Press release previews from the series organizer and teams ahead of the Jerez round of World Superbikes:
#JerezWorldSBK poised to crown a new Champion
Rea only needs a top 10 finish in Race 1 to clinch the title at the Pirelli Spanish Round.
Jonathan Rea is just six points away from the ultimate goal in WorldSBK: the eni FIM Superbike World Championship title of 2015.
Thanks to a truly dominant campaign on the Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R, number 65 requires only a single top ten finish to cement the achievement in the opening World Superbike race of the Pirelli Spanish Round this weekend.
The list of superlatives describing Rea’s 2015 campaign is becoming exhausted. The facts speak for themselves: 20 races, 20 podium finishes and 12 race wins. He has already become the first rider in history to have clinched 20 top three finishes in as many races from the start of a season and, should the rostrum run continue, he will beat Colin Edwards’ record of consecutive podium finishes in the first Qatar race.
Should Rea finish tenth or higher in Race 1 at Jerez (a highly likely possibility, considering the season so far) he will become the 17th different World Superbike Champion and the fifth different title winner in as many years. Fogarty, Hodgson, Toseland and Sykes may have gone before him as British World Champions, but all of them hailed from England; thus, Rea would be the first Northern Irish title winner.
Four-time 2015 race winner Chaz Davies is the only man who can prevent Rea from winning the title. Despite the Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team rider having finished on the podium in eight of the last ten races, collecting fourth place finishes in the other two, he continues to feel the affects of his costly low placings in Thailand and his double retirement of Imola. A colossal deficit of 144 points to Rea (with 150 on offer from the final three rounds in Spain, France and Qatar) means the only way Davies can prevent Rea from winning the title is by winning five of the remaining six races and finishing at least second in the other – and, all the while, hoping Rea fails to score each time. In fact, in the Sunday Paddock Show at Laguna Seca in July, Davies was already hailing Rea as the 2015 World Champion. This weekend Englishman Davies is partnered by Michele Pirro, who covers for the injured Davide Giugliano.
The fight for runner-up spot is far less clear-cut. Tom Sykes has finished in the top two of the World Championship for the last three years (including his title, which he won at Jerez in 2013) and he wants to make it four. Rea’s team-mate currently sits 13 points behind second-placed Davies, while Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils’ Leon Haslam may have suffered of late but remains in the fight for second, 36 points behind Sykes and 49 in arrears of target man Davies. Further back, Aprilia’s Jordi Torres will feel more confident of retaining a top five spot now that Giugliano is out of action, but must be wary of a potential late-season charge from soon-to-be outgoing World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team).
What of this weekend’s venue? This is the third consecutive year that Jerez de la Frontera is a permanent fixture on the modern-day calendar. However, this is the fourth time that WorldSBK visits the sunbaked southern Spanish destination, which debuted on the calendar in 1990; Frenchman Raymond Roche celebrated both of the race wins prior to clinching the title that season.
Away from motor racing, Andalucia is known for its vineyards (indeed, it was dubbed Wine Capital of the World in 2013), sherry production and popular ‘Feria de Jerez’ horse fair, while Moorish fortress the Alcazar de Jerez and the Cathedral of San Salvador are just two must-see items on the list for sight-seeing visitors. There is also flamenco dancing, although this may be less evident in the WorldSBK paddock…
Spain itself is the fourth largest country in Europe, with Andalucia being its most southerly region on the mainland. Three Spanish riders line up on the grid this weekend: Jordi Torres from Rubí, Catalunya (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), David Salom from Palma de Mallorca (Team Pedercini) and Roman Ramos from Santa María de Cayón in northern Cantabria (Team Go Eleven). This quantity of representatives matches the number of Spanish riders to have won World Superbike races: Carlos Checa (24 race wins), Ruben Xaus (11) and Fonsi Nieto (1). How sweet would it be to make it four at home this weekend?
Watch out also for Manufacturer joy. Kawasaki could clinch the title in Race 1, with the easiest method being to win the race with the top Ducati finishing fifth or lower. This would mark an historic first for the Japanese company; although Kawasaki has won Riders’ titles in the past (Scott Russell in 1993 and the aforementioned Sykes two decades later), it is yet to claim the Manufacturers’ crown. Should it do so, it would become the sixth different marque to wrap up a World Superbike Manufacturers’ title after Ducati, Honda, Aprilia, Suzuki and Yamaha.
Opening World Superbike practice for the Pirelli Spanish Round begins on Friday at 11:15am local time (GMT +2). Follow each session as it unfolds via the official Twitter account @WorldSBK.
