2011 WSBK Miller Post Race Press Release Roundup

The press releases from the World Superbike teams after the races at Miller Motorsports Park on Monday:


Salt Lake City – Races.
Monday, 30 May 2011.
Weather conditions: Cloudy with sunny spells.
Temperature: Air: 13 – 14 °C, Track: 20 – 24 °C

It has been a disappointing weekend for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport in the fifth race weekend of the FIM Superbike World Championship in the United States: Finishing the first race in Utah eighth, Leon Haslam (GBR) managed to achieve the best result for the team. In the second race Leon came in 13th. His team mate Troy Corser (AUS) was 13th in race 1, whereas in the second race he crashed. Leon leaves Salt Lake City fifth in the riders' championship (95 points), while Troy lies 14th (49 points). In the manufacturers' standings BMW is still fourth with 117 points.

In race 1, Troy made an incredible start from sixth and passed the top five riders on the way to the first corner. He was able to defend his position for the first five laps, but then faced serious tyre wear. After setting the second fastest lap of the race on lap four, his lap times dropped, and Troy only finished the race 13th. Leon fought his way from 12th up to sixth, but had to conquer issues with his traction control during the race. He finished eighth.

In the second race Troy crashed on lap three when he touched the kerb of "First Attitude" corner with his engine casing. He could not finish the race. Leon finished 13th.

Leon Haslam:

Result Race 1: 8th, Gap to 1st: 00:22.267 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:50.986 min

Result Race 2: 13th, Gap to 1st: 00:37.455 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:50.596 min

"This was a race weekend to forget. We have identified some issues, and we have to solve these. I am confident the entire team will work hard to take us further up the order soon. We need to go away from here and regroup if we want to be strong for the next races. We must now look to move forward with the bike."

Troy Corser:

Result Race 1: 13th, Gap to 1st: 00:36.573 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:49.926 min

Result Race 2: DNF

"We are disappointed with the way the weekend has ended. I felt like we had a good setup for both the wet and dry conditions, and I was really confident going into today's races. In race one I got away well and led the early laps. The bike felt good for the first five to six laps. Then the grip from the rear tyre became a real issue. I don't know why it happened, so we need to have a look at the data and see. In race two I decided to take it a bit easier in the early laps to save the tyres, but I began to lose too many positions. So I then started to push and clipped the kerb with my engine casing and lost the front – crashing out of the race. On the whole it was a difficult weekend and one we need to analyse in more detail."

Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):

"This was a very disappointing weekend. We cannot be satisfied with results like these. We ended up way behind our own expectations. We now have to analyse the reasons for our weak performance. We have to and we will work hard to perform better soon."


PERFECT WEEKEND FOR CHECA AND THE ALTHEA RACING TEAM AT MILLER WITH A DOUBLE WIN AND TWO FAST LAPS

Salt Lake City (USA), Monday 30th May 2011: Carlos Checa and the Althea Racing team scored a perfect double win as well as two fastest laps at the Miller Motorsports Park this afternoon, taking home a "full house" of 50 points which added to Checa's tally giving him a 61 point advantage over the rider who places second in the general standings.

Very cloudy but mostly dry conditions for the two World Superbike races today at Miller Motorsports Park. In Race 1, starting from pole position for the fourth time this season, Carlos Checa lost a couple of positions through the first corners, finding himself in fourth at the end of the first lap. Beginning to build up a good rhythm, the Spanish rider was able to pass first Guintoli and then Haga and Corser, to take the lead on the fifth lap. Pushing hard so as to build on his advantage, lap seven brought him his fastest lap time of the race. Carlos continued to work to manage what remained of the race, passing the chequered flag in first place with a 2.766 second advantage ahead of Smrz and Guintoli, also on board Ducati 1198 machines. Checa received the Pirelli best lap award for his lap 7 performance.

