2017 Magny-Cours WorldSBK Preview Press Releases

Press releases from the teams and the series organizer ahead of this weekend's French round of WorldSBK, where Jonathan Rea has his first chance to become 2017 WorldSBK champion:

WorldSBK: Match Point
Could we see Rea make history in France?

Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is the location for Round 11 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, and it could be the setting for a British rider to have his name permanently in the history books. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) could take the world title for the third consecutive season, a feat which has never been reached in the paddock. 17 corners twisting into 4.4km of French tarmac awaits the WorldSBK riders, and with 2017 crown on the line it is sure to be a round not to miss.

Two time world champion Rea has strong history around the circuit, securing the double victory in 2015 - both by over 2.8s. On top of this, his confidence will be sky high following his stunning performance last time out around the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. With two pole positions to his name in France – 2011 with Honda and 2016 – he will hope to bring his strong feeling with the ZX-10RR to the circuit and as we have seen so far this season, a comfortable Rea is an unstoppable Rea. Seven top five finishes since 2009 puts the British rider with an advantage this weekend, but nobody said it will be easy.

Still nursing a broken finger following his huge crash Portugal, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) will be looking to make his return to racing as he was forced to sit out of racing action just over a week ago. One of two riders who can stop Rea from taking the title, he will be hoping to get back out on track fully fit and with a good record around Magny-Cours, will be a serious contender for the victory depending on his fitness levels. The 31 year old took three back to back victories, from 2012’s race two to 2013’s race two, as well as holding the pole, race and circuit lap record. Since 2012 he has finished in the top four, and won’t be going down without a fight.

2016’s double race winner Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) will be looking to repeat the dominance last season, and following some slight updates made at the test last week he may be feeling more confident ahead of Round 11. Crashing out of race two at Portimao, the Welsh rider is 135 points behind Rea in the championship, but will continue to fight in France. With a varied past at Magny-Cours, it will be interesting to see Davies bring the fight to the green machines.

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) has fond memories of the French circuit, as he took the victory back in 2014 with Aprilia in the rain. Despite only have 13 finishers, Melandri showed his stunning talent to take the victory which will no doubt add to his confidence ahead of the weekend. He has welcomed five podium finishes here throughout his career history, and as a 10 time podium finisher so far this season, it will be hard to keep him away from the Prosecco DOC.

Fresh from his first podium of the season, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) heads to a circuit of which he has a stunning record around. Securing a top five result in every WorldSBK appearance he has made, the Dutch rider will be hoping some updates to his R1 made in the Portimao test, especially with regards to the swingarm, will allow him to continue the momentum he is starting to build into the final rounds of the season.

A stunning performance last time out in Portugal from Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will no doubt boost his confidence into the 11th round of the season, but with a mixed record around Magny-Cours it will be another learning curve for the British rider. Each race Camier has finished here, he has done so in the top ten – including some top fours – and as the underdog in the series he is not one to forget about.

Making his return to the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team, Davide Giugliano was present at the post-Portimao test in order to improve his pace in the WorldSBK series, working through the electronics on the CBR1000RR SP2. With some solid former results around the 4.4km circuit, the Italian will be hoping to get some solid results and build on the progress made with the new Fireblade.

Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) heads to France off the back of a strong weekend in Portugal, which saw the Spanish rider secure two top six finishes. Consistently finishing in the points around the Magny-Cours circuit in all four appearances in the World Superbike class, the rider from Rubi will be looking to use some updates found from the Portuguese test and hope for a strong finish to the season.

WorldSBK action kicks off at Magny-Cours on Friday 29th September, before the first championship battle ensues on Saturday for race one. All can be followed on the WorldSBK VideoPass.

Important WorldSBK Weekend Coming For KRT

The Kawasaki Racing Team is about to head into one of the most important rounds of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship season with Jonathan Rea hoping to be crowned champion - for an unprecedented third time in succession - while his recently-injured team-mate Tom Sykes is looking to extend the championship fight beyond the limits of the French round.

