“As everyone knows, luck turns around”
James Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) has two clear personal aims in mind as he enters the final round of the World Superbike Championship at Magny-Cours; win both races and consolidate his current second place in the overall
championship. He has a two- point advantage over Noriyuki Haga in the standings at present after out-pointing him in each recent Imola race.
In race one at Imola Toseland only had to give best to another top-level Honda entry, Alex Barros (Klaffi Honda CBR1000RR) who was the best rider on the day, with a first and second. Victory was an important step in the development of Barros as a Superbike rider, after his vast experience of Grand Prix racing and Barros now has two more opportunities to secure wins before the end of the year.
Michel Fabrizio (DFX Honda CBR1000RR) three times a podium finisher in this his rookie SBK year already, will be out for at least another top three as he heads to France. Last year he scored a third place for Honda in the Supersport class, and thus the challenge of Magny-Cours holds no fears for him.
One rider looking for his first SBK podium finish is former World Supersport Champion Karl Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR). Injury and simple misfortune have conspired against him securing a top three thus far but Muggeridge has his mind set on conquering another personal ambition before the season ends on Sunday afternoon.
Having said goodbye to his homeland last weekend, Pierfrancesco Chili (DFX Honda CBR1000RR) heads to France to complete the last scene of his SBK career.
He retires after the races on Sunday, with more SBK race starts than any rider in history already under his belt.
With the title decided at Imola, Toseland was not quite able to add to his total of two race wins so far, but knows it will be the perfect way to ensure an overall second in the championship chase.
"Not the luckiest weekend at Imola, but as everyone knows, luck turns around," said Toseland, who won his world championship title at this very circuit in the last race of the 2004 season. "We have to be positive; we finished both races in front of my end-of-season rival Haga, and this put me in second position in the world standings. This position is still not safe, but I will do my best to maintain it in the two Magny-Cours races. I feel good and I'm looking forward to starting another weekend of racing."
Barros, looking to make up eight points on fourth placed rider Andrew Pitt, is out for wins and nothing less in France. "I caught a little bit of a cold after Imola, but it should be okay for the weekend," said Barros. "Last time I rode in Magny-Cours was back in 1992, so the track will be a kind of new for me. They have also put in a new chicane before the finish line. I think that our bike will be competitive again. At the moment I do not consider just finishing in a good position - I only think about victory."
Memories of his recent double non-finish at Imola are the spur for Fabrizio's weekend in France, as is the desire not to slip down the finishing order from his current 11th place. "I am still quite upset about the results I did not get at Imola," stated Fabrizio, "and I am completely determined to make up for that disappointment in France."
Muggeridge is out for one thing only at Magny-Cours, a top three finish in one or either race. "I really want to get on the podium before the end of the season," said the frequently luckless Muggeridge. "The past weekend wasn't too good overall; our times weren't the fastest from Friday on. We hope to start much better in Magny-Cours to finish in better positions in Sunday's races. The team is ready and I'm ready."
Chili approaches Magny-Cours as ready as he can be to score as highly up the finishing order as possible, in what will be his last race in SBK. "It is true, it's my last race in World Superbike, and as usual I will be starting for the best results I can get," said Chili. "I hope to leave with something good from this race and I have been training to be able to finish on the podium - even if I think that it is a dream. But it is good to dream. I like the Magny-Cours track, most of it is nice; just that last chicane is not the best."
Press Release HRC