Yamaha wins, even without Rossi !
This weekend marked the return of the World Superbike to the Czech Republic. The show was up to par with three races with very different profiles and results. Not to mention Yam’s first Superbike victory !
The weather was radiant during practice and most of the riders already approve of the World Superbike stage on this circuit, which has only been visited twice (read).
In Superbike, Troy Corser (Suzuki Alstare) won the superpole thanks to a superb time of 2’02”694. James Toseland (Ducati Xerox), second, is relegated to half a second! Following in the same tenth Max Neukirchner (Honda Klaffi) and the two Honda Winston Ten Kate of Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge. Chris Walker qualified sixth riding his Kawasaki Corse PSG-1, ahead of Yukio Kagayama (Suz Alstare) and Josè-Luis Cardoso (Yamaha D.F.X.Treme).
In third row is Régis Laconi (Ducati Xerox) who is no longer in the same second as Corser (2’03”756) and just ahead of the talented David Checa (Yam GMT 94), Norick Abe (Yam Motor France) and Garry McCoy (Foggy Petronas FP1). Andrew Pitt (Yam Motor Italia), thirteenth, precedes Mauro Sanchini (Kawa Corse PSG-1), Ivan Clementi (Ducati Pedercini) and Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati SC Caracchi).
Pierfrancesco Chili and Noriyuki Haga are lost in 17th and 18th places and could not participate in the superpole. Their best times did not come under 2’05”2. But these two fellows are used to dazzling climbs and do not admit defeat for so little…
On the Supersport side, Sébastien Charpentier (Honda Winston Ten Kate) once again starts from pole position (6th in seven events). He is almost five tenths ahead of Kevin Curtain (Yam Motor Germany), Michel Fabrizio (Honda Megabike) and Broc Parkes (Yam Motor Germany). Fabien Foret (Honda Megabike) is in second row ahead of Robbin Harms (Honda Stiggy), Gianluca Nannelli (Ducati SC Caracchi) and Daewen (Honda Van Zon). Stéphane Chambon (Honda Gil Motor Sport) starts eleventh, Mathieu Lagrive 21st and Julien Enjolras 25th.
First Superbike race
Corser made a superb start and passed the first corner well in the lead. Kagayama is second, closely followed by Vermeulen, Walker, Muggeridge, Neukirchner, Haga, Toseland, Laconi and Abe.
In the first series, Régis lost a place and Nori Haga was scared when accelerating. Then Chris Vermeulen and Chris Walker pass Yukio Kagayama. Laconi is 10th ahead of Cardoso, Pitt, Lanzi and David Checa !
In the second intermediate, Troy Corser is already seven tenths ahead of the two Chris who stand out slightly from the rest of the group..
On the first lap, Corser was in the lead, followed a few lengths by Vermeulen and Walker. At two seconds, the peloton is made up of Muggeridge, Kagayama, Neukirchner, Toseland, Haga and Laconi who passed Abe again. Then come Cardoso, Pitt, Lanzi, Checa and McCoy. Régis passes Haga and the Japanese try to recover his due, but he runs into a real wall! Toseland passed Neukirchner then Kagayama in the home stretch, despite "a clutch problem".
On the second lap, when braking on the straight line, Régis released a braking which he had the secret! The French rider is then on the verge of giving birth to a new motorcyclist term: he does not double but triples (quadruple?) Three pilots at once! Kagayama, Toseland and Neukirchner can only admire this superb pass of arms…
Kagayama takes advantage of the disconcerting attack of the French to overtake Toseland. The latter quickly regains his spirits and at the cost of a particularly inspired trajectory in one of the beautiful Czech chicanes, remains on the outside in the "pif" to better dive back into the "paf". A beautiful show !
Meanwhile, Régis swoops down on Karl Muggeridge, followed closely by the young German Neukirchner. Our favorite Frenchman easily passes Karl, while Neukirchner who tries to follow Régis is lost under braking.
