World SBK 2012 – Round 12 – Nurburgring
— Weather: Dry and sunny Temperature: Ambient 24/25 degrees C / Track 35/47 degrees C – Attendance: 46,000
— Biaggi back in front after Nürburgring dramas unfold

Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) once more heads the points table in the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, after two races in Germany laden with incident and frequent accidents for the top two championship runners. Biaggi won race one in impressive style, taking his 21st career win and his fifth of the year. In race two Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Team Aprilia) won his first ever SBK race and in doing so became the eighth rider to take a victory in what is proving to be a remarkable 2012 season.

Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) lost the championship lead he had worked so hard for in the previous round in Russia when he fell in both 20-lap races. The second crash happened while he was leading. Biaggi had already crashed on the first lap of race two but restarted to battle back to take what may well be three important points.

The event in Germany brought forward a number of firsts, all of which unfolded under brilliant blue skies and sunshine in front of a weekend crowd of 46,000 spectators.

Aprilia riders went 1-2-3 in the opening race for the first time ever. British rider Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) gave his team its first podium finish of the season with a fine third place in race two. Second place rider in each race was Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) taking his first double podium for the Italian manufacturer.

Davies’ race win gave riders from the UK a combined victory total of 118 in individual SBK contests, joining the USA and Australia on the same record total of 118 victories each.

In the championship Biaggi now has 318 points, Melandri 308.5 and Sykes 291.5, making the fight for the overall title closer between the top three yet again, with only 26.5 points separating them all. Two rounds and four races remain, with everything to play for.

Race 1

In the first race Biaggi pulled off one of his coolest and most assured wins to re-take the lead in the championship fight. His victory came after he took the lead from a slowing Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), and before the end of the 20 laps both Laverty and Davies had also passed Sykes, making it a 1-2-3 for riders on Aprilias. Camier was a battling fifth after a last minute glitch on the starting grid, while Melandri crashed out on lap six.

Max Biaggi: “It’s just a happy moment to be here. The result is the best that we can do, so we can be proud of all the work we did during the weekend. We keep improving the bike especially in the set-up. Overall I could ride well, even though it was slippery basically I could set good lap times. Sykes impressed me with his pace in the first half, and finally he started to lose concentration and maybe grip and I could take him and keep my lap time.”

Results: 1. Biaggi (Aprilia) 20 Laps/102.740 km in 38’52.751 average 158.553 kph; 2. Laverty (Aprilia) 3.027; 3. Davies (Aprilia) 3.127; 4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 12.306; 5. Camier (Suzuki) 14.131; 6. Guintoli (Ducati) 19.523; 7. Haslam (BMW) 27.017; 8. Zanetti (Ducati) 33.116; 9. Badovini (BMW) 34.937; 10. Aoyama (Honda) 39.132; etc.

Race 2

Davies claimed his and his team’s first win with an impressive display of eventual front-running, winning by over three seconds and easing up, after top contenders Melandri and Biaggi found the gravel traps. In a festival of points for British and Irish riders, Laverty was second, and a great ride from Camier saw him recover from a less than perfect start to go third, only losing second place to a late push from Laverty. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was fourth, and one-time race leader Sykes was fifth. Biaggi recovered to finish 13th, half a minute down on the winner.

Chaz Davies: “What a feeling! I got an average start and went the long way round at the first corner. It was risky but it worked and I was fourth. I was comfortable all race, and knew if I could just get away with the front guys I thought I could stay and that was the case, but I didn’t expect them the mistakes from Marco and Max! In the end it was just a concentration game with myself, keeping the lap times consistent. What a way to repay the ParkinGo team for their efforts!”

Results: 1. Davies (Aprilia) 20 Laps/102.740 km in 39’00.327 average 158.039 kph; 2. Laverty (Aprilia) 3.022; 3. Camier (Suzuki) 3.222; 4. Rea (Honda) 5.705; 5. Sykes (Kawasaki) 7.304; 6. Checa (Ducati) 7.541; 7. Giugliano (Ducati) 14.709; 8. Baz (Kawasaki) 19.782; 9. Badovini (BMW) 19.925; 10. Guintoli (Ducati) 20.028; etc.

