World SBK 2012 – Round 11 – Moscow Raceway
— Melandri soars to the lead after Moscow thrillers
Moscow Raceway (Russia), Sunday 26 August, 2012 – After winning race two at the all-new Moscow Raceway Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) took the lead in the eni FIM Superbike World Championship for the first time in 2012, following up a second place finish in race one in perfect style. Melandri reversed the opening race finishing order as he beat Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) by less than one second in the second intense 25-lapper in front of 32,500 enthusiastic fans. Sykes’ race 1 win was his second of 2012, following on from his success at Monza in May.
Melandri had been stung by a wasp on his left leg in the first race but battled on to his podium finish, then recovered well enough to take an important lead after race two that now gives him an 18.5 point advantage over the long time championship leader, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team). Biaggi had been third in race one but no-scored in race two.
The enthusiastic and thoroughly entertained Russian race fans judged the first ever SBK event in their country a real success, even if many of the top names were to lose points after several high profile but largely injury-free crashes. Biaggi had a collision under braking with Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) in race two and neither rider finished, which means that Melandri now has 308.5 points to Biaggi’s 290, with Sykes third on 267.5.
Sykes scored the first win after a faultless display of front running at a high pace. Despite damp patches on the track surface from earlier rain, his instant speed from second on the grid kept him away from the troubles many other top riders endured behind him, with crashes helping Melandri finish second. Biaggi overhauled his team-mate Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) on the very last lap to take third place and what would prove to be important points. Potential podium riders Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati), his team-mate Davide Giugliano, Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia), Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) and Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Racing Team Ducati) all crashed out, with Haslam also falling then restarting to finish sixth after clashing with Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Aprilia).
Tom Sykes: “Carlos made history yesterday with the first pole but like I’ve said all season I would certainly trade my pole for a race win and today that’s happened. Myself and Kawasaki have gone down in the history books by winning here, the race went very smoothly for myself, we did a lot of work yesterday on race tyres and today has paid off with full points.”
Results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 25 laps/98.275 km in 41’07.852 average 143.359 kph; 2. Melandri (BMW) 8.878; 3. Biaggi (Aprilia) 12.603; 4. Laverty (Aprilia) 13.027; 5. Fabrizio (BMW) 29.582; 6. Haslam (BMW) 30.587; 7. Canepa (Ducati) 32.170; 8. Zanetti (Ducati) 34.704; 9. Hopkins (Suzuki) 40.366; 10. Salom (Kawasaki) 41.143; etc.
Melandri was never under serious threat after he eventually took the lead in the second race, heading up Sykes by less than a second after another 25-laps of drama and incident. Sykes had been too preoccupied with the riders behind him to read his pit signals at one time and he missed out on a late chance to attack Melandri again. Davies was third after the three riders in front of him on the last lap were affected by a highside from Laverty. The Irish rider was to retire but Rea recovered from his collision with Laverty’s machine, and subsequent crash, to go seventh. The following Checa was pushed off track and dropped back to finish fourth. Leon Camier was a strong fifth for the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team, after some woes in qualifying and a heavy crash in practice.
Marco Melandri: “It’s been an awesome day for me because race 1 was very tough, so finishing second was for me like a win. But in race 2 I felt very good, my crew chief made a small modification on the bike and I felt very confident from the beginning. About six or seven laps to go, my rear tyre was sliding a lot but was working perfectly with my BMW. I’m so happy because this year we are doing a great job.”
Results: 1. Melandri (BMW) 25 laps/98.275 km in 40’14.677 average 146.516 kph; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 0.976; 3. Davies (Aprilia) 4.213; 4. Checa (Ducati) 5.954; 5. Camier (Suzuki) 13.568; 6. Giugliano (Ducati) 15.173; 7. Rea (Honda) 23.125; 8. Badovini (BMW) 23.696; 9. Baz (Kawasaki) 23.884; 10. Zanetti (Ducati) 24.096; etc.
Points (after 11 of 14 rounds): 1. Melandri 308.5; 2. Biaggi 290; 3. Sykes 267.5; 4. Checa 233.5; 5. Rea 212.5; 6. Haslam 180; 7. Laverty 173.5; 8. Guintoli 127.5; 9. Fabrizio 119.5; 10. Giugliano 116; etc. Manufacturers: 1. BMW 361; 2. Aprilia 334.5; 3. Ducati 322; 4. Kawasaki 298.5; 5. Honda 221.5; 6. Suzuki 93.5.
