SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: ROUND FIVE – SILVERSTONE

Superbike World Championship: round five – Silverstone

  • Circuit: Silverstone
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Track length: 3619m
  • Opened: 1948
  • Fastest lap ever: 1:26.679 (Yukio Kagayama, 2005)
  • Lap record: 1:27.130 (Regis Laconi, 2005)
  • Last year’s winners: Troy Corser (Suzuki) and James Toseland (Ducati)

 

Britain’s Silverstone circuit is the venue for this weekend’s fifth round of the 2006 Superbike World Championship.

 

So far the season has been a case of so near but so far for the Yamaha Motor Italia squad. In the eight races run so far this year, Noriyuki Haga has twice finished on the third step of the podium and never finished lower than fifth place. One DNF (crashing on the final lap while contesting the lead at the first race in Qatar) puts Haga fifth in the championship, although the Japanese star knows he now needs to start winning races if he is to stop the so far dominant Troy Bayliss (Ducati) from running away with the championship.

 

Silverstone has proved a successful track for Haga in the past. He took a first and second position there in 2004 and gave the still-developing Yamaha YZF-R1 its first ever world superbike podium finish at last year’s race. With the R1 now developed into a consistent front runner, the Yamaha Motor Italia squad sees Silverstone as a great opportunity to make their presence felt in the championship.

“I have done well at Silverstone in the past so I am looking forward to racing there again this weekend,” says Haga. “The last round at Monza was not so bad. I don’t normally get on the podium there so to finish third in race two was a good result for me and the team. Silverstone is a track that we know suits me and the R1. We got our first podium there last year and we should be able to fight with the fastest riders again this year.”

Team-mate Andrew Pitt lies one place behind Haga in the championship standings. The Australian has also been very consistent this season and is looking to forget a nightmare outing at the British track last year. Pitt struggled to come to terms with the shorter International layout used for the first time last year and picked up a nasty leg injury during practice.

 

Despite this, Pitt insists a top three finish is not out of the question this year, commenting: “I was a little disappointed not to be on the podium at Monza, because the improvements we’ve made to the bike means that this is a realistic target for us at every circuit. Silverstone wasn’t the happiest of races for me last year and I’m not a big fan of the shorter circuit we use now. But at the end of the day it’s just another race and you go there with the same target as always, which means getting on the podium.”

 

Yamaha Motor France rider Norick Abe arrives in Silverstone in the championship’s top ten, despite failing to score in Monza. The Japanese star had a tough weekend in Italy, missing Saturday’s practice session and bravely riding but failing to score in the races. Rapidly improving team-mate Shinichi Nakatomi had his best result in Monza with a tenth in race one and will be looking to continue his superbike education at the short and technical British circuit.

In the Supersport World Championship Yamaha Motor Germany’s Kevin Curtain will look to get his season back on track after the heartache of retiring through mechanical problems in Monza. The Australian remains second overall in the championship, 31 points behind defending world champion Sebastien Charpentier (Honda).

 

 

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