World SBK 2012 – Round 12 – Nurburgring
— Biaggi and Sykes take on Melandri at the Ring
The decisive run-in for the 2012 eni FIM Superbike World Championship gets underway this weekend at the prestigious Nurburgring circuit, with Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) chasing after the new points leader Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport). With three rounds remaining (six races, 150 points at stake), the 30-year-old from Ravenna heads the table with an 18.5 point lead over Biaggi and 41 over the British rider.
Still in with a mathematical chance of winning the title are Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Team Ducati), 75 points from the top slot, and Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team), a further 21 adrift. The Manufacturers’ battle also sees five different constructors in search of glory: BMW, Aprilia, Kawasaki, Ducati and Honda in that order. After the German Round this weekend, the championship will then move on to Portimao (Portugal) on 23 September and Magny-Cours (France) for the grand finale on 7 October.
Superbike’s debut in Russia a fortnight ago was a massive success with two exciting races that overturned the situation at the top of the table. Marco Melandri arrived at the Moscow Raceway with 10.5 points to make up on Biaggi and he left there with a lead of 18.5. The Tissot-Superpole ‘King’, Tom Sykes (seven wins in 11 rounds), also made up ground and can now also be considered as a clear threat over the entire race distance.
In the last seven rounds Melandri has taken four wins (out of six in 2012), while in the same period Biaggi has only stepped once onto the podium with a third place in race 1 at Moscow. In this decisive part of the season the BMW man has made up 78.5 points on Biaggi, and now the battle for the world title, which after Misano in mid-June seemed to be in the hands of the five-times world champion, has been thrown totally wide-open.
Melandri has reached a total of ten Superbike wins (including four in 2011 with Yamaha) and 25 podiums in just 47 races. Biaggi is stuck on four wins this year (out of 20 overall) and hasn’t won since race 1 at Aragon (Spain) on 1 July. BMW, who had not won a race in the previous three years, now also find themselves in the lead of the Manufacturers’ title chase.
The Nurburgring, where World Superbike has raced every year since 2008, is the venue for the twelfth round of the season but neither Melandri nor Biaggi have ever won there: the former only raced last year, finishing second and sixth, while Biaggi has never even finished on the podium, with a fourth and a fifth his best results in his title-winning 2010 season. Last year Biaggi did not take the start due to an unfortunate incident in qualifying that cost him a bone fracture in his left foot. Sykes on the other hand won at the Ring twelve months ago in a race that only went half-distance due to torrential rain. And on the subject, the weekend weather forecast is slightly cloudy, with no rain and temperatures of 21° max/11° min expected. So after finally reaching a constant level of race performance, Sykes could certainly be a tricky customer for the two Italians.
The German Round is a decisive one for Checa and Rea who really have to score wins in both races, with DNFs amongst the top 3, to confirm their championship challenges. Here in 2011 the Spaniard scored one of his 15 SBK wins, but this year has not gone according to plan with too many errors and DNFs, and in the history of SBK no rider has ever won the title with six zeros to his name. Even more difficult is the task facing Jonathan Rea who after two troubled races in Moscow was selected by Honda HRC as a replacement for the injured Casey Stoner in MotoGP. In the next six weeks the Northern Irishman will embark upon a real tour de force, taking part in three Superbike rounds and the same number of MotoGP races.
The Ring could highlight the abilities of Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Racing Team Ducati), who finished second last year in the wet, Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati), the 22-year-old Italian who is making his name in the top class after winning the FIM Superstock 1000 title, as well as Frenchman Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team). Guintoli has already won twice this year, while Giugliano has two podiums to his name, and Baz picked up the winners’ trophy at Silverstone in difficult conditions.
A fifth place by Leon Camier in race 2 at Moscow Raceway was some reward for the efforts being made this year by a rapidly improving FIXI Crescent Suzuki team. Team-mate John Hopkins has also resolved his injury problems of the early rounds and a podium is surely now not that far off.