Points (after 12 of 14 rounds): 1. Biaggi 318; 2. Melandri 308,5; 3. Sykes 291,5; 4. Checa 247,5; 5. Rea 225,5; 6. Laverty 213,5; 7. Haslam 189; 8. Davies 156,5; 9. Guintoli 143,5; 10. Giugliano 125; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 384.5; 2. BMW 377; 3. Ducati 342; 4. Kawasaki 322.5; 5. Honda 240.5; 6. Suzuki 120.5.

World Supersport
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) won his fourth race of the season today, securing victory by 0.541 seconds over second place rider Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) in the 19-lap FIM Supersport World Championship race at the Nürburgring. Sofuoglu’s win was of the start-to-finish variety as he extended his championship lead over Cluzel, with Kenan now sitting on 198 points to the French rider’s 160. Third in the race was Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step Racing) who moved to third in the championship after podium challenger Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) fell. Lowes restarted to finish 14th but he is now fourth overall in the points, four behind Foret. Broc Parkes (Ten Kate racing Products Honda) was fourth today, 2012 rising star Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsports Yamaha) went fifth but was disqualified post-race for a technical infringement.

Results: 1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 19 Laps/97.603 km in 38’13.709 average 153.189 kph; 2. Cluzel (Honda) 0.541; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 6.258; 4. Parkes (Honda) 10.345; 5. Baldolini (Triumph) 18.303; 6. Talmacsi (Honda) 22.366; 7. Iannuzzo (Triumph) 27.230; 8. Linortner (Yamaha) 33.213; 9. Quarmby (Honda) 33.526; 10. Roccoli (Yamaha) 35.932; etc.

Points (after 11 of 13 rounds): 1. Sofuoglu 198; 2. Cluzel 160; 3. Foret 144; 4. Lowes 141; 5. Parkes 122; 6. Morais 84; 7. Baldolini 78; 8. Quarmby 77; 9. Iannuzzo 60; 10. Tamburini 50; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 237; 2. Honda 237; 3. Triumph 107; 4. Yamaha 97; 5. Suzuki 6.

Superstock 1000

Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) was always in contention for the win at the Nürburgring but was finally gifted the victory after three of his main rivals fell one-by-one. First off was Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati) then Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) and finally pole man Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini Kawasaki). Kevin Coghlan (DMC Racing Ducati) capitalised on the bad luck up front to take a second place finish, with Markus Reiterberger (Team Alpha Racing BMW) third. In the championship La Marra leads on 119 points, Barrier has 113, Staring 86 and Guarnoni 82.

Results: 1. Barrier (BMW) 11 Laps/56.507 km in 21’56.069 average 154.570 kph; 2. Coghlan (Ducati) 11.212; 3. Reiterberger (BMW) 13.096; 4. Mercado (Kawasaki) 14.954; 5. Savadori (Ducati) 15.775; 6. Massei (Honda) 16.757; 7. Bergman (Kawasaki) 20.619; 8. Jezek (Ducati) 21.972; 9. Bussolotti (Ducati) 22.043; 10. Lussiana (Kawasaki) 22.358; etc.

Points (after 8 rounds of 10): 1. La Marra 119; 2. Barrier 113; 3. Staring 86; 4. Guarnoni 82; 5. Savadori 78; 6. Reiterberger 78; 7. Coghlan 68; 8. Bergman 68; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 152; 2. Kawasaki 143; 3. BMW 141; 4. Honda 62; 5. Aprilia 17.

KTM European Junior Cup

Lukas Wimmer (MSC Schalchen) put in a strong performance to win the seven-lap KTM Junior Cup race by over six seconds, and extend his championship lead in the process. Gaston Garcia (KTM Spain) was second in the race and the championship, with Wimmer now on 95 points and Garcia on 78. Artur Wielebski (Bogdanka Junior Team Poland) was third in the race today, ahead of Javier Orellana (Europ Foods). One round remains, at Magny-Cours in France.

