News 17 May 2010

WSBK: Fabrizio and Haslam split South African victories

Two very different races were on the menu for the enthusiastic fans at Kyalami’s Superbike World Championship round in South Africa yesterday, with race two the pick of the day’s action.

The opening race was taken by a rejuvenated Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) in front-running style.

Race two victor Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare), on the other hand, battled it out right to the end, with the top four riders all within a second of each other after 24 intense laps.

The net result is an extended championship lead for Haslam, now on 222 points to Aprilia Alitalia rider Max Biaggi’s 207.

In race one, Fabrizio took an early lead in the first race of the day at Kyalami and the factory Ducati Xerox rider did not put a wheel wrong as he dominated throughout.

Behind was Carlos Checa, on an Althea Ducati privateer machine, while third went to a patient Haslam, who extended his championship lead over fourth place rider Biaggi.

Jonathan Rea, from Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, made an amazing charge towards the end of the race, taking fifth place for his efforts.

Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) had the late pace to stick with Rea on the last couple of laps, but Yamaha Sterilgarda teammates James Toseland and Cal Crutchlow were unable to drive as hard in the final reckoning and went seventh and eighth.

Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Ducati) was a battling ninth, and right on the tail of the Yamaha duo on the very last lap. Peculiarly, Fabrizio’s winning time of 2010 was only 0.033 seconds faster than the first race time he set to go second in 2009.

Come race two, Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) wrapped up a magnificent race two win as five riders were covered by 1.479 seconds at the flag and any one of three were in with a real chance of winning even in the final lap.

Second was long-time leader Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Max Biaggi went third for the Aprilia Alitalia team. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) completed the top five, all on different manufacturer machinery.

James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) battled hard to record sixth place, with both he and Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad) overhauling a fading Fabrizio at the end. Jakub Smrz was again ninth and 2009 double race winner Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) tenth.

The top Kawasaki rider was Tom Sykes, 14th, while Camier and Sheridan Morais (Emtek Aprilia) failed to finish.

Top Australian contender was once again Troy Corser, the BMW rider finishing with 12th in race one and an improvement to seventh in the second – the Wollongong rider missing the round through injury one year ago.

Kawasaki’s Chris Vermeulen scored 18-16 results, the ex-MotoGP winner struggling to push forward on the factory ZX-10R once again in his return to the Superbikes.

Vermeulen was another to struggle with tyre wear, however the Queenslander is confident that he and the team are continuing to improve the overall package as the season progresses.

Broc Parkes continued his return from injury for the CRS Honda team, retiring from race one with mechanical problems in race one and then returning to capture 18th in the second outing of the day.

The series will now move to Miller Motorsports Park in the United States on 31 May, with Haslam maintaining a 15-point lead as the season reaches the mid-point.

In the championship Haslam now has 222 points, Biaggi 207 and Rea 141, tied with Checa.

Click here for detailed results