Vallelunga – WSBK and WSS official test
World Superbike and World Supersport Championships face five more rounds before the last podium places and points have been allocated, but for the immediate future testing is the next hurdle to be overcome.
The Pirelli tyre
development teams have already tested at Brno since the last competitive weekend at Misano, but now another Italian circuit beckons - the new to SBK venue of Vallelunga - and for all SBK and WSS riders.
The 4.110km Vallelunga circuit, less than 30kms from the centre of Rome, will be stiff test for all, and thus most of the teams in the championships have decided to make best use of the available track time this coming weekend.
Max Biaggi tested his Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra machine for one of the first times at this track last October, but for a rider brought up in Rome, Vallelunga is still hardly a well-known circuit. Having moved to international racing early in his career, Biaggi will find more relevance in his most recent outing at Vallelunga than any previous track time in his youth.
Few other rider have any recent experience of the Vallelunga circuit in its current guise, but that will not stop the likes of championship leader James Toseland (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) from going for it from the outset on Saturday 7th July. Toseland now has reigning World Champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) closest to him in the overall championship fight and each rider is expected to be in the running for the best time of the test, in both race and qualifying trim.
Yamaha Motor Italia riders Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser have already shown the might of their new R1 machines this year, and each will be at Vallelunga to test. Corser currently holds onto fifth place over, with multi-race winner Haga third and ahead of Biaggi, but behind the big five there are more than a few riders capable of pushing into the highest reaches - especially at such a relatively unknown quantity as Vallelunga.
After a great test at Brno recently, Biaggi's team-mate Yukio Kagayama will be a force to be reckoned with on the 2007 Suzuki, and on a year-old factory Ducati Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Ducati) has already won a race in 2007. The official Ducati Xerox team has a home-grown hero who will test at Vallelunga, another regular rider with SBK wins under his belt, Lorenzo Lanzi. Other top Italian riders in the mix for the next test include Roby Rolfo, the team-mate of Toseland, a true Roman local boy Michel Fabrizio (DFX Corse Honda), his team-mate Luca Morelli, Alessandro Polita (Celani Suzuki) and Vittorio Iannuzzo, who will ride once more as a third element in the PSG-1 Kawasaki team.
Regis Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) and Fonsi Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) hope to beat a trail back to full competitiveness on their now seasoned ZX-10Rs, and may well start this test on a good footing after recent improvements in overall set-up at the Brno tests.
Other top names to look out for at the Vallelunga tests are Karl Muggeridge (Alto Evolution Honda), Shinichi Nakatomi (Team YZF Yamaha), Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Germany) and Jakub Smrz (SC Caracchi Ducati).
SUPERSPORT TIMES EXPECTED TO BE CLOSE
Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) approaches the latest test of the 2007 season with great confidence and he can also expect great things from his own team-mate, Sebastien Charpentier.
The Yamaha World Supersport Racing team will run Broc Parkes at the test for sure, while Fabien Foret (GIL Kawasaki) is getting ready to push Sofuoglu the whole way to the final flag, starting at this Vallelunga test. Joshua Brookes will join Robbin Harms in the Stiggy Motorsports team from this test on, but with 25 WSS riders set to show at Vallelunga, he will have stiff competition to measure himself against after his swap from the Superbike class.
After Vallelunga the next competitive outing will be at Brno, for round nine of 13, on 22 July.
SBK Press Office