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Old 03-01-2009, 10:25 PM   #101
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WSBK Phillip Island *SPOILERS*

WSBK Phillip Island *SPOILERS*


WSBK Phillip Island *SPOILERS*

WSBK Phillip Island *SPOILERS*

WSBK Phillip Island *SPOILERS*
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:29 PM   #102
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HONDA RACING INFORMATION

Australian World Superbike at Philip Island
Sunday 1 March 2009
World Superbike and World Supersport race report

HASLAM SCORES A PODIUM FINISH AT FIRST WSB ROUND

Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) first took a sixth, and then a third place finish, in the 22-lap World Superbike Races at Phillip Island to leave the opening round third in the overall championship standings. Haslam had qualified sixth on the grid and rode with patience until the last laps of race two to secure his podium, the best single performance by a Honda Superbike rider today.

Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) finished race one as top Honda rider, taking fifth place after a strong early performance from his front row grid slot of third. He led for three laps, from the first to the third. In race two he could not get away with the leading group and finished ninth.

Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR), Roby Rolfo (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) and Tommy Hill (Hannspree Honda Althea Honda CBR1000RR) finished their opening race of the year in 12th, 13th and 14th places respectively, with Checa doing well to overcome the shoulder injury he suffered last week in testing. He had qualified impressively, in seventh place. In race two Checa was 13th, experiencing serious traction issues from the start. Hill was 14th again and Rolfo finished just out of the points,16th.

Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) was taken out of the first race at Honda corner, on lap one, and was unable to restart, His luck got little better in race two, as he could only finish in 23rd place after losing rear grip early on.

Race one was taken by Ducati rider Noriyuki Haga, with race two won by WSB rookie Ben Spies on his Yamaha, some 4.213 seconds up on Haslam.

Rea had been fastest of all in regulation qualifying, before Superpole started. The new Superpole contest had been a highlight of the weekend before the races started, with Rea, Haslam and Checa playing a strong hand to make it through the final three stages of qualifying. Kiyonari secured 10th place in Superpole,

In the championship standings, Haslam is a strong third, with Haga on 45 points, Max Neukirchner second on 30, Haslam on 26 and Spies on 25. Rea is eighth, on 18 points, and Checa 12th. Hill and Rolfo have four and three points respectively.


SOFUOGLU HEADS A HONDA PODIUM SWEEP

Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) started his 2009 championship campaign in perfect form with a remarkable win in a remarkable Supersport World Championship race at Phillip Island.

The podium three, comprising 2007 champion Sofuoglu, 2008 champion Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) and new Honda WSS rider Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) finished within 0.153 seconds of each other, in a race which featured as many as 15 riders in an unbroken leading pack for most of the race.

Only in the latter stages did the big three make any kind of break from the last of the chasing riders, and even after 21 laps of intense action the fourth and fifth placed competitors, Cal Crutchlow and Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) were just over a second from a podium challenge. In a photo-finish, Laverty was classified fifth, by only one thousandth of a second.

The slightly damp track that appeared this morning, after two days of warm weather, played havoc with final race preparations, but the top Honda riders overcame the potential for confusion and filled six of the top ten placings on a dry track surface.

Mark Aitchison (Hannspree Honda Althea CBR600RR) rode to sixth at his home circuit, and was part of the leading bunch throughout. Massimo Roccoli (Intermoto Czech Honda CBR600RR) was ninth, two places ahead of Aitchison’s team-mate, Matthieu Lagrive.

Gianluca Vizziello (Hannspree Honda Althea CBR600RR) failed to finish due to a technical problem and Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) was on target for a strong finish until he fell on lap three, shortly after setting the fastest race lap in the early stages.

The next race, for Superbike and Supersport classes, is in Qatar, on Saturday 14 March
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:29 PM   #103
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WSB Rider Quotes

Jonathan Rea - Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 5th – 9th.
“I managed to get the holeshot in race one and led for three laps, but I was very conscious about preserving the rear tyre so tried to ride as gently as I could. In race two, the pace was just that much quicker and I probably wasn’t aggressive enough in the early part. After I dropped back, I was just eating the rear trying to keep with the others and a couple of mistakes meant I had to ride even harder.”