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.
While everything is still to play for in Superbike, in World Supersport Kenan Sofuoglu has made a major step forward towards his third title. By winning at Moscow Raceway (his third victory of the season) Kawasaki Lorenzini’s 27 year-old Turkish rider has further increased his lead over his rivals. With three rounds still remaining (75 points), Sofuoglu has more than one round’s advantage and can also count on a steady run of form: he has only one DNF in his points score (Imola), against two for Cluzel and Lowes.
In the other nine races Sofuoglu has always scored top 5 finishes. Sofuoglu has already won the world title in 2007 and 2010, both times on a Honda. This season he is the top man for Kawasaki who are just five points behind Honda in the Manufacturers’ chase. The two PTR men, Jules Cluzel and Sam Lowes are the only other two real challengers this year, with fourth-placed man Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) just out of contention.
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.
In Germany the weekend programme returns to its normal scheduling with the two Superstock categories that did not make the visit to Russia. In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati) capitalized on the first win in his career at Silverstone to break away from his rivals. Frenchman Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) dropped to minus 31 points, more than one round’s disadvantage over La Marra, with three rounds and 75 points remaining. Barrier is rapidly being caught by the Kawasaki pairing of Australian Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini) and Frenchman Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS). La Marra has so far been quick and constant, with his worst result a fourth place in seven races.
The Manufacturers’ battle is also up for grabs, with Ducati and its 1199 Panigale, this year’s newcomer, just two points ahead of Kawasaki and BMW in third, 16 points behind. Meanwhile eighth-placed Lorenzo Baroni (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) is still recovering after his Silverstone crash and will not be present in Germany.
Points (after 7 of 10 rounds): 1. La Marra 119; 2. Barrier 88; 3. Staring 86; 4. Guarnoni 82; 5. Savadori 67; 6. Reiterberger 62; 7. Bergman 59; 8. Baroni 56; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 132; 2. Kawasaki 130; 3. BMW 116; 4. Honda 52; 5. Aprilia 17.
The duel between Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) and Dutchman Michael van der Mark (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) in the category reserved for under-22 year-olds is still raging hard and fast. The 18-year-old Italian soared to the top of the table once again following his win at Silverstone, but his rival is just two points behind, a slim lead considering that there are still three rounds and 75 points remaining.
Van der Mark will not be not entirely 100% fit in Germany because of a crash while practicing for the Supersport race at Moscow which was to have marked the talented Dutchman’s debut in the mid-range category. Van der Mark broke his right collarbone and a metal plate has been put on the fracture to speed up his recovery. He should be able to start but will not be entirely fit for this crucial battle against Russo.
Points (after 7 of 10 rounds): 1. Russo 147; 2. Vd Mark 144; 3. Duwelz 78; 4. Calero Perez 53; 5. Vitali 53; 6. Gamarino 49; 7. Schacht 48; 8. Nestorovic 47; etc.
