Vallelunga World Superbike preview from Ducati
The World Superbike Championship reaches the penultimate round of 13, which takes place this weekend at the Vallelunga circuit on the outskirts of Rome.
The World Superbike Championship reaches the penultimate round of 13, which takes place this weekend at the Vallelunga circuit on the outskirts of Rome. The production-based racing series will be competing for the first time ever at the Italian track, which over the years has been spruced up and lengthened to 4.110 km to accommodate international racing competition.
As a circuit, Vallelunga offers a mixed technical challenge to the World Superbike riders, who have to tackle several relatively fast and sweeping corners before entering the final slow and twisty part of the track. Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) added one more win to his season tally three weeks ago in the German round at the Eurospeedway. This enabled the 38 year-old Australian to close the gap to points leader James Toseland (Honda), but he remains in fourth place and a repeat of his 2006 title win is now extremely unlikely even though still theoretically possible. With four more points-scoring races still to be held, here and in France, Troy will realistically be aiming for third in the table, although the runner-up slot could also be on the cards.
Troy Bayliss, 4th in championship (296 points)
Troy tested here in the official FGSport tests at the start of July, ending up second quickest behind Ruben Xaus (Ducati). Last week’s private session at the Ducati Xerox Team’s chosen test track enabled him to put some more mileage in but it mainly involved sorting out the new 1098 F08 machine. “We did test there last week but basically we were getting a feel for the new bike so we didn’t learn a lot to help us in the race” said Troy. “I’m really looking forward to racing at Vallelunga and trying to improve my overall position because right now I’m fourth and there’s a possibility that I could better that. Second is a good possibility, third looks a bit more realistic, but most important is that I want to go out with a couple more wins. I like Vallelunga because it’s got a lot of character about it. It’s a very physical track especially the first section because you’re in sixth and fifth gear so whenever you have to change direction you have to put a lot of physical input into the bike, and the rest of it is quite ‘Mickey Mouse’, but it’s a track where spectators will enjoy and it could make for good racing so I’m really interested to see how it’s going to pan out.”
Lorenzo Lanzi, 7th in championship (173 points)
Lorenzo Lanzi currently lies in seventh position overall, four points down on Ruben Xaus. “Even though Vallelunga is not exactly close to Romagna, it gives me a lot of pleasure to race on this track but in any case I feel a bit at home”, declared Lorenzo. “I like the track, it’s quite difficult and it won’t be an easy race here, because in the tests we did in July the four-cylinder bikes showed once again that they were really quick. Unfortunately before the tests, I injured myself, but both Troy and Ruben went really well so it’s bound to be a great battle. As far as I am concerned, I will try and do my best to get the best possible result in this race and finish off the championship on a high note.”
Championship Points (after 11 of 13 rounds):
1. Toseland (Honda) 375;
2. Haga (Yamaha) 334;
3. Biaggi (Suzuki) 322;
4. Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 296;
5. Corser (Yamaha) 254;
6. Xaus (Ducati) 177;
7. Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) 173;
8. Rolfo (Honda) 166, etc.
1. Honda 393;
2. Yamaha 388;
3. Ducati 363;
4. Suzuki 341;
5. Kawasaki 148;
6. MV Agusta 1.
The Circuit Name: Autodromo di Vallelunga ‘Piero Taruffi’ Length: 4.110 km
Pole Position: right Corners Left/Right: 6/6 Finish line length: 553 m