2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship (10 of 13 rounds completed)
1 - Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team 452
2 - Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team 308 (-144)
3 - Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team 295 (-157)
4 - Leon Haslam Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils 259 (-193)
5 - Jordi Torres Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils 186 (-266)
Racing returns as Voltcom Crescent Suzuki heads to Jerez
The long summer break is finally over for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki as Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet return to Spain this week for the 11th round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship on Sunday 20th September.
The previous round concluded at the start of August with a dramatic race day at the Sepang International Circuit, as Lowes was forced to bear the brunt of Max Biaggi’s first corner crash in the second race – his swift avoidance relegating him to the back of the pack and ensuring a determined fightback of mammoth proportions to take an eighth place finish – but the British racer, who turned 25 on Monday, is looking forward to getting his season back on track at the Jerez Circuit. The scene of consistent strong running on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R during pre-season testing, Lowes is hoping the experience gained during July’s Suzuka 8Hour and Malaysia’s WSBK races will allow him to challenge the frontrunners in the Andalucían heat
De Puniet has raced at Jerez on 15 occasions during his MotoGP™ career, securing two 250cc podiums, and with two pre-season visits aboard his Suzuki GSX-R1000 already under his belt, the Frenchman is looking forward to returning to the Spanish track as the World Championship heads into its trio of concluding races.
The 4,423m circuit is situated just 10kms outside of Jerez de la Frontera, in Andalucía’s southwest province of Cadiz. The fast and flowing layout has provided intense battles throughout its 13 corners since its re-introduction to the World Superbike Championship in 2013, due to the combination of multi-speed turns and directional changes, and remains a firm favourite with the attending fans.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s campaign kicks off with the first of two free practice sessions at 11:15hrs local time (10:15BST) on Friday 18th September, with Sunday’s two 20-lap races scheduled for 10:30 and 13:10 (09:30 and 12:10BST).
“I can’t wait to get back on my GSX-R and ride again at Jerez. For me the summer break is too long, especially with the ban on testing, so I am eager to get to Spain and start building on the progress made over the last few races. We have been solid recently and I hope to keep improving for the rest of the year. I have three weekends to do the best I can possibly do, and that is what I’m aiming for now!
“The track at Jerez is one we get to ride a lot with all the testing that goes on there! I really enjoy the layout, it has some great sweeping corners and a couple of hard-braking areas. The faster corners are better for me and the Suzuki but I will be working harder on getting in and out of the slower corners this year to make us more competitive.”
Randy de Puniet:
“Jerez was my first chance to ride the Superbike last year, during the pre-season, and the test was good. We also tested there at the beginning of this year which was also interesting, even if the bike was using the different electronic system. I like the track and the tests went well so I’m confident, because the last two race weekends before the summer break were much better with the bike feeling, especially the engine brake. We still have some improvements to make with the traction and wheelie control, especially for Jerez where this will be important, but I’m hoping to start the weekend with the same feeling I have had over the past few races and to continue the improvements.
“I have raced at Jerez all through my GP career from 1999-2013, with some good podiums and results so I have some good memories there. I like the track, especially the first few corners, turn five before the back straight, and the final two right-handers are very fast so it is always a fun track to ride and I’m looking forward to it!
“During the break I have done a lot of training, so I’m confident and ready to race again, it has been too long without racing and I am excited to get back on the bike. The last three races will be important for me so I really want to do well and I’m confident we can have some good results.”
ALTHEA RACING PREVIEW: JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA
After the long summer break, all of the riders competing in the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship will be back on track this weekend for the eleventh round of the season at the Spanish circuit of Jerez de la Frontera.
The Andalusian track offers a good combination of corners, all differing in angle, length and speed and that, combined with the lack of long straights, highlight the riders’ talents, guaranteeing some spectacular racing all the way to the final lap.
Ideal conditions in which to set-up the bike and a reason why Jerez is often chosen as the location for private testing.
Team Althea rider Matteo Baiocco had chance to test the Ducati Panigale R during one such test at Jerez in November 2014, and even though weather conditions were unfavorable, Matteo nevertheless has some good references ahead of his first race at this thrilling Spanish circuit.
Niccolò Canepa is also keen to get back on his bike and continue the great work carried out together with his team at the last round of Sepang, in Malaysia. Niccolò aims to take further steps forward to be able to fight for the front positions with the Team Althea Ducati.
The riders in the Superstock 1000 have been on an extremely long break since the last round at Misano Adriatico three months ago. Raffaele De Rosa arrives in Andalusia ready to fight for his first win of the season, something he has just missed out on until now. He is therefore full of expectation for this race, the penultimate event of the Superstock championship. A different situation for Luca Salvadori who was unfortunately the victim of a crash during last week’s private tests at Jerez. He has serious abrasions to the lumbar region and back and we wish him a speedy recovery, while his participation in this weekend’s race is still in doubt.