The early season Corser seems to be back. At the start of the third lap, he took another second over his pursuers Vermeulen and Walker by setting the fastest time in the race in 2’03”9. Walker passes in front of Vermeulen! Laconi, in fourth position, loose Muggeridge who corks Neukirchner. Suddenly, Toseland passes Germanic while Nori Haga observes. Abe is right behind his compatriot and doesn’t look more threatening.
Laconi climbs back to Vermeulen’s level and doubles it without difficulty. In the penultimate chicane, Haga goes in 7th position but is passed by Muggeridge at the end of the straight line.
After Troy Corser, Régis is the driver in the game! It’s already under the pots of Chris Walker’s ZX-10RR. The pilots sculpt different trajectories and offer a breathtaking ballet: the wheels and the fairings brush against each other without colliding, all this at an average of nearly 160 km / h !
Walker retains his second place valiantly, in a much cleaner style than the one that allowed him to finish 3rd in Valencia (read). Will this new piloting allow him to improve his best performance of the year? Régis who points to a small second is not of this opinion !
For three laps, Corser has put Walker and Laconi half a second on lap, increasing his lead to 4.5 seconds. Suffice to say that the Australian metronome will be hard to find! In the seventh lap, Régis slips in Chris’ wake. Vermeulen is fourth 5.8s behind the leader, directly followed by Toseland, Neukirchner is 7.8s behind Corser, Haga at 8.1s, Abe at 9.7s, Lanzi, Muggeridge, Pitt and Chili on his wheel . Kagayama was 11 seconds behind his Australian teammate while David Checa from GMT 94 was only 1.8 seconds from Japanese. Sébastien Gimbert is 20th at 23 s.
Vermeulen gratified the public with superb braking crosses, which left the door totally closed to Toseland. However, in the last chicane, Toseland ends up infiltrating. At the end of the straight line, the CBR 1000 RR is at odds with the Ducat ‘999F05. Chris Vermeulen brakes James Toseland. But from the first turn to the right, James goes through a mouse hole inside the young Australian and comes out in front! In the following slight left, Vermeulen regains the advantage! The battle is on between the two men! Laconi, for his part, tests trajectories different from those of Walker, but without success.
At the end of the ninth lap, Toseland repeated his overtaking maneuver in the last chicane of the circuit and entered the straight ahead of Vermeulen. The Honda returns to braking but this time retains its advantage. From the first left-right sequence, James Toseland attacks Chris Vermeulen, whose rear wheel is largely offset to the outside. The Australian remains ahead of the British in the "snitch". But Toseland who is on the outside of the left dives to the rope of the next right and doubles the CBR. These two are not lacking in coolness !
Finally, it was in the eleventh lap that Laconi passed Walker’s Kawa, whose lap times fell steadily. Corser is 6 seconds away! But the fastest man in the race was Toseland, who was the only one to run under 2’05 ”. The reigning world champion widens the gap on Vermeulen and quickly catches up with Walker.
Chili, often a good finisher, passed Abe and tried to catch up on Haga and Lanzi who were fighting for sixth place. David Checa, doubled by Nieto remains in the points. In the thirteenth lap, Toseland closed the gap between him and Walker, who was not left behind by Laconi. In the last chicane, Chili got the better of Nori, who thus passed 8th. In the following lap, Laconi separated slightly from Walker who wasted no time in seeing the number 1 plate of the official Ducati…
With five laps to go, Chili tries to pass Lanzi while Toseland, who easily gets rid of his compatriot Walker, only has eyes for his twin sister no.55. Four laps from the flag, Chris Vermeulen sees two Italians arrive behind him: Lanzi and Chili. Lanzi passed him in the first sequence and immediately widened the gap, thus protecting himself from Chili who remained blocked behind the Australian’s Honda. It also allows Haga to catch up on Chili..