Carlos Checa - Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 12th – 13th.
“It’s been a very frustrating day and the problem that I thought would give me the most difficulty, my shoulder, was not a problem after all. I had a bad start in race one and struggled to get back to the leaders without using my tyre. In race two, the start was better but there was no side grip from the start and I just couldn’t do anything about it.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari Ten Kate Honda: dnf crash – 23rd.
“There’s not very much I can say. I race one, I got T-boned by Ruben Xaus at the Honda turn and that was the end of my race. In the second, I just had no grip from the start, went into the gravel early on and could not do anything. I’m very disappointed because the simulations we did in practice were very promising for the races.”

Leon Haslam - Stiggy Racing Honda: 6th – 3rd.
“The first race was really good, the bike was working well and got into a good rhythm. I was up in 4th place on the first lap of the race and had some really good battles throughout. On the last lap, whilst in 6th place, I got past Jonathan but was unable to keep him behind me. I finished sixth which was a good start of the day for us. It’s our first time out there racing and to be able to bring home a podium finish is just fantastic! The team and myself have made good progress throughout, and even though I know we still have more to come, the bike and the team is obviously just great.”

Roby Rolfo - Stiggy Racing Honda: 13th – 16th.
“I made a bad start and got touched by a rider in the Honda hairpin, lost my rhythm and some positions. For the remainder of the race I tried to catch up what I had lost and the bike felt good. In race two I got a much better start, but again on the first lap in the same corner I got hit by another rider and was forced to run onto the gravel. I re-joined, but in last position. I lost over 10 seconds and all I could do was to get in a good pace and push my way up thorough the pack.”

Tommy Hill - Hannspree Honda Althea Honda: 14th – 14th.
“We had a really good start to race one, even though I could not do a practice start in the damp conditions this morning. I hadn’t done even one practice start before, so I was happy to have got away as well as I did. This is my first real race back for a year and half. I got straight into the row in front and changed my line in the first few corners. So I went from 20th to 9th! Halfway through, grip dropped off, mainly in the rear, so I had to adapt my style.”

WSS Rider Quotes

Kenan Sofuoglu - Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 1st.
“Andrew went very fast at the beginning while I found myself down around tenth place. I tried to ride as slowly as possible because we were worried about the rear tyre but I had to ride really hard to get back to the front and to get past Andrew and Anthony. I think Andrew and I actually touched at one point, which probably scared Ronald a bit! But I’m so happy to win, especially after setting the fastest lap in qualifying for pole position yesterday. My team has been fantastic to give me such a good bike and it’s been a great start to the championship.”

Andrew Pitt - Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 2nd.
“It was a strange old race, really – we were riding so slowly for most of it, just to make the tyres last. Everyone was tripping over one another until the last five laps, but that’s what we’ve been working on – trying to be there when it really matters. I just found myself in the wrong place going into the final lap but big congratulations to Kenan, he had a great ride today. I thought I had timed it all well but just got on wrong spot on the last lap. It’s a lot better than last year when we left round one with no points.”

Anthony West - Stiggy Racing Honda: 3rd.
“The team did a good job to get the bike ready and to have the right set-up and it turned out really nice. I’m just glad to have started the season out like this. I tried everything to keep Kenan and Andrew behind me when I took the lead, but they just kept coming past me. This straight is to long and they just kept slipstreaming me. We just have to work on the bike a bit more and look to the next one.”

Gianluca Vizziello - Hannspree Honda Althea: dnf – technical problem.
“I am disappointed with my result today because I had to retire after lap 11 due to a technical problem. I was trying to save my tyres for the last half of the race, but unfortunately did not get the chance to attack. But, I had good race pace and that gives me confidence for the next race in Qatar.”

Eugene Laverty – Parkalgar Honda: 5th.
“That was a good race, only a thousandths of a second between me and Crutchlow. I thought he had me anyway because as we were side by side he was coming past me and then moved over in front. I had to move and lift my leg up a bit. I touched the gravel on the exit of the final turn as I was trying to get the bike upright and drive down the straight, so I lost a bit of drive. It was an incredible race, I look forward to watching it on TV. So many riders in the leading group at one time, which shows how competitive this class is.”