Matteo Baiocco: “Finally we’re getting back to work after a really long break during which I never stopped training. I’m aiming to be able to finish this season, which has been positive for me so far, on a high, fighting for a good position in the overall standings.”
Niccolò Canepa: “After the long summer holiday, I can’t wait to get back on my Ducati Panigale R. I want to score a good result, perhaps even fighting for a top five finish. I’m expecting a great weekend and am definitely ready for it.”
Returning from the summer break, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team is in Jerez for World SBK Round 11
Arezzo/Borgo Panigale (Italy), Tuesday 15 September 2015 - The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team returns from the six-week summer break and is well prepared for round eleven of the 2015 Superbike World Championship, taking place this weekend at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain.
Aruba Ducati rider Chaz Davies’ season has gone from strength to strength, with the Welshman scoring three race wins from the last four races. Now lying second in the championship standings, and having already achieved fourteen podium finishes this season, Davies will be looking to obtain as many points as possible to consolidate this position. Chaz has continued to focus on his training regime in recent weeks and arrives in Jerez feeling fit and ready; he is confident that he will be able to improve on last season’s results at the same track (3rd, 4th).
Davide Giugliano continues his recovery after a serious crash at Laguna Seca left him with a fracture of the D3 vertebra. He will therefore be substituted by Michele Pirro at the upcoming Spanish round. Pirro, MotoGP test rider for the Ducati Team, already had the chance to ride the Panigale R this season when he substituted for Luca Scassa at Misano, twice crossing the line in eighth place. Currently leading the Italian Superbike championship, Pirro looks forward to being on track with the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team this weekend.
Comments ahead of the weekend:
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7)
“I’m ready to get back on my Panigale after the long summer break. After Sepang, I enjoyed ten days off in Bali, which was a pretty action-packed holiday, and since then I’ve been keeping busy with a lot of riding across different disciplines which has been fun… I’m looking forward to the weekend and think we have every reason to be confident, considering recent results and also last year’s outcome at Jerez. I think that last season our weak areas were really highlighted at Jerez but despite that we were still able to reach the podium. We’ve learned a lot since then, and so I’m feeling optimistic heading into this eleventh round…”
Michele Pirro (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #55)
“I last raced at Jerez last season but although we don’t have more recent references I know the track well and hope to be able to do well this weekend. It’s a busy week though, considering that last weekend I raced with Bridgestone tyres at the Misano GP, then I did some testing, again at Misano, on Michelin tyres and now I’ll be on track with the Panigale and the Pirellis! I hope I won’t have too much trouble and am able to work well right from Friday’s opening sessions, adapting as quickly as possible to the bike and track. I thank the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team for having given me another opportunity to race with the Panigale R.”
Rea In Sight Of The Title Win As KRT Heads Back To Home Ground
KRT rider Jonathan Rea will have a real opportunity to lift the 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship trophy at the forthcoming Jerez de la Frontera round of the championship, in the home country for the bulk of the Kawasaki Racing Team staff members. Jonathan currently enjoys a 144-point championship lead, with a maximum of 150 points for any rider to play for now. Fellow KRT rider and 2013 world champion Tom Sykes will also be out to win more races to add to his total of three so far in 2015.
Rea was close to winning the title last time out in Sepang in early August, before the start of a long summer break from race action. Jonathan needs just six points now to make sure of the title as no matter how many races his only championship rival Chaz Davies (Ducati) wins from now on. With six more points Rea would have a greater total of wins after his 12th victory of 2015 in Sepang race one.
Sykes has great memories of Jerez and his own WorldSBK title win in 2013, as he wrapped up the series victory at the famous Spanish venue the first time the championship visited Jerez in the modern era.
So far in 2015 Rea has enjoyed his aforementioned 12 wins, 20 podiums (from 20 starts), two pole positions and eight fastest laps. Sykes, currently third in the championship and only 13 points from second place, has three 2015 season wins, ten podiums, four pole positions and five fastest laps.
Jerez is a popular testing venue and both Rea and Sykes have ridden there with the Ninja ZX-10R in the winter months. The 4.423km long circuit near the sherry capital of the world, Jerez, has a fabulous mix of different kinds of corners, no really long straights, but many challenges and connected sections of track for the riders to work with.
After race weekend Rea and Sykes will undertake an official test at Jerez for a day, alongside their WorldSBK peers. They will then continue on to the last European-based round of the year, at the always popular and well attended Magny Cours circuit in France on October 4, before the series finale at Losail in Qatar, on October 18th.
