The venerable Assen circuit has seen many moments of drama but the latest 4.542km version delivered two Superbike World Championship races today that were right up there with the very best. The local fans enjoyed two partial home wins as well, as Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathan Rea was victorious in each 22-lap race, riding for a squad based in the Netherlands. He had to work hard on a sunny afternoon in Holland to make sure he headed up two podiums ceremonies that featured British riders in each and every place for the first time since 2003.read more
Two action-packed races held under clear Spanish skies saw two different winners make their mark, Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) in race one and Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) in race two. The races could not have been more different, with Haslam a clear leader in an uninterrupted contest, while Haga won an aggregate race two by only 0.025 seconds. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) scored two podiums today, while James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) also put in top three rides.read more
Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) took his second Superpole of the year for Yamaha with a 1’33.615 at Valencia, leading a front row that will comprise of Cal, Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati), Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) and Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare).
Checa had been even faster around the 4.005km circuit today than Crutchlow was in Superpole 2, but not in the final Superpole session when the final grid places were determined, leaving Carlos second overall.
Crutchlow had set pole at the previous round in Portugal but this one was maybe even more of a surprise, as he had only been 15th in regular qualifying before Superpole started.read more
In front of 77.000 people, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) won each 22-lap race at Portimao today to go second in the championship rankings, behind the rider who took two second places, Leon Haslam (Alstare Suzuki). The margin of victory for Biaggi was 0.200 seconds in race one, and 0.191 seconds in race two, as Max took his career win total to six. He scored his first SBK double win today, having started the race second on the grid. Haslam now has 85 points, Biaggi 69.
Max Biaggi held off Haslam for the race one win but only after a strong man-to-man fight throughout. Jonathan Rea went third for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, when Cal Crutchlow fell off his Sterilgarda Yamaha late in the race, remounting to go 14th.
Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) had to work hard to keep Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) behind as he scored fourth place. Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati) rode through the pain of a big crash on Saturday to take sixth. Noriyuki Haga recovered from his fifth row start to take eighth and the first BMW Motorrad machine home belonged to Troy Corser, ninth.
A close four-rider fight for the win went to Biaggi again, from Leon Haslam, who was not quite able to overtake Biaggi and make it stick, as Max used his superior drive out of the final corner to pass Leon when it mattered. Cal Crutchlow scored his second career SBK podium, and his first as a series regular, running his Yamaha to third. Carlos Checa was fourth – and only 1.015 seconds covered the whole top four after another tense race. In the championship Haslam leads with 85 points, Biaggi is second on 69 and Checa third with 60.
FOUR MANUFACTURERS IN EACH TOP FOUR
In each race today there were four different manufacturers in the top four – Aprilia, Suzuki, Honda and Ducati in race one, and Aprilia, Suzuki, Yamaha and Ducati in race two. The second race saw a vee-four, a conventional ‘screamer’ four, a cross-plane crankshaft four and a 1200cc vee-twin fill the top four places – all the engine configurations competing in SBK this year within a second of each other after 22 laps and almost 160km of close racing.
It was only last October that the previous Portimao round was run, but in those short months the progress has been amazing. Race one today was 16 seconds faster than it’s equivalent in October and race two was 13 seconds faster this year compared to last.
Three British riders powered to the front in the first day of the official Superbike test at the Portimao circuit in Portugal. Leon Haslam was the man most in form as the Suzuki Alstare rider went quickest both in the morning and the afternoon, ending the day on the 1 minute 42.778 second mark, just three-tenths off Ben Spies’ 2009 outright circuit best lap.
Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) continued to ease his way into the top category in last year’s title winning team, and he was a fraction behind in second place, while Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) damaged his little finger in the morning run, but bounced back on form to take the third slot.
Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) failed to improve in the afternoon, but nevertheless ended the day in fourth, a whisker ahead of James Toseland, who has returned to race for Yamaha Sterilgarda this year. Shane Byrne (Althea Racing) continued the British flavour at the top with sixth fastest time.
For the moment the Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio are slightly off the pace in seventh and eighth place respectively, while new entrant, American Roger Lee Hayden eased his way into the World Superbike scene for the Kawasaki Pedercini team.