Thanks to his fourth double win of the year, last time out in Portugal, Jonathan Rea enters the third-to-last round of the championship at Magny-Cours this weekend with a 120 point championship lead over his own team-mate Sykes. If he records two solid results in France on his Ninja ZX-10RR Jonathan will take a historic third championship in just a few days’ time, with two events remaining in the 13-round season.

Tom seriously injured his left little finger and radius in a practice crash at the previous round in Portimao and he will have to will undergo medical checks at Magny Cours before being cleared to ride. If passed fit he will take to the track on his official Ninja ZX-10RR on Friday to begin the defence of his championship challenge in Saturday and Sunday’s races.

After such a remarkable 2017 season so far, a campaign in which the official KRT riders sit 1-2 after ten rounds and have shared 13 wins between them, the biggest story of all may well unfold at a track that is no stranger to significant occurrences in WorldSBK history.

The French event is the 11th round of the season and will be held between 29th September and 1st October. Magny Cours has held 15 previous WorldSBK events, 14 of them consecutively since the 2003 season.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I'm excited for this weekend, especially after such a strong weekend in Portimao where we remained for a day of testing after the race. We found some positives that we can perhaps implement this weekend to give me some extra confidence on corner entry. Magny Cours is a great circuit and one that I've been strong at in the past. The circuit itself requires a little compromise when setting up the bike and we will also have to keep in mind the weather, as at this time of the year anything can happen. This weekend is the first opportunity we have to try to win the 2017 WorldSBK championship. I want to put that out of my mind for now and go and do my best in both races. I'm confident with how the ZX-10RR is now, and that we can go and fight for race wins.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “I had a successful operation and now we are doing things on the medical side to make it as comfortable as possible for me to ride this weekend. We will play it by ear and on Friday we’ll try to build up to the full weekend of racing. Magny Cours is a circuit I generally enjoy. It is not a flowing circuit in terms of lots of lean angle, but it is a circuit where it changes direction though chicanes and has some stop-and-start areas.”

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team headed to Magny Cours for the 11th round of the season

Less than two weeks after the Portuguese round – which yielded three podiums overall – the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is ready to resume action at Magny Cours (France), home of the eleventh round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship.

Both Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri, also counting on some upgrades tested after the last race, are keen to ride on the attack on the French track, where they both scored victories in the past. In particular, the Italian took four second-place finishes and one win, while the Welshman was second in 2015 before scoring a thrilling double win last year in mixed weather conditions.

After ten rounds, Davies and Melandri are respectively third (296 points) and fourth (250 points) in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be back on track Friday, Sept. 29th, at 09:45 local time (CET) for the first free-practice session.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7)

“Last year we were fast at Magny Cours, but most of all we played two smart races. We gambled on intermediate tyres for Race 1 and it paid off, then we simply looked after our tyres well in Race 2. At the end of two very different races, we came out on top. The track is quite good for our package, but that also applies to our main rivals. In the last round we struggled a bit, but we understood why and I expect us to be much closer in France and put up a fight. The weather is always a point of contention there, and it’s quite unpredictable: we had a bit of everything in the past, from summer days to freezing cold, so there’s no real way to prepare for it. We’ll just do our homework and try get the job done on track.”

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33)

“Magny Cours is a diverse track, with very different sections and, in general, a really interesting layout. There a couple of hard-braking areas, as well as some flowing segments, so it’s never easy to find a good compromise with the setup. If anything, the tarmac should be less bumpy than in the last couple of rounds. The weather usually plays a key role in Magny Cours, and I hope we race in dry conditions because, even if I won in the rain there in the past, the grip is really low on a wet track. Also, I barely did any laps in the wet with the Panigale R. Surely, if it rains, there will be virtually no room for mistakes, but we’re confident and ready to play our best cards from now until the end of the season.”

Magny-Cours Up Next for Pata Yamaha


The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are looking forward to returning to action at round eleven of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship in Magny-Cours, France this weekend following a successful one-day test after the last round in Portugal. Alex Lowes is determined to bounce back at the Pirelli French Round after a challenging weekend in Portimao, despite not being at 100% fitness. His teammate Michael van der Mark is ready to get back to racing after a weekend in the public eye at Aragon, hoping to build on the form that saw him score his maiden Yamaha podium last time out in Portugal.