Jonathan Rea stated: “It has been nice to have the summer break but after two weeks I just wanted to get going again. Especially after the momentum we have had throughout the season and falling just so short of actually winning the championship in Sepang. It has been a shame to have to wait seven weeks to get back on the bike but it has been nice to hang out at home, be with my family and ride my KX450F motocross bike quite a lot. Now I am ready to get back on my race bike. We had a good winter test at Jerez. I felt really good straight away with the Ninja ZX-10R in the January sessions and we have further improved the bike. We have been able to take the package pretty much everywhere this year and be competitive. Together with all the guys in the team we have worked so hard for this moment, so we will do our very best throughout Friday and Saturday to give us a package that we can fight for a race win with.”
Tom Sykes stated: “I am very much looking forward to getting back to riding. It has been an incredibly long lay off, a bit too long, but it has been great for my family life. Now I am very excited to go back to the track. I am also excited to carry on working on getting a better package. I have spoken to my crew chief Marcel a number of times and requested a few little personal touches, little things the would help me out. I am going to Jerez and looking forward to it. Then we have a test session on Monday after the race as well to continue our refinement of the Ninja package.”
David Salom (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) and his fellow Spanish rider Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) will continue their battle for supremacy in the midfield at their latest home round, with Ramos currently 13th overall and Salom 15th.
Pata Honda returns to WSBK action in Spain
After an extended summer break of almost seven weeks, the 2015 World Superbike championship reignites this weekend (18-20 September) at Jerez in Spain with Pata Honda riders Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark eager to get back into action on their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machines.
Guintoli went into the summer break in great form following round 10 of the series at Sepang in Malaysia. The 33-year-old French rider started the two races from the front row of the grid and followed up his impressive qualifying performance with two strong fourth place finishes, leaving him sixth in the overall points standings.
Van der Mark also performed well last time out and, although a recurring electrical issue halted his race one progress in Sepang, the 22-year-old SBK rookie from Rotterdam in the Netherlands was able to push hard to fifth place in race two and he lies seventh, just behind his team-mate, in the championship table.
A tighter and more technical circuit than Sepang, the 4.423km Jerez circuit in Andalucia in southern Spain was built in 1985 and has hosted World Superbike races since 2013. It will present its own individual challenges to the Pata Honda riders, particularly Guintoli who missed out on valuable testing time at Jerez in January after a heavy crash.
Both riders have been training hard and riding their Honda CRF450R motocross bikes during the summer months to remain as sharp as possible. Both are keen to stress, however, that nothing can replicate riding their CBR machines on track and Guintoli and van der Mark are excited at the prospect of getting back to action at Jerez on Friday morning.
It’s a good job that riding the CBR is a bit like riding a bicycle – you don’t forget how to do it! I feel like I’ve been on a long winter break since the last round in Sepang, not a summer break. I’ve been able to do a bit of motocross on my CRF450R but it’s not the same and I’ve not been wanting to push too hard because it’s quite easy to get injured! So I’ve been doing lots of other normal training, riding the push-bike and running. Jerez is a really nice track and I had a couple of good results there last season. My last visit there at the beginning of this year wasn’t so good though because I got injured in a big crash, but I’m looking forward to going back there with the team. The last round in Sepang was really positive with good results in qualifyi ng and in the two races so I’m looking forward to getting back into that rhythm again as soon as we can.
Michael van der Mark
Of course, Jerez holds some very special memories for me because it’s one year since I won the World Supersport title there on the CBR600RR. It’s been a mixed first year learning to ride the Superbike with some good results but also some technical issues which have made things difficult sometimes. The guys have had some time back at the workshop since Sepang and I know they’ve been working hard at eliminating the problem. It’s been a long break for us all, but I’ve been training hard and riding some motocross. Now I’m ready to get back on the CBR and I’m really looking forward to riding again at Jerez. As Sylvain’s results also showed, the bike worked very well at Sepang which has not been a great circuit for us before, so we are optimistic for this weekend.
We’ve spent the last few weeks working on a re-build of Mikey’s CBR and changing the layout of the electrical components. Basically, he had a problem in Sepang that has plagued him earlier in the season so we’ve addressed the issue completely and hopefully we can avoid any recurrence. We have also had a change in personnel on his side of the garage, so hopefully this will be a positive return for him to the circuit where he won his World Supersport title last season. Not very much has changed on Sylvain’s side but we’re just hoping we can pick up where we left off in Malaysia, which was a really positive weekend for him. A front row start and then two really solid results in the races made everyone happy going into the summer break and we’re looking forward to getting that feeling agai n in Jerez.