German Round – statistics
Leon Camier has only finished one race at the Nurburgring, last year in race one, eighth. In race two he fell when he was running fifth, while in 2010 he fractured his right hand and had to end his season immediately;
Max Biaggi in his Superbike career has stepped onto the podium in all the circuits of the 2012 calendar, except for Silverstone and the Nurburgring. Here in Germany his best result is a fourth, obtained twice: starting from pole in race one in 2010 and from seventh in race two, 2009. Max has always scored points here, and only once he didn’t finish in the top-10, in 2008 race one (13th), when he didn’t take risks after a fall in the warm-up. Another crash was the reason why last year he didn’t take part in the races: he ran over some debris during practice, fracturing a bone in his left foot; he had to sit out also the Imola and Magny Cours races;
Four podiums for Carlos Checa at the Nurburgring: the best was his win from pole and fastest lap in race one last year. He adds to that a second in race one in 2010 and two thirds in 2009 with Honda. In the last two years Carlos didn’t climb on the podium here only twice: a fall in race two, 2010 while he was second behind Haga (only time without points here) and last year in race two when he didn’t take risks in the wet and finished eighth, after a very slow start;
Chaz Davies won the Supersport race last year after a close duel with James Ellison, winning by only 0”091;
John Hopkins has bad memories of the Nurburgring: in 2009 he qualified 19th, and at the second turn after the first start he was involved in an accident. A bike ran over his chest. The race was immediately stopped to help him: John was unconscious for several minutes, but eventually he didn’t suffer any serious injuries;
Last year in race one Marco Melandri looked like the only one able to challenge Checa for the lead, but right after climbing up to second, he made a mistake and he slipped behind Laverty and Haga: he had to start all over again, he passed them again, but the time lost didn’t allow him to reach Checa. In race two he had a faulty display, so he had to play it by ear and couldn’t extract the best from his bike, finishing sixth;
Davide Giugliano dominated last year’s Superstock 1000 race: pole, win and fastest lap. He left the lead to his rival Sylvain Barrier only in the first three laps, then he pulled away to win in front of Barrier and Niccolò Canepa. In 2008, again in the Superstock 1000 series, Giugliano went close to win, but he finished second in a three-rider fight with Brendan Roberts, winner, and Xavier Simeon, third;
David Salom was seventeenth in both 2009 races and sixth and eighth in the Supersport races in 2010 and 2011;
Sylvain Guintoli last year was able to finish second in race two, while in the other three races run here he was eighth in 2010 in race one, then twice sixth. Second place last year was his best career result at the time: this year he improved on that by winning in Assen and Silverstone;
Eugene Laverty was fourth and fifth in last year’s races: in the Supersport championship, in 2009 he was second behind future world champion Cal Crutchlow, while in 2010 he won in front of Kenan Sofuoglu, scoring pole, fastest lap and leading from lights to flag;
Niccolò Canepa was third last year in the Superstock 1000 race behind Davide Giugliano and Sylvain Barrier;
Jonathan Rea last year was coming back after his Misano injury and in race one he finished tenth. In race two he climbed up to his standards in this track, finishing fourth. In 2009 and 2010, Jonathan won twice: in 2009 race two, beating Ben Spies, and in 2010 race one, beating Checa. In 2009 in race one he was fourth, while in 2010 in race two he didn’t manage to beat Haga, finishing second;
The Nurburgring track was the stage of Tom Sykes’ maiden win, last year in race two. Curiously, in race one he had obtained his worst result in this track, eleventh. In the other four races run here, Tom finished between fifth (2010 race one) and ninth (2009 race one). No one else in the last ten years was able to take a Kawasaki in the first five spots in the race here;
Loris Baz was fifth in the 2010 Superstock 1000 race, but it’s the 2009 race which springs to mind: Loris posted his maiden pole in the series, and in the race he was fighting for the top spots when he fell at the hairpin, finishing only fifteenth. In the 2008 Superstock 600 race, Baz was second behind Patrik Vostarek both in qualifying and in the race. In the race he lost out by only 0”083;
Great qualifying performances at the Nurburgring for Lorenzo Zanetti in the Superstock 1000 championship: he was second in 2010 and fourth last year. He had less luck in the races: in 2010 he retired from seventh with a technical problem, while in 2011 he was fourth behind Giugliano, Barrier and Canepa;
Michel Fabrizio’s scoreboard at the Nurburgring is split in half: in 2008 and 2009 he was able to finish always between sixth and ninth, while in the last two seasons he never scored points here. The bad luck started with a fall in race one in 2010 while he was sixth, followed by a vibration problem in race two which forced him in the pits. Last year a contact in race one caused him pain in the second part of the race, so that he slipped from fifth to sixteenth, while in race two he decided to stop when the pain came back;
Ayrton Badovini was ninth and seventh last year, best BMW rider in race two. In 2008 he wasn’t able to score points with a seventeenth in race one and an accident with Vittorio Iannuzzo in race two. In 2010 in Superstock 1000 he won from pole, posting the fastest lap;
High-profile results for Leon Haslam at the Nurburgring: always in the top-10, both in qualifying and in the races, out of six races run. His best result is a third: in qualifying in 2009 and in race two in 2010, behind Noriyuki Haga and Jonathan Rea, his only podium here;
Jakub Smrz was third in race two last year, but this track hasn’t given him any more luck: his best grid spot is a tenth (2011), while in the other seven races run here he never finished in the top-10;
Maxime Berger was tenth in the rain in race two last year, while he had to retire in race one with a mechanical problem. Maxime ran three Superstock 1000 races at the Nurburgring, finishing second twice, always behind the future champion of the series: in 2009 he was beaten by Xavier Simeon and in 2010 by Ayrton Badovini.