The weather always seems to play a part at Magny-Cours and last year was no exception. In a wet Race 1, British rider Lowes finished in 11th after having to pit to change tyres in the drying conditions and then crossed the line in 19th in Race 2 after crashing and valiantly re-joining. Lowes hopes that the conditions will be better this time around but will be ready for anything in France, although he has still not fully recovered from his huge highside in Race 2 at the last round in Portimao.

The 27-year-old miraculously escaped any major injury, but is still feeling battered and bruised, and managed to complete almost 50 laps in Monday's official test at Portimao. Despite the discomfort, Lowes (169 points) is determined to return to the form that has seen him on the podium twice in 2017, at Donington and Misano, as he battles to secure fifth overall in the championship standings with three races remaining.

His teammate van der Mark has an excellent record at Magny-Cours, standing on the podium in 2016 and never finishing outside of the top five at the circuit in WorldSBK. His past form at the track, plus a successful test on Monday in Portimao, bodes well for the 24-year-old to continue his excellent run of results that saw him finish the two races at Portimao in fifth and second respectively, recording his first Yamaha podium in the process.

The Dutch rider is looking forward to getting back to racing in WorldSBK after spending the weekend in the media spotlight at the Aragon GP as the replacement rider for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi, with van der Mark not called into action in the end. He is currently sixth in the WorldSBK Championship standings with 166 points, just three points behind his teammate Lowes and ten points ahead of Xavi Forés in seventh.

The Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is located in central France, 250km south of Paris. The track was originally built back in 1960 but has been revamped a number of times, most recently in 2003. It is 4.411km long, consists of 17 corners - nine right and eight left-handed - and has a start/finish straight of just 250m. Most of the corners are modelled on famous turns from other tracks, with the corners bearing the track names that inspired them, and it comprises of a mix of slow, technical hairpins and high-speed chicanes, with hardly any elevation changes.

The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team will take to the track on Friday morning at 9:45 am local time for Free Practice 1, with Saturday's qualifying starting at 10:30 am and Race 1 at 13:00 pm, while Sunday's Race 2 is also scheduled for 13:00 pm.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 5th - 169 Points

"I'm excited for the Magny-Cours weekend! I have been working hard to get back to good fitness, after the injuries I suffered at Portimao. I am still feeling pretty sore from my Race 2 crash, so I won't be quite 100%, but I'm determined to be at the best level I can be. In terms of the track, it's quite a technical one with some, faster, flowing sections and also some slower parts. The weather always plays a part in France too, so I'm looking forward to facing the challenge head-on and getting the best results possible."

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 6th - 166 points

"I cannot wait to get back on my Pata Yamaha R1 at Magny-Cours! It is a circuit I really like and I think it will really suit the characteristics of the R1. Portimao was a good weekend for me and it was great to get my first Yamaha podium, which is the least the team and Yamaha deserve after all their hard work this season. A result like that can give you confidence, as you know you belong on the podium, plus we worked on a few things at the test that, we believe, mean we can arrive at most tracks with a good base setup and hit the ground running on Friday's. After everything that has been going on, I am looking forward to getting back to business at Magny-Cours and, as always, I will give it my all!"

Gagne to replace injured Bradl at Magny-Cours

French Round

Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours, France

Red Bull Honda World Superbike rider Stefan Bradl will be forced to miss the 11th round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship at Magny-Cours due to a wrist injury. His place in the team will be filled by Jake Gagne, who impressed on his debut with the team at Laguna Seca earlier in the year.

Following a highside in race one at Portimão two weeks ago, Bradl underwent a series of evaluations back home in Germany which revealed a scaphulonate ligament tear in his right wrist. The injury requires surgery which will be performed this Thursday morning, September 28th after which time the full extent of Stefan’s injury – and the required recovery time – will be revealed.