In the second race of the day, Althea flagbearer Checa got away like a rocket, with a one second advantage over the rest of the field after just one lap! In the first stages he continued to improve on his times as each lap passed, recording the fastest lap of the race on lap 4 (and thus taking his second Pirelli best lap award of the day). None of his rivals could touch him today and he continued to build on his lead until the very end, crossing the line with an impressive 7.1 second advantage over Camier who closed second. A perfect weekend for Checa and the Althea Racing team, having secured pole, two fast laps and two race wins.

At the end of the fifth round of the World Superbike championship Carlos has reinforced his position at the top of the leaderboard, holding 195 points to the 134 points of Melandri in second position. Ducati continues to lead the manufacturer's championship with 202 points.

Carlos Checa:

"Two amazing wins today, especially after what happened to us here last year. In Race 1 I rode cautiously during the first laps as the conditions were a little mixed but after a while I found good feeling with my bike and was really able to push. The bike really behaved well despite the slightly strange conditions. I was able to pass those ahead of me, though it wasn't easy, and then I tried hard to build an advantage. In the final stages I stayed calm, controlled the margin and I did it! It was really funny because as I was returning to parc ferme', I saw some fans who wanted to give me a flag so I went "offroad" to get it only to find thick mud which caused me to crash – the happiest crash of my life I would say! The feeling that I had with the bike improved for race 2 and I could really enjoy the race. A wonderful day, especially for my team and for Ducati. I want to thank everybody, my team, Ducati and the sponsors. This was not only a double victory but a moral victory."

Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager di Althea Racing:

"I can finally admit to being satisfied. This event in America seemed prohibitive to us after last year's troubles and also bearing in mind the issues that occurred during Saturday and Sunday and again in this morning's warm-up. Anyway, we have made up for those things in every way this afternoon. Two perfect races that demonstrated both my team's strength and Carlos' maturity. We return home happy and with an important lead over our rivals, but we will continue to work in the knowledge that we need to take one race at a time. I dedicate these wins to our sponsors and particularly UNIBAT that has continued to believe in our project. Thanks too to Ducati for the great material provided and I hope that this can encourage them to continue to believe in this team and its wonderful components."


REA SCORES POINTS AFTER MILLER PROVES A CHALLENGE AGAIN

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) was the only Honda rider to leave Miller Motorsports Park in the points after finishing race two in 11th place and he is now sixth in the championship itself, only one point behind fifth. Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) had one DNF and an 18th place after another fall and is now 16th overall.

Both Miller races were won by Carlos Checa (Ducati) and the championship leader extended his advantage over his closest challengers Marco Melandri (Yamaha) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia) to 61 and 62 points respectively.

Finding a set-up of the Miller circuit was difficult as the first day was dry, the second day and superpole wet and changeable, then race day was dry again. Jonathan had been 13th in superpole, Xaus 14th. This was despite the best efforts of the Castrol Honda team who tested at the Miller Motorsport facility earlier in the week, after having designated this circuit as their test track in an attempt to reverse the poor fortunes they suffered here last year.

In race one each Castrol Honda rider fell, Rea after a clash with Max Biaggi (Aprilia), whom Jonathan felt had moved across him as he passed up the inside of the reigning World champion into turn 12 on the opening lap. Ruben had a similar experience at turn one on lap four, as he clashed with Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki). Ruben put it down to a racing accident as a result of his own eagerness to get past his rival.

Race two had Rea fighting for a top ten throughout, only losing out after a final corner challenge on Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) that did not quite come off. Xaus fell on lap three, but remounted to finish 18th and out of the points.

Both riders will now look ahead to the next round in Italy in two weeks time, and will hope that the return to Europe will bring better fortunes as the series moves towards the mid point in its thirteen stop tour. The trip to the USA marked the second and final fly-away event of the 2011 championship.

Honda rider comments:

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda)

Race result: DNF /11th Championship position: 6th

"I made a great first lap in race one before the crash, but basically the easiest way to explain the fall was that I was far enough though on the inside for Biaggi to just give up position, but he insisted on coming back and throwing the bike on top of me. In the end I had to pick up and hit him right on the middle of his bike. I was definitely far enough through to justify him noticing I was there. It was frustrating. In race two we just didn't have the pace we needed and I was making lunges to pass other riders. I was unhappy to be outside the top ten so I was doing anything I could to pass Tom Sykes at the end. It was just a struggle on race day despite everybody's hard work. Surely there will be tracks that suit us better."

Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda)

Race result: DNF / 18th Championship position: 16th

"In race one I braked the same as normal, but my normal is ten metres later than Michel's normal. I thought he would turn in like normal, but he closed in, like you need to do to cover the position, then I fell. It was a shame because I hit a competitor, a friend of mine, but that is racing. In race two I just touched my engine on the high kerbstone and crashed. I had a great start and the mechanics had made some changes so the bike was working well. I felt good, passing people and I just needed to keep going on my own way to the top ten, until I touched the kerb."


Sykes Takes Top Six Finish In Opening Race

WSBK, Salt Lake City, USA, 31 May 2011

Tom Sykes moved from the third row to sixth place in race one at Miller, on a day when great progress was made between race one and race two by his fellow Kawasaki rider Joan Lascorz.

In race one Sykes followed through on some strong form from the first dry qualifying session on Saturday, taking sixth in the 21-lap race, despite making a less than ideal start. He had been tenth on the grid, but dropped to 12th on lap two as he got stuck behind slower riders for a time. He recovered with determination and a cool head and was rewarded with his best finish of the year so far.

Lascorz rode manfully in race one from a starting position of 17th to claim points for 14th place, but on far from optimum machine settings he prematurely wore out his rear tyre and lost significant pace from mid-race distance onwards. He hung on to score two points.

In the second race Sykes was unlucky to get boxed in after a much better start off the line and thus had to battle to take tenth place and some more very welcome points. Lascorz was in much better shape in race two than he had been in the opener and finished 12th, with a best single lap time more than a second faster than in race one. Tom is now 13th in the championship, on 50 points, Joan is 15th, on 39.

Pedercini Team Kawasaki Superbike riders Mark Aitchison and Roby Rolfo were just out of the points in race one, and again in race two, after not finding the set-up they need to challenge at this difficult and very high altitude circuit.

Tom Sykes: "Sixth in race one was a positive result, a real improvement on last year's efforts here. We were strong at the end of the race and set my best lap time three laps from the end, so that has certainly broken the mould. We came through from the third row and a bad start and got into the top six. In the second race we did not make any real set-up changes as we were keen not to do anything too drastic this weekend. Overall I had a lot better launch in race two but there were guys battling to the right of me, then Camier made a good strong move and unfortunately I got boxed in on turn one. The whole race was faster than race one but unfortunately I ended up in a bit of a dice with Jonathan Rea and that allowed Ayrton Badovini to catch and pass me. I am confident we can go away and make more progress and I really want to thank all the team and Kawasaki. We worked together even tighter as a team and that showed through the weekend."

Joan Lascorz: "I think I just needed to understand the bike a bit better to make the most of its potential. The second race set-up was better. I used the same rear tyre in each race but different front tyres to make different settings and race two was much better. In the first race we destroyed the rear tyre and in the middle of the race my laps were in the 1'55s. In race two they were in the 1'50s - five seconds per lap faster! I think if it had all went well and if I had a good grid position and made good starts we could have been inside the middle of the top ten, maybe."


Double, no trouble takes Checa clear of the chasing pack

Miller Motorsports Park (USA), Monday 30 May 2011 – On the American Memorial Day holiday 48,00 enthusiastic fans were treated to a double win from a rider who was robbed of a double last year by simple bad luck, Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati). The Spaniard, who entered this event as championship leader, had a dose of good luck this time as his two main rivals had difficult raceday experiences. Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike) was tenth and then sixth, while Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) crashed out of race one after colliding with Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda). Reigning champion Biaggi recovered good ground in race two, taking third place.