Miguel Praia - Parkalgar Honda: dnf – crash.
“I made a good start to the race and on my second lap I posted 1:35.4secs which was the quickest at the time, the fifth fastest of the race and 2secs faster than my lap time from last year. I was riding well and with confidence but with a full tank of fuel which caused some problems and on lap three I made a mistake and went into the Honda Hairpin too fast and touched with Robin Harms and crashed out unhurt. With the lap time I have proved I can stay with the front runners and maybe even make the top five. My Parkalgar Honda is so good I now need to be not so aggressive in the first laps. Previously I have had to fight hard to get into the points but now I am in a new position and level and I must make a more relaxed start on the first laps, make my position and start from there. I am confident for the coming season.”

Mark Aitchison - Hannspree Honda Althea: 6th.
“I got a good start in the race and I managed to stay with the front group very early, that’s very important in Supersport races. In the middle of the race when I decided to push very hard I started to make some small mistakes, in the same time my tyres started to lose grip and I lost contact with the first riders. In the final five laps I couldn’t really chase the riders in front of me and I ended in sixth place.”

Matthieu Lagrive - Hannspree Honda Althea: 11th.
“My start was not so bad, but in the first curve I had a contact with another rider and I lost a lot of positions, so to come from so far back was not easy but near to the end of the race I recovered some positions reaching the eleventh place. It has been a very hard race for me, but I got some points for the championship and I’m confident for future races.”
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:30 PM   #104
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Round 1 - Phillip Island
Sunday Mar 01 2009Round 1 - Phillip Island

DUCATI XEROX ROOKIE NORIYUKI HAGA TRIUMPHS IN RACE 1 AT PHILLIP ISLAND

Phillip Island (Australia), Sunday 1st March: in a Race 1 that was declared wet but remained dry, Noriyuga Haga (Ducati Xerox) took his first victory on board his new Ducati 1198 today at Phillip Island. Having started from thirteenth on the grid, Noriyuki made a blistering start in Race 1 and was immediately up among the front runners in second place by the end of the opening lap. He remained at the head of the pack for the rest of the race, battling for the lead against Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner who eventually awarded the win to Noriyuki when he made a tiny mistake in the very final lap. The second race came close to being a repeat of the first for Noriyuki as another flying start moved him quickly up to fifth and then first by lap six. This time he had Yamaha’s Spies to deal with and it was a close-run thing, with Noriyuki eventually forced to relinquish the win due to tyre-wear in the final stages.

Italian Ducati Xerox rider Michel Fabrizio also took home solid points from the first race of the 2009 season, battling against Brits Rea and Haslam and Australia’s Corser, but just missing out on a podium spot and finishing in fourth.

Race 2 saw Michel run a similar race, holding fourth place for most of the race before a tussle with Haslam and Laconi finally left him in fifth position at the race’s conclusion.

After the opening round of the championship it is Noriyuki that tops the rider’s classification sheets with 45 points, followed by Neukirchner and Haslam. Ducati is the leading constructor chased by Yamaha and Suzuki.

Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 winner; Race 2 - 2nd )
“My qualifying was not so good but in Race 1 my start was strong, and I started to fight with Max up at the front almost immediately. There was the possibility of rain so I started attacking right from the first lap. On the last lap Max got past me again but I kept trying and then on the last corner he made a mistake and I was able to pass him. In Race 2 I was again fighting, this time with Ben (Spies) but he was very fast and by the last five laps my rear tyre was finished, so I had to settle for second. I really enjoyed the race and I am very happy; my team has done a great job this weekend and I am feeling very comfortable on my 1198. A fantastic day, thanks to Ducati and thanks to the fans and I’m very happy that my move to Ducati brings my first win in the first race of the 2009 season.”

Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 - 4th; Race 2 – 5th)
“All in all, it hasn’t gone so badly. Race 1 was the better of the two for me and the bike and tyres were performing fairly well, I just couldn’t match the pace of Nori and the Suzukis in front of me. In Race 2 I began to suffer rear tyre-wear in the closing laps and couldn’t hold my position ahead of Biaggi and Haslam. We saw today just how tough a championship this will be! Anyway I’ve taken some good points and now we move on to Qatar where I will aim to be on the podium.”
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:31 PM   #105
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Two top ten finishes for Jonathan Rea were the only consolation from a day of frustration for the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team in the opening round of the 2009 World Superbike championship at Phillip Island in Australia.

