World Superbike - round 5

Today's round of the World Superbike Championship at Assen, Netherlands and it was James Toseland (Honda) that maintained his record of winning a race in every round of the SBK championship so far and only missed out on his first ever double win by 0.009 seconds, after a hard-fought battle with eventual second race winner Troy Bayliss. He had set pole position for the first time this year, with a new record of 1’38.603 seconds in Superpole.

The points he earned for second place nonetheless put him further in front in the championship fight, with Toseland on 196 points and Biaggi on 164 - a difference of 32. The same points separate Honda from Ducati at the top of the Manufacturers’ Championship

In the first race, Toseland looked to be able to make one of his now trademarked escapes at the front, but the pace of the riders behind was such that he came back into the leading group for a time, before finally hitting the lead on the 10th lap and staying there until the flag, maintaining a pace no others could match over 22-laps.

In the second 22-lap contest, another race with many potential winners came down to a classic Assen man-to-man fight, with Toseland and Bayliss locked together, swapping the lead on the final lap but with Toseland in control into the final chicane. He went into the first part deep, to cover a possible attack by Bayliss, and Bayliss got better drive on the exit, beating James into second by only nine-thousandths of a second.

Both Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) and his team-mate Troy Corser suffered a day of ups and downs. Haga took second place in race one but suffered a technical failure in race two and was forced to retire. Corser suffered a mechanical fault in race one causing him to crash at high speed but rode through pain in race two to take fourth slot.

Race one started so well for Haga, who had qualified in 15th following a mistake during his Superpole lap yesterday cost him valuable seconds. By the end of the first lap he had already pushed through the field to take seventh and he then carried on through to first place but settled back in fourth with team mate Corser just behind in fifth. On lap 15 Haga made another charge for the front of the pack and overtook Bayliss for second place with only two laps to go. He also contended for first place but had to settle for second.

Corser put in a strong performance and was in a comfortable fifth place for much of the race, moving up to third on the penultimate lap when he overtook Bayliss and Xaus. Both riders were on track for podium finishes but Corser suffered a broken radiator hose clip causing fluid to spray over his rear tyre and making him high-side at a fast part of the circuit.

Both riders got a good start in race two with Corser moving up to fourth and Haga taking fifth slot on lap one. Haga went through to challenge Lanzi and then Bayliss using his usual wild sliding riding style. Haga then focused on closing the gap between him and front man Toseland and he took the lead on lap nine. The two riders were battling for first place when Haga had to pull off the track on lap 11 with an electrical-based engine problem.

Corser spent the main part of the race in a battle for fifth place with Lanzi but took fourth when Lanzi crashed out. The Australian fought the pain of his injuries received in race one to bring his bike home in fourth.

The weekend finished on a good note for Team Yamaha YZF rider Shinichi Nakatomi with him finishing in the points in both races. Settings alterations made throughout the weekend gave the team one of their best results so far this season with the Japanese rider taking seven points away from Assen.

The next race is at Monza

James Toseland : “I have mixed feelings today, I am gutted that I couldn’t get the double win for the team at their home race. I was pushing so hard out there but Troy Bayliss is a tough man to beat and he just wasn’t going to let that go. I made a mistake on that last chicane and went too deep on the brakes, and he just got past me. Fair play to the man – that was an incredible race. Anyway, I have two more podiums under my belt, plus another race win and I am still leading the standings so I can’t really complain. I’m going to keep trying though – I want to get that double before the end of the year!”

Troy Bayliss : "It was an incredible race and there was lots of action. I take my hat off to James, he's riding stronger and is getting more and more confident all the time. I'm happy to take a win but I'm also very frustrated because in the first race I thought I could possibly have taken a win and we really struggled in the last six laps with the front tyre. We just made a mistake and didn't use the hard tyre but then we did use the hard tyre in the second race and the last three laps I was really struggling again so we have to put our heads together and work a bit on the setting because you just can't ride like that all the time. We were both over the limit in those last few laps, I was trying to cover my lines, slowing down in some corners and speeding up, and James was doing the same. At the last chicane the win could have been anybody's!"

Noriyuki Haga : "In race one I got a good result considering where I started. From the fourth row to the podium isn't bad for one race! The bike was feeling good and the suspension modifications we made worked well. In race two I made a good start but then a problem forced me to retire which is unlucky as I was on target to get a good result again. This has been a bit of a mixed day but I am sure Monza will be better."