The only podium placement for Aprilia at the Nurburgring was a third by Haga in race one last year. Their performances, from 2009 onwards, are just behind the leaders: in these three years the best-classified Aprilia finished fourth or fifth four times. The exception is last year’s race two, when there weren’t any Aprilias at the flag (Biaggi didn’t start, Haga and Camier fell);
If Aprilia’s best results are between fourth and fifth, BMW is right behind: at the Nurburgring the best BMW always finished between the fifth and ninth place in the races run from 2009 onwards. BMW are thus looking for their first podium here;
Ducati dominates the statistics also here, with five wins, to the three of Yamaha and Honda. In the six race weekends held here, they weren’t able to win only in 2008 and 2009. The pole record is also impressive: four out of six, they missed out only in 2008 and 2010, when the best Ducati was eventually second in grid;
Three wins for Honda here: one with Aaron Slight in 1998 and, recently, two with Jonathan Rea in 2009 in race two and 2010 in race one. Honda missed out on a podium placement here only in 2008 and last year;
Two podium placements for Kawasaki at the Nurburgring: a third by Akira Yanagawa in race two in 1999 and the win under the rain by Tom Sykes last year. A Kawasaki never started from the front row here;
Suzuki counts here three podium placements: two by Max Neukirchner from pole in 2008 and one by Leon Haslam in 2010. Last year Suzuki endured their worst weekend at the Nurburgring: they were out of the points in both races. Michel Fabrizio, the only Suzuki rider present, was sixteenth in race one and retired in race two.
Statistics compiled by Michele Merlino
— BMW Preview
Perfectly positioned going into the home race in the Eifel Mountains: BMW Motorrad heads to the Nürburgring (GER) for the twelfth round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship leading the standings in both the Rider and Manufacturer standings. Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport has already claimed six wins this season with factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA). The last race weekend, at the new “Moscow Raceway” (RUS), saw Marco move to the top of the Riders’ Championship, while BMW has led the Manufacturers’ standings since the ninth round of the season in Brno (CZE). Marco and his team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) have claimed 15 podium finishes so far this year.
Marco secured one win and one second place as the Superbike World Championship made its debut in Russia. In doing so, he leapfrogged Max Biaggi (ITA) at the top of the Rider’s standings. Marco now has 308.5 points to his name and an 18.5-point lead over Biaggi in second place. Leon was on course to podium in both races, but was once again extremely unlucky. In race one he managed to finish sixth and rescued ten points following a collision. Race two ended in the Clinica Mobile after his BMW S 1000 RR was hit from behind at high speed, causing him to crash out. Fortunately he escaped any serious injuries. Leon is sixth in the Riders’ Championship on 180 points. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, BMW now has 361 points and a lead of 26.5 points over Aprilia.
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport is making sure it is ready for all conditions as it prepares for its home race. The Nürburgring is known for its unpredictable weather. This was in full evidence at last year’s Superbike World Championship event in the Eifel Mountains: the sun shone for the first race, but the heavens suddenly opened shortly before race two. The start was delayed and the race was then abandoned after 13 laps as there was so much water on the track that many of the riders were crashing.