The podium in race one was a Ducati whitewash, with privateer Jakub Smrz and Sylvain Guintoli securing second and third respectively. Biaggi's team-mate Leon Camier beat him to second in race two, the tall Englishman taking his second podium of the season. Fourth place in the championship is now held by Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike) with his fifth and fourth place finishes in today's races lifting him above both Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Rea.

Behind the podium places, Camier, Laverty and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) pushed their way into top six finishing positions in race one. In the second 21-lap contest Laverty, Fabrizio and Melandri took fourth to sixth places. Haslam and his team-mate Troy Corser had difficult weekends all in, with the Brit struggling with some aspects of machine set-up on the dry track surfaces on raceday, while the Australian started each race well, dropped to 13th in race one and then suffered a crash in race two. Flying the BMW colours highest this weekend was Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike) who was seventh and ninth.

In the overall championship standings, Checa has 195, Melandri 134, Biaggi 133, Laverty 109, Haslam 95, Rea 94 and Camier 91.

Next year's USA Utah Round of the FIM Superbike World Championship will be held on Monday 28 May 2012, on the occasion of Memorial Day.

Race 1

Checa won the first race of the day, a clean sweep for Ducati in the 21-lap contest on a dry track. Smrz and Guintoli filled the remaining podium places, in second and third respectively, with Camier recovering from a mid-race hiccup to take fourth place away from Laverty. Sykes made a great final push to take sixth on his Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike machine, while satellite rider Badovini held off the challenge from Haslam to finish seventh.

Carlos Checa: "It was a good race, at the beginning I took things easy because of the track conditions. We didn't know if we made the right choice for the feeling, but we managed to adapt, the feeling came lap after lap and I was able to overtake the riders in front. It was a race I was able to control, and my rivals didn't have the conditions I had so racing is like that."

Jakub Smrz: "I'm really happy for me and the team because all weekend we did a great job. We had some small problems which we solved in the warm-up, that's why I was not confident in the beginning of the race but we actually had a good pace. Then at the end my quickshifter wasn't working so it was even more difficult, but I made second place and a big thanks to all the team."

Sylvain Guintoli: "It's been a tough season so far after the bad crash in Australia and all my health problems, so for me it's such a great feeling today, because this is my first podium since I arrived in Superbike. I didn't have a great start, it was mad, everyone was taking risks, but I had a great fight with both Laverty and Smrz and it was a great race."

Results: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 38'46.915 (159,425 kph); 2. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 2.766; 3. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 4.093; 4. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 8.885; 5. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 15.718; 6. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 20.477; 7. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 22.170; 8. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 22.267; 9. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 24.087; 10. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 27.150; etc.

Race 2

Checa took his second win of the day and his sixth of the year when he was victorious in race two, leading home Camier and Biaggi with some degree of ease. Fourth place went to Laverty, with Michel Fabrizio making a fine return from a race one fall to record fifth for Suzuki Alstare. Melandri had an eventually lonely run to sixth. Guintoli, Smrz, Badovini and Sykes rounded out the top ten, with star names Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser not making the end of the race.

Carlos Checa: "It's a fantastic feeling to get this result, especially after last year. We did a great job, we knew we had a chance but you just never know. I don't know what is special about this place for me, I just feel really good here ever since I first did the double. I actually like left-side tracks and probably it's my riding style as well, altogether a combination of things make me strong and help me win here."

Leon Camier: "I had to find something really special to get near both my team-mate and Carlos. It's awesome for me, I really love this track, it was good to me last year as well. I had a bit of bad luck yesterday with a crash. It wasn't so bad in the race because I had an injection before to numb everything, and it definitely worked! We've had some really bad luck recently, but now it's good to be on the podium for myself and Aprilia, they deserve it."

Max Biaggi: "I can say that the second race was much better than the first today, when I had a crash with Rea and was a little bit unconscious for a while! In race 2 I started worse than race 1, caught the guys in front, couldn't go faster than third place, but I'm quite happy with that. I really regret race 1 because a podium for me was easy, but that's racing. Today is today and tomorrow is another day!"