THE WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP IS BACK AT JEREZ
APRILIA RIDERS HASLAM AND TORRES ARE ON THE TRACK LOOKING FOR PODIUM POSITIONS
IN SUPERSTOCK 1000 LORENZO SAVADORI COULD CLINCH THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Noale, 16 September 2015 – After a long summer break, the World Superbike Championship is back on the track at Jerez de la Frontera, the Spanish circuit that will be hosting this third last round of the 2015 season.
The Aprilia Racing – Red Devils riders are both strongly motivated and keen to get back on their RSV4 machines.
Leon Haslam has made it clear that his goal is to get back onto the podium after two races where he struggled more than usual. On the Spanish track Leon will be able to take advantage of the work done during the winter tests, partially hindered by foul weather but still useful for finding a starting point in terms of bike setup.
Spaniard Jordi Torres will be playing on his home pitch where an extra push is expected from his local fans, always ready with a warm welcome in Andalusia. The best rookie in the 2015 World Superbike Championship is coming off a nice podium in the Sepang Race 2, taken in difficult conditions, and he is banking on his RSV4's characteristics to continue performing consistently.
Leon Haslam: “I’m really looking forward to Jerez, seven weeks is a really long time off my RSV4. Jerez is a track where we tested with Aprilia, so that makes me even more anxious to get started. After the disappointments in the last two rounds I can’t wait to put my Aprilia back on the podium.”
Jordi Torres: “Jerez is my home track and we have done a lot of testing here. After such a long break I'll need to take care in the first session and get used to the speed again quickly so I can start working on the setup as soon as possible. After this long holiday I am really anxious to get back on the bike, especially at Jerez, a track that I like and where I'm confident that my Aprilia will do well. It is a technical and very physical track, but I'm sure the Spanish fans will help me to be as fast as possible.”
SUPERSTOCK 1000: FIRST MATCHPOINT FOR LORENZO SAVADORI
At Jerez de la Frontera the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup teams will also be back on the track. This is a championship which, with two rounds left to race, has Aprilia leading: the Team Nuova M2 RSV4 RF ridden by Lorenzo Savadori. With a 34 point lead over the closest contender, the rider from Cesena could clinch the championship title already on the Andalusian circuit.
Riding alongside Savadori will be team mate Kevin Calia and wildcard Alessandro Andreozzi, a contender for the Italian Superbike title.
Spain in WorldSBK history
Plenty of World Superbike history has been made in Spain. More will come this weekend – and it could include a title-crowning moment.
Race start at Circuito de Jerez - 1990
The first WorldSBK event to be staged in Spain came back in the third year of the series, 1990, when Jerez hosted a round in March. It proved a precursor of what was to come, as France’s Raymond Roche did the double en route to that year’s world title. During the season he only lost the overall lead once, after Hockenheim.
Raymond Roche (FRA) - 1990
Doug Polen (USA) - 1991
In 1991 the Spanish Round was at Jarama; Champion-to-be Doug Polen was indomitable, winning both races from pole and taking two fastest laps.
Race start at Jarama - 1991
The first season to feature two Spanish events was 1992. Jarama moved to a later date on the calendar, as the campaign opened in Albacete for the first time. The opening race featured what would prove to be a significant victory – the first in the star-studded career of New Zealander Aaron Slight; he would go on to become the championship runner-up of 1996 and 1998, as well as a multiple race winner.
Aaron Slight (NZL) - 1992
From 1993 up to 1999, Albacete became the sole Spanish fixture; a period that coincided with the four title-winning seasons of Carl Fogarty (1994, ‘95, ‘98 and ‘99). The Englishman won at Albacete six times, recording doubles in 1993 and 1994 followed by Race 2 in 1995 and 1998. The ’93 success was the first of 16 career doubles for Fogarty – only Troy Bayliss equals this feat.
Carl Fogarty (GBR) atop the podium - 1993
Albacete played a pivotal role in 1996. Scheduled as the penultimate venue of the season, Troy Corser did the double to grab a decisive advantage over Aaron Slight in the title race. The former would go on to clinch the title for the first time. The Albacete appointment of 1997 was just as important, but this time the contenders were Fogarty and John Kocinski. Crucially, Fogarty fell in Race 1 and would become the victim of contact in Race 2; in a desperate bid to fight back he crashed again, giving his American rival a 52-point advantage with only two rounds remaining.