In the two 22-lap races around the 4.445km circuit, the first won by Noriyuki Haga and the second by Ben Spies, Rea and his two team-mates, Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari, struggled to find rear grip for their Honda CBR1000RR machines.

Jonathan Rea – 5th and 9th
I managed to get the holeshot in race one and led for three laps, but I was very conscious about preserving the rear tyre so tried to ride as gently as I could. In race two, the pace was just that much quicker and I probably wasn’t aggressive enough in the early part. After I dropped back, I was just eating the rear trying to keep with the others and a couple of mistakes meant I had to ride even harder.

Carlos Checa – 12th and 13th
It’s been a very frustrating day and the problem that I thought would give me the most difficulty, my shoulder, was not a problem after all. I had a bad start in race one and struggled to get back to the leaders without using my tyre. In race two, the start was better but there was no side grip from the start and I just couldn’t do anything about it.

Ryuichi Kiyonari – DNF and 23rd
There’s not very much I can say. I race one, I got T-boned by Ruben Xaus at the Honda turn and that was the end of my race. In the second, I just had no grip from the start, went into the gravel early on and could not do anything. I’m very disappointed because the simulations we did in practice were very promising for the races.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager
There’s no point in trying to disguise the fact that we’ve had a very disappointing day. The race simulations we did suggested that our race set-up was very strong so I have to admit that we’re also a little surprised by these results. The only positive was Johnny’s result in race one but, for sure, we have a lot of work to do in order to perform better in Qatar.
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:31 PM   #106
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Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider, Kenan Sofuoglu, took victory in today’s opening 2009 World Supersport championship race in Australia. The Turkish rider beat team-mate Andrew Pitt by just six one hundredths of a second after 21 laps of the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit, while Anthony West made it an all-Honda podium with third place.

The Ten Kate Honda duo had planned to maintain a relatively slow pace early in the race in order to preserve the rear tyres on their CBR600RRs. But the race turned out to be a thrilling encounter with less than a second covering the top ten riders at the halfway point.

However, the leading trio opened a one-second gap from the chasing pack by the end of the race, resulting in a hard-fought battle for the final podium places. Andrew Pitt dedicated his second place to victims of the recent bushfires in Australia and has pledged his prize money to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal Fund.

Kenan Sofuoglu – winner
Andrew went very fast at the beginning while I found myself down in around tenth place. I tried to ride as slowly as possible because we were worried about the rear tyre but I had to ride really hard to get back to the front and to get past Andrew and Anthony. I think Andrew and I actually touched at one point, which probably scared Ronald a bit! But I’m so happy to win, especially after setting the fastest lap in qualifying for pole position yesterday. My team has been fantastic to give me such a good bike and it’s been a great start to the championship.

Andrew Pitt – second
It was a strange old race, really – we were riding so slowly for most of it, just to make the tyres last. Everyone was tripping over one another until the last five laps, but that’s what we’ve been working on – trying to be there when it really matters. I just found myself in the wrong place going into the final lap but big congratulations to Kenan, he had a great ride today.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager
It’s the best possible start to the season for us and big compliments to the whole technical crew, who have had quite some issues to resolve regarding race set-up and the preservation of the tyres. They and the riders managed this in the best possible way. These results were achieved on the 2008 CBR600RR, so we can’t wait to get to Europe, when we’ll start racing the ’09 model, which we believe will be even stronger.
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:32 PM   #107
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Hoegee Suzuki

Barry Veneman in the leading group

The first championship points have been divided and with a 13th place for Barry Veneman, Hoegee Suzuki Team could not yet show its potential, as it has hoped. It was predicted to be difficult and that the tyres would play an important role. The warm-up was preceded by a lost shower of rain putting the teams for a difficult choice. Both Hoegee Suzuki Team riders went out on wets and stayed with wets during this short warm-up. Unfortunately as such, the warm-up could not contribute to the race preparation. Nevertheless Shaun Geronimi managed to use this session to improve the feeling with the bike.