The fine weather that welcomed the Supersport racers to the Moscow Raceway provided perfect conditions for Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) to win his third race of the season and extend his championship lead to 33 points. The Turkish rider had Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) as a shadow for most of the race but his pace at the end was enough to draw him over five seconds ahead at the flag. An amazingly popular third place for Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsports Yamaha) was a pleasing spectacle for the new Moscow Raceway crowd. Fourth was Sofuoglu’s team-mate Sheridan Morais, with Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products) fifth. In the championship Sofuoglu has 173 points, Cluzel 140 and the luckless Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) 138, after he jump started and dropped to 12th in the race following a ride-through penalty.
Results: 1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 22 laps/86.482 km in 36’13.935 average 143.213 kph; 2. Cluzel (Honda) 5.022; 3. Leonov (Yamaha) 13.018; 4. Morais (Kawasaki) 16.504; 5. Parkes (Honda) 32.568; 6. Foret (Kawasaki) 33.854; 7. Antonelli (Yamaha) 34.377; 8. Talmacsi (Honda) 34.471; etc.
Points (after 10 of 13 rounds): 1. Sofuoglu 173; 2. Cluzel 140; 3. Lowes 138; 4. Foret 128; 5. Parkes 109; 6. Morais 84; 7. Quarmby 70; 8. Baldolini 67; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 217; 2. Kawasaki 212; 3. Triumph 96; 4. Yamaha 89; 5. Suzuki 6.
Coppa dei Due Paesi (Two-Nations Cup)
Maxim Kiselev (Dialen Honda Russia) won a wet final round of the Coppa dei Due Paesi by an impressive margin of 7.661 seconds after an early tussle with the other leading riders. He eased away from his Russian compatriot Sergey Orlov (Yamaha) to record his first win. Dakota Mamola (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) was third in the race, just behind Orlov, with Slovakian rider Janez Prosenik (Japi Racing Team Yamaha) fourth. In the final championship rankings Denis Sacchetti (SD Rider Team Kawasaki) won the cup itself, 56 points to 42, ahead of Mamola. Fallen rider Sergey Vlasov lost any chance of the title thanks to his fall and ended up third overall, on 29 points.
Results: 1. Kiselev (Honda); 2. Orlov (Yamaha); 3. Mamola (Yamaha); 4. Prosenik (Yamaha); 5. Sacchetti (Kawasaki); 6. Eremin (Kawasaki);
Final Points: 1. Sacchetti 56 (2012 winner); 2. Mamola 42; 3. Vlasov 29; 4. Kiselev 25; 5. Biliotti 25; 6. Vostarek 22; etc.
— BMW Report
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport has reason to celebrate again: at the first ever Russian round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) took the lead in the Rider’s Classification by winning race two and finishing second in race one at “Moscow Raceway”. It is another milestone, as Marco is the first BMW rider to top this classification. In the Manufacturer’s Ranking, BMW further increased its lead. In addition, BMW Motorrad Motorsport claimed the fastest lap time in both races, with Leon Haslam (GBR) in heat one and Marco in race two. Nevertheless the team leaves the 11th round of the 2012 season with mixed feelings, as Leon had a difficult day. In race one he had a collision while fighting for second place, securing sixth at the flag. In race two he also had the podium in sight, when the back of his BMW S 1000 RR was hit by Max Biaggi (ITA) and both riders crashed heavily. Fortunately, Leon suffered no serious injuries.
After a rain shower in the morning the track was still damp when the grid formed for race one. It was therefore declared a wet race, but as the skies were already clearing up, both Marco and Leon went out on slicks. At the start, eventual winner Tom Sykes (GBR) took the lead, while Leon improved from fourth to second and Marco held his fifth position. Leon kept fighting at the top but ran off the track on lap five and slipped back from second to fifth. Marco was seventh at that point. As the race went on, several riders crashed, the two BMW factory riders moving up the field. On lap 17 Leon was in a podium position again, being third in front of Marco, but when Leon tried to pass second placed Chaz Davies (GBR) on lap 19, they made contact and Leon crashed. Davies had gone wide and Leon tried to take his chance to go through on the inside, but the two riders collided. Leon jumped back on his BMW S 1000 RR and rejoined in sixth position. Marco profited from the collision and took second between leader Sykes and third placed Davies. He brought his bike home in that position unthreatened while Leon finished sixth. After the podium ceremony, Marco had to go to the Clinica Mobile medical centre because a wasp had stung his left knee during the race, causing massive swelling and pain. He was treated with an injection and was ready to go for race two.