Stepping into Bradl’s boots at Magny-Cours will be 25-year-old American rider Jake Gagne, who got up to speed quickly on the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 at the US WorldSBK round where he finished both races in the points. Gagne will join the already confirmed rider for the round Davide Giugliano.

Stefan Bradl 6

It’s been very disappointing news. After crashing out of race one at Portimão, the x-rays showed no sign of injury but the pain was strong. I went back home to do some more tests and get different opinions by several doctors to finally find out what was wrong with my right wrist. I did MRI and CT scans this morning and it looks like I will undergo surgery this Thursday. Unfortunately this will mean that I will have to sit out the race at Magny-Cours, which again it’s very disappointing, but it is something that needs to be done because right now I cannot use my wrist. Hopefully we will soon have some better news.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Jake Gagne 45

First of all I would like to wish Stefan a speedy recovery: I’ve been there before and it’s never nice to have stay away from racing due to injury. Obviously I would like to thank Honda and the team for the opportunity to come back and get a second shot at World Superbike. Laguna Seca was a dream come true for me, and the knowledge and experience I gained from the team throughout that weekend was massive. It will also be nice to have some experience with this version of the Fireblade going into FP1. Magny-Cours is a completely new track for me but I look forward to the challenge of racing on a new circuit and continuing to learn and grow. I have also never been to France, so it will be an exciting week!

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Marco Chini

Honda's WorldSBK Operations Manager

We are really sad that Stefan won’t be able to race at Magny-Cours. We feel that we had made some good progress at Portimão and things seemed to be going in the right direction. Unfortunately, the crash turned out to be more damaging than how it first looked, so we now wish him a speedy recovery so that he can get back in the saddle as soon as possible. The decision to replace him with Jake at Magny-Cours is quite a simple one: he did well in Laguna with us and he knows the team, so we are happy to welcome him back.

Althea BMW arrives in France for World SBK round eleven

Rome (Italy), Tuesday 26 September 2017

The ‘Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours’ is the next destination for the Althea BMW Racing Team, which travels to the French track for round eleven of the 2017 Superbike world championship, taking place this weekend.

Ten days ago, the Italian squad was on track at Portimão, in Portugal, a tough, technical track where Torres closed race 2 in fifth place and De Rosa crossed the line in eleventh position in race one. The two Althea BMW riders currently lie ninth and seventeenth respectively in the general standings and would like to score as many points as possible over the final three rounds, starting at Magny-Cours.

The Magny-Cours track is located in the heart of France, in the Burgundy area, roughly 250 km from Paris. With the SBK round often taking place during the autumn period, the weather conditions regularly play a key role. Last season, Torres’ achieved a best result of seventh in SBK, while De Rosa reached the podium, third in the Stock1000 race.

Jordi Torres

"In recent years, the Magny-Cours round has never been an easy one for me but I am hopeful that we will be able to continue to do well after the recent positive results of Portimao. First we’ll have to see what the weather brings, and then the team and I will do our best to adapt to the circumstances as we work to try and achieve the best possible results.”

Raffaele De Rosa

“The weather is always fundamental at Magny-Cours, a track where we’ve had flag to flag races in the past and where we need to be ready for anything in terms of the conditions, always so variable. I think that, as a track, it’s a better one for our bike than Portimao. It’s also a track that I enjoy, so I can’t wait to get started.”

Magny-Cours manufacturer’s milestones

Ahead of the 11th Round of the season, take a look at how successful manufactures have been in France

Aprilia have won three times at Magny-Cours: with Max Biaggi in the second 2010 race and a double 1-2 in 2014, when Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli took wins. Last year the best results for Aprilia were scored by Lorenzo Savadori: 5th in Race 1 and 6th in Race 2. Aprilia started from pole here two years ago with Leon Haslam, which was their last pole to date.

BMW scored two podium finishes at Magny-Cours; Leon Haslam was third in the first 2011 Race, while Marco Melandri was the runner up the following year. Both podiums came in Race 1 when he didn't have the speed to challenge Sylvain Guintoli, who pulled away with his Ducati. Last year the best result for BMW at this track was a 7th from Jordi Torres in Race 2.

