World Superbike – Monza round
Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) brought a perfect homecoming present to Italy for his Monza-based team after scoring the Superpole win, a new lap record and - most importantly of all - the first ever double win this year.
pace was challenged for a period in each race, but eventually his class and seemingly perfect set-up told in the end and he notched up the wins by the margin of 8.4 and 2.6 seconds respectively. His new lap record is 1'46.064, set on lap six of race two. He is now second in the overall championship rankings, with 194 points.
Championship leader James Toseland (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) extended his championship lead to 35 points, despite scoring only a fourth after a bad tyre choice in race one, and a hard-won second spot in race two.
The first 18-lap event was a classic of its kind, with hard passes and mistakes on the high-speed track causing many anxious moments. Haga, on pole, dropped to sixth on the grid, then shot forward to share the lead with Toseland, until the Englishman (on a too-soft 'B' compound tyre) was forced back to finish fourth. Troy Bayliss, well down at one stage capitalized on the desperate bad luck of one-time leader and virtual podium certainty Roby Rolfo (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) who was forced to retire in sight of the flag, and the Aussie rider rode through to take second. Third went to Max Biaggi (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) despite an off track excursion for the Roman rider, after setting a - temporary - new lap record of 1'46.172.
The second race was an even closer battle for the last two podium slots, a virtual widescreen epic on the last couple of laps, as a slowing Toseland was engulfed by Bayliss and Biaggi but still managed to ride to second place. Bayliss was third and Rolfo fourth, with a huge rear end wobble from Biaggi at the Ascari chicane robbing him of a potential second place, especially after what looked like a contact with Bayliss as each jostled for position on the final run to the Parabolica. Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia) was sixth in race two, fifth in race one.
CHAMPIONSHIP GETS TIGHTER FOR CHASING PACK
In the current championship chase behind Toseland's total of 229, Haga has 194, Biaggi 191 and then some distance behind - but looking more ominous all the time - Bayliss has 164. Corser is now being cut adrift somewhat on 135 points, with Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) sixth on 107 points. He scored a seventh place in race one but did not score in race two.
Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Ducati) could not re-ignite his podium fire after qualifying on row four at Monza, and only took a 12th and 13th. He is still seventh overall, but the following Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Germany) is eighth, on 81 points.
Rolfo's 13 points from race two boost him in ninth, while the last place in the top ten is now enjoyed by Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) who was sixth and fifth today, after riding just behind the leading group each time out today.
Regis Laconi (PSG-1 Corse Kawasaki) may have run on at the first chicane in race two but he made up for it until he ran out of rear traction in the second race. He had to retire from race one but in the final leg he was up as high as second for a time, before slipping and spinning his way back to eighth.. He is now 11th, behind Michel Fabrizio (DFX Corse Honda), who had a Monza high of eighth in race one. A desperate day of bad luck once more for Fonsi Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) saw him a double non-finisher. Karl Muggeridge (Alto Evolution Honda) took two ninth places at Monza; with his team-mate Josh Brookes 11th in the opener before experiencing brake troubles in the second race. Steve Martin (DFX Corse Honda) was only 16th in race one and a non-finisher in race two, after gear lever problems affected his second race.
WORLD SUPERSPORT - SOFUOGLU SUPREME
Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) had to fight to get to the lead of the 16-lap Supersport race, but once he was there the result was not in question, and he took his fifth win in six attempts - giving him an overall championship lead of 58 points.
A stunning personal battle between Fabien Foret (GIL Kawasaki) and Anthony West (Yamaha World SSP Racing) saw the French rider score second place after an elbowing match from the exit of the Parabolica corner. Gianluca Nannelli (Caracchi Ducati SC) was a fine fourth and was only overhauled in the last two laps by Foret and West.
In the championship, Sofuoglu is way ahead, with Foret second on 87 points, Fujiwara third on 53 points and Nannelli fourth on 43. Sebastien Charpentier (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was a non-finisher after crashing at Ascari.
SBK Press Office