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WSSSpainApril 24, 2005
World Supersport Championships 2005
Round 03, Valencia – Spain

Charpentier And Fujiwara Fight Hard For The Valencia Win

Long term Valencia race leader Sebastien Charpentier (Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) took his second win of the year, but only after a hard last lap with his team-mate Katsuaki Fujiwara, who eventually scored second place. On the 23rd of 23 laps Fujiwara’s attempt to pass Charpentier up the inside of turn two was rebuffed firmly by Charpentier, with the riders seemingly leaning on each other at the approach to the next left. Fujiwara’s machine shuddered as he tried to pass inside Charpentier and he lost enough ground for the Frenchman to take the win by 0.844 seconds.

S. CHARPENTIER (Winston Ten Kate Honda)

K. FUJIWARA (Winston Ten Kate Honda)

Charpentier had taken his third straight pole position of the season on Saturday, with his team-mate Fujiwara once more just behind. Team Italia Megabike Honda CBR600RR rider Fabien Foret was third in qualifying but could not replicate this race conditions, going fifth after a lonely 23-laps in the 24°C air temperatures - significantly hotter than those in morning warm-up.

Kevin Curtain (Yamaha) took third spot from long-term podium hopeful Michel Fabrizio (Team Italia Megabike Honda CBR600RR) who had to settle for fourth, some five seconds ahead of his team-mate Foret. Tatu Lauslehto (Klaffi Honda CBR600RR) was up as high as 13th at one time, before a last lap, last corner dust-up with another rider dropped him to 15th. Nonetheless, the 21-year-old Finn earned a single point for his efforts.

Charpentier, who extended his championship lead to 12 points over Fujiwara - 70 to 58 - acknowledged that his last lap toughness was all-important.

“A good weekend with my third pole position, my second race win and the fastest lap of the race, but it was certainly not easy. After I got into an early lead I just tried to put in consistently fast laps. Before half race distance I was pushing plus zero on my pit board and I knew that Kats was there. For sure he pushed me very hard towards the end – especially on that final lap.”

Fujiwara, nine points clear of third placed championship contender Curtain, gave his all, and recognized the race-long speed of his team-mate.

“Conditions changed very much from this morning, when it was cooler. All weekend the temperature has risen in the afternoon, and this has made the track very slippery. I was pushing as hard as I could and trying to keep a very tight line as I caught up to Sebastien. As soon as I got off the racing line the grip was gone and that made it very difficult to pass. I got quite close to him on that final lap – maybe a bit too close – but he was riding so well there was very little I could do to catch him.”

Fabrizio’s prowess on the Supersport Honda has been impressive in his first full season, and he has been rewarded so far with fifth in the championship table, on 29 points.

“In the end I had to think about the championship. I put in a lot of effort trying to keep Curtain behind me and it worked for a long time. My suspension was not set-up perfectly and when he went past he could go faster. We have a racing test at Monza next week so we will see what progress we can make with the suspension there."

Foret, a former race winner at Valencia, did not find himself in a position to challenge this time around, thanks to an imperfect race set-up. He nonetheless holds fourth overall in the series, with 38 points.

“At the beginning I tried very hard to stay with Charpentier but even after a couple of laps I realized that my suspension set-up was too far off and he was gone. So I could only go at a certain pace and I had to settle for what I had."

Having worked his way from 18th on lap one to 13th on the penultimate circuit, Lauslehto was passed by another rider, attempted to redress the balance at the last corner but ran wide, losing two places.

“A Yamaha rider passed me and I was determined to get him back, so I tried at the very last corner. We touched and I was forced to run wide and two riders squeezed through. But I scored a point after a tough qualifying - at a new track for me again.”

M.FABRIZIO (Italia Megabike)

F. FORET (Team Megabike)

A change of 18 degrees in track temperature between race one and race two made it a difficult day for all Superbike competitors at this notoriously fickle circuit. Dry track conditions and the first non-interrupted race weekend of the year were nonetheless welcomed by everyone.

Chris Vermeulen (Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) took two personal season bests, runner up to Troy Corser (Suzuki) on two occasions. In race one he had to fight off the challenge of eventual late crasher Norick Abe to hold onto his 20 points, some 9.116 seconds off the lead. As second best Superpole qualifier, Vermeulen equalled his qualifying best position in the races. Despite a recently injured left collarbone, Pierfrancesco Chili (Klaffi Honda CBR1000RR) rode a lonely race to seventh in the opener.