In the opening stages of the second heat, both BMW riders were part of an exciting fight for podium positions when Leon’s race ended abruptly and painfully. Entering the last corner of lap ten, he was hit from behind by Biaggi and both of them crashed heavily. Leon was taken to the medical centre, as he was feeling dizzy and had severe pain in his leg. The examinations showed that he had no serious injuries. Marco meanwhile kept fighting at the very top and took the lead from Sykes on lap 15. He defended it to the chequered flag and celebrated his sixth victory of the season.
In the Riders’ Championship, Marco is leading with 308.5 points, 18.5 more than second placed Biaggi. Leon is sixth with 180 points. In the Manufacturers’ Standings BMW now has 361 points and has extended its lead to 26.5 points over Aprilia. BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet Team’s Michel Fabrizio (ITA) finished fifth in race one but crashed in the second one. His team-mate Ayrton Badovini was eighth and 12th.
Result Race 1: 2nd / Gap to 1st: 00:08.878 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:36.949 min
Result Race 2: 1st / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:35.794 min
“It is an unbelievable day. To win here at the first ever round of the Championship in this country is something special and I am just very, very happy. This morning it was cloudy and raining a little bit, so it was not easy. Race one was very tough at the beginning with the slick tyre in the wet and the fact that a wasp stung my leg made it even more difficult. It was a very tough race and to finish second was like a win for me. For race two the team made a small modification to the bike and I felt very good from the first lap. Once I saw Biaggi was out I understood I had the chance to try to get a win and I did. I was worried a little bit about my rear tyre, but it worked perfectly with my BMW. The team once more did a great job. Thanks to everyone.
We are now leading the Rider’s Championship but we take it race by race. We have no time to think about defending our lead, because six races are a lot and anything can still happen. We have to stay focused and work hard and if I have the chance to fight for a win I will try to get it. For me it is important to have fun at every race and I cannot race without trying to do my best. Overall I am so happy. We had some bad luck in the past, but now we are working very well but you never know what will happen in the last races. I also want to thank the Clinica Mobile. They helped me a lot, not only with the sting but also with the back problem I had all weekend.”
Result Race 1: 6th / Gap to 1st: 00:30.587 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:36.729 min
Result Race 2: DNF / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:36.205 min
“In race one I felt pretty comfortable. I made the start that we wanted. Conditions were quite tricky so I didn’t want to push too much. Early on in the race I made a mistake and ran off the track and I dropped back a few places. I rejoined and managed to work my way back up into the top three. I got stuck behind Chaz who was a bit quicker on the straight so I had to make the move in the twisty section. He kept running quite wide in one of the turns and I made my move, but he closed the door and we collided. It was frustrating because I felt pretty comfortable and was taking it quite easy in that position and I even thought that we might have the chance to pulling Tom back in at one point but again it was not meant to be. Still I managed to get sixth place, even with the crash.
In race two I also felt pretty good. I had the same pace as Marco and Eugene who I was racing with. I was losing out at one corner which leads on to the long straight, so I found it quite difficult to pass. When Marco came through I felt as though Eugene was holding me up a little bit. Then going into the end of the back straight Max must have made a mistake and that was it – race over. It was just bad luck. It’s kind of the story so far this season. I had a little bang to my head and have a sore leg, but nothing that will stop me from racing in Germany and I’ll be fit and strong by then.”
Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
“It has been a weekend of mixed feelings from day one. We had good lap times in practice, but then some difficulties in qualifying. However, it was important to start from row one and two on the grid. Due to the rain, the track conditions were difficult in race one. Marco rode a very intelligent race: He waited and attacked at the end. Position two was the maximum that was possible. Race two was fantastic as well. Marco first saved his tyres and then gave everything at the end. Unfortunately, Leon had bad luck in both races. In race one, he collided with Chaz Davies, and in race two he was hit by Max Biaggi. That was unnecessary; and otherwise Leon would have been on the podium as well. We are now leading both championships. Now we have to continue to concentrate, work steadily and hard. The season is not over yet and our lead is minimal, and a lot can happen in the remaining six races.”
— Kawasaki Report
Sykes, unusually, had not started from pole, but despite the first race being declared wet and one or two riders opting for wet or intermediate tyres, the team’s tyre choice a soft slick front and harder rear worked perfectly and Tom led from start to finish, scoring full points. This was Tom’s second race win of 2012, but the first one to go full race distance in dry conditions. The race had been declared wet at the start but a dry line was evident along the 3.931km circuit, allowing Tom to push hard from the start.