Troy Corser : "The incident in race one was so unlucky. I can't believe that such a small part can do that - it shouldn't have happened. That just put me out of serious contention for race two. I have a very sore left hip which has been X-rayed and they say nothing is broken. I am going to get further checks tomorrow as I can't believe how sore it is. Everything else feels okay at the moment, we will see."

Circuit Length: 4555
Temp: 19
Weather: Sunny

2007 WSB Assen 29/04/2007
WSB Race 1 - 22 Laps
1. James Toseland Honda GBR 37'2.097
2. Noriyuki Haga Yamaha JPN 0'0.663
3. Ruben Xaus Ducati ESP 0'3.698
4. Troy Bayliss Ducati AUS 0'7.134
5. Lorenzo Lanzi Ducati ITA 0'9.312
6. Max Biaggi Suzuki ITA 0'9.534
7. Yukio Kagayama Suzuki JPN 0'18.286
8. Fonsi Nieto Kawasaki ESP 0'18.403
9. Roberto Rolfo Honda ITA 0'19.873
10. Max Neukirchner Suzuki GER 0'22.914
11. Jakub Smrz Ducati CZE 0'29.602
12. Michel Fabrizio Honda ITA 0'40.961
13. Shinichi Nakatomi Yamaha JPN 0'41.008
14. Dean Ellison Ducati GBR 1'12.714
15. Marek Svoboda Yamaha CZE -2 Laps

WSB Race 2 - 22 Laps
1. Troy Bayliss Ducati AUS 36'54.133
2. James Toseland Honda GBR 0'0.009
3. Max Biaggi Suzuki ITA 0'7.439
4. Troy Corser Yamaha AUS 0'12.379
5. Roberto Rolfo Honda ITA 0'23.052
6. Michel Fabrizio Honda ITA 0'23.158
7. Max Neukirchner Suzuki GER 0'23.311
8. Fonsi Nieto Kawasaki ESP 0'24.147
9. Jakub Smrz Ducati CZE 0'29.660
10. Regis Laconi Kawasaki FRA 0'32.301
11. Yukio Kagayama Suzuki JPN 0'32.389
12. Shinichi Nakatomi Yamaha JPN 0'39.091
13. Joshua Brookes Honda AUS 0'39.128
14. Luca Morelli Ducati ITA -1 Laps
15. Marek Svoboda Yamaha CZE -1 Laps

Best Lap - Troy Bayliss 1'39.906

WSB Rider Standings 29/04/2007
1. James Toseland Honda GBR 196
2. Max Biaggi Suzuki ITA 164
3. Noriyuki Haga Yamaha JPN 144
4. Troy Bayliss Ducati AUS 128
5. Troy Corser Yamaha AUS 114
6. Ruben Xaus Ducati ESP 99
7. Lorenzo Lanzi Ducati ITA 98
8. Max Neukirchner Suzuki GER 70
9. Roberto Rolfo Honda ITA 64
10. Michel Fabrizio Honda ITA 47
11. Fonsi Nieto Kawasaki ESP 46
12. Regis Laconi Kawasaki FRA 43
13. Yukio Kagayama Suzuki JPN 41
14. Jakub Smrz Ducati CZE 37
15. Joshua Brookes Honda AUS 35
16. Shinichi Nakatomi Yamaha JPN 19

WSB Manufacturer Standings 29/04/2007
1. Honda 205
2. Ducati 173
3. Yamaha 167
4. Suzuki 164
5. Kawasaki 69

World Supersport

Everything was looking positive today for the Yamaha World Supersport Team when on the penultimate lap Parkes crashed out while in second, dashing the teams hopes of a podium finish. Up until that point the young Australian had been having a great race and was looking very strong. With Parkes crashed out it was left up to Steve Martin to grab six points for the team's championship cause.

Broc got a good start from third and found himself in a race-long battle at the front between Sofuoglu, Pitt, Foret and Charpentier. A fierce fight with Charpentier on lap eight saw Parkes challenging for third position with the riders swapping places every turn but he was unable to maintain the pace and moved back to fifth place when Foret overtook. He settled in fifth for the middle part of the race waiting for the last few laps before making a charge on lap 17. It was on lap 20 that Parkes lost the front going into the left-hand bend of Strubben corner and crashed out.