Three laps from the end, Toseland is only three lengths behind his teammate Laconi. Chili passes Vermeulen in the same place as Lanzi a lap earlier. But the "real" fight takes place in front, between the two official Ducatis. In the penultimate lap, James Toseland overtook Régis who "chose a soft front eraser, making my last laps difficult". The Moselle tries to resist but can only take the wheel of James at the exit of the turn. Régis turns around, probably in search of the only man who worries him for the moment in the standings: Vermeulen. But the latter is far away..
Last round ! Corser with a poised and calm style allows itself to celebrate its victory a lap before the end and makes smoke its tire with each exit of turn. "Although no race is ever easy, it was one of my most comfortable", he confides at the end of the course.
Toseland got out of Laconi’s reach and crossed the line more than 7 seconds after Troy. Régis is third. Walker just kept his fourth place against a very fast Chile at the end of the race! Lanzi ranks sixth ahead of Haga, Vermeulen, Abe, Pitt, Kagayama, Nieto and Muggeridge. The first race therefore sees the favorites win, but will it be the same in the second round? Suspense !
The Supersport race once again saw Sébastien Charpentier dominate the debates. Only Kevin Curtain was able to worry the French: "I felt that I was faster than Charpentier in all the fast curves at the back of the circuit and although I lost the front several times during the laps before my fall, I had never had any problem in the turn or I fell".
In seeking to follow Sébastien, Kevin went to the fault, amputating him valuable points in the championship.
It was Fabrizio who finally finished second, 4.5 seconds behind General Lee. Unable to join Sébastien because of a too worn front tire, the Italian preferred "return the throttle and just control the advance on Nannelli".
Craig Jones, Fujiwara’s replacement, was forced to employ the same method: "I thought I could fight with Nannelli, but I preferred to bring home a sixth place !"Harms and Fores are inserted between these two drivers, while Chambon finishes in seventh place. Mathieu Lagrive scores two points and Julien Enjolras finishes 26th. Fabien Foret could not finish the race, as did Broc Parkes.
In the championship, "Valentino" Charpentier is on a cloud, totaling 165 points out of the 175 available … His teammate Katsuaki, despite his absence, remains second at 59 points now, taking advantage of the two draws of his two closest opponents: Curtain and Foret. Fabrizio climbs to 5th place overall with 62 points ahead of Parkes (60), Nannelli (56) and Chambon (55). The favorite takes off, his dolphins stumble and the outsiders grab the points !
Second Superbike race
Corser again took the first turn in the lead but the best start was due to Norick Abe, who emerged from 11th place like hell out of his box! The Japanese stalled in second position behind the Australian, who is well on his way to repeat his solo race. Muggeridge is third and Laconi is also doing well by making the outside to his teammate Toseland. However, English quickly regained its fourth place. Pitt, Walker, Neukirchner, Haga, Kagayama, Vermeulen and Cardoso follow.
Walker passed Pitt in the chicane before the pit straight as Muggeridge passed Abe. Haga passes Pitt and gets under Walker’s pot, Vermeulen and Kagayama fight for tenth place and Haga wastes time straightening his brake lever "by tapping on it" !
Régis is passed successively by Walker then Haga. The Japanese decided to attack the Anglo-Saxon under braking and stick to the wheel of the defending champion Ducati. The Yamaha seems to be working well, as evidenced by Abe’s 3rd position and Haga’s attack.
In the third lap, David Checa was ahead of Pierfrancesco Chile, which gave the impression of being struggling at the start of the race. Haga takes fourth place and is already back on his compatriot Abe. Nitro Nori makes a muscular interior on Norick Abe who can only bow … Haga is not there to polish !
Then it’s Toseland’s turn to outflank Abe, while Haga overtakes Muggeridge: under acceleration and braking, the Japanese rear end is often askew. Nitro Nori goes hunting for the alligator, Troy Corser, which is within 2 seconds.
On the fifth lap, Laconi overtook Walker and placed himself behind Abe. The latter finds refuge in front of James Toseland, leaving the two official Ducatis to explain themselves. Corser and Haga escape the peloton for good.
On the sixth lap, Haga set the fastest time ever in the race for a Superbike: 2’03’747. He turns a second and a half faster than during his qualifying practice! Fatally, it does not take long to take the lead in the race.