Sykes finished race two second, having led it for 14 laps, but eventual winner and new championship leader Marco Melandri headed off Tom by only 0.9756 seconds. Tom had been engrossed in a battle to keep other riders behind and leave a margin to attack Melandri near the end, but in missing his pit signals he ran out of time for a final attack. His 45 points from this round mean he has narrowed the gap to the top rider, now Melandri, to 41 points with six individual races left, including the scene of his first ever win for KRT in this championship last year, the Nürburgring.
Loris Baz was unfortunate to find his rear tyre suffer a suspected puncture after he ran off track, finishing 11th. In race two he recovered from some crashes and a subsequent lack of track time in practice to post a ninth place finish, just losing out in a rider-to-rider battle with Ayrton Badovini.
Kawasaki Team Pedercini rider David Salom was an impressive tenth in race one, Alexander Lundh 14th and David McFadden 16th. In race two Salom was 13th and Lundh 14th, with McFadden crashing out.
Tom Sykes: “This race win was better than the Monza one as we got a little bit more of a reward in points terms. I did a lot of work on tyres yesterday and we went a slightly different way from most people in race one. We worked a lot on this yesterday and that work paid off today. The bike felt great. I had a little bit of pressure on at half race distance but I was trying to save the tyre a little bit. When the gap got down to three seconds I pushed on a little more and it seemed to work. To lead start-to-finish and take the win over full race distance is very rewarding. We had a good margin at the end and it was a nice race. Quite a long race, to be honest, and it is quite a physical circuit. The lap is short but more concentration and physical input in needed compared to some other circuits. Overall we should be very satisfied. Race one was great with maximum points and race two gave us another 20 points in the bag. I got a little bit carried away battling with Eugene behind me in race two and in trying to save my tyre I did not read the pit signals. When I looked there were two laps remaining and I wanted to push on and try to pressure Marco in the last few laps. I felt I had a good package today and could have done it, but when you are riding with guys of Marco’s standard you cannot leave things to the last minute. But, realistically, we are happy. A first and second, still third overall and the gap at the front tightening up. There are still a lot of points to play for.”
Loris Baz: “In race one I was there just waiting on the track to dry because in those conditions there is only one line. I tried to pass one rider but another rider tried to pass me in turn 11 and he crashed and I ran wide, so think we lost some pressure in the rear tyre after that. I was sliding all around. Race two was not so bad but I could not follow any pace any higher than my own. I had three or four very hard laps where I could not have the same pace as Leon Camier and Ayrton Badovini. I always know that we can take back some difference later on and I tried hard to pass Badovini but he always passed me back. I am happy to be ninth after all we had this weekend. It did not start very well but it ended up with two finishes in the points and one top ten.”
This was Kenan’s third race win of the 2012 season, his sixth podium and these results have taken him 33 points ahead of the new second place rider, Jules Cluzel, whom he beat by 5.022 seconds in today’s 22-lap race. Sofuoglu and Cluzel headed the field almost all race long, with another championship challenger Sam Lowes jump starting, taking a ride-through penalty and then finishing 12th. Lowes is now two points behind Cluzel.
Morais was in great form once he got into his stride, his strong bike set-up and overall performance allowing him to claw back some places he lost in the early laps. Fourth was Sheridan’s second best finish of the year, just one place from his podium result of third at Motorland Aragon in July.
Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) was sixth today and is in fourth place overall, ten points behind Lowes and 45 from Sofuoglu.
MSD R-N Racing Team India Kawasaki rider Florian Marino was a battling 14th after suffering a heavy fall in practice for this round and Dan Linfoot, his team-mate, was one place out of the points in 16th.
Romain Lanusse (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) was luckless today in falling, as was Joshua Day (GoEleven Kawasaki). Lanusse is 16th overall, Day 22nd.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “I feel pretty good right now because in the past few races I have had a pretty big problem with my knee but in the end today I won the race. We had a nice race here and it was good to win at this track. I am really enjoying it and I hope to race here more often because the track is really nice for a motorcycle and I have loved it since the first lap. We did a nice race and I am very happy with my team and my bike, with everything. I knew Cluzel would be behind me because his pace is always good in the race, but I knew my bike was good and I think we had a little advantage. In the championship it looks like Cluzel may be the only one to fight with me because he is the only one constant at the moment. But it is nice to have strong competition.”
