SBK > 2008 Round 01: Qatar > Race Results
SBKQatarFebruary 23, 2008
World Superbike and World Supersport 2008
Round 01, Losail International Circuit - Losail, Qatar

Checa The Fastest Honda Rider At The Season Opener

Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) proved to be the highest Honda race finisher at the first round of the World Superbike Championship in Losail, scoring sixth in race one on his 2008 Honda Fireblade, his World Superbike race debut. The Spanish rider was not quite so fortunate in race two, as he was involved in an early incident on track, and had to fight his way through the pack to 11th. He now sits eighth in the rankings, on 15 points, having qualified ninth in Superpole.

 Carlos Checa  Carlos Checa

Carlos Checa

Carlos Checa

Despite having little time to develop the new machine and his off track excursion, Checa was pleased with his overall performance at Qatar confident the team will quickly have him on the pace.

In the second 18-lap race of the day Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda Jnr CBR1000RR) showed he had made a good transition from Supersport to Superbike, going tenth, just over a second up on Checa. Sofuoglu scored 12th in race one, making both of his raceday finishes better than his 14th place in qualifying. Sofuoglu is 11th in the rankings as the championship circus leaves Doha for Phillip Island and round two next weekend.

Ryuichi Kiyonari (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) had a tough introduction to global Superbike racing, going 20th in Superpole, 22nd in race one and 19th in race two.

Roberto Rolfo (Hannspree Althea Honda CBR1000RR) posted two points scoring finishes at Losail, 11th in race one and 15th in race two, on a machine which the team has not been able to test extensively before race weekend.

Gregorio Lavilla (Vent Axia VK Honda CBR1000RR) was another double points scorer, thanks to 13th in race one and 14th in race two. Like many of the riders new to the 2008 season, he has had to take some time to adjust to different tyres from those he has been used to recently.

For Karl Muggeridge (DFX Corse Honda CBR1000RR) and Russell Holland (DFX Corse Honda CBR1000RR) the Losail weekend was particularly hard, as neither made it into Superpole, nor scored any points on raceday.

Shuhei Aoyama (Alto Evolution Honda CBR1000RR) was last in each of his first World Superbike races, finding a Superbike heavy to turn and a real handful after a career spent mostly on 250GP-style machines. Luca Morelli (Alto Evolution Honda CBR1000RR) finished neither race, retiring in the pits on each occasion.

Carlos Checa:
“I feel comfortable overall after my first races. We have to work on the bike’s chassis, but considering the bike has only just arrived and it’s our first race I’m quite positive. I think we can become even more competitive this year. I touched Kagayama on the first lap of the second race when he tried to overtake me and nearly crashed. There was no room for the two of us and I had to go through the gravel and start again from the back of the field. Unfortunately this deprived me of my chance to try and make it closer to the front. The bike was feeling a lot better then it did in race one. The lap times have proved that we can do a lot better.”

Kenan Sofuoglu:
“My feeling is coming better and now I am starting to understand the Superbike. The biggest problem I have is that I am too tired and at the end of the race I think my pace dropped by half a second. I feel that I already made a good step between the first and second race so I am happy. Today I started from a long way back on the grid and got a top ten, so I am happy.”

Roby Rolfo:
“I wasn’t as satisfied with my position in the second race as I was in the first, but the lap times were better than in race one. My start wasn’t the best and I didn’t feel I had the rear grip to overtake as many riders as I wanted to. We still have a lot of work to do but we are going in the right direction.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari:
“It’s been difficult to make a good setting and we must make it better. I had some problem with tyres, but it is also the rider as I am not fast enough. My setting on the bike is different from Carlos and from Kenan but I am having lots of little problems in all areas of the bike, which is making it difficult for me to go fast.”

Gregorio Lavilla:
“Today I haven’t been racing, I’ve just been riding. After ten laps when I was chasing the group I had three big front end slides and I had to slow down. We need to understand the tyres in this class a lot before we can start to make good results.”

Shuhei Aoyama:
“It is very difficult in this class and the bike is a lot heavier to move around than the 250, and much faster. It was difficult to choose tyres and settings, so we need more experience before we can understand it all.”

 Kenan Sofuoglu Roberto Rolfo

Kenan Sofuoglu

Roberto Rolfo

World Supersport Championship
A crash involving Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) and Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) on lap two of the Supersport race at Losail prevented either rider finishing the race, after Rea had highsided on a corner exit and Pitt could not avoid his stricken machine.

Rea had also highsided in final qualifying, but remounted to finish fourth and on the front row, while Pitt had been on row two for the start of the race. Rea suffered an injury to the fourth finger of his right hand in the race crash, but has already stated he will race at Phillip Island in round two next week.

The 18-lap World Supersport race at Losail almost featured a Honda winner, with Joan Lascorz (Glaner Motocard HondaCBR600RR) capitalizing on long time race leader Fabien Foret’s eventual misfortune to lead out of the last corner. Lascorz’ hard won advantage was overhauled by Foret’s team-mate Broc Parkes, who used the slipstream to lead across the line by 0.048 seconds. The supported machine of Craig Jones (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) propelled him to third in the race, one place lower than his second place qualifying performance.