Marco Melandri: “It is great to come to the BMW home round at the Nürburgring leading the championship. However, this may also mean even more pressure, because everybody will expect a good result. I am sure the races will be difficult, because Aprilia will work hard and try to regain the lead. We will see though. Last year was my first time at the Nürburgring and I really like the track. Race one was good for me, I finished second. In race two it was very wet, so it was quite difficult. The track is good fun. It is very technical. The first section is pretty tight, but after that the layout is quite fast and smooth and I think it will suit my riding style. Last year I had a lot of fun and I am sure that this can be the case this year too.
I think that our RR will run well there. If all goes according to plan, I am sure we can be competitive in the races. We have to improve our pace in qualifying, because we still struggle with the soft tyre. But I am happy, I feel good and I am ready to fight again.
We still have six races to go, which is a lot. It is never easy because there are many fast riders and there is always the possibility of mistakes. The last few races have seen a lot of major changes in the championship. You can score many points, but you can also drop points. We need to focus on each individual race and to do our best to pick up some more wins and stay in front.”
Leon Haslam: “From the result side, I was obviously disappointed at Russia. They were another two races that could easily have been two podiums, but again ended in very bad luck and crashes. From the physical side, I damaged my left shoulder and my left leg and I felt a bit stiff overall. However, I have been recovering at home and also doing some physio, so I should be fully ok for Germany. The Nürburgring has always been a good circuit for me. I had a good result there in 2010 when I finished on the podium. Last year it would have been one of the strongest weekends for us at BMW. We had the pace for victory in both races. In race one, we had an issue with the bike but still a very good pace that would have taken us onto the podium, while race two was the horrible rain-dominated race, in which I crashed.
We did not achieve the results last year, but the bike and I definitely have great potential at the Nürburgring. I am looking forward to returning there this year. Our goal is always to win and we will try to shake off the bad luck we have had this year and get the win that we deserve.”
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations): “After the Moscow races we are all looking forward to BMW’s home round. We will arrive there as the leader in both championships, but this will not change our usual approach. We will work race by race, improving the bike and trying to achieve the best possible result. We are all motivated and focused. The circuit has a combination of tight and fast corners, which force the riders and the team to find the right compromise in terms of set-up. This can sometimes be a difficult challenge. Overall, it is a technical track. We must also be ready for any conditions, as the weather could be an issue at the Nürburgring, as we experienced last year.
Leon was unlucky at the last event, but he once again showed his speed and talent. Last year he rode an amazing race at the Nürburgring, so we are confident that he will fight for the top position. Marco and his crew have a clear target and they are very focused on it. Last year, Marco produced a great race considering it was his first time on the German racetrack. He likes it and, in the seat of our powerful RR, he will have more fantastic races. We will all work very hard in order to put in a good performance for ourselves, but mainly for all the BMW people and fans who will be following us at the racetrack.”
Nürburgring from Pirelli’s point of view: There will be six slick solutions available for the Superbike class that Pirelli will bring to the Nürburgring for the third last round of the season in Germany. Specifically there will be three for the front and as many for the rear also. For the former there will be two SC1 solutions available, the P1280 and the N1159 as the standard SC1 for the 2012 season, and the SC2 P773 which has already been used on various occasions this year. On the other hand, for the rear the riders will be able to choose between a solution in the SC0 range (the P774) and two SC1 solutions, the P1060 as the standard SC1 for 2012 and the R302, an alternative to the SC1 which was already used successfully in many races this year, the most recent being Moscow, and which Pirelli will continue to bring in order to have as many elements as possible from direct comparison with this year’s standard SC1, which will most likely be replaced by the R302 in 2013.