Carl Fogarty (GBR) - 1996
John Kocinski (USA) - 1997
For the Millennium year, Spain’s WorldSBK event was moved to Valencia at the new Ricardo Tormo circuit. It stayed on the schedule until 2010 and, with 22 races to its name, remains the Spanish circuit to have hosted most World Superbike races. Initially placed in the middle of the season, Valencia would play the important role of season-opener from 2001 to 2004. Noriyuki Haga is the most successful rider at the track, with six wins followed by Corser’s five and Bayliss’ four.
Ben Spies (USA) and Noriyuki Haga (JPN) on the podium - 2009
In 2011, there was another switch of destination for the Spanish Round as MotorLand Aragón joined the calendar. From 2013, there have again been two Spanish venues in World Superbike, as Jerez made its return to celebrate the maiden title success of Tom Sykes. In 2014, more titles were won in Jerez as Michael van der Mark and Marco Faccani collected their respective World Supersport and Superstock 600 crowns.
Notable WorldSBK events in Spain:
In 1994, Giancarlo Falappa went into a coma following a heavy crash in Free Practice at Albacete; this incident marked the end of his racing career
Aaron Slight won Race 1 at Albacete in 1995 at the helm of a Honda RVF750 / RC45; this was the first of 34 wins for one of Honda’s most successful motorcycle models (so far, the CBR1000RR has won 42 races)
In the second Albacete race of 1995, Carl Fogarty became the most successful rider in history by clinching a 28th World Superbike victory. By the end of his career in 2000, he had won 59 races
61 Spanish riders have featured in at least one WorldSBK event. Of these riders, 49 have started races
Three Spanish riders have won at least one race in World Superbike: 2011 World Champion Carlos Checa (24 wins), Ruben Xaus (11) and Fonsi Nieto (1)
On only one occasion has a Spanish rider won a World Superbike race in Spain, when Ruben Xaus won Race 1 at Valencia in 2007
No Spanish rider has won a World Superbike race since Carlos Checa in the opening race at Miller Motorsports Park in 2008
World Supersport: Three is the magic number
Three is the magic number in the FIM Supersport World Championship as the Pirelli Spanish Round approaches. With three rounds remaining, a triangular shootout is on the cards between three very different riders of three different nationalities, each representing their own team and manufacturer. The title cannot be won in Spain this weekend, but there is certainly potential to lose it. The situation is on a knife-edge.
It’s crunch time in World Supersport for 2015. Last year in Spain, Dutchman Michael van der Mark did the honours by clinching the title as he won the race. 12 months on and the younger brother of World Superbike looks likely to be the only category in the WorldSBK roster to see this year’s championship fight go all the way to the final round in Qatar, which itself follows the French fixture at Magny-Cours. But will the battle still be alive by Losail? Jerez will play a massive part in deciding its legacy.
The contenders involved could not be much more diverse, representing three fine marques in Kawasaki, MV Agusta and Honda: Kenan Sofuoglu of Turkey (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Jules Cluzel of France (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and PJ Jacobsen of the USA (CORE’’ Motorsport Thailand).
Sofuoglu is the three-time World Supersport Champion of 2007, 2010 and 2012. From the first nine races of the season he has achieved four wins and six podium finishes, but has been outside the top three at the last two events.
Cluzel’s poor luck came early on. He may have won at Phillip Island, but was denied by engine failures in both Thailand and Aragon; as things stand, he has won a total of three races and claimed seven podium finishes, including the last six races in a row. Like Sofuoglu, Cluzel has started on the front row at every single race, but the Frenchman has been the best qualifier with a superb six pole positions from nine.
Jacobsen’s year has taken very different shape, switching team after Donington Park; he has five front rows to his credit, both his maiden pole position and victory last time out at Sepang and a total of five podium places (three of them in the last three races).
Sofuoglu’s lead is 13 points over Cluzel and 28 over Jacobsen, with a maximum of 75 points on offer from the last trio of encounters. It should also be noted that Lorenzo Zanetti (Cluzel’s MV team-mate) could still claim the title as the fourth and final rider still in with a shot, although the Italian sits 27 points in arrears of Jacobsen and a significant 55 behind the championship leader. Best of the rest is Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda), but 80 points behind Sofuoglu is a bridge too far.
Although the MV Agusta Reparto Corse team has scored 57 more points than Kawasaki Puccetti Racing thus far this season, it is not that comfortable in the Manufacturers’ Championship. In a truly nail-biting contest, Italian brand MV Agusta lies just a single point in front of Japanese rival Kawasaki. The latter’s compatriot, Honda, is also still in the mix, just a further 20 points behind. Kawasaki and Honda have been the Champions of the last two years (with Honda having also won a further nine titles in the past), but a crown for MV Agusta would be a celebrated first.