Sheridan Morais: “A good race for us. My start was not bad, a good start actually, but in the first few laps I just rode into a few people and made a lot of mistakes, so I lost a lot of time. By the time I was up into – I think eighth or ninth place – the front guys were just gone. I knew I had my work cut out there but I pushed and pushed to try and get a podium but I just did not have enough. A podium was just too far away but Leonov rode really well. I caught him really quick but he was able to hold a good pace and well done to Kenan up front as well. I am happy with my weekend considering that I thought I was going to be bit tired after being sick for a while now. I was really happy with my bike and my team. In the race me Kenan and only a couple of other guys’ front tyres looked quite good, but most of the other guys’ tyres were worn, so our team did a good job with the set-up.”
— Fixi Suzuki
FIXI Crescent Suzuki had a very profitable and encouraging first-ever Russian eni FIM Superbike World Championship race-day as both riders produced some excellent results in the 11th round.
Leon Camier scored a stunning fifth in race two after starting from 18th on the grid. He made a good start and was up to 13th by the end of the first lap, before picking his was way through the field to get into the top-10 by the 10th circulation. Camier continued to record lap-times that were comparable with the leaders and managed to avoid a big crash in-front of him, to bring his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R1000 home in the top-five. Camier finished 15th in race one after a gamble to use wet-tyres in the interchangeable weather didn’t pay-off and he was forced to pit and change to slicks when the track dried out sooner than he thought and the expected rain never materialised .
John Hopkins raced to his best World Superbike result for the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team when he brought his machine home in ninth place in race one. Hopkins rode a solid race in the difficult conditions and steered clear of any crashes and incidents that marked the first WSB race at the 3’931m Moscow Raceway. Race two saw Hopkins again in the points as he finished in 12th to record his best haul of points in a weekend this year, from his injury affected season.
Today saw the inaugural World Superbike race to be held in Russia and the distinction of being the first winner went to Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki. The second race was won by Italian Marco Melandri on a BMW, a result that lifts him to the head of the world championship standings.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now make the long journey back from Moscow and begin its preparations for the next round of the season, which will be at the Nurburgring in Germany on Sunday September 9th.
Leon Camier: “The track was pretty damp for race one and there was only about a two foot wide dry line round most of it. Because of my grid position, I knew that in order to pass people I would have to go off the dry line. That wouldn’t have been possible on slicks, so I opted for wets instead. I also thought that the rain would come again, but when that didn’t happen and the track dried out, I had no choice but to come into the pits and switch to slicks. That cost a lot of time and after my new tyres had been fitted I rejoined the race dead last. I pushed as hard as I could and ended 15th.
“Happily there were no difficult tyre choices to make for race two as the track was dry and the sun was out. I made a reasonably good start and then rode very aggressively, passing people on the outside as well as the inside. My FIXI Crescent Suzuki felt good and the only place I was really losing out was on the long back straight. At the end, my body was hurting and it was getting hard to concentrate, but I was pretty happy to take fifth place.”
John Hopkins: “It was a kind of frustrating day for me and it should’ve been much better. I started race one on slicks and probably rode a bit too timidly in the early stages and lost ground. Halfway through, I got stuck in a bit of a group and when the track dried out, it got dirty and caused a loss of grip. I kept the FIXI Crescent Suzuki upright and brought it home, which makes me reasonably happy.
“I was looking forward to race two, but unfortunately suffered with the same tyre issues that have bugged us all weekend. The bike was chattering a lot and I could only ride it at a certain level – which meant I couldn’t finish any higher than 12th.”
Jack Valentine – Team Manager: “It was always going to be a difficult day and it wasn’t helped by the slightly wet conditions at the start of the first race. Leon began on wets, but had to pit and change to slicks when the track began to dry and ended 15th. John started on slicks and rode steadily throughout the race and finished ninth.
“Fortunately the conditions were perfect for race two. Leon made a good start and began picking up places straightaway. His race pace was very good and he was doing equivalent times to the leaders. He kept his head down and finished a strong fifth, which is a tremendous result considering that he started from 18th place on the grid. It was a great ride and shows how good the FIXI Crescent Suzuki is at this high level of competition. Chattering on John’s bike hampered his progress in race two, but he kept at it and managed to finish 12th.
“Today was Leon’s second best result of the season but, considering his injury and his 18th place on the grid, I think it is an even better ride than his fourth place at Donington earlier in the year.”
— Althea Ducati
Team Althea Racing did not have the kind of day it was expecting today at the new Moscow Raceway. The two Superbike races were marked by a series of collisions and DNFs; unfortunately both Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano crashed out of race 1 but were able to ride around the incidents in race two to score solid points with a fourth and sixth place finish respectively.