Results: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 38'22.082 (161,145 kph); 2. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 7.194; 3. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 8.734; 4. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 14.214; 5. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 14.750; 6. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 21.634; 7. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 24.079; 8. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 25.688; 9. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 29.621; 10. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 30.681; etc.

Points (after 5 of 13 rounds): 1. Checa 195; 2. Melandri 134; 3. Biaggi 133; 4. Laverty 109; 5. Haslam 95; 6. Rea 94; 7. Camier 91; 8. Fabrizio 85; 9. Smrz 83; 10. Guintoli 54; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 202; 2. Aprilia 172; 3. Yamaha 171; 4. BMW 117; 5. Honda 98; 6. Suzuki 89; 7. Kawasaki 69.

Official Tyre Supplier

"Just a few dry practice sessions on Saturday gave WSBK teams a limited possibility to set up their machines, since Sunday qualifying saw a constant downpour of rain. Hard-compound SCR2 Diablo Rain tyres were supplied in order to guarantee excellent performance on this wet abrasive track and to keep riders' confidence in such difficult conditions, considering the need for numerous changes in traction control settings. As always, Pirelli was prepared with full-rain, intermediate and Diablo Superbike slicks, a total of 1500 tyres for this USA Round. Superpole's variable conditions left two Ducatis and two Yamahas on the front row for race day. Cold temperatures overnight made for a cold but drying track for morning warm-up, but the cloud break showed promise. Even with 3 front and 3 rear solutions (SC1, SC2) available for dry racing, including last year's race-wining tyres, 20°C on the asphalt and uncertain bike settings moved all riders to the SC1 mid-soft Diablo Superbike rear tyres for Race 1, the most performing choice for colder conditions. Still, some riders pushed too hard at the race start and caused increased tyre wear, accelerated also by various wet spots on the track. It was pole sitter and Best Lap winner Carlos Checa (Ducati) who used his Diablo Superbike SC1 tyres to lap consistently in the 1'49 and 1'50s, finally earning a 2,7 second win over Ducati riders Smrz and Guintoli, the latter his first podium of the season. Race 2 brought only one tyre change by Lascorz (Kawasaki) who switched to the A front, although many discussed changes with the sun out and a warming track. Aprilia riders Camier and Biaggi came back to fight in Race 2 for a 2nd and 3rd place finish, but double-winner Checa (Ducati) set the Best Lap of 1'48.827 and repeated his excellent results of three years ago at Miller Motorsports Park. Biaggi was preceded by Laverty (Yamaha) and Fabrizio (Suzuki) to make 4 manufacturers in the top five." - Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director, Pirelli Moto

Pirelli BEST LAP Awards:

SBK Race 1 – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing), 1'49.779 (Lap 7)
SBK Race 2 – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing), 1'48.827 (Lap 4)

Total BEST LAP (SBK): Biaggi M. (Aprilia Alitalia Racing): 3, Checa C. (Althea Racing): 3, Haga N. (PATA Racing Team Aprilia): 1, Sykes T. (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike): 1, Camier L. (Aprilia Alitalia Racing): 1, Fabrizio M. (Team Suzuki Alstare): 1


FABRIZIO FIGHTS TO 5TH AT MILLER WSB

Team Suzuki Press Office - May 31.

Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio defied the pain barrier to take fifth place in race two at the World Superbike fifth round at Miller Motorsports Park in America.

The young Italian had been taken out in race one after being hit by Ruben Xaus and suffered heavy bruising to his left thigh and leg in the process. His performance in race two made a mockery of his discomfort as he fought through the field from 15th place on the grid and was catching fourth-placed Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) but ran out of laps and ended less than half a second behind at the flag.

Spaniard Carlos Checa (Ducati) continued his dominance of the weekend by taking both victories: In race one he was joined on the podium with fellow Ducati riders Jakub Smrz and Sylvain Guintoli. In race two, it was the Aprilia pairing of Leon Camier and Max Biaggi who occupied the lower steps of the podium.