Josh Brookes (Hannspree Stiggy Motorsports Honda CBR600RR) was an assured and aggressive fourth after only qualifying 12th, and finished the race four places higher than his team-mate Robbin Harms (Hannspree Stiggy Motorsports Honda CBR600RR) who was breaking himself back into competitive action at high speed, making a remarkable recovery from 22nd on the grid.

Gianluca Nannelli (Hannspree Althea Honda CBR600RR) did not finish the first lap due to a technical probem, while his temporary team mate Andrea Antonelli also went out on lap one.

“I’m all right, it was a bit scary and I’m battered and bruised. I was about 20cm behind him when Jonathan high sided and then there was his bike lying on the road in front of me. I just hit it flat out and went over the handlebars. It’s shame because it was the first time that the bike has felt good all weekend and I had good rhythm. I got a good start and I was right there. Now we just need to get qualifying sorted out because we would have had no problem in the race.”

“I think I got on the gas too early and I am still learning the tyres and how they work in Supersport. I have some tendon damage to my finger and I have decided not to have it operated on and go to Phillip Island for the race next week.”

“I think I was over-riding from the mid section of the race. It was a shame Johnny and Andrew went out, as it would have been a different race. We struggled a bit later on with the gearing we were running, but I made a little mistake near the end when I had pulled myself back to the tails of the other leading guys. The bike has been competitive and as good as we could expect after losing some time in qualifying. I’m over the moon to be on the podium at this race because we knew it would be hard.”

“Not too bad considering we qualified 12th. I hung with the front guys as long as I could but I felt were a bit off the pace this weekend. For some other riders to not finish played into my hands, but I hope the Ten Kate guys are OK. We made a good strong race, by making the best of our situation.”

“It has been a long time since I raced; last one for me was Brands Hatch. My first priority was to get my body and mind into race mode again, so it worked out well for me. We are doing better and better.”

“I still don’t understand what problem my bike had. It’s disappointing after having started off so well but when I was in fifth position the bike stopped. Now our technicians are busy at work trying to understand what happened. Now more than ever my goal is to obtain excellent results in Australia.”

World Superbike and World Supersport 2008
Round 01, Qatar World Superbike at Losail

Superbike Race 1
1 T. BAYLISS (Ducati Xerox Team)
2 M.BIAGGI (Sterilgarda Go Eleven)
3 T. CORSER (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB)
4 R. XAUS (Sterilgarda Go Eleven)
5 M.NEUKIRCHNER (Team Alstare Suzuki)
6 C. CHECA (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
7 F. NIETO (Team Suzuki Alstare)
8 Y. KAGAYAMA (Team Suzuki Alstare)
9 M.FABRIZIO (Ducati Xerox Team)
10 J. SMRZ (Guandalini Racing by Grifo's)
11 R. ROLFO (Hannspree Honda Althea)
12 K. SOFUOGLU (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
13 G.LAVILLA (Ventaxia VK Honda)
14 N.HAGA (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB)
15 R. LACONI (Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse)
Superbike Race 2
1 F. NIETO (Team Suzuki Alstare)
2 R. XAUS (Sterilgarda Go Eleven)
3 M.BIAGGI (Sterilgarda Go Eleven)
4 T. BAYLISS (Ducati Xerox Team)
5 M.FABRIZIO (Ducati Xerox Team)
6 L. LANZI (R.G. Team)
7 T. CORSER (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB)
8 M.NEUKIRCHNER (Team Alstare Suzuki)
9 J. SMRZ (Guandalini Racing by Grifo's)
10 K. SOFUOGLU (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
11 C. CHECA (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
12 M.TAMADA (Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse)
13 N.HAGA (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB)
14 G.LAVILLA (Ventaxia VK Honda)
15 R. ROLFO (Hannspree Honda Althea)
1 B. PARKES (Yamaha World Supersport)
2 J. LASCORZ (Glaner
3 C. JONES (Parkalgar Racing Team)
4 J. BROOKES (Hannspree Stiggy Motors.)
5 M.LAGRIVE (Intermoto Czech)
6 B. VENEMAN (Ressoftware Hoegee Suzuki)
7 R.HARMS (Hannspree Stiggy Motors.)
8 D.SALOM (Yamaha Spain)
9 C.WALKER (Kawasaki Gil Motor Sport)
10 G.VIZZIELLO (Berry Racing)
11 G.LEBLANC (CRS Grand Prix)
12 I. CLEMENTI (Triumph Italia BE1 Racing)
13 M.PRAIA (Parkalgar Racing Team)
14 V. KALLIO (Benjan Racing Team)
15 K. FUJIWARA (Kawasaki Gil Motor Sport)
Craig Jones

Craig Jones

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