Martin had an unlucky start off the line from sixth place and went down to 14th. He then spent the remainder of the race trying to make up places and succeeded in overtaking to tenth place. This was a good achievement considering the rider had only had three hours on the bike since being taken on as a replacement rider for Kevin Curtain last week. After Parkes' crash Sofuoglu went on to win the race with Pitt behind in second and Foret in third.

Roccoli had a disappointing result today after a very good weekend of practice and qualifying. Having qualified fifth the rider then struggled in the race due to a wrong tyre choice and had to settle for the points rather than the race win. He finished in 14th.

Having come to Assen fifth in the championship Parkes goes into the sixth round in two weeks in ninth place with 27 points and everything to work for. Yamaha also had a very good result today in the FIM Superstock 600 Cup with eight R6-shod riders finishing in the top ten.

Steve Martin : "I got a very bad start and just couldn't come back from there. I got stuck in a group and didn't feel I had enough rear grip to really push it or brake hard. I wanted to be more aggressive but there wasn't much I could do. If I had to do that race again I would try and get more rear grip - that was the only problem on an otherwise good bike and set up. The team has been really good to work with all weekend, I'm sorry I couldn't re-pay their efforts with a higher end result."

Broc Parkes : "I got away okay at the start and found myself in a big battle with the front runners. Some of the Honda guys in that group were very committed and I was just trying to avoid being taken out. I did my best to conserve my tyres and then make a late charge at the end. The problem was I wasn't confident in the front brakes and I lost the front as I started to push harder. I'm gutted to crash out of second place."

2007 WSS Assen 29/04/2007
WSS Race 1 - 21 Laps
1. Kenan Sofuoglu Honda TUR 36'4.418
2. Andrew Pitt Honda AUS 0'4.043
3. Fabien Foret Kawasaki FRA 0'5.479
4. Barry Veneman Suzuki NED 0'8.140
5. David Salom Yamaha ESP 0'8.900
6. Sebastien Charpentier Honda FRA 0'11.090
7. David Checa Yamaha ESP 0'14.847
8. Vesa Kallio Suzuki FIN 0'19.545
9. Davide Giugliano Kawasaki ITA 0'19.880
10. Steve Martin Yamaha AUS 0'20.084
11. Lorenzo Alfonsi Honda ITA 0'21.940
12. Pere Riba Kawasaki ESP 0'26.792
13. Simone Sanna Honda ITA 0'36.477
14. Massimo Roccoli Yamaha ITA 0'37.156
15. Arie Vos Honda NED 0'39.459
18. Gianluca Vizziello Yamaha ITA 0'41.140

Best Lap - Kenan Sofuoglu 1'42.096

WSS Rider Standings 29/04/2007
1. Kenan Sofuoglu Honda TUR 120
2. Fabien Foret Kawasaki FRA 67
3. Katsuaki Fujiwara Honda JPN 43
4. Andrew Pitt Honda AUS 40
5. Robbin Harms Honda DNK 39
6. Barry Veneman Suzuki NED 30
7. Gianluca Nannelli Ducati ITA 30
8. Massimo Roccoli Yamaha ITA 28
9. Broc Parkes Yamaha AUS 27
10. Pere Riba Kawasaki ESP 26
11. Craig Jones Honda GBR 25
12. Kevin Curtain Yamaha AUS 25
13. David Salom Yamaha ESP 24
14. Sebastien Charpentier Honda FRA 23
15. Vesa Kallio Suzuki FIN 21
17. David Checa Yamaha ESP 18
21. Gianluca Vizziello Yamaha ITA 10
22. Sebastien Gimbert Yamaha FRA 9

WSS Manufacturer Standings 29/04/2007
1. Honda 120
2. Kawasaki 77
3. Yamaha 66
4. Suzuki 37
5. Ducati 30

FIM Superstock 1000 Cup

Yamaha dominated the podium in today's third round of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup with the rookie rider Pirro taking his first win on the R1. Team mate Corti finished second and TTSL-MGM rider van Keymeulen took third to round up an excellent day for the three diapason manufacturer.