Thickening the plot even further, nine riders will compete at Jerez as either Wild Card or One Event entries. These include Italy’s Nicola Morrentino Jr. (who takes time out from the Superstock 600 class) and Jacobsen’s ex team-mate Lucas Mahias, as the Frenchman makes a welcome return after his previous team pulled out of the championship. Moto3 World Championship outcast Niklas Ajo of Finland ventures into the WorldSBK paddock for the first time, as Sarunas Pladas makes history by becoming the first ever Estonian to take part in a World Championship road racing competition. Also in action will be Spain’s own Christian Palomares Vilar, Russia’s Alexey Ivanov and the Czech Republic’s Miroslav Popov, plus Hungarian duo David Juhasz and Janos Chrobak.
The presence of the aforementioned Palomares (Autos Arroyos Pastrana Racing Team - Yamaha) takes the Spanish contingent on the grid up to three, as he joins 2015 regulars Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing Team – Honda) and Marcos Ramirez (Team Lorini – Honda). Incidentally, Ramirez travels to Jerez fresh from his latest victory at Albacete (aboard a Yamaha) in the Superstock 600 tier of the FIM CEV Repsol.
The first Jerez practice session for the World Supersport Championship will be staged from 10:15am local time (GMT +2) on Friday. Across the weekend, all of the qualifying and race action can be followed live on WorldSBK.com.
FIM Supersport World Championship (9 of 12 rounds completed)
1 - Kenan Sofuoglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 168
2 - Jules Cluzel MV Agusta Reparto Corse 155 (-13)
3 - PJ Jacobsen CORE'' Motorsport Thailand Honda 140 (-28)
Return To Race Action For Sofuoglu And The Ninja ZX-6R
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) embarks on the final three rounds of the 2015 FIM Supersport World Championship looking to extend his current lead of 13 points over his closest rival and go all out for his fourth world crown by season end.
The second long summer break in the WSS calendar will end at Jerez de la Frontera this weekend, with the tenth round of the WSS series taking place at the beautifully appointed Spanish circuit in Andalusia.
Three-time champion Sofuoglu has secured four race wins so far in 2015, thanks to a mixture of his own pace, determination and experience, and in no small part to the capabilities of his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.
Recent work has helped improved the potency of his current machine even further, as he looks to get back to winning ways in a few days time.
Turkish star Sofuoglu’s statistics in the Supersport champion are legendary, with a total of 31 career wins, 66 podiums and 21 pole positions, all taken in a total of 101 career race starts. He is also the only rider to have won the title three times, the most recent one when riding the Ninja ZX-6R in 2012.
Full season WSS rookie Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) looks to get back to best form on his Ninja ZX6R, hoping to improve on a season best of fifth place, which he took on home ground at Imola in round five.
Christian Gamarino (Go Eleven Kawasaki) and Dominic Schmitter (Go Eleven Kawasaki) are out to use the Jerez weekend to help them move up the table by season end, with Gamarino currently ninth and Schmitter 14th overall.
Kenan Sofuoglu stated: “Since the last race I have done a lot of work, training hard almost every day for the past month, because we are near the end now and I want to get the title. My body condition is at the top level right now so I cannot wait for the race. Also the team has worked very hard and they have made many changes to have more power. We did a test around two weeks ago and the engine had a very big improvement, so this will be a big help for me during the Jerez race. I think the team, Kawasaki and me - everybody - has done their own jobs well in the summer break and now we are just looking forward to race weekend.”
Superstock 600 - San Carlo Team Italia comes back on track at Jerez
After the long summer break Rinaldi and Tucci want the first seasonal victory.
Three months after the last round of Misano Adriatico in June, San Carlo Team Italia is ready to come back in action this weekend in Jerez de la Frontera for the second to last seasonal round of the Superstock 600 European Championship. After conquering four podiums out of a total of six races, the purpose of the team is to achieve the first seasonal victory since the precedents on the Andalusian track are remarkable: here, in the last two years, San Carlo Team Italia achieved the title mathematically with Franco Morbidelli (2013) and Marco Faccani (2014), who got victory and title in one strike.
Even though the fight for the title was closed in advance by Toprak Razgatlioglu, the two riders of the federal team want to give their best in the last two rounds of the season,in order to achieve a place in the top-3 of the championship. This is the goal that combines Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Andrea Tucci, with their Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, respectively third and fifth in the standings, but with great possibilities to win in the weekend of Jerez, thanks to a positive two-days test last week on the Andalusian track.
During the "Pirelli Spanish Round" of the Superstock 600 European Championship, the two riders of San Carlo Team Italia will face the two sessions of free practice on Friday 18th September, and the day after, qualifying and race, which will start at local 17:50.