Fortunately the race took place under dry conditions. Both Hoegee Suzuki Team riders had an excellent start. Barry managed to go from 10th position at start to 7th and after some magnificent actions, overtaking Sufuoglu he managed to get hold of 6th place. The large leading group of 12 riders, racing close within 2 secs of the leader for several rounds, showed changing positions all the time. With Barry still at 9th place in lap 11, less than 1.5 sec behind the leader, his tyres failed afterwards, so he could not maintain connection with this group. During the 2nd half of the race and with substantial less grip than before, Barry fought a race within a race with Lagrive and Pirrot for 11th-13th place, to finish in this group as 13th overall, also close to the couple Rocolli and Nanelli.

Barry Veneman could not be satisfied with this result: "I had a good start, and until half of the race I could compete. You just cannot let gaps get come in front of you to remain the connection. As of half of the race my tyres went quickly down. I lost a lot of grip and with that the opportunity to keep competing with those in front, as I could in the first half. Of course I'm not very happy about that. We knew we could expect problems with t tyres, this time it hit us rather hard and then you don't score as you hoped for and also can. The first half of the race we showed we again can compete and that's the feeling I take with me to Qatar."

Shaun (#78 )

As said, also Shaun Geronimi had a lightning start, making up for 6 places to finally finish at 23rd. Shaun is realistic about his first race and weekend with Hoegee Suzuki Team: "We made good progress. During the race I had understeer. Not only the bike has to be changed to meet my style, likely I will adapt my style as well to accommodate these tyres better. This first race I couldn't bring everything I've got. Nevertheless I managed to almost close the gap with those in front of me during qualification. This was the first step. In Qatar we'll make another step before it's race time again."

Of course Marc Hoe gee had hoped for more as well: "This is not the result we pursue. Barry had a good start and until half the race he could follow the leaders well. Then he got problems with the tyres and as soon as gaps were there, it became difficult for him to regain positions. Unfortunately he had to let pass 2 riders in the last lap. We will just analyse what caused the problems. The season is underway now. There is a large group of competitors, including ourselves. Though the first race didn't bring what we hoped for, I'm positive about the weekend in total and the continuation of the season." Marc is positive as well about the debut of Shaun with Hoegee Suzuki Team: "Shaun showed great improvement. There is a lot to do to create the optimal rider-bike combination. He has already learned a lot this first race and we know where to go to. Those steps will be taken now."
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:32 PM   #108
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ALSTARE BRUX SUZUKI MEN TAKE WSB PODIUM

Team Suzuki Press Office - March 1.

Team Suzuki Alstare Brux riders Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama raced their GSX-R1000s to second and third places in the opening race at today's World Superbike Championship opener at Phillip Island in Australia.

And, although both riders experienced grip problems in race two - with Neukirchner sixth and Kagayama eighth - Neukirchner left the circuit holding second place in the Championship.

Max Neukirchner - Race 1: 2nd, Race 2: 6th:

"I was very happy with the first race and thought I could win it after a big fight with Nori. But I made a little mistake on the last lap and that was enough for Nori to take the chequered flag and push me to second. But for me, second is a great start to the season and it is a good way to say thank you to my team for all the hard work over the winter. I had some problems with chatter in race two and also got caught up in a lot of traffic and found it not easy to get through it. I lost three seconds on the front group and that was too much to make up. The grip level seemed quite a bit down in race two and it was not possible to go any faster. If I had gone any quicker, I may have crashed and I didn't want that as Yukio and I have not had a single crash all weekend!"

Yukio Kagayama - Race 1: 3rd, Race 2: 8th:

"I am so happy to be on the podium again because the last time was a very long time ago - Brno in 2007. I am a racer and I like to win, so the first race was a good feeling for me. The bike was almost the same in race two, but the grip level was much different and I had some chattering and many slides. Also, I had a problem with my left boot and it was not so easy to use the shifter. If I didn't have that problem, I'm sure I could've caught and passed at least two riders in front of me. But it's a good feeling to be on the podium again and also good because I didn't crash this weekend."
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:33 PM   #109
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PARKALGAR HONDA racer Eugene Laverty diced for the victory at the opening round of the World Supersport Championship, eventually finishing fifth just one-second behind winner Honda’s Kenan Sofuoglu at Phillip Island in Australia.

