SBK > 2009 Round 03: Spain > Race Results
SBKSpainApril 5, 2009
World Superbike and World Supersport 2009
Round 03 Valencia – Spain

Leon Roars Again With Two Fifth Place Finishes

Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) secured two strong fifth place finishes in 23-lap World Superbike races at Valencia to maintain his overall fifth placing in the championship. Leon was top Honda rider again, and now leaves for the next round at Assen with 58 points, only two behind fourth place and seven behind third.

Leon Haslam Leon Haslam

Leon Haslam

Leon Haslam

In the first race of the day, held in dry conditions, Haslam improved from tenth in Superpole to fifth in the race, as both Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) and local rider Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) crashed out. Rea had been seventh in Superpole qualifying; Checa was eighth on the grid.

In race two Checa worked his way through to sixth, three seconds from Haslam, while Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda Racing CBR1000RR) was ninth after also qualifying in that same position. In race one he was a disappointed 12th.

Haslam’s new team-mate, John Hopkins (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) was just outside the top ten in race one, backing up a great qualifying result of 16th out of 30 riders. This is his first-ever WSB weekend, after spending most of his career on GP machinery, and he was set for an even better finish in race two until the last few laps, when fuel-limiting issues slowed his pace dramatically. Hopkins went 12th, Rea recovered from his race one fall to go 13th in race two.

Tommy Hill (Honda Althea Racing CBR1000RR) fought off gearbox setting issues in race one to record a point for 15th place, but in a warmer race two lost front grip early and had to settle for a finish in 22nd place.

Vittorio Iannuzzo (Squadra Corse Italia Honda CBR1000RR) crashed in race one, and was just behind Hill in race two.

In the points ranking, Rea, Kiyonari and Checa sit 10th, 11th and 12th respectively, Hopkins is already 18th and Hill is 20th, on six points, having scored in four races out of six so far.

Two New 2009 Hondas On The Podium In Spain

In round three of the World Supersport Championships, Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) finished the race third after starting the race 11th on the grid, and his podium finish puts him on a class-leading total of 54 points, shared with Valencia race winner, Cal Crutchlow.

Sofuoglu had to work hard for his points and podium finish today, as his team used their 2009 spec Hondas for the first time at this race meeting, having started the season on 2008 machinery, which was more familiar to them.

Best-placed Honda rider in the Valencia WSS race was Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) who qualified third and finished second having led the race for 13 of its 23-lap distance. He is now one of three Honda riders tied on 43 points, in joint third place. The others are Qatar race winner Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) and reigning champion, Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR).

Laverty battled through from 13th in qualifying and 16th place on lap one, as he rode with care on a damp track, in a race that was delayed to ensure that the short fall of light rain that started soon after WSB race one would pass by before the start of track action. The race was declared dry, albeit started in slightly damp track conditions, which made all the riders more cautious than usual in the early laps. Laverty went ninth in the race itself.

For Pitt, the move to his new machinery did not go as smoothly as he expected, and he crashed three times in the new single qualifying session, on Saturday. He started the race ninth on the grid, on row three, and could only finish 13th, scoring only three points.

Mark Aitchison (Honda Althea CBR600RR) was a season best fourth in the race, his team-mate Matthieu Lagrive (Honda Althea CBR600RR) sixth, as the pairing started the races from row two of the grid. In the championship, Lagrive has 25 points in sixth place; Aitchison has 24 points in seventh overall. Six of the top seven machines in the riders’ rankings are Hondas, and Honda leads Yamaha by 16 points in the Manufacturers’ Championship after three rounds.

Gianluca Vizziello (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) was 11th and satisfied with it after some set-up issues initially appeared in qualifying, Robbin Harms finished 12th on the Veidec Racing Honda with teammate Arie Vos 17th while Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) was out of the points in 18th, the last rider not to be lapped.

Anthony West Kenan Sofuoglu

Anthony West

Kenan Sofuoglu

WSB Rider Quotes
Leon Haslam said:
“I am happy with my top five results today. I didn't really have the best of starts in the second race and had to pass all the other Hondas so by the time I caught Neukirchner and passed him for fifth the leading group was gone again. My pace was quick enough to run with the front group if I had the start that we wanted. We made some good progress and got the most out of what we had for this weekend.”