Stefano Cruciani (Sports Manager - San Carlo Team Italia STK600)
"Finally we get back on track! This long summer break seemed to be interminable, anyway all the team has kept the level of concentration high in these weeks, in order to be in the best condition to get back in action. Last week with Rinaldi and Tucci, we took part in a test at Jerez, with positive results: we worked well, the time laps at just 3/10 from the record of the track with a bike which was not in race configuration, prove it. Both our riders like the track and they want to do well and, if possible, to achieve the first seasonal victory. We are confident, conscious of the potential of the team and of the positive results in the pre-event tests; we are going to start from this point on Friday, to perfect the set-up of the two Kawasaki that already suits very well to the riding style of our guys. At Jerez, the 2015 champion Toprak Razgatlioglu will be not at his 100% due to a recent fracture to the collarbone while training, but this won't change our goal: we want to win with Toprak on track to prove our worth.".
Supersport World Championship
End of the summer break also for the Supersport World Championship with Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing) expected to do a great performance in the tenth seasonal round. On a track that he has already discovered as a wild card in this class and where he dominated the scene last year in the Superstock 600 European Championship with San Carlo Team Italia, becoming the 2014 champion one race in advance, the talented rider from Ravenna on his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R #5 will do his best to reach again the top-10 of the championship, after a series of races that were not particularly lucky.
Smith returns to World Supersport action in Spain
Pata Honda World Supersport rider Kyle Smith will become reacquainted with his Honda CBR600RR machine this weekend (18-20 September) as it is fired back into action for round 10 of the series at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain.
Like his World Supersport championship rivals, Smith, 23, has had a lay-off of almost seven weeks since round nine at Sepang in Malaysia where he finished in fifth place.
However, the British rider was back on track earlier this week in his role as a mentor for the popular European Junior Cup, powered by Honda. After an even longer summer break, the EJC riders had a test day with their Honda CBR650F machines at Almeria in Spain on Monday.
Although born and bred in Yorkshire in the UK, Smith is based in Spain and will have plenty of support from friends and family this weekend at the 4.423km Jerez circuit where he has previously enjoyed podium success, including in last year’s European Superstock race on a Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP.
It was so good to get back on a bike earlier this week at the EJC test at Almeria. I must have been riding pretty hard, too, because I got blisters on my hands! It was nice to get back in the groove ahead of this weekend because I really like riding at Jerez. It’s been good to me in the past and I’ve enjoyed some success here. The CBR will be pretty much the same as we left it in Sepang, but it felt pretty good then, even though I had quite a lonely race in fifth place. I’ve got a slight change in the team this weekend, too, with a new but very experienced mechanic, so it’s going to feel a bit like starting the season all over again!
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
It’s going to be business as usual this weekend on the World Supersport side of the garage. Kyle’s fifth place in Sepang was a solid result that was needed by the whole team after a couple of DNFs in the previous three races. We know the CBR works well at Jerez as Mikey [van der Mark] showed when he won the World Supersport championship title here last year. We’ll all be working hard to give Kyle a CBR to get back on the Jerez podium once more.
European Junior Cup heads for Spanish showdown
After a summer break of almost three months, the Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda’s CBR650F, returns to action this weekend for the seventh and penultimate round of the 2015 series at Jerez in Spain.
Despite most of the championship's riders taking part in a test day at Almeria earlier this week, it’s been a long wait for series leader Javier Orellana, who was on his way to clinching the title in the previous round at Misano in Italy. With one metaphorical hand on the trophy, however, he was taken out of the race by another rider just three corners from the chequered flag.
Since that Misano race, Spaniard Orellana has turned 18 and still holds a 34-point lead in the championship as it heads to his home round. He’ll be taking nothing for granted, however, since French rider Giullaume Raymond can postpone Orellana’s celebrations if he wins Sunday’s race and the Spanish rider finishes lower than third.
It’s also likely that Sunday’s race will produce the first FIM Europe Women’s European Champion, a series that has run for the first time this season within the European Junior Cup.
New Zealander Avalon Biddle, who has dominated the inaugural women’s European championship and will celebrate her 23rd birthday on Monday, will be crowned champion on Sunday, as long as she brings her Honda CBR650F home in the points.
Gerry Bryce - series director
After a long summer break, all the riders are really looking forward to getting back in action at the fantastic Jerez circuit. We had a very successful test day with almost all the series riders at Almeria on Monday this week to get everyone back in the groove after the three-month lay-off since the last round in Misano. Needless to say, they’re all warmed up and raring to go! This weekend should see both the European Junior Cup and Women’s European Championship titles decided so we’re hoping for an incident-free weekend and looking forward to presenting the trophies on the podium on Sunday.