Results: 1. Wimmer (KTM) 7 Laps/35.959 km in 15’39.133 average 137.842 kph; 2. Garcia (KTM) 6.441; 3. Wielebski (KTM) 6.657; 4. Orellana (KTM) 6.834; 5. De Lange (KTM) 6.873; 6. Vidal (KTM) 6.917; 7. Fazzina (KTM) 14.699; 8. Pasek (KTM) 14.861; 9. Odegard (KTM) 23.864; 10. Kaczmarek (KTM) 23.946; etc.

Points (after 7 rounds of 8): 1. Wimmer 95; 2. Garcia 78; 3. Orellana 75; 4. Vidal 64; 5. Wielebski 59; 6. Patterson 57; 7. Pasek 54; 8. Demoulin 48; etc.

— Suzuki Report

FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier raced to the team’s maiden WSB podium during race two of this afternoon’s 12th round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship event from Nurburgring in Germany.

Camier didn’t get a good start from seventh on the grid in the second race and was in 12th position at the end of the first lap, but the Englishman kept his head and clinically and methodically picked his way through the field to move up into a podium position by lap 13. Camier then made a pass on the Aprilia of Eugene Laverty to take second place from the Irishman, a position that Camier held for the next four laps. Laverty made his way past the FIXI Crescent Suzuki rider, after Camier nearly high-sided at the final chicane and lost ground, but the Suzuki star never gave up and challenged for second place all the way to the line in the final two laps. He finished just 0.200 seconds from P2, but was delighted to have given the team its first podium of the season, which is an indication of the hard work the whole crew have put in this year.

Camier’s first race was arguably better than his second, after a technical problem forced him to the pits before the start of the race and meant he had to begin the 20-lap event from 22nd and last on the grid. He got a good start – making up six places on lap one – before continuing to pick off riders one-by-one, while producing race-leading lap-times for the remainder of the race. Camier finally powered his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R over the line in fifth, still closing in strongly on fourth place. Camier’s two results today were his best haul from a weekend’s work in Suzuki colours and he will now head to the final two rounds of the season with a renewed vigour.

John Hopkins was somewhat overshadowed by Camier today, but his performances deserve merit after he rode his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R to 12th and 13th in the two races. Hopkins was returning to a circuit that held some painful memories for him after he crashed and was run over there – and knocked unconscious – on his first and only previous visit. He came to terms with the demanding and technically difficult 5,137m track over the weekend and battled hard to get his machine into points scoring positions in both races.

Today’s two races were equally both exciting, not just from a FIXI Crescent Suzuki point of view, but for the fans as well. Max Biaggi took victory – his first-ever at Nurburgring – in race one and regained his championship lead, despite crashing out and remounting in the second race. British rider Chaz Davies was triumphant in the race two to take his premier victory in a World Superbike race in his first season in the class.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now head for the Algarve region of Portugal for the penultimate event of 2012, as the Superbike World Championship takes to the track at Portimao for round 13 on Sunday 23rd September.

Leon Camier: “It has been an eventful weekend – as usual – beginning with having to start from the last row of the grid in race one. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki team did a great job fixing the problem and getting me back out again in time for the warm-up lap. When the race began, I put my head down and just went for it and was soon overtaking riders one-by-one and making good progress lap-by-lap. At the end, I was getting closer and closer to Sykes and I think I would’ve also passed him, but I just ran out of time.

“I got a horrible start in race two and once again had to work my socks off getting through the pack. I got up to third place after 13 laps and passed Laverty two laps later, but a bit of a ‘moment’ in the final chicane, one lap from the end, let Laverty back through and although I gave it everything I had, he just held me off.

“I’m very happy with the podium – it’s been a long time – and the result in race one wasn’t bad either. Today, the bike felt pretty good. The chassis has always been good and the Motec electronics are working extremely well and all this has given us a chance of running with the best. I’m really looking forward to the next couple of races and hope the team can continue to make progress and we get more results like today.”