Michel Fabrizio - Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 5th:

"I am angry because today could've been much better for us. I couldn't do anything about the crash in the first race because I didn't know what was going on until I felt a thump. The impact made me fly through the air and I landed very heavily on my left side. Ruben Xaus had got in a bit too hot and just hit me and that was that. Afterwards he came into our garage and apologised.

"The team repaired the bike and I used it in race two. I didn't take any painkillers before the second race because I wanted the pain to transform into positive energy. I didn't make a particularly good start and had a lot of work to do in the opening laps. Bit by bit, I moved up through the field and by lap 11 I was in fifth place, but a long behind Laverty. I kept forcing the pace and managed to catch him. I knew I was turning in faster laps than him and was confident that I could pass him on the next lap. Unfortunately I ran out of laps, but if there had been one lap more, I am sure I would've passed him and taken fourth. So I am happy to get fifth from 15th on the grid, but a little angry because one lap more and I would've got fourth."


Checa Does the World Superbike Double Again

Young Pips Hayes for AMA Superbike Victory

TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 30, 2011) — Carlos Checa accomplished what he set out to do at Miller Motorsports Park on Monday, winning both FIM Superbike World Championship races headlining The BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil.

Checa, who won both rounds here in 2008 and was leading both races last year before dropping out with mechanical issues, redeemed himself with a pair of dominant performances under sunny skies framed by unseasonably snow-capped mountains.

In the first race, Checa started from the pole position on his No. 7 Althea Ducati 1098R and fell back at the start, but worked his way to the front of the field on lap 6 and was never headed as he posted a 2.766-second margin of victory over Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing teammates Jakub Smrz (No. 96 Ducati) and Sylvain Guintoli (No. 50 Ducati). Aprilia's Leon Camier, Yamaha's Eugene Laverty and Kawasaki's Tom Sykes completed the top five. Defending Superbike World Champion Max Biaggi, who won both races here last year after Checa's unfortunate mechanical woes, dropped out of the race on Lap 4 after his No. 1 Alitalia Aprilia collided with the No. 4 Castrol Honda of Jonathan Rea.

In the second race, Checa got the holeshot at the start and checked out, coming home 7.194 seconds ahead of Camier with Biaggi another 1.6 seconds in arrears. Laverty, Suzuki's Michel Fabrizio and Laverty's teammate Marco Melandri completed the top five.

"It's a fantastic feeling to get this result," Checa said, "especially after last year. We did a great job; we knew we had a chance, but you just never know. I don't know what is special about this place for me, I just feel really good here ever since I first did the double. I actually like left-side tracks and probably it's my riding style as well; altogether, a combination of things make me strong and help me win here."

It was announced during the day that the FIM Superbike World Championship will return to Miller Motorsports Park over Memorial Day weekend in 2012, May 26-28.

In the AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship race, Blake Young emerged victorious in a race-long battle with defending series champion Josh Hayes to claim his third win of the year. Young, riding the No. 79 Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000, put a decisive last-lap pass on Hayes after a back-and-forth battle to claim victory by 0.757 second over Hayes' No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1. Young's teammate, Tommy Hayden, shadowed the lead pair to the checkered flag, taking the final podium spot just .059 second behind Hayes. Roger Hayden (No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki) and Steve Rapp (No. 15 San Diego BMW S1000RR) completed the top five.

"For the beginning of the race I just tried to settle into a comfortable pace and just really try to hit my marks," said Young," and just for some reason I found myself not being able to do that. When I'd allow myself to get comfortable, Josh would get a gap that was a little bit more than that I was comfortable with him having, so I'd have to run it back down and settle back into my pace again, and it just didn't seem like that was the way to win the race. So I made the decision that I was just going to put my head down from there, and halfway through, I just tried as hard as I could to the checkers and left it all on the track. I'm pretty comfortable racing with either one of these guys handlebar-to-handlebar like that, because they know what they're doing there out there. And I'm glad I did that; I think it was great racing, I had a great time racing out there, and it was hopefully a good show for the fans."