The 15 wins by Ducati represent half of the races run at Magny-Cours - the last two came with Chaz Davies last year. Ducati also leads the podiums ranking here with 34 bikes on the podium, followed by Yamaha at 14 and Kawasaki at 12. All these amazing results contrast with the fact that Ducati claimed only one pole in Magny-Cours, in 2003 with James Toseland.

Honda have won twice here, the first time in 2005 when Chris Vermeulen won from pole in Race 1, and the second time the following year when James Toseland won Race 1. Since this last win, Honda have secured a podium seven times, finishing in third no less than than five of them. Last year Michael van der Mark was second in Race 1 for Honda. Honda had their share of bad luck, as Jonathan Rea fell twice while leading in 2012 race 1, and in 2014 in race 2.

Kawasaki have won here five times from 2012 to 2015. Last year they had to surrender to Chaz Davies, in Race 1 Sykes and Rea ran 1-2 until the tyre change and then had to settle for a third and fourth. In Race 2 they were also running 1-2 but Davies eventually passed both, going on to win as Rea was 2nd and Sykes 3rd. In the last five years, Kawasaki haven’t scored podiums here in only two races out of ten - the 2014 ones. This was when the best Kawasaki rider at the flag was Tom Sykes, who finished in fourth twice. In the last five qualifying sessions here, the best Kawasaki on the grid was either on pole (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016) or second (2015).

Last year Leon Camier equalled the best ever result for MV Agusta in the World Superbike Championship at this track, finishing 4th in Race 2. Another strong performance for the Italian manufacturer came the year before in Race 2, when Camier was fifth. MV Agusta scored points in all its six works entries here.

Yamaha are level with Kawasaki for wins at Magny-Cours with five each, the last one coming in 2010 from pole in Race 1 (Cal Crutchlow). Last year their best results were scored by Sylvain Guintoli, 9th in Race 1 and 8th in Race 2. Yamaha have recorded 14 podiums here, the second-best number at this track behind Ducati’s 34. The last three were scored in the 2011 races by Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri.

WorldSSP: French homecoming

Mahias prepares for his home battle as the championship fight continues

As the FIM Supersport World Championship title fight heats up, the Pirelli French Round will hold even more importance for Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), as he prepares to ride in front of his home crowd with the battle intensifying. Fans were treated to a stunning battle last time out in Portimao, and with the WorldSSP action returning to Circuit de Nevers Magny Cours, it promises to be an adrenaline fuelled weekend of action.

28 year old Lucas Mahias has put up a strong fight to the reigning champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) so far this season, and lost clinch of the world championship lead two weeks ago after he held his own in a strong battle in Portugal. Taking a stunning victory around the French circuit last season on board a Yamaha in the STK1000 class, the French rider also took home a WorldSSP trophy in 2015, so with the home advantage he will be a force to be reckoned with. Sitting just four points behind Sofuoglu in the championship standings, anything can happen in WorldSSP and Magny-Cours is the perfect setting for the drama.

After a tough start to the season, Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) has stepped up to the plate and is doing what he does best – win races. The five time WorldSSP champion is gunning for his sixth title and with a four point lead and a dazzling display of pure determination in Portugal, he will be a hard force to be reckoned with. However the Turkish rider will be hoping to improve on last season’s result as he was unable to score points in France after crashing out of the lead. But despite this he has only been off the podium on one occasion out of all seven races he has finished at Magny-Cours. If 2017 has taught fans one thing, it’s to never count Sofuoglu out.

Home hero Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) has won every WorldSSP race he has entered around Magny-Cours, but has been unable to secure a victory so far in 2017. Still in with a chance of battling for the title with three rounds remaining, the 28 year old sits 41 points behind Sofuoglu as he heads home. With four podium finishes so far this season, Cluzel could be in a strong position for spoiling some parties throughout the weekend.

Follow the WorldSSP action with the WorldSBK VideoPass as the battle for the championship continues, and see how the local fans cheer on their heroes. All action begins from Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours from 29th September to 1st October.