John Hopkins: “I knew today was going to be tough, and it was. My grid position didn’t help and although the tyres were pretty consistent, I just didn’t feel confident enough to really throw the bike into the corners and get hard on the gas on the apexes. I rode as hard as I could, kept the rubber side down and brought the FIXI Crescent Suzuki home in the points. I would like to congratulate Leon on a good job done today and thank him for giving the team its first podium of the year. It’s been a long time coming, but a good reward for all the hard work.”

Jack Valentine – Team Manager: “Race one was a bit of a drama, but the FIXI Crescent Suzuki boys did a great job to get Leon back into the race. He started from the back of the grid and then put in a mega performance, picking off riders, to end an incredible fifth! After the first race, we were all looking forward to the second because we had seen how consistently fast Leon had been lapping and knew he had a chance of a great result. We chose a slightly softer tyre, as we felt we needed to be on the pace early on rather than wait for the later stages. Our choice worked, but we had to wait for a while because Leon made a terrible start and once again had to work his way through the field. To finish third was a tremendous result, but if he had made a good start, who knows how good the result could’ve been! He’s showed how good a rider he is and also how good the FIXI Crescent Suzuki is. His result was not down to luck at all and his epic battle with Laverty could’ve gone either way. I am very impressed with the way he rode the bike today. These results show what hard work can achieve and credit should be given to both the FIXI Crescent Suzuki crews – especially Leon’s Crew Chief Frankie who did a great job with chassis set-up and John’s Crew Chief – and the team’s Chief Engineer Lez Pearson who did a great job servicing and finding the extra performance from the engines this weekend.”

— Kawasaki Report

Sykes had high hopes of repeating his recent race winning form in what were perfect riding conditions at the Nürburgring but despite the hard work and long runs the team did using he softer rear compound tyre in practice Tom lost rear traction midway through the first race and was forced to drop positions, finishing a distant but battling fourth. Baz had fallen with only three laps remaining, losing his chance of a definite dry weather top five finish, just behind his team-mate.

In race two Tom opted for a harder rear tyre to make sure he could go race distance but having used the softer one for so much of practice ultimate performance was missing and he finished fifth, albeit only seven seconds off the win this time around. Loris found his own rear issues in this race and he had to settle for an eighth place finish.

Team Pedercini Kawasaki rider David Salom did not start in Germany as he underwent observation on a local hospital after his Superpole crash, but the Spanish rider was given the all clear after a scan and some rest. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) was 16th in race one, missing out on a point by one place, then being forced to retire in race two.

Tom Sykes: “There is a question mark over race one because we used the same kind of tyre that we had used all weekend, the softer of the rear tyre selections, and we have done race distance on two of these tyres. On each occasion we have been able to do 1’55 laps at the end of the simulated race. So it is very strange today. We did 1’55s very comfortably at the beginning of the race then we had a massive drop in tyre performance. It was rear chatter but more like bouncing today and that is something we have never experienced with this bike, let alone this weekend. We made a tyre choice change and went to the ‘B’ rear, which we were not keen to do. Things could have been much better. Some other riders had a worse day than us so I am quite happy to take good points in each race. A difficult day but we pulled points ultimately we cut the championship lead a bit. We will keep working hard for more good finishes.”

Loris Baz: “I am not happy about the second race because we had some big chatter problems and we could not brake anywhere near where I was braking yesterday. I had to brake ten meters early and could not put any lean angle on the left side. We made some changes from race one, towards the set-up we had in Superpole yesterday and we had no problems then. We got an eighth place which considering all the problems we had was not too bad. I am disappointed about not finishing race one as I was going to score a dry track top five finish, which was an objective for the season. I do not know why I fell but maybe because we had some small chatter there. It is a big shame and I want to apologise to the team. We did make another step this weekend, however, and I am confident for the next races.”

Sofuoglu led every lap of the full 19 under sunny German skies and held off the consistent push of Jules Cluzel by 0.5 seconds at the flag. Cluzel is the only rider who has a mathematical chance of beating Kenan to he championship title now, as Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) is 54 points behind after the German round, with only 50 points available for any rider who wins both remaining races, at Portimao and Magny-Cours. He extended his record breaking career total of win in this class to 21 today.