Chili’s team-mate and front row qualifier Max Neukirchner survived a massive lap one highside relatively unscathed, despite flying for some distance and landing hard on the unyielding Valencia tarmac. Winston Ten Kate Honda rider Karl Muggeridge’s first race was equally dramatic, if less painful, as he was run off track by Neukirchner’s crash, fell in the gravel, remounted, crashed once more on lap 19, before retiring from a non-points scoring position. It was more joyous for Ben Bostrom (Renegade Honda KOJI) who scored 11th place in the first running.

The second race was a mirror image of the first in the top two positions, Corser from Vermeulen, with Chris Walker’s Kawasaki third on this occasion. Ben Bostrom’s day was a sunny as the weather when he scored sixth in race two, making up for a technical problem which ruined his first Superpole off the season, and forced him to start from 16th on the grids.

An exhausted Chili nursed his recently operated collarbone to 10th in race two; mistakes and a painful throttle hand for Neukirchner putting him 12th. Muggeridge’s dismal day ended with a second crash, on lap 16.

For Vermeulen, a race one second was a particular highlight, but did not come as easily as the results would indicate, and his race two repeat was maybe even tougher, with Walker climbing on his rear end for much of the race, only dropping off in the last few laps.

"That was really hard work,” stated Vermeulen. “The conditions were very slippery compared to last year’s race which was held earlier in the year. I think the higher temperatures here mean that the tyres are having to work much harder, so grip is a problem for everyone. Race two was as hard as race one but at least I was able to stay relatively close to Troy. But I’m happy with two podiums and to have collected a whole load of points.”

Bostrom felt that both he and his new team had turned a corner at Valencia, after two good results, with different placings mainly due to his relative lack of starting prowess in race one.

“That felt a lot better, it was nice to run up there in the top six but I need to get more aggressive on the starts though,” he smiled. “I was a little tentative the first race then in race two I was a little better. I got behind some of those faster guys but could not quite get past them. It was frustrating but it was fun watching Kagayama in front of me. We said we would come here and turn it around and to some extent we did. Now we are in the top ten, I want to be in the top five at Monza.”

Chili was upbeat, if beaten up, by the rigors of 46 full speed race laps, his 40-year-old body protesting towards the end.

“My left arm and shoulder are finished after two races. I have no grip in my hand and it was impossible to brake hard any more. But I finished both races, and took points. After breaking my collarbone, I was maybe not going to be able to race here, so we should be happy with the points.”

Neukirchner’s second race was hampered by his race one crash, having slapped his right hand down hard, losing both power and control to some degree.

“In the first race I had a big highside,” said a smiling Neukirchner, who nevertheless realized it could have had an even more negative outcome. “It came round so quickly and then I think I went up about five meters! I made a little mistake on the brake in race two and that made it a very hard race in the second part. I am not happy but I am not too badly injured. I have hurt my throttle and braking hand and that did not help me in race two.”

Muggeridge had his third DNF in a row, cursing his misfortunes in each race.

World Supersport Championships 2005
Round 03 Valencia, – Spain


1 S. CHARPENTIER (Winston Ten Kate Honda)
2 K. FUJIWARA (Winston Ten Kate Honda)
3 K. CURTAIN (Yamaha Motor Germany)
4 M.FABRIZIO (Italia Megabike)
5 F. FORET (Team Megabike)
6 B. PARKES (Yamaha Motor Germany)
7 B. VENEMAN (Suzuki Netherland)
8 G.NANNELLI (Ducati SC Caracchi)
9 S. CHAMBON (Gil Motor Sport)
10 J. STIGEFELT (Stiggy Motorsports)
11 J. FORES (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra)
12 W.DAEMEN (Van Zon Honda)
13 S. LE GRELLE (Le Grelle Dholda in Action)
14 A. TIZON (Promoracing)
15 T. LAUSLEHTO (Klaffi Honda)

S. CHARPENTIER (Winston Ten Kate Honda)

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· SBK - FIM Supersport World Championship
· Spain

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