Utah World Supers Preview 2009
World Superbike action returns to Utah USA for 2009 this weekend.
Utah World Superbike Preview 2009
The upcoming big weekend of racing includes the US round of the World Superbike Championship, where it returns to the Miller Motorsport Park in Utah this weekend, May 29-31 2009.
Miller, situated just outside of Salt Lake City, only joined the world superbike calendar last year, with then Yamaha-backed Corser a close second in race one behind Carlos Checa, who went onto make it a clean sweep on his Honda. Checa will again be a contender in 2009, although the most daunting prospect for the field will be facing American Ben Spies in his home event. The Yamaha rookie has won five of the six American national superbike races at Miller, including a double in 2008.
If he qualifies strongly – after six pole positions in a row, the odds are stacked in his favour – Spies will be extremely hard to beat in front of a partisan crowd, and he could move back into second position at the expense of Ducati’s Michel Fabrizio.However, Fabrizio is no mug around Miller himself, and finished on the podium both times in 2008. Runaway championship leader Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) will compete at Miller injury-free, unlike last year when he was labouring with a broken collarbone.
“I didn’t have a good time at Miller last year and it was very painful to ride, but I needed to fight for more points so I went ahead with the races,” said Haga. “I hope to have a better time of it there this year and I’m looking forward to riding my 1198 at Salt Lake. Although Ben (Spies) will surely be the favourite to win at his home track, I intend to be up there fighting with him for the victory.”
After a short rest for his battered body, Troy Corser returns to world superbike action in USA’s only round of the championship this weekend ,May 29-31 2009.
It’s been a challenging season for the double world champion, whose well-documented struggles in qualifying have made it hard for the Australian to circulate at the front of the pack. And his campaign has also been punctuated by some huge crashes, making it even more difficult to turn the all-new BMW into a race-winning package. Despite the hardship, Corser is still hopeful of making an impact at Miller.
“Missing Kyalami has given my hand a chance to get better and although I don’t like missing any races, I think it was the right decision because Kyalami is such a physical circuit,” said Corser. “It’s going to take a bit of time for the hand to heal fully, but at least Miller is not such a demanding track. That doesn’t mean that it is an easy track, just that it is not as bad as some others. At Miller, we will have the usual problem of racing at a circuit from which we have no previous data for our bike. It’s our usual disadvantage and we have to try and get a good set-up for the race, a good set-up for Superpole, and qualify better.
“We have been working so hard in the early part of the races so far, because of our grid positions, so it would be interesting — and a nice change — to see what would happen if we could qualify on the second or third row of the grid.”
Fresh from his first world superbike podium in South Africa, big things will be expected of Briton Jonathan Rea (Honda) in Utah, while Max Biaggi has now developed the Aprilia into a consistent front runner.
Australia’s Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) will again have another factory teammate this weekend, with the experienced Jamie Hacking filling in for the injured Makota Tamada. As injury takes its toll, Fonsi Nieto will also continue to stand in for German Max Neukirchner at Suzuki, while Lorenzo Lanzi will fill the void left by the seriously injured Regis Laconi (Ducati). Parkes is now feeling a lot better after a recent shoulder injury, and will be out to improve on his lowly 18th in the standings.
“I’m grateful to have a two-week rest between Kyalami and Miller to give my body a break and to get back to a decent fitness level as I really struggled in Kyalami,” said Parkes. “This will be my first visit to Miller, but I’m looking forward to it and also welcoming another new teammate and the experience he can bring to the team.”
WORLD SUPERSPORT: PITT STRIVING FOR COMPETITIVENESS
World supersport will return to America after a 10-year absence, with Aussie world champion Andrew Pitt striving to return to full competitiveness and matching the pace of Cal Crutchlow, Eugene Laverty and his teammate Kenan Sofuoglu.
Other contenders include Newcastle’s Mark Aitchison (Honda), who is coming off his maiden podium finish in South Africa, as well as Gold Coast’s Anthony West (Honda), who is due for a big one after a few lacklustre outings.
Garry McCoy also continues to make inroads on his Triumph, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him snare some major scalps at Miller.
World Superbike standings (after round 6 of 14):
1 Noriyuki Haga, Japan, Ducati 250
2 Michel Fabrizio, Italy, Ducati 165
3 Ben Spies, America, Yamaha 162
4 Leon Haslam, Great Britain, Honda 116
5 Jonathan Rea, Great Britain, Honda 106
6=Max Biaggi, Italy, Aprilia 103
6=Tom Sykes, Great Britain, Yamaha 103
8 Regis Laconi, France, Ducati 77
9 Max Neukirchner, Germany, Suzuki 75
10 Carlos Checa, Spain, Honda 73
17 Troy Corser, Australia, BMW 35
18 Broc Parkes, Australia, Kawasaki 20
23 Karl Muggeridge, Australia, Suzuki 4
24 Brendan Roberts, Australia, Ducati 3
World Supersport standings (after round 6 of 13)
1 Cal Crutchlow, Great Britain, Yamaha119
2 Eugene Laverty, Ireland, Honda 106
3 Kenan Sofuoglu, Turkey, Honda 83
4 Andrew Pitt, Australia, Honda 64
5= Anthony West, Australia, Honda 60
5= Joan Lascorz, Spain, Kawasaki 60
7 Mark Aitchison, Australia, Honda 50
8 Fabien Foret, France, Yamaha 44
9 Michele Pirro, Italy, Yamaha 40
10 Matthieu Lagrive, France, Yamaha 31
11 Garry McCoy, Australia, Triumph 29