Sofuoglu admitted that his usual tactic of going for the win every Sunday may be modified at the next round, but his front-running push has been so successful so often this year he will at least start out the Portimao weekend looking for win number five.

Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini) had an unlucky raceday, his bike stopping out on track after five laps had been completed, when the failure of a sensor in the electronics system prevented further progress. Sheridan is still in sixth place, on 84 points.

Foret’s third place in Germany was his fifth podium of the year, including his two race wins, and he moved up to third in the rankings after Sam Lowes fell and remounted, only to finish 13th. Foret is three points ahead of the English rider now.

Foret’s team-mate Romain Lanusse posted a good 11th place on his Kawasaki Intermoto Step Ninja ZX-6R, one place ahead of Florian Marino (MSD R-N Team India Kawasaki). Dan Linfoot (MSD R-N Team India Kawasaki) was forced out by a crash on lap five.

Kenan Sofuoglu: “I raced here for the first time in 2002, in a one make championship, and although I have come here many times since I could never win the race. Finally I have won this race and I’m happy about it. My career really started in Germany so it is nice to win the race here. Before coming here my goal was to win this race because I knew if I won I just had to finish the race in Portimao to become World Champion again. I have reached my goal here and now in Portimao of course I will ride for points, but if I can see the chance I will try to win the race in Portugal.”

Sheridan Morais: “We had an electrical problem in the race, just a sensor that stopped working and halted the bike. It all happened pretty early so not much to say. I feel pretty bad for the team and for myself but I am not going to go drowning my sorrows. The team worked really hard, until 4am this morning, getting the bike ready for the race after yesterday’s big crash. Nothing was put together wrong, it was just a sensor, so I feel for the guys. We will be positive for the next one and try to be up there.”

Fabien Foret: “I have to say that a third place was a little unexpected but a good reward for the team and all of us. I think we can still take a some more podiums and the way I am feeling I could go on racing for another ten years!”

— Honda Report

FIM Superbike World Championship competitor Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) left the Nürburgring circuit in Germany with one fourth place race finish to his credit and fifth place overall in the championship fight.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) recorded a tenth place in race one and was the top Honda rider after Rea had fallen early in the race while pushing in the front group. Hiroshi also scored a point for 15th in race two. Hiroshi is 18th in the championship rankings, on 51.5 points.

Max Biaggi and Chaz Davies (both Aprilia) won the races in Germany, with Biaggi back in the overall lead on 318 points. Double faller in Germany Marco Melandri (BMW) has an unchanged 308.5 in second place and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) is on 291.5 in third. Carlos Checa is fourth overall on 247.5 points and Rea is just behind on 225.5.

In qualifying Rea was had been fifth on the grid after superpole while Aoyama had been 19th in qualifying. Track conditions were dry and warm all weekend, for one of the very few times in the 2012 season so far.

Rea looked set for two good results in Germany until he became one of many top riders to lose the front at this tricky 5.137Km circuit while negotiating turn six of lap three during the opening race. In race two Rea had to fight hard with Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) for the second weekend in succession, before dropping back to finish a couple of seconds from a podium finish.

The next race is at a modern classic of circuit design, Portimao in Portugal, on September 23.


Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) was unable to convert his fifth pole position of the season into a race win, but came very close to it in his pursuit of eventual race winner Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) at the Nürburgring.

Cluzel was in the hunt for the victory in the 19-lap race, for the whole race distance, but only a couple of small errors late on, and the relentless push of Sofuoglu, stopped Jules from making a last lap passing attempt. Jules was only
0.541 seconds down at the flag and is still second in the championship itself. He trails Sofuoglu by 38 points with two rounds remaining and is now the only rider still capable of overhauling the Turkish rider before the season end. The final podium place went to Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) today.

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) rode to a lonely fourth place after some fast early laps. He could not keep in contention with the leading group as the race timed out and rode on his own to score as many points as possible.