Meanwhile, four pilots (Muggeridge, Abe, Toseland and Laconi) engage in a fierce battle, with none of them managing to gain the advantage over the others..
From the eighth lap, the Australian Karl Muggeridge runs out of steam and drops from third to sixth place in less time than it takes to say it! Abe recovers his provisional podium (the first in Superbike!) And moves away slightly from the two official Ducatis. Norick and his team’s changes to the R1 are proving particularly effective: "we moved the machine’s center of gravity back for better traction and chose a harder tire".
Despite a very clean and incisive handling, Vermeulen was slow to pass Lanzi. Chile, as usual, also takes time to find its rhythm.
Haga continues to string together excellent lap times and gradually escapes. In the eleventh round, Régis passed James Toseland and seemed to decide to join his former opponent in MotoGP: Abe, isolated in 3rd place.
In the twelfth round, Chile passed walker and Vermeulen in quick succession. He finds himself behind his compatriot Lanzi who cleans the track with great reinforcements askew like Nicky Hayden! Laconi broke away from Toseland but was still 1.5 seconds behind Norick. In the last chicane, Karl Muggeridge doubles Chile: would he finally experience the second wind that has been lacking for him for several events? ?
In the thirteenth lap, Noriyuki Haga had two full seconds ahead of Troy Corser and more than 6.5 seconds over Norick Abe. Régis takes half a second from the Japanese, looking for a fourth podium in a row … Lanzi, attacked by the two Honda Winston Ten Kate, retains his sixth place.
At the end of the straight line, Vermeulen got the better of Lanzi who bit beyond the vibrators during acceleration. Vermeulen then passes Toseland and takes his little world (Toseland, Lanzi, Muggeridge and Walker) in pursuit of Laconi…
Five laps from the end, Chili overwhelmed Lanzi at the end of the straight and swooped down on Toseland. In front, Corser regains some ground in Haga. But from the next sign, Nori picks up the pace and puts Troy three tenths! Vermeulen is already in the wheel of Laconi while Chili and Toseland are doubled several times in a row. It is Chile who ends up winning the case.
In the 17th lap, Laconi, motivated by the comeback of Chris Vermeulen – his closest rival in the championship – got into Abe’s wheel. But despite his efforts, Régis succumbs to the Australian steamroller and it is now Abe who is under the pressure of young Vermeulen. Could Norifumi’s first podium escape him with two laps to go? ?
The answer was not long in coming: from the straight line, Vermeulen passed Abe. Chili double Laconi and continues his infernal comeback while Haga again puts two tenths in the sight of Corser! In the last lap, Norick Abe is seriously threatened by "old" Chile. But the Japanese also have experience and carefully close all doors. Lanzi delivers the coup de grace to a breathless Regis in the very last corners.
Haga thus wins this second round and signs the first victory for Yamaha in the World Superbike! Hats off! Troy Corser still hasn’t come down from the podium since the start of the season and brings his number of points to 299. Vermeulen completes the podium and totals 205 points. Abe finished fourth in the race, Chile going too wide at the last corner. Lanzi is 6th ahead of Laconi who, at the end of this Czech stage, is still happy to have "gained a point on Vermeulen !", second in the provisional classification. Toseland, eighth in the second race, made up for lost time on Kagayama (152 points against 158).
In the constructors’ standings, Suzuki still benefits from its No. 1 driver, Troy Corser. Ducati, after two doubles, took a slight break but took advantage of the Honda’s weakness to stay in second place (230 points against 221). Yamaha is third with 163 points and will remember July 17, 2005 for a long time! Kawasaki is fifth with 119 points and Foggy Petronas stagnates at 17 points…
The Mondial Superbike marks another three-week break before crossing the Channel for the second time, heading to Brands Hatch. Noriyuki Haga had doubled there on Ducati in 2004: another victory for Yam in perspective? To be continued very soon on Moto-Net !
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