World SBK 2011 – Rnd 4 – Monza
Wollongong’s Troy Corser confident of repeat success at Monza
Australia’s Troy Corser heads into this Sunday’s world Superbike round at Monza confident that his factory BMW will again strike up a strong accord with the ultra-fast Italian circuit.
Quite simply, Monza is all about top speed, with most of the long straights linked by fast and open corners, which obviously falls into the hands of the more powerful bikes in the world superbike paddock – the four-cylinder machines from Japan, Aprilia and BMW.
Last year, eventual world champion Max Biaggi wound out his Aprilia V-four to 330km/h down the main chute at Monza, while Cal Crutchlow’s new lap record on his Yamaha was set at an average speed of 202km/h – 28km/h more than Australia’s Phillip Island, the second fastest circuit on the calendar.
Corser finished third in last year’s race two at Monza, which was BMW’s first ever podium finish in world Superbike competition. And if his team can overcome some tyre problems suffered in the last round at Assen, he should once again be a powerful presence on the 5.793km circuit, situated 20km north of Milan.
“Last year we had a successful weekend in Monza, managing to celebrate our first podium place for BMW Motorrad Motorsport,” said Corser. “From a rider’s perspective Monza is not particularly challenging. Here it depends more upon the performance of the bike. It has fast sectors and zones, in which we need to brake very hard.
“We have worked hard at eliminating the tyre problems from Assen. Our performances on hard tyres have shown we are going in the right direction. I am confident that we will be able to build on this in Monza.”
Corser is a past winner at Monza, sharing wins with countryman Chris Vermeulen in 2005.
The latest chapter in Vermeulen’s slow recovery from knee surgery continues this weekend, where the Queenslander will be resolute in at least finishing both races on his factory Kawasaki – anything beyond that a bonus.
Spain’s Carlos Checa is the runaway leader of the championship after three rounds, with four wins out of six races on his twin-cylinder Ducati.
Since the halcyon days of Aussie stalwart Troy Bayliss, Ducati has struggled to get runs on the board at Monza, so it will be fascinating to see whether the surgical precision of Checa will be enough to combat a top speed deficit to the major four-cylinder opposition, including Biaggi (Aprilia), Marco Melandri (Yamaha), Jonathan Rea (Honda), Leon Haslam (BMW), Leon Camier (Aprilia), Corser, Eugene Laverty (Yamaha), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) and Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki).
Biaggi was a double winner at Monza last year, and lies second in the 20112 championship, just 4pts in front of fellow Italian, Melandri.
Amazingly, Melandri has only ever raced at Monza once, an ill-fated outing as a 14-year-old in 1996, but the more mature version of the Yamaha pilot will certainly be one of the front-runners in the two 22-lap races.
Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki) will be the third Australian on the world Superbike grid, fresh from a strong 10th place finish in race one at Assen.
Newcastle’s Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) is just 3pts from the championship lead after a drama-packed round at Assen, and he now has the chance to move to the front with a solid result at Monza.
Yamaha has been the dominant marque in 2011, at least as far as wins are concerned, which will be something that Parkes, a five-time world Supersport winner, will be keen to address on Sunday.
Parkes’ best result at Monza was a second place way back in 2004.
In the championship, Luca Scassa (Yamaha) leads on 50pts, with Parkes on 47 and Chaz Davies (Yamaha) on 45.
WORLD SUPERBIKE STANDINGS (AFTER ROUND 3 OF 13):
1 Carlos Checa, Spain, Ducati 132
2 Max Biaggi, Italy, Aprilia 89
3 Marco Melandri, Italy, Yamaha 85
4 Jonathan Rea, Great Britain 79
5 Leon Haslam, Great Britain, BMW 68
6 Leon Camier, Great Britain, Aprilia 50
7 Jakub Smrz, Czech Republic, Ducati 47
8 Michel Fabrizio, Italy, Suzuki 47
9 Eugene Laverty, Great Britain, Yamaha 35
10 Noriyuki Haga, Japan, Aprilia 34
12 Troy Corser, Australia, BMW 26
18 Mark Aitchison, Australia, Kawasaki 7