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) fell while fighting to stay in the podium positions. He had also fallen in warm-up this morning, but he restarted in the race to finish an eventual 13th, after Russian rider Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) was disqualified from fifth, and all the riders behind him moved up one place. Lowes dropped to fourth in the points today, on 141.

Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) was once more in the fight at the sharp end, trailing the leading group for some time at the beginning. He finished sixth; his best single result to date and is 13th in the rankings.

Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda) was ninth, one up on his original finishing place, after a race spent fighting an imperfect set-up.

No other Honda riders scored points today, but single-race stand-in rider for the Bogdanka Honda PTR team, Miguel Praia, was close to it, in 16th place. Balazs Nemeth (Racing Team Toth Honda), Dino Lombardi (Team Lorini Honda), Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda) and Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) finished in that order behind Praia.

Danilo Marrancone (Kuja Racing Honda) was 22nd, Luca Hansen (SMS Racing Honda) 23rd. Roberto Tamburini (Lorini Honda) and Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda) both fell and no-scored today.

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team): Race result: DNF / 4th Championship position: 5th “It’s been frustrating again because we had top five pace for race one, but looking at the data, I made a mistake in the corner before the crash. I arrived at a slower speed, but I was carrying a bit more lean angle than on the previous lap. It was a strange crash, but it was a mistake. Race two was OK at the beginning and we were fortunate that two of the front guys crashed out, which gifted us a couple of positions. But we still need to work on the throttle connection and the rideability of the bike off the corner because chassis-wise we’re almost in the ballpark at every race. But getting off the corner, especially when the tyre drops, is our biggest problem and that affects our top speed. It’s been a positive weekend for my riding and the guys are working really hard in the box but, like the previous few rounds, we haven’t been able to convert it into two solid results, so that’s frustrating. Today wasn’t helped by the fact that I spent more time in the bathroom last night than in bed after picking up a stomach complaint, so I didn’t start the day in a good way. But I felt much stronger for race two.”

Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team): Race result: 10th / 15th Championship position: 18th “In the first race we still had the same problem that we’ve had all season, which is out of the corner I cannot open the throttle as I want. The race was critical for the front, as well, and I didn’t have such a good feeling here. But maybe there was another problem because many riders crash on the front. It was difficult and we managed to finish the race in tenth. For race two, the conditions were different and the grip levels went down. I had a big problem out of the corners and I could not go faster than this morning. I struggled a bit, but this was my first race at the Nürburgring and we improved in every session. In the end, we could not reach our potential, but we have some data so I hope we can find some new solutions for the next race in Portugal, which will be another new track for me.”

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda): Race result: 2nd Championship position: 2nd “I am happy for second place in the championship and I was able to enjoy the race. I was able to pass Sofuoglu, but I did two mistakes in the last two laps and it was too much to try and make up to be in a position to pass him on the last corner. I had a great bike I just lost time in the first split, and then came back in the last sectors. I could have passed him, but I finished second, so obviously I am a little bit disappointed. The track was not easy, but very enjoyable. It was my first time here and it was possible to win the race.”

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda): Race result: 14th Championship position: 4th “All weekend we have been having a few little issues. Not big, but just missing that last little bit. For the race it was the best it had been all weekend. I had lots of problems in the rear, but not many on the front. I made on mistake and it costs me. It has been a difficult weekend for me and I hurt my arm when I fell this morning, but I felt I was in with a shout. I have two races to go, the next one at Portimao, which is a track I love, so I will be going there to ride hard.”

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda): Race result: 4th Championship position: 5th “I was hoping to run with the front guys. I got a good start and went with them, but it was difficult to say up front and I was just missing something. I could not stay up front mostly in needing a little bit of punch out of corners. I dropped back and then it was just a lonely race. I pushed my limits to see what I could do but unfortunately we could not be at the front, which is where we want to be.”