As for the track, there is smooth asphalt and a highly varied climate which is even more accentuated by the forest in which it is nestled. The significant temperature difference between morning and afternoon can even lead to problems with cold tearing that the R302 rear solution is certainly capable of handling.
Background: The Nürburgring is one of the most iconic racetracks in the world. Its legendary status is the result of a long history and the infamous Nordschleife, which at over 20 kilometres in length has been known for decades as the “Green Hell”. The circuit in the Eifel region is the oldest permanent racetrack in Germany. It was opened in 1927, since when it has regularly provided the backdrop to motorsport history. Races were held on the Nordschleife until the 1970s. Nowadays it still hosts long-distance car races, including the famous 24-hour race.
As the Nordschleife had become too dangerous for most series, the Nürburgring’s Grand Prix Circuit was opened in 1984. After several modifications it is now 5.137 kilometres long. The FIM Superbike World Championship made its debut at the circuit in the Eifel Mountains in 1998 and returns this season for the seventh time. The track is nestled in the hilly Eifel landscape, making it a real rollercoaster of a circuit. It boasts fascinating combinations of corners, a wide range of different types of turns, fast sections and zones that demand heavy braking. As such, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport must find just the right compromise in the set-up of the BMW S 1000 RRs.
Another of the infamous perils of the Nürburgring is the unpredictable weather. In early September the Superbike World Championship may be welcomed by late-summer heat – but could just as easily experience cold and rain. The weather is also capable of changing in the blink of an eye, as demonstrated last year: at first it was sunny, until the weather unleashed heavy downpours just minutes before the start of race two, making it impossible to complete the race under regular conditions.
The Nürburgring is located about 80 kilometres south of Cologne in the municipality of Adenau. The region is one of Germany’s motorsport centres: many racing teams and suppliers have set up their headquarters here. A BMW Test Centre is also located at the Nürburgring. As the Nordschleife and the surrounding countryside provide ideal conditions, the region has been an important test location for BMW since the 1960s. In the meantime, almost all the other well-known manufacturers have followed this example. One of the stand-out features is Nürburg Castle, which looks down upon the circuit.
— Kawasaki Preview
The Nürburgring race is a particularly significant one in the recent history of the Kawasaki Racing Team. In 2010 the public got its first look at the latest model of Ninja ZX-10R in racebike form when it was unveiled in the Nürburgring SBK paddock. In 2011 at the classic German venue Tom Sykes took not only his first SBK race win but also the first for the Ninja ZX-10R, sweeping to a convincing wet-weather victory.
Now Sykes returns to do battle at the modern incarnation of the famous track in the Eifel mountains armed with an even sharper and more finely honed Ninja ZX-10R and the knowledge that he has scored two more race wins with it since his last visit to Germany.
The most recent Sykes victory was a dominant start-to-finish performance at Moscow Raceway in race one last time out, a result that has helped Tom remain very much in the fight for the championship itself. He is now 41 points behind new championship leader Marco Melandri and 22.5 behind second place man Max Biaggi. A possible 150 points are up for grabs for any rider who wins all six remaining races. The next rider behind Tom in the championship is Carlos Checa, who is 34 points adrift.
Loris Baz scored his first career victory in this class at a wet and treacherous Silverstone earlier this year. The French rider has shown himself fast and capable since his arrival in the team mid-season, working well with his experienced crew to jump to 13th in the rankings with three rounds and six races to go – including the forthcoming contest at the classic Nürburgring.
Located next to what is arguably the most famous purpose-build circuit in Europe, the awe-inspiring Nordschleife, the modern-day Nürburgring has a little of everything. Heavy braking into an impossibly slow first hairpin, fast corners, double apexes, long chicanes and even corners where the painted kerbstones act as mini-berms for the most confident riders. Without question the modern Eifel circuit is a tough test. Add in the often wild and inconsistent weather in this heavily forested area and you have a circuit that seldom provides predictable conditions or results.