Jonathan Rea said:
“I got a pretty good start in race one and had the bike cranked right over coming out of the first right-hander. The next thing I knew I was up in the air, hanging on to the bike but missing the seat when I landed. And that was that. We didn’t really have any information to change anything for race two but it wasn’t great. It’s been a tough few days so all I can do is thank my team for all their hard work this weekend and say that we’ll re-group for Assen and try to get some decent results for the team’s home race.”

Carlos Checa said:
“Race one was a little bit better than race two, but still not where we want to be. In the first race, my start was not so good and as I approached the final turn behind Tom Sykes, I hit the white line during braking. There was no grip so I had no alternative but to go into the gravel. I tried to get some data from the tyre, but it wouldn’t let me go fast enough to learn anything so I pulled in. My start in race two put me in a better position for braking into the first turn, but when the race settled down I found that I couldn’t open the throttle with the bike on its side.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari said:
“I In the first race, I thought on the sighting lap that the rear felt a little strange but thought it was just because the tyre was cold. When the race started I knew I was going to have some problems and I nearly highsided on the way into the first right-hander at turn three. I had no grip for the remaining 23 laps so 12th was the best I could do. In race two, the start was OK but Troy Corser ran into the side of me in the last turn early on and I lost some time and a few positions. The grip was a little better after we changed the settings, so I was able to regain some places. I caught Biaggi near the end but did not have enough to get past.”

John Hopkins said:
“I went from 16th to sixth in the first lap of race two. We lost a little bit of ground and Leon pulled away from me, then I had a lonely race until we had to slow down when the fuel limiter started to cut in, and a few other riders passed me. This weekend was always going to be a learning experience, but we proved that we really could do the lap times. It’s not going to be easy but I am confident that we can be running at the pointy end of the field before the season is out.”

Tommy Hill said:
“All weekend we have been struggling with some gearing problems. I am hitting the limiter in places yet third gear feels flat. We had a problem with the swingarm in race one, so we changed it before race two. I wanted to get a better result but I had no confidence or feeling from the front.”

WSS Rider Quotes
Anthony West said:
“The first few laps were a bit dodgy with the wet track so I took it easy until Cal came past and then started following him. I came here wanting to win this race, and led most of it, and only got passed on the last lap. I had no chance to get him back but I am happy with the race after the result we had in Qatar. We had a new bike this weekend and it was a big step forward, so I am pretty happy and we can improve a lot on what we have already.”

Kenan Sofuoglu said:
“The result is not so bad because I had qualified in 11th position. In the race I saw my chance but I could not stay with the front two and I realised I had to take the points. This is a long championship, and I needed to stay on the bike. We have a new bike now and we need to improve our settings. The mechanics worked late into the night to find us a new set-up and our new settings were better. It was my goal to win but I knew I could not today, so that has to be a goal for me in the next few races.”

Mark Aitchison said:
“The race for me was quite good in the middle and at the end, while in the beginning I wanted to test the track condition and so I did not push very hard. After six or seven laps I improved my race pace and I started to pass a few riders in front of me. I maintained a consistent lap time until the end of the race and took fourth place.”

Andrew Pitt said:
“I didn’t get a good start and never got a good feeling from the rear at the start. The bike just didn’t come to me during the race as the track dried out. We had trouble entering the turns and holding the lines. We made a bit of a gamble on the set-up and obviously it didn’t work.”

Matthieu Lagrive said:
“My start was very good and during the first laps and I was very fast, but starting from the third lap I felt some vibrations coming from my rear wheel, due to the tyre. I couldn’t really chase the riders in front of me and the only thing I could do was try and finish the race.”

Eugene Laverty said:
“I was worried about spinning up at the start with the damp track and didn’t get away well while everyone else got normal starts. I got behind Andrew Pitt and normally he is a demon at the start of a race and I thought I would follow him through. Instead, people came past me. I sat behind Andrew for too long and was too cautious. At the end in the dry my lap times were good.”

Miguel Praia said:
“It was a difficult race; we did not expect rain as we took to the grid. I had to start with dry tyres in the damp and for me that is the worst conditions. I never felt comfortable in the damp and after a good start I nearly crashed many times before I could understand how hard to push. I had to slow down a little and by the time I had an understanding of the conditions it was too late.”