Steve Rapp, riding the No. 5 Parts Unlimited Harley-Davidson XR1200, won the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 championship race in the series' first visit to Utah, crossing the finish line just 0.975 second ahead of defending series champion Danny Eslick's No. 1 RMR Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing entry. Chris Fillmore, polesitter Michael Barnes and Michael Beck rounded out the top five.

The next major event at Miller Motorsports Park will take place on June 25-26, when the Lucas Oil Off Road Series makes its second visit to Utah. The series will compete on a brand-new high-speed off-road course constructed on the west side of the facility adjacent to the existing rock-crawling course. Also part of the weekend will be the third annual CruiserFest, a gathering for Toyota Land Cruiser enthusiasts.

For information regarding Miller Motorsports Park, visit the track's website at www.MillerMotorsportsPark.com.


Tough Miller time for Castrol Honda

The Castrol Honda team leaves Miller Motorsports Park in the USA tonight without much to celebrate from this weekend's two fifth round World Superbike championship races.

Jonathan Rea took an eleventh place finish in race two after being forced out of the reckoning in the first outing, while his team-mate Ruben Xaus crashed out of both encounters, remounting to finish 18th in race two. Both races were won by Spain's Carlos Checa.

Difficult qualifying sessions yesterday left both Castrol Honda riders starting the two 21-lap races at the 4.907km Miller circuit near Salt Lake City from the fourth row of the grid. Despite a promising start to the first outing, Rea was not able to finish the first lap, while Xaus went out on lap three.

In race two, another good start saw Rea battling for a top six placing before dropping back down the field, visibly suffering from corner entry problems. On the third lap, Xaus hit the rumble strip with his engine casing at turn eight, before remounting to bring his CBR1000RR Fireblade home in 18th place.

Jonathan Rea – DNF and 11th

Frustrating is a word we've been using a lot this weekend but it's a bit too generalised really. We just haven't had a package that we could compete with this weekend and it was all I could do to finish where I did in race two. Obviously, the day wasn't helped by not coming home with 21 laps of data from race one. On the first lap of that one, I was the victim of a very intimidating attempt at a pass that went wrong and we both fell down. As much as I'm disappointed with the way things have gone this weekend, I really feel for the guys in the team who have worked so hard to get things working. We just haven't been able to find the sweet spot for the bike at this track and scoring four points from the weekend is just not good enough. We can't walk away from here with our heads held high and the only consolation is that I'm not going home wrapped up like a mummy like I did last year. Although everyone else has tested there, I hope we can start the weekend at Misano relatively close because I have some good memories from there two years ago, like I have from Miller. But not this weekend.

Ruben Xaus – DNF and 18th

I had a good start in both races and the bike felt much better than yesterday. I felt confident enough to make some passes on the brakes but we used the clutch from yesterday which was more free and OK in the rain. It got rid of a bit of chatter, but without so much engine braking in the dry there was nothing I could do to avoid coming into contact with Michel Fabrizio in race one. The team made some good changes and I was feeling good, but then in race two I just touched the rumble strip with the engine in the second part of the chicane and that was it. From 12.00 onwards today, we've had some bad luck but at least I was able to get the bike going again in race two and the lap times weren't so bad. Almost two DNFs is not good but sometimes racing goes that way and we have to look forward and be positive. We have made some progress here so I look forward to taking that to Misano in a couple of weeks.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

I am tempted to say "No comment", because there's not really much I can say, apart from the obvious fact that everyone is very disappointed from this weekend. The whole team has worked hard but we really didn't get to where we wanted after the test here last week. We have a lot of work to do looking through all the data to take something positive to Misano, but it will have be a very quick turnaround when the crates get back to the workshop.


Strong Performance in Miller for Yamaha World Superbike Team

Yamaha World Superbike riders Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri fought hard in difficult conditions in Miller Motorsports Park today, U.S. " Memorial Day" Monday, to take home well-earned points and with both riders now in the top four on the 2011 Championship standings. Variable weather conditions throughout the weekend did not render the infamously difficult and technically demanding American track any easier. Melandri tried his R1 machine in Miller for his first time ever on a dry track in Saturday's first qualifying, conditions that did not represent themselves until today's races. With Sunday's extremely wet weather the Italian was unable to improve various potential dry chassis set ups on the second qualifying day.