Race 1 – starting from pole on a still wet track (after rain earlier in the day), Carlos was in fourth place at the end of the first lap while his team-mate Davide made a strong start, moving into seventh through the first corners and into fifth after the first lap. All of the riders took it easy through lap one as they got to grips with the damp track conditions. On lap two Giugliano passed his team-mate to take fourth place and started to chase down the leading group composed of Sykes, Haslam and Laverty, overtaking the latter a few corners later. Unfortunately contact between Checa and Rea on the same lap left the Spaniard on the ground, forcing him to return to the garage; a real pity in a race where the podium was well within reach. From lap six Davide battled first with Laverty and then with Rea and was in third place on lap eight, positioned between the aforementioned pair. Rea crashed towards the middle of the race, leaving Eugene and Davide to fight it out between themselves but sadly it wasn’t to last as a crash for Giugliano on lap 13 left him out of the running. He too found himself on the gravel, putting a premature end to what would have surely been a great race.
Race 2 – fortunately the track had dried out completely in time for race 2. This time Carlos didn’t get away particularly quickly and was sixth through the first corners, followed by his team-mate Davide, seventh. On lap five Carlos lay seventh, Davide eighth and both were struggling to catch the leading group that were able to gain precious tenths along the straightway. Carlos finally got past Biaggi and at the mid-race point, when Biaggi and Haslam crashed out, the current champion was able to start pushing from fifth to catch Laverty ahead of him. Carlos crossed the line in final fourth position, narrowly missing the incident that saw Rea and Laverty hit the gravel on the last lap. In the final stages Giugliano lost a little ground due to tyre wear and rode a solitary final few laps; he nevertheless pushed as hard as he could to the line, closing in final sixth position.
At the end of round eleven Carlos is still fourth thanks to the 233.5 points that he has accumulated up until now. Davide has earned 116 points so far which put him in tenth position. Ducati is still third in the manufacturer’s standings with 322 points to the 334.5 of Aprilia and 361 of BMW.
Carlos Checa: “We did what we could and that’s how it went. In the first race we chose slick tyres – it would have been impossible to finish the race on rain tyres. It was a pity for the crash – I was fighting with Johnny for the position, he came too close to me, didn’t leave me room and I lost the front when he touched the handlebar. We had to build the bike from the rolling chassis for race 2 as there were some problems with my bike after the crash. I had similar sensations to yesterday but had real difficulty on the straight – it was extremely difficult to pass, or even get close enough to attempt to do that.”
Davide Giugliano: “I’m sorry for race 1. I was fast, one of the fastest on track at that point and I didn’t realize in time that the front tyre had started to suffer very early on, finding myself on the ground before I could do anything. In the second race I decided to stay calm in the first half and try to control the tyre wear but when I wanted to start pushing, from mid-race on, the front tyre wasn’t performing and it only got wrose in the later stages. I hope that in the next races, with a little less of a straight, we might do better because here you can see that it was very difficult.”
— HRC Report
FIM Superbike World Championship rider Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) found misfortune in each 25-lap race at the new venue of Moscow Raceway, falling in race one when a gearchange was missed and then being knocked off near the end of the second race, when another rider highsided right in front of him. Rea had been sixth after a normal three-part dry superpole qualifying, starting from the second row in each race.
The Russian SBK races were won by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) and Marco Melandri (BMW) respectively, with Melandri now pushing himself to the championship lead after Max Biaggi (Aprilia) failed to finish in race two.
The first superbike contest started with many damp patches on the track surface, and was declared ‘wet’ after earlier rains. A mainly dry racing line was evident on the 3.931Km circuit in Russia from the beginning, however, with most riders opting for slicks front and rear. Rea had gone from sixth on lap one to third on lap 11 before he fell out of contention when he found a false neutral and lost the front.
In race two, held in much brighter and dry conditions, Rea was competing for a podium place with Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) on the last lap when Laverty lost the rear mid-corner, with Jonathan riding right behind. He had no chance of escape and for the second race weekend in succession Jonathan had an unavoidable direct collision with an opponent’s stricken machine.
Rea got back onto his damaged CBR1000RR and finished the final lap seventh, despite having no right footpeg assembly.
In the points table Melandri has 308.5 points, Biaggi 290, Sykes 267.5, Carlos Checa (Ducati) 233.5 and Rea is still fifth, on a slightly increased total of 212.5, despite his bad luck in Russia. He now goes to Brno to test Casey Stoner’s Repsol Honda MotoGP machine.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) had a great showing in pre-race testing in Russia last Wednesday and carried on that improvement all the way through until the first race dawned with damp patches of tarmac around the circuit. He carried on despite not having an optimum tyre choice and scored two points for 13th place. In race two he got tangled with two other riders and fell on the first lap. Hiroshi had qualified a more than respectable 12th and is now 18th in the overall standings.