Laverty led the race and was in contention right until the chequered flag. Parkalgar Honda racer Miguel Praia was in 10th place on lap three when he crashed at the Honda Hairpin unhurt. The next round of the Championship is at the Losail circuit in Qatar on Saturday 14th March.

Eugene: “I got an average start and was back in ninth but within four laps I was leading the race. My Parkalgar Honda is very fast, I was able to blast past many riders. In a straight line we are fit to pass anyone and it is now handling as good as any other bike, it is looking like it could be a good year. The race is the first time I have done a distance run on the bike and to live with the front runners who had all tested here was great. I made only one error the whole race on the final corner. I touched the dirt and that allowed Cal Crutchlow to pass me and take fourth. I wasn’t expecting to be this close to the front at the opening round, this weekend a race win was not part of my plan it was to achieve the top six. Even when I led it was to try and break the pack up as I knew Andrew and Kenan would come back at me. But now I have a different plan for Qatar and it is to win the race. We have a good haul of points from here, I am happy.”

Miguel: “I made a good start to the race and on my second lap I posted 1:35.4secs which was the quickest at the time, the fifth fastest of the race and 2secs faster than my lap time from last year. I was riding well and with confidence but with a full tank of fuel which caused some problems and on lap three I made a mistake and went into the Honda Hairpin too fast and touched with Robin Harms and crashed out unhurt. With the lap time I have proved I can stay with the front runners and maybe even make the top five. My Parkalgar Honda is so good I now need to be not so aggressive in the first laps. Previously I have had to fight hard to get into the points but now I am in a new position and level and I must make a more relaxed start on the first laps, make my position and start from there. I am confident for the coming season.”

Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: “It was a good race with Eugene dicing for the lead. We clearly have one of the fastest bikes out there that is as good as anything and bar a small mistake at the final corner Eugene would have been fourth. He is a Championship contender as we knew he would be and we can build from here. Miguel made a mistake and crashed on lap three. He looked as though he could have scored in the top 10 and is carrying his momentum from testing; now he needs to turn his proven pace into results. Miguel dislikes this track but favours Qatar so we don’t have to wait long to see what he can do there. It’s been a good weekend for the team and everyone has worked very hard and professionally together, well done!”
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:33 PM   #110
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New Yamaha R1 and Ben Spies unstoppable at Phillip Island

World Superbike rookie Ben Spies proved to be an unstoppable combination with the new 2009 YZF-R1, having qualified on pole position yesterday, he powered to a flawless victory in the second race of the opening round at Phillip Island today. Running at the front from the outset and fighting for top position with Ducati rider Noriyuki Haga, Spies rode a perfect race, the new R1 performed impressively as he kept the pace up to the very end for a well deserved victory. Spies goes to Qatar sitting fourth in the championship standings (only a single point from third), after the Phillip Island race weekend, he is also the first American to win a World Superbike race since fellow American Colin Edwards in 2002.

It was a dramatic start to the first race when a late entry into turn two by rider Leon Haslam, forced Max Biaggi to sit up, in turn pushing Spies wide and off the track. Having dropped back several positions he then had to again avoid a coming together between Ruben Xaus and another rider, and in doing so went off track again. The American pole position starter found himself in 26th position with a lot of work to do. Spies put his head down and put in consistently fast laps, finishing the race one position off the points in 16th, and lapping at the end of the race at a similar pace to the race leaders Haga and Neukirchner.

Spies team mate Tom Sykes was forced back to 14th in the opening scrum for the first corners of race one but recovered well, making his way up to tenth position. He held the place for the majority of the race and was closing on ninth at the chequered flag. Race two and British rookie Sykes displayed the same consistency that won him the points in race one, dropping initially to 19th before getting his head down and working up steadily to take tenth position and more points for the Yamaha team in his first World Superbike race of 2009.

Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team
“The first race was pretty rubbish for me, but I knew I could come back in race two and fight it out. Unfortunately the incident with Biaggi and Haslam left me no option and forced me off, a double blow to be forced off again shortly after with the Xaus incident! I almost made it into the points and had the pace to do it. Congratulations to Nori for that one. The second race was really tough, I had a couple of attempts to break the lead, and watched Nori as much as possible to see where the opportunities were, we were both keeping the pace really high. I tried to stay as close as possible to him and waited for his grip levels to come down. With four laps to go I felt it was the right moment so I put my head down and charged and just kept going! The Pirelli tires were really good and as it was the first weekend for the new R1 it was really great. We got it done in the end, it was a really clean race and Nori was excellent to race against. There are a few more of these to go so looking forward to the next one in Qatar.”

Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team
“It’s not easy in the first couple of turns with the whole pack! I got off line going in to turn one in the first race and got pushed wide, there were people everywhere! Then going into the Honda hairpin, I was just going underneath Xaus and someone came up the inside and took him out and that pushed me back. The incident lost me three or four seconds, I couldn’t believe it, I guess that’s the nature of Phillip Island! The most positive thing for me was that we made changes with the bike this morning and found a really good setting so I know now I can run race pace and keep at the sharp end, the bike is awesome, especially down the start finish straight. Because the bike was working so well I felt really fresh and able to keep pushing on, I was sure I could get to eighth but I ran out of time. The second race was much of the same, a frustrating start for me, dropping back to 19th place initially, but I got my head down and stuck to my pace and worked back up, taking nine places to finish tenth. I was forced to overuse the tires for the first few laps which meant my race distance suffered a bit. On a positive note I know I’m capable of running consistent times for the front of the pack.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team manager
“Everybody was a little disappointed for Ben’s bad luck in the first race, but in the end it worked out well and the second race was great! It was an unbelievable race and a really great result, Ben’s riding was really impressive. Tom did not get a good start for both races but he had good pace and kept it consistently. I think if he can pick up the start then he can do very well too. We’re looking forward to Qatar with a really good feeling. Both riders will have to learn the new circuit at Qatar, so we are at a bit of a disadvantage and we’ll be starting from zero. I’m not too worried about this as they’ve both proved this weekend they can go out on a new circuit and keep with the pack.”
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:34 PM   #111
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from Infront Sports:

Haga (Ducati) and Spies (Yamaha) kick-start new WSB careers with wins at Phillip Island

Update: March 01, 2009, 09-10 PM ET

Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) took his 1098R to the win in his first race for the factory Ducati squad in the opening round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island, Australia. The Japanese rider got the better of German Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Alstare) on the final lap to score his 34th win. The second race saw a sensational maiden triumph for WSB rookie Ben Spies from Texas, who took his Yamaha R1 to the win over Haga. The Australian Round of the championship was watched by a record 69,300 spectators, 6% up on last year's figure.

Race 1

The first race, declared ‘wet', was held on a totally dry track, and all riders opted for slicks but a few drops of rain did fall in the final stages. The potential of the K9 Suzuki GSX-R was confirmed with third place for Yukio Kagayama, who finished ahead of Michel Fabrizio on the second Ducati Xerox machine. Spies, who started from pole, ended up on the gravel at the second turn, but returned to the track to finish just outside the points in sixteenth. Max Biaggi, second on the grid with the brand-new Aprilia RSV4 machine, finished in eleventh place. The other rookie manufacturer BMW, also had a positive debut after Troy Corser recovered from the fifth row to finish eighth, the Australian setting fastest lap of the race.

Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) : "One thing that I have is great experience because in 2005 I was in 16th and won a race, so now everybody knows it doesn't matter where the start position is, we don't need qualifying! I'm very happy for the win, I have just switched to Ducati, I already had four crashes with the bike, but our team did a great job. In the last two laps it started to rain a bit then on the last lap Max passed me but I put big pressure on him thinking where to pass him. He made a mistake and I won."

Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Alstare) : "On the last lap I made a little mistake and that probably cost me the win. The last five laps Nori was in front and I could see that he had a bit better traction on the last corner but I caught him on the last lap and I said ‘I win, I win' but it was too much and I had a small slide and that was it."

Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki Alstare) : "I'm happy to get the podium, my last one was in 2007! Both for Max and me our starting positions were not so good, and too many riders caught me in the early laps. But I did a steady ride to third."
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:34 PM   #112
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Race 2

The second encounter was all about Haga vs Spies as the Yamaha rider unleashed the R1's potential. The duel went on until a few laps from the end when the Texan pulled out a slight advantage and powered to the flag. The runner-up slot put Haga, who turns 34 tomorrow, into the lead of the championship on 45 points. Britain's Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda) had a great race for the final podium place, beating the two Ducatis of Règis Laconi (DFX) and Fabrizio to the line. The group also included Biaggi, who ran third for much of the race; on the final lap however the Italian slid off into the gravel, recovering to finish fifteenth. However Aprilia, on their return to SBK after six years, are already looking a competitive force.

Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) : "The first race was not picture perfect for us. The second one was really tough, we had a couple of goes in the lead and tried to break but couldn't do it so I sat and watched Nori. We were strong in the first half but really slow in the back two corners and I couldn't stay with him, then when the tyres went off we just went to the front with four to go and I put my head down. WSB was rough but good in the end, the new R1 was great in the first weekend for the big-bang motor. It's such a new machine for the team, hopefully we can get more out of it but for sure it's a front-running bike. WSB is so tight, people don't understand how many fast riders there are here, and it was really great out there today."

Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) : "I did a nice start again and then during the race I really enjoyed fighting with Ben. It was hard to pull away from him but in the last five laps my tyres were finished and I couldn't push anymore and I just kept the second position. I think this weekend we did a good job except for qualifying and now I'm in the lead of the championship."

Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda) : "It's a big credit to the team, three months ago they were just building the bike. It's the first round and we're already on the podium. There's been a big effort and we've kind of repaid all that effort. There was a bit of argy-bargy with Fabrizio, I had a tyre mark from him from the first lap and later on in the race we had a bit of a tussle but that's what World Superbike is all about, it's a fantastic result."
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:35 PM   #113
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FIM Supersport World Championship

Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) won a superb opening World Supersport race in a three-way sprint to the line. The Turk, 2007 champion in the category, took the flag ahead of Australian riders Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda). Honda, winners of the mid-range Supersport category for the last seven years, begin the new season with four CBR-RR machines in the top 4 places, with fourth going to Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) of Ireland. For 24 year-old Sofuoglu, the win is his eleventh in the series, while Honda celebrate their 63rd win out of 117 Supersport races. The Yamahas, which looked good in qualifying, finished fifth in the hands of Cal Crutchlow and seventh with Fabien Foret, who raced with a partially dislocated right shoulder following his crash on Saturday. Spain's Joan Lascorz made his debut for Kawasaki with an encouraging seventh place. The new Triumph 675 also had a positive start, with Gianluca Nannelli finishing tenth and Garry McCoy fourteenth.
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:35 PM   #114
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That should just about cover it.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:46 PM   #115
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I had really hoped McCoy would have finished better than he did in the ss race.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:49 PM   #116
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Yes, after qualifying I really thought they had it dialed in. Aparently not. Considering this is his "home circuit" I'm not generally concerned about his run in WSS.

BUT it is still early. He could bounce back from this.

I am anticipating watching the race on Tuesday to find out exactly what happened to hold him up.
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:10 PM   #117
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great pics tiatool, thanks

I like this one
look at Kagayama (no 71)
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Old 03-02-2009, 02:11 PM   #118
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Enjoy...


Race1:
http://infrontsp.wmod.llnwd.net/a1386/o16/Free/WorldSBK/2009/BlockUS/20090301_SBK_PHILLIP_ISLAND_RACE1_FR.wmv

Race2:
http://infrontsp.wmod.llnwd.net/a138...D_RACE2_FR.wmv
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Old 03-02-2009, 09:30 PM   #119
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This was the first EVER moto race I have watched and it was AWESOME! I followed Formula 1 for a while and kinda fel off and since I bought my moto back in December have been watching everything moto related.

Looking forward to following the rest of the season on Speed channel.
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:18 PM   #120
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Just watched race two on Speed...what a ride... Ben's the real deal in WSBK..FTW..
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