News 5 May 2009


Stiggy Racing Honda press release:

After a successful performance on one side of the garage in Assen last weekend – where Leon Haslam claimed his first double podium for the team – and the loss of John Hopkins to injury after a dramatic crash on the other side, the Stiggy Racing Honda team are now getting ready for the first Italian round of the World Superbike Championship in Monza, this weekend.

Leon Haslam showed grit and determination throughout the qualifying sessions in Assen by claiming a front row start, and followed up his superb performance with a third place in race one, and a second place in race two. Haslam will be eager to extend his growing momentum and fight for another great result in the Monza races.

Haslam will find a new team-mate in American Jake Zemke, who will replace the injured John Hopkins for the Monza round. Zemke successfully participates in the AMA Formula Extreme Championship – where he took the title in 2008 – and will make his first appearance on the WSB stage with the Stiggy Racing Honda team in Monza.

On the Supersport side of the garage, Anthony West is equally motivated to settle for his loss in Assen, after issues with the acceleration of his bike and a run off-track made him finish the last race in seventh place. His crew has made some improvements to his bike, and the Australian will mount a fresh charge for a top position on the fast Italian track this weekend.

Gianluca Vizziello struggled to find some flow throughout the weekend in Assen, and had to withdraw from the race early. He is expected to step up again and get within a top position in the race in his home country.

Leon Haslam, WSBK:
” I’m really looking forward to the Monza round, especially after setting such a good result at Assen. I think it might be a little bit more difficult this time because of the fast nature of the track and the fact that most of the top teams have tested in Monza before the race, but I like a challenge and I hope we can have a similar result if not better “.

Jake Zemke, WSBK:
” I am extremely excited to race for the Stiggy Racing Honda team this weekend. They have a first rate team and have had some excellent results. I would like to wish Hopper a quick recovery and thank him and the team for the opportunity to make my first World Superbike start. I also have to thank my current team, Erion Honda and my sponsors for their support.

The WSBK Championship is the most competitive championship there is, and making my start in the series is the next step in my career. I have been succesful racing on America, but am really looking forward to joining the World Superbike paddock. The field is very fast and deep. The Monza track has a deep history of racing, and I know how passionate the Italian people are about racing. I know the odds will be against us, learning a new bike, new track, new tires, but I will give it my all at Monza for the Stiggy Racing Honda team “.

Anthony West, WSS:
” I was struggling throughout the weekend in Assen with some small issues and mistakes I made in qualifying. I had set my goal on winning the race, after coming so close to it in Valencia. I still lack some corner exit speed, which held me back from catching up with the front group in Assen. The team has been working hard on making some technical improvements to my bike, and I will be testing some new parts in Monza as well. Hopefully, this will give me what I need so I can fight for a top position in Monza again.

Gianluca Vizziello, WSS:
” I had a very unlucky race in Assen last week and I am aiming for better results for my home round. My crew has made some improvements to the bike after I had some issues with the front in the last race. I hope I can repay their hard work by finishing the race in a good position”.

Johan Stigefelt, Teammanager:
” We will not have John on our bike for the next two races, so we had to look for a replacement rider that will fit our team and structure. I know that Jake (Zemke) has been trying for a while to get a decent chance to come to Europe and race within the Superbike World Championship, and I am very happy that we can be the team to provide him that chance.

It is a tough championship, and it will not be easy to jump straight into the action at a track you have never been on before, but Jake has a lot of experience and knows the Honda bikes very well. Our team has a lot to offer him and I think we will be able to get him on the pace quickly “.