The three Yamaha riders, all using the new 2007 R1, had already taken the top three qualifying slots in yesterday's qualifying session with Corti in pole, van Keymeulen second and Pirro third. Belgian rider van Keymeulen got a good race start to take the lead but was quickly overtaken by Pirro by lap three. Corti rounded up the front group. New to the Yamaha Team Italia squad this season, Pirro came to Assen keen to show that his second place at Valencia was no fluke and he proved this by setting the fastest lap twice by lap five before van Keymeulen responded to knock over two seconds off the lap record.

By lap 11 the three Yamaha-shod riders had left the rest of the pack nine seconds behind and on lap 12 Corti took the opportunity to pass van Keymeulen before sizing up and passing his team mate for the race lead on the penultimate corner of the last lap. Corti took the race win but was subsequently penalized 0.3 seconds for overtaking van Keymeulen under a waved yellow flag. This penalty pushed Corti back into second, providing Pirro with his first win for Yamaha Team Italia in his first season on the YZF-R1.

Matteo Baiocco, riding an R1 for the Umbria Bike Team, had an excellent weekend finishing in fifth.

Pirro's win today means he leaps from sixth in the championship to second with 45 points where he is just six points behind Canepa. Corti lies in third, also on 45 points with Baiocco in fifth and van Keymeulen in seventh. Van Keymeulen's finish is a good result considering the rider came to Assen with injuries sustained at the Le Mans 24hr race last week.

Yamaha now leads the championship with 65 points to Ducati who are on 51 points. The next round of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup is in two weeks at Monza, Italy.

Michele Pirro,/b> : "I am very happy. I think that my victory is my rightfully mine because I stayed in front for virtually the whole race. I lost the lead on the last lap because the back marker Corti and I were overtaking didn't respect the signals. I am sorry for Claudio for the penalty but those are the rules."

Claudio Corti : "I didn't see the yellow flag. I am very angry because to win was very important for me. The positive things are that I am now very near the top of the leader board and I am now in a position to challenge for the title."

Didier van Keymeulen : "At Le Mans I burnt my foot badly because the exhaust made contact with the foot peg which got hot and burnt through my boot. I also have very sore arms because of the length of time I was riding for. I had five injections for the pain in my arms today which helped. In the race I was able to keep up well with the other riders but I started to lose control of the front from lap six onwards. I had to back off, which is when Pirro and Corti passed me. I know I can compete with both these riders but I felt it was wiser to finish on the podium today than to risk not finishing at all."

2007 Superstock Assen 29/04/2007
Race 1 - 13 Laps
1. Michele Pirro Yamaha ITA 22'27.536
2. Claudio Corti Yamaha ITA 0'0.920
3. Didier Van Keymeulen Yamaha BEL 0'0.513
4. Ilario Dionisi Suzuki ITA 0'9.257
5. Matteo Baiocco Yamaha ITA 0'13.319
6. Nicolo Canepa Ducati ITA 0'14.996
7. Brendan Roberts Ducati AUS 0'15.569
8. Xavier Simeon Suzuki BEL 0'15.796
9. Matej Smrz Honda CZE 0'19.816
10. Danilo Dell'omo MV Agusta ITA 0'20.396
11. Raymond Schouten Yamaha NED 0'27.508
12. Ronald ter Braake Kawasaki NED 0'28.404
13. Rene Mahr Yamaha GER 0'30.659
14. Cederic Tangre Yamaha FRA 0'30.863
15. Marko Rohtlaan Honda EST 0'35.346

Best Lap - Didier Van Keymeulen 1'42.548

Rider Standings 29/04/2007
1. Nicolo Canepa Ducati ITA 51
2. Michele Pirro Yamaha ITA 45
3. Claudio Corti Yamaha ITA 45
4. Mark Aitchison Suzuki AUS 38
5. Matteo Baiocco Yamaha ITA 35
6. Ilario Dionisi Suzuki ITA 34
7. Didier Van Keymeulen Yamaha BEL 32
8. Xavier Simeon Suzuki BEL 27
9. Rene Mahr Yamaha GER 18
10. Matej Smrz Honda CZE 15
11. Cederic Tangre Yamaha FRA 11
12. Marko Jerman Suzuki SVK 11
13. Sheridan Morais Ducati RSA 10
14. Arne Tode Honda GER 9
15. Brendan Roberts Ducati AUS 9

Manufacturer Standings 29/04/2007
1. Yamaha 65
2. Suzuki 51
3. Ducati 51
4. Honda 23
5. MV Agusta 10
6. Kawasaki 4

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