Pedercini Team Kawasaki will field two Superbike entries as usual, with regular rider David Salom once more joined by Swedish rider Alexander Lundh. Salom took a season best sixth at the previous round in Russia and will be looking for more for the same in Germany.
Tom Sykes: “We go to Germany now and the recent form of the Ninja ZX-10R is great, so we are obviously a lot closer in the ballpark to where we need to be with the overall set-up. Germany should be good for us – going on the results we have had there in the past. We got a win last year there. OK, in wet conditions of course, but even in the dry we have been quite close to the front there, which fills me with a bit more excitement for this weekend. The current package we have now is even better and that means that we have to go to Germany with the aim of collecting lots more points. People ask me about the positions in the points rankings now and realistically it is still possible to win the championship. The goal is obviously to keep inside the top three and keep pushing.”
Loris Baz: “We have the three last races at tracks I really like so I am looking for a good weekend in Germany. We will try the same as every other time, to find a good pace at the beginning of the weekend. We want to get off to a better start than we had in Moscow for sure because we had some bad luck at the beginning. I have raced 600 and 1000 Superstock bikes at the Nürburgring before so I know the track and it is very interesting. There are some fast sections and I like that, some nice corners. We will see what kind of weather we have but I do not care so much which way it is. The bike is getting better every time and all the team are doing a really good job.”
The FIM Supersport World Championship has already thrown up a wide a variety of winners in 2012 – five in all – but in scoring an eventually clear victory at the previous round in Russia Kenan became the first rider to reach three victories this year. In doing so he took his total of wins in this class to 20, extending his own record total.
The next nearest rider in this battle for all-time wins is also an active WSS rider for Kawasaki, Fabien Foret (Intermoto Step Racing), who has 15 wins. He scored two of those wins this year and is keen to add another in Germany this time out, to move up from fourth place in the rankings to third.
Sheridan Morais overcame a bout of bronchitis at the last round in Russia to strengthen his grip on a top six place. His fourth place finish there was not quite a repeat of the third place finish he secured at Motorland Aragon but he goes to the German round determined to shoot for a top three placing once again. The South African rider is in his rookie season in this class in 2012.
Romain Lanusse, Foret’s team-mate, is looking for his first top ten finish of the year, having scored an 11th place finish three times in his rookie season so far. Kawasaki GO Eleven rider Joshua Day is another first season competitor in the WSS class this year, now looking to recover from a run of three no scores when he gets to Germany. The all-new MSD R-N Team India Kawasaki squad field Florian Marino and Dan Linfoot once again as they make preparations for a full-on season of competition in 2013.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “The Moscow race was a good step for me. We lost some points in previous races but got them back at the Moscow round. I was happy to win that race and to take good points for the championship, but there are still three more races to go, including Germany. I believe in my bike and going to the Nürburgring there are fast corners and uphill sections, which are good for our machine. On the power is where the Kawasaki is very strong. The weather forecast looks good too and if I have dry weather in Friday it will help me set-up the bike for the race. I have never raced there on the Kawasaki so we need to find a good combination between the racetrack and the bike. I think there is one more race where I have to push hard to try and win and then afterwards maybe we can start to think about points. But, as always, it is difficult to speak before Friday and Saturday, because first you have to see how everything works on track. I started to race at home in Turkey but I moved to Germany when I stepped up to European level. Of course the German race gives a good feeling to me because there are many Turkish people who live in Germany. Hopefully I can win the race there.”
Sheridan Morais: “Anything is possible in Germany but the weather forecast looks OK. There are no tracks that I dislike but I do like the Nürburgring layout. Every time out when I go racing I want to be on the podium. If I can top off the German weekend with a top three I will be really happy. I have been able to get some rest recently after a bout of bronchitis, which affected my training schedule for a while. Now I train in the morning and some days both morning and afternoon. It was good to take a break from training for a while, because it can become like a routine. Now I feel fit and healthy. I feel strong for the run-in to the end of the season.”