Gianluca Vizziello said:
“This result was very important for me and the team. I was rather angry with myself after the qualifying sessions. We just couldn't work out what was wrong and where we had to find the improvement. My mechanics made some improvements on the bike and the suspension and the results clearly showed it today. I think that I can make another step forward in the next round in Assen.”

Robbin Harms said:
“The weekend went well overall, but the race was not so good. I started steadily because of a lack of grip, but when I tried to push harder I had problems with my bike’s handling. I tried the whole race to push as hard as possible but I just wasn’t able to keep up with the riders who passed me. We will have to strip the bike down to see if there is a problem. I am happy with the points I scored and with the progress we’ve made this weekend, and I would like to thank my team for that. We shall take this with us to Assen, a track I really like, and I will battle for a top-ten position there!”

Arie Vos said:
“It was a tough race today. After the start the track was still very slippery but I did feel comfortable and able to run with the rest of the pack. However, when the track started to dry they raised the pace and then it started getting harder for me. I was losing most time exiting the corners so we will have to find out if that was because of my riding style or if we have to make some changes to the bike. I am positive about the improvements we have made and, although we had one practice session less than we had at the last race, we managed to make some good steps forward.”

Jesco Günther said:
“I had already noticed on the warm-up lap that we had chosen the wrong tyres. So, just 5 minutes of rain destroyed my whole weekend. The grip on the track in Valencia can be very unpredictable and I didn’t expect the track to dry so fast after the rain shower. We made the wrong choice and I noticed very quickly that I wouldn’t be able to finish the race on the soft tyres we had fitted. As you can imagine, I am pretty fed up with that. However, we did manage to improve the settings of the bike over the weekend, though, and I hope we can continue to improve in Assen, so I can go there and score some much-needed points.”

World Superbike and World Supersport 2009
Round 01, Phillip Island Circuit – Australia

Superbike Race 1
1 N.HAGA / Ducati Xerox Team
2 M.FABRIZIO / Ducati Xerox Team
3 M.NEUKIRCHNER / Suzuki Alstare BRUX
4 R. LACONI / DFX Corse
5 L. HASLAM / Stiggy Racing Honda
6 Y. KAGAYAMA / Suzuki Alstare BRUX
7 T. SYKES / Yamaha WSB
8 M.BIAGGI / Aprilia Racing
9 S. BYRNE / Sterilgarda
10 B. PARKES / Kawasaki World Superbike
11 J. HOPKINS / USA / Stiggy Racing Honda
12 R. KIYONARI / Ten Kate Honda Racing
13 R. XESP / BMW Motorrad Motorsport
14 M.TAMADA / Kawasaki World Superbike
15 T. HILL / Honda Althea Racing
Superbike Race 2
1 N.HAGA / Ducati Xerox Team
2 B. SPIES / USA / Yamaha WSB
3 M.FABRIZIO / Ducati Xerox Team
4 R. LACONI / DFX Corse
5 L. HASLAM / Stiggy Racing Honda
6 C. CHECA / ESP / HANNspree Ten Kate Honda
7 M.NEUKIRCHNER / Suzuki Alstare BRUX
8 M.BIAGGI / Aprilia Racing
9 R. KIYONARI / Ten Kate Honda Racing
10 T. SYKES / Yamaha WSB
11 S. BYRNE / Sterilgarda
12 J. HOPKINS / USA / Stiggy Racing Honda
13 J. REA / HANNspree Ten Kate Honda
14 J. SMRZ / Guandalini Racing
15 T. CORSER / BMW Motorrad Motorsport
1 C.CRUTCHLOW / Yamaha World Supersport Team
2 A. WEST / Stiggy Racing Honda
3 K. SOFUOGLU / HANNspree Ten Kate Honda
4 M.AITCHISON / Honda Althea Racing
5 K. FUJIWARA / Kawasaki
6 M.LAGRIVE / Honda Althea Racing
7 M.PIRRO / Yamaha Lorenzini by Leoni
8 B. VENEMAN / Hoegee Suzuki Team
9 E. LAVERTY / Parkalgar Honda
10 F. FORET / Team Yamaha World Supersport
11 G.VIZZIELLO / Stiggy Racing Honda
12 R.HARMS / DEN / Veidec Racing RES Software
13 A. PITT / HANNspree Ten Kate Honda
14 M.ROCCOLI / Intermoto Czech
15 T. PRADYZF Yamaha
Anthony West

Anthony West

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