— BMW Report

At its home round at Nürburgring (GER), Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport experienced the tough side of racing. Factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Leon Haslam (GBR) had top positions in reach once more, but today lady luck was against them. Marco crashed in both races. Leon, who is still suffering a lot of pain from his injured left shoulder, rode bravely to seventh in race one, but also crashed in race two. Despite some disappointment, the team is now looking forward to fighting back in two weeks’ time at Portimão (POR), the venue for the penultimate round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship.

At the start of race one, Marco lost two positions, but he soon had fought back to his initial third place. For the following laps he was close behind leader Max Biaggi (ITA) and Tom Sykes (GBR) but his fight for the top positions ended on lap six, when he lost control of the front of his BMW S 1000 RR and crashed entering turn eight. Leon, who started from 12th, overcame his injury until he took the chequered flag. He temporarily rode in fifth position but in the closing stages of the race he had no more power to attack and finished seventh. In the first half of race two it seemed as though the team was back on the road to success. Marco had improved to second after a just few corners and took the lead on lap eight but on lap nine he suddenly lost the front again and crashed. Leon made up four positions at the start. After he had slipped back to ninth after a small mistake he fought his way back up but crashed one lap after Marco. He was taken to the Clinica Mobile where first examinations fortunately showed that he had suffered no major injuries.

In the Riders’ Championship, Marco is second with 308.5 points, 9.5 points behind leader Max Biaggi. Leon is seventh with 189 points. In the Manufacturers’ Standings BMW is also second with 377 points, 7.5 points behind Aprilia. The races were won by Max Biaggi and Chaz Davies (GBR). BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team’s Ayrton Badovini (ITA) claimed two ninth places while his team-mate Michel Fabrizio (ITA) retired in both races.

In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race, two RR riders stood on the podium. Sylvain Barrier (FRA) from the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet STK Team claimed his fourth victory of the season. Young German Markus Reiterberger from Team Alpha Racing celebrated his first ever podium finish in this series by finishing third at his home round.

Leon Haslam:
Result Race 1: 7th / Gap to 1st: 00:27.017 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:56.188 min
Result Race 2: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:56.402 min
“Race one was really bad. I felt I had the pace to run with Eugene Laverty and Chaz Davies. Earlier on I was struggling a little bit with the feel at the front and I found it quite hard to pass the other guys but then midway through the race I was really struggling with changing direction and in the last six or seven laps I had zero power. My lap times went up to high 59s and two minutes in the end, while yesterday I did a race simulation all in 56s. So for me it was really disappointing because it should have been a podium but today was affected by my injury and the power through my shoulder.

“In race two I felt pretty comfortable. I was in a battle with Eugene and Leon Camier who finished second and third. I made a mistake a few laps before the crash which dropped me back behind the Ducatis but I managed to get back by them guys and to catch up to Camier but then I just lost the front. I never really had any slides before. It was just in that lap and it put me down pretty fast. It was strange. In race one a lot of people crashed that way. In race two it was me and Marco. Normally the crashes are on braking, but this time it was off brakes. I don’t have any other major damage, just a lot of bruises. I landed on the same shoulder again and damaged my elbow and a finger a little bit but nothing too major. I am happy about a two week break now and then we will work on to getting back to where we should be. Today we were in a battle for second or third coming from 12th on the grid with my injuries so I can’t be unhappy but I am just disappointed about the crash.”

Marco Melandri:
Result Race 1: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:55.421 min
Result Race 2: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:56.281 min
“Today was my first time getting a double zero. It was two different races, but with the same result. I am very disappointed for the team that is working so hard. In race one I struggled a lot with the rear grip and was losing a lot compared to the guys in front of me so I was trying to catch them in braking. I was braking very hard every time but in corner eight I took a bump and just lost the front. I don’t know what caused my crash in race two yet. I was on the straight and lost the front. That was strange. Now I will recharge my batteries and fight back in Portugal.”

Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
“It was a day to forget. Overall the weekend went well. We made big steps forward and the bikes were prepared well for the races. The riders felt comfortable on their RRs and we proved that our race pace, as well as our qualifying pace, was very competitive, but today we had just bad luck on our heels. Neither the riders nor the team are to blame. A big thank you to the whole team crews who again worked so hard this weekend. Marco was on his way to claim two more top positions, but it was not meant to be today. Hats off to Leon; despite his injury he fought so bravely. Now we are looking forward to Portimão. There are four more races to go with 100 points more to get. We now focus on the coming races where we again will give our best.”

— Althea Ducati

Another difficult day for the Althea Racing team today at the Nürburgring. In the two races of this, the twelfth round of the 2012 Superbike World Championship, riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano had very mixed fortunes, the best result proving to be sixth and seventh position for the pair in race two.

Race 1 – hot and sunny conditions for today’s races. Carlos, starting from sixth position on the grid, was already third by the end of the first lap. Unfortunately only two laps later the current champion fell while pushing to catch the leading group; he was able to rejoin the race but lay in last place, twentieth, having lost precious time due to the crash. Davide, ninth on the grid, immediately made up a couple of places and was seventh after the first lap. He also suffered an unexpected crash just one lap after Carlos but unfortunately in his case it meant the end of his race and he was forced to return to the garage. Carlos continued to battle hard to reach the points zone and by lap twelve, thanks to his very strong pace, he was up to fourteenth. He gave chase to those immediately ahead of him, making up a six second gap in the final laps. Maintaining a solid rhythm right to the line meant that he crossed the line in eventual twelfth position.

Race 2 – not the quickest start for Carlos in race 2; he was in ninth position at the end of the first lap. Davide made a good start from the third row and was in fifth place after lap one. While Giugliano battled with Rea and then Laverty, Checa passed Baz for eighth position. On lap four Carlos recorded the quickest lap of the race (1m56.1), obtaining the Pirelli Best Lap award. Thanks to his strong pace, the Spanish rider was able to pass two riders in the following laps and was in sixth position on lap nine, followed by Davide, seventh. Despite his best efforts, Checa was unable to get past Sykes, immediately ahead of him, gaining a few tenths through the corners, only to lose them along the straight. He closed n final sixth position, two tenths behind Sykes, fifth. From mid-race, Giugliano began to suffer due to tyre wear and was on his own for the final stages of the race, with several seconds separating him from his team-mate Checa in front, and also from Baz, behind. He crossed the line in final seventh position.

At the end of this twelfth round, Carlos is still fourth in the standings, with 247.5 points while Davide is tenth with 125. Ducati lies third in the manufacturer’s championship with 342 points, behind BMW (377) and Aprilia (384.5).

Carlos Checa: “The crash is just one of those things – we were doing what we needed to do, pushing hard to stay with the frontrunners. It was a shame because I had made a great start and had good pace. Once I got back on track I got back into my rhythm and was able to pass several riders throughout the race. It wasn’t easy because I had lost my foot pedal in the crash but I think I rode a good race from last position, and in the end was able to take a few points. The second race went better as far as the result was concerned but we cannot fight with the others, who get away in acceleration – it’s an unbalanced game right now as far as I’m concerned. We need to continue fighting and doing what we can with what we have, pushing our package to the limit and seeing what comes of it.”

Davide Giugliano: “Unfortunately when you’re pushing hard crashes can happen. To be with those in front, I was giving it my all and at a certain point I just lost the front. In the second race we at least managed to finish, in seventh. Seeing as Carlos was sixth, I think that shows that the bike’s potential was more or less that today, we gave 100% but to do any more than we did was not possible. A difficult day after a fairly positive weekend. Anyway, we still have two more rounds and I would like to conclude my first Superbike season with some more positive results.”

Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing: “Two difficult races for us today, especially the first. Carlos fell but we know that this has become customary in the sense that it is increasingly difficult to race against the four cylinders. In race two, both riders took more care and were able to make the most of what was made available to them but, as we saw in the final phase, they would reach the four cylinder bikes through the corners only to be caught again on the straight. It’s not the fault of those who are faster than us, it’s just our current problem since the start of this season. We’ll try to fight to the end and make some strong races, in the hope that the situation will change in the future.”


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