The next race is at the iconic Nürburgring in Germany, on September 9.
Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) went from pole position on the grid to second in the 22-lap FIM Supersport World Championship race at a warm and sunny Moscow Raceway. The French rider formed a leading duo with eventual race winner Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) early in the race, but in the final few laps a lack of front tyre grip forced Cluzel to slow or risk crashing at a very important section of the season, with three individual races now left to run.
Jules finished five seconds down at the flag, with local WSS regular Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) delivering a third place treat to the 32,500 local fans who had travelled to the well-appointed new Moscow Raceway track some 100kms from the city centre.
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) who was third in qualifying, was the leader into turn one and then for the first two laps, but he had made an accidental jump-start and was punished with a ride-through penalty. This dropped him to 30th position when he rejoined on lap four, but he battled through to record a 12th place finish, and score some points.
Sofuoglu extended his championship lead after his third win of 2012, with the Turkish rider now 33 points ahead of Jules and 35 ahead of Sam.
Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) found the same front tyre grip issues as many other riders on race day as he dropped back from a potential podium according to his form in the early laps to fifth place at the finish, some 32 seconds behind the winner.
Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) overcame his front tyre drop-off issues well and finished a season-best eighth, having only joined the class at Misano in round six. He is now 14th overall.
Roberto Tamburini (Lorini Honda) was ninth and Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda) tenth as he continues to gather experience in this tough class of racing. He had been 12th on the grid.
PTR Honda rider Ronan Quarmby moved up and then down the race order in Russia, finishing a disappointed 13th after taking a top four at the previous round in the UK.
A top 18 finish was the reward for Valentin Debise (SMS Racing Honda) in Russia, with Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda) immediately behind and Balazs Nemeth (Racing Team Toth Honda) 20th.
Federico D’Annunzio (Lorini Honda) scored 22nd place, Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) was 24th and Danilo Marrancone (Kuja Racing Honda) 25th from 28 finishers. With local wildcards in evidence, 34 riders started the Russian round.
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team): Race result: DNF / 7th Championship position: 5th “Quite a frustrating day really because we had good pace in both races and was vying for the podium. In race one I had a false neutral in turn 16 so with no engine braking and the brake on I lost the front. The barriers at this circuit are so close to the track that my bike was completely broken, so my guys had to build me a new bike for race two from parts from the truck. Luckily the bike felt pretty good, but in race two I got off to a slow-ish start and could see that Sykes was pulling away. I felt I had to get past Laverty. My bike was feeling pretty good but I just lost so much ground in the straight. We should have stood on the podium in race two, but I got involved in another rider’s crash. He highsided in front of me and I had nowhere to go, but hit his bike, but that is part of racing. We can take some positives out of today because my crew worked very calmly and we got a bike today that was capable of winning. We do not have much to show for it, so it was a tough weekend. I am excited now to get the opportunity to ride a GP bike again. I feel very sorry for Casey being injured but to get called up to test one of the best bikes in the world is a dream come true.”
Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team): Race result: 13th / DNF Championship position: 18th “I think we had quite a positive week in the run-up to race day. We got into superpole and then we made it to the second session as well. But in the first race on Sunday somehow I did not get any grip in that kind of conditions and I think we chose the wrong tyres. In the afternoon, in the first lap two riders crashed into me so we could not make a result. Bit we had some progress this weekend, which is good. We made some steps.”
Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda): Race result: 2nd Championship position: 2nd “For me that was a good race, but I am a little disappointed because at the end I wanted to pass him but he was so strong on the last seven or eight laps, and I was losing the front because my tyre was used up a lot. I enjoyed the race and it was good to follow Kenan and do my best, but if I tried to do any better and stay with him near the end for sure I would have crashed. Because of this I am happy with this result of second and going second in the championship.”
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda): Race result: 12th Championship position: 3rd “They held us for a long time on the line and my clutch started to bite a little bit, but the jump start was 110% my mistake. I knew as soon as I entered the first corner there would be a penalty so I took it as early as possible, dug in and tried to make the best of a bad situation. It was hard to be consistent when coming through a pack because there are not that many places to overtake here. It is a World Championship so you do not just come up on other riders and then pass them. My pace was as good as most riders, but I would have not beaten Kenan today. I may have been able to have a better go if I had been with him. The championship is difficult now but you can look at it two ways. I have had my upset here and now I am just going to dig in. The pressure is off so I am just going to try and win all three races now.”
Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda): Race result: 5th Championship position: 5th “The front tyre, from the start, did not feel really good and I don’t know exactly why. Even from half distance the tyre was completely gone so I was just trying to finish. I knew the tyre was gone and I just tried to really keep my position and finish the race. Some other guys had the same problem. Unfortunately we missed the podium, but we got some points so we can go to the next one and see what we can do.”
Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda): Race result: 8th Championship position: 14th “My front tyre was really worn at the end, but we expected this. For the race we took an unknown set-up because we had a few problems yesterday, so we went a bit risky. I am very happy because I took my best finish of the year and it proves we are going in the right way. I have a better feeling now. I had stopped racing for one and a half years so now I am very happy.”
Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda): Race result: 10th Championship position: 24th “My start wasn’t very good. I dropped down to 16th place, but then I just slowly made my way up to the tenth place. The race pace I was running, I could’ve definitely finished a little bit higher up. Hopefully in Germany I can get a better start and finish even higher.”
Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda): Race result: 13th Championship position: 7th “It was a hard race starting from 16th and I finished close to the top 10 and took some points. I’ll want a big improvement at the next round and I aim to be back at the sharp end fighting for the podium again as it is our aim to go for top six in the Championship.”
Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda): Race result: 19th Championship position: 38th “I am happy enough with the end result without being in the points if that makes sense. I was boxed in at the first corner, but once I settled in I really tried to ride my bike like a 600. I was doing my best to let go of the brakes and ride it how Sam and the other boys do. I started doing it at the end of race and was going past and catching the guys in front. The result doesn’t represent how hard I worked to adapt my style to the 600. It was a good second half to the race and I need to work on the first half now.”
— Rivamoto Report / Jed Metcher
Rivamoto’s first experience at Moscow Raceway was successful for some, and disappointing for others. 20 year old Wildcard Robin Mulhauser finished in an impressive 26th position. While Jed Metcher and Edik Blokhin unfortunately crashed at separate stages of the race. Metcher was only able to complete 1 lap before high-siding into turn 9 of the Russian circuit. Blokhin was having an exceptional race before crashing half way through. Fortunately both riders have no serious injuries, despite the high speed incidents. Regardless of the unfortunate incidents, the team were able to gather some valuable data from the newly built track, which they hope they can put to good use in the future.
After starting in 18th position from yesterday’s qualifying, Metcher got off to a great start in the race, keeping a good early pace. Unfortunately on the fast approach to turn 9 Jed ran in a little deep and got out of shape, resulting in the bike high-siding and Metcher unable to complete the race.
Swiss rider Robin Mulhauser has proven this weekend that his talent has real potential, after he improved his lap-time by 3 seconds over the weekend. Robin passed experienced riders Toth and Lombardi at the beginning of the race and stayed in 24th position. After a tough battle Robin finished the Supersport race in 26th position. He has upgraded from 10-12 lap Superstock 600 races, to a 22 lap race so his efforts this weekend are second to none.
Metcher still remains in 13th position in the Championship, with 31 points. His main goal is to finish in the top 10, which he is quite capable of with the right results. Mulhauser is in 21st position in the World Superstock 600 championship, and hopes to complete another year in 2013, with his goal to win the championship.
Quote Jed Metcher
“After an incredibly challenging weekend I can’t say that I am happy, although we have made big improvements with the electronics and suspension which we will take into the next round. After all the changes to the bike I have been adjusting my riding style to this new configuration. Nurburgring is a good track for me to develop the bike as I finished in second position last season. This season has been a big learning curve for me and the Rivamoto team, results have been up and down but still being in the battle for a top 10 result is a positive.”
Quote Robin Mulhauser
“Luckily yesterday we didn’t have rain, so for me it was perfect to improve my lap-time. In practice I did 1 second better than Friday, but I was still 4 seconds away from first place. So for the qualifying 2 I was able to do better and improve my place. I did 1 second faster, so the gap between first positions was 3 seconds. I started from 30th place in the race and got to a good start! I’m very happy about my race; I was fighting for 22nd place with some very experienced riders. At the end of the race I slowed down a little bit and the other riders began to overtake me, so I finished the race on 26th position, very happy to finish in this place, and have gained a lot more experience. Thanks to all the team for the great work during the weekend and the chance they have given me to ride in World SSP!”