An eventful Race one saw several riders crash out of contention at the early stages. Laverty and Melandri got perfect initial starts off their front row places on the grid but unfortunately fell back several positions before entering the first corner. A shifting error on the long straight after the start saw Laverty falling to 15th place before entering the first curve. Impressive race craft was on display as the determined World Superbike Rookie put his head down, gradually closed in on contenders ahead, taking him up to fourth place by lap nine. The Irishman then took on Camier and Guintoli to sit in second place by mid race behind race leader and eventual winner Checa, until extreme tyre wear prevented him from continuing to perform to his full potential. Fighting hard Laverty relentlessly surrendered his podium and crossed the chequered flag in fifth place, just behind Camier in fourth. Melandri was subject to a difficult race one losing three places in early stages of the race, bumping him to seventh. The Italian fought hard to re-claim positions but suffering from tyre wear he completed the race in tenth place. Race two proved to be equally challenging for the Yamaha World Superbike riders. An ideal start allowed both riders to maintain their third and fourth grid positions. Laverty demonstrated to be a skillful rider yet again, pacing himself throughout the race to prevent tyre wear and eventually crossed the line in fourth place in a race won by Checa again. Melandri struggled to keep his initial position and fell back to sixth place by mid race. Fighting off advances from Guintoli and Smrz, the Italian completed the second race in sixth place.

The Yamaha World Superbike Team leaves Miller topping the Team standings with 243 points. Marco Melandri remains in second position in the 2011 Championship standings, 61 points behind Checa in the lead and one point ahead of Biaggi in third while his team-mate Eugene Laverty has jumped up to fourth place in the classification with 109 points. Both riders head to Misano on the 12th June intent on demonstrating yet again to be strong contenders for the championship title.

Marco Melandri

Yamaha World Superbike Team - 10th, 6th

"It was a very difficult day all round. In race one I got off to a good start but I touched Haga at the beginning and let several riders fly by. After a few laps I hit the kerb-stone with the engine cover and the bike leaked a bit of oil on the gearshifter so I had difficulty preventing my foot from slipping. Mid race I also had a problem with the rear tyre which seemed to move and it wasn't easy to keep the bike stable. Race two was another difficult race, the worst for me this year. I couldn't perform and prove my potential at any stage. I had set up issues from the very beginning especially on entering curves. I did my best to find a consistent race pace but it was impossible. This isn't the type of race I should be doing as this way you don't win championships."

Eugene Laverty

Yamaha World Superbike Team - 5th, 4th

"I managed to get a great start off the line in both races and maintain my starting position into the first curve. In race one I made a mistake changing the gears which caused me to drop back to 15th. I climbed up to second by mid race but then I began to suffer from extreme tyre wear. We improved the chassis setting before race two and I was a lot more cautious with the tyre. I was sitting in third place from early on but I didn't want to push too hard in on Max to ensure the tyres would last to the end. I'm quite happy having finished fifth and fourth in the two races and I'm now fourth in the standings, which I'm pleased with."

Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

"We expected Marco to have some difficulty this weekend due to the weather conditions and the fact that he was unfamiliar with the track. Having said this we hoped do better. Both riders had major problems with the tyres in race one as it seemed virtually all four cylinder bikes had. Fortunately in race two this was better perhaps due to slightly higher temperatures and less tyre spinning as a result of a cleaner track following the races earlier in the day. With Marco we lost too many points this weekend and cannot be satisfied. Eugene grit his teeth and would have been on the podium for sure had he not experienced tyre issues causing him to drop from second place to fifth in race one. He re-confirmed his quality and potential again in race two. Let's not forget that Eugene is still only a WSB Rookie and is performing extremely well. "


2011

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