the data. I kept going and had the chance to pass Xaus on the last corner but there were yellow flags out, so I could not make my move. I am hoping for better things in Monza because I need some good results.”

PBM Kawasaki press release:

Round four of the World Superbike Championship saw the PBM Kawasaki Team just miss out on the points after a frustrating day at the Assen circuit in the Netherlands today.

Aboard the www.supercasino.com, Vent Axia and Kick Energy-backed Kawasaki World Superbike Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R, Stuart Easton, deputising for the injured Broc Parkes, qualified in 23rd place to start from the sixth row of the grid but team-mate Makota Tamada struggled to find a good setting in qualifying and ended up 25th, to start from row seven.

In race one, after both riders made good starts, 32-year-old Tamada improved on his qualifying time and battled into 17th place at the flag. Easton meanwhile ended up one place behind his team-mate in 18th on his debut World Superbike race for the Paul Bird team.

However, race two didn’t go quite so well with 24-year-old Easton crashing out on lap four despite making a good start and Tamada suffered problems meaning he retired the Kawasaki on lap ten with a clutch problem.

Makoto Tamada: “It’s not been such a good weekend for me. From Friday I had not a good feeling at all from the bike so we tried many different settings but I did not manage to find a solution. Even during warm up I was still not happy with the settings but we made some last minute changes for race one and this was a little better. In race two, I wasn’t so lucky off the line and touched another rider and lost a few places. Then I had some problems with the clutch and this eventually put me out of the race. It has been a very frustrating weekend for me and the team and I really hope that we can do better at Monza.”

Stuart Easton: “It was a real pleasure to be asked by Paul to replace Broc this weekend and be part of a factory team at this level as I know the team well so it was nice to be working with them again. I qualified as well as I expected seeing it was a new bike and not so familiar to me, and it was a bonus to out-qualify Makoto. In race one I had a good start but I was a bit disappointed with my result as I felt that I was being a bit too cautious and could have maybe pushed a little harder. In race two I wanted to try and grab some points and was pushing a bit too hard and lost the front early on which was unfortunate for me and the team. Overall it was a good experience here for me in Assen and I wish the guys the best of luck in Monza.”

Broc Parkes: “I was disappointed for the team this weekend and was frustrated sitting here watching at home, but I’m recovering well and getting back into shape. I have to get my staples out on Tuesday and then I’ll be able to start swimming and getting some strength back in the shoulder. I’m glad we’ve got a couple of weeks to spare so hopefully I’ll be ready to go again in Monza.”

Paul Risbridger, Team Manager: “It’s been a challenging weekend for the team but we felt we improved the bikes during each session and we were relatively pleased with our race pace on Sunday and felt had we qualified better we would have been in a position to score some more points. The second race was particularly disappointing for us however as Stuart was running some good lap times before he crashed and Makoto was also doing some good times prior to his problem. We’ve come away with not all negatives and we’ll be looking a lot more positive for Monza.”

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