Three To Go For WorldSSP Leader Sofuoglu

Round ten of the 2017 WorldSSP championship will take place this coming weekend at Magny Cours in France with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Kenan Sofuoglu leading the championship points table for the first time. Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is looking to score strongly and enhance his overall championship position.

Having won five of the previous six races and finishing second in the other, Sofuoglu has overcome his unlucky start to the season in peerless fashion and took the points lead for the first time at the recent Portuguese round.

Kenan, a five-time world champion and 43-time race winner in this class, is now four points ahead of his nearest rival Lucas Mahias. Sofuoglu has been on the podium six times before in France, with two of those visits being to collect a winner’s trophy.

Young British rider Kyle Ryde will continue to try to work his way back to the kind of early season form he displayed in finishing fourth in the opening round in Australia, and then fifth at the subsequent event in Buriram, Thailand.

Qualifying well is Kyle’s first goal at Magny Cours, to enable him to run inside the leading group in the early laps. He is currently tenth in the championship rankings and aims for a top ten race finish at least this weekend.

Given the location of Magny Cours in the centre of France the well-attended race meeting can sometimes be affected by changeable Autumnal weather, but little can dampen the enthusiasm of the local fans, no matter the conditions.

After Magny Cours two more well-known WorldSSP championship circuits, Jerez and Losail, will host the final dramas of this intense and exciting 12-round season.

Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “Now we are approaching the end of the season and this is the most exciting time of year. The championship right now is very close, and we are leading it, but it does not mean so much to me until we get the title. Now all my focus is on Magny Cours and I will try my best to win the race. There are only three races left and I am just planning to do my best. In the end, if we get the title, that is my bonus but my goal is to win the races. It is still the same goal and still the same plan as every race so far. Magny Cours is normally a good track for Kawasaki. It has smooth parts and very hard braking areas, which is good for my bike. Now I am just waiting to get started.”

Kyle Ryde, stated: “I am looking forward to the weekend, even if the weather forecast says it is probably going to be wet. This weekend is all or nothing for me. I have to do a good job. Looking back at the last race it was a shame that I crashed while in a good position in Portugal but I like the track at Magny Cours. I finished 12th there last year so this time I am looking at a top ten finish.”

Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI Kawasaki) arrives in France in 15th place overall, with Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) two places behind.

Part-time ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) is now 19th overall, Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) 21st.

Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) holds 27th place, Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) is 28th and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) lies 34th.

GRT Yamaha Focused & Ready for Magny-Cours


The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are excited and ready for round ten of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship in Magny-Cours, France this weekend, buoyed by the news they have secured both of their riders for the 2018 season. Lucas Mahias is second in the championship standings, trailing the leader by just four points with three races left to go, and is looking forward to taking the fight to his rivals at his home round. His teammate Federico Caricasulo is hoping to continue the impressive pace he has shown throughout the season and is ready for whatever weather conditions the weekend has in store.

Yamaha Motor Europe and the GRT team earlier announced the both Mahias and Caricasulo will be staying with the team for the 2018 season and that the GRT squad would remain as the officially supported Yamaha team for 2018.

Mahias has shown incredible consistency this season, highlighted at the last round in Portimao where he crossed the line in second to record his seventh podium of the season, although he lost his championship lead to race-winner Kenan Sofuoglu in the process. The 28-year-old French rider has led the way in the championship since his round 3 victory at Aragon but now sits second in the overall standings, trailing Sofuoglu by four points with just three races left in the season. The former French Supersport Champion has good memories of the Magny-Cours circuit, having finished third at the track on a Yamaha in the 2015 WorldSSP race and winning last year's STK1000 race. With the championship battle so close, Mahias knows the importance of a good result at his home round in Magny-Cours and is determined to fight for the win in front of the passionate French support and retake his championship lead.

Caricasulo showed good pace all weekend in Portimao but finished in seventh after making the wrong tyre choice. Determined to bounce back and build on the undoubted pace he has shown this year - highlighted by his stunning victory in Thailand - the 21-year-old is keen to get back on track in France with his Yamaha R6 having recorded a top-six finish at the circuit last year. Caricasulo knows that the weather can play a big role in how things play out at Magny-Cours, but is confident that no matter what the conditions he can be competitive around the French circuit. He currently lies sixth in the WorldSSP Championship standings with 60 points, just 19 points behind PJ Jacobsen in fifth.

The Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is located in central France, 250km south of Paris. The track was originally built back in 1960 but has been revamped a number of times, most recently in 2003. It is 4.411km long, consists of 17 corners - nine right and eight left-handed - and has a start/finish straight of just 250m. Most of the corners are modelled on famous turns from other tracks, with the corners bearing the track names that inspired them, and it comprises of a mix of slow, technical hairpins and high-speed chicanes, with hardly any elevation changes.

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team take to the track on Friday morning at 11:00 am local time for Free Practice 1, with Saturday's qualifying starting at 14:00 pm and Sunday's race at 11:30 am.

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 2nd - 141 points

"I like Magny-Cours a lot, not so much for the layout of the track, but because it is my home race and I have a very good record there! The circuit has lots of chicanes, which are more suited to cars and on a bike, it is not as much fun, although there are a few corners which I really like and the fast sections of the track are incredible. They are really exciting to ride on the R6. The track tends to lead to some excellent battles during the race, but the grip levels suffer when it is wet, so I hope the sun will be out this weekend. I am excited to be racing in front of my fans and I will do my best to fight for the win!"

Federico Caricasulo

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 6th - 60 points

"I am ready for Magny-Cours! I like the track, but it is one of those circuits where the weather can play a big part in things. That never makes it easy, but we are confident we can be competitive in any conditions. We will work hard from Friday's FP1 to try and get a good feeling with the bike, as that can be crucial at this circuit. I am looking forward to getting back on track and, as always, I will try to fight for the podium."

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager

"I am very happy to have extended the contracts for both riders for next year and this means we can go to Magny-Cours completely focused on this race. We have high expectations for Lucas here at his home race and we hope to get an important result for the championship. Lucas knows the track well, he has always been very fast here and we will work hard to make sure we give him the best package possible. It is his home race and while that can distract some riders, he is very professional and I think it will be a boost for him to ride in front of his fans. For Federico, it is important for him to reach the best performance he can at every track for the rest of the season and we will try and get the best result possible. He is excited to race here and, after a disappointing race in Portimao, the whole team will be working hard to get him back on the podium where he belongs. The weather looks quite mixed for the weekend, but we are ready for whatever happens!"

Coppola looks to take the inaugural WorldSSP300 title

France welcomes the first chance to take the championship

Two rounds of the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship remain, and there is a chance for the World Title to be sealed in what has been an unbelievable debut season for the class. Heading to the historic circuit where history could be made, the 37 riders will be gunning for that all important race victory and slipstream. Four riders are in with a chance of taking the title, and following an emotional race victory from Ana Carrasco (ETG Racing) last time out in Portugal, there will be a lot of eyes on the WorldSSP300 class.

20 year old Alfonso Coppola (SK Racing) could secure the first ever WorldSSP300 title in France, as a season of intense racing begins to come to a close. With the pressure on his shoulders, it will be interesting to see if the the bLU cRU rider can produce the results he needs. Coppola has had two appearances around Magny-Cours in the European Junior Cup, with one podium finish and one DNF, but undoubtedly the experience will lend itself to him. Five podiums from seven races in 2017, the Italian has quickly become comfortable with his YZF-R3 and to win the title in France would be a dream come true. But with just one point advantage in the standings ahead of the race, he won’t take the crown without a strong fight from his rivals.

Spanish rider Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing) was the man with the target on his back around Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, and is only one point behind Coppola in the title fight onboard his Yamaha. With four podium finishes so far this season, the Spaniard seems to have got into his stride in the latter stages of 2017. Notably fast, it doesn’t take Garcia long to learn the layouts of new circuits and he will be the man trying to stop Coppola on Sunday.

Early championship leader Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) had a stunning start to his WorldSSP300 campaign, but a lull in the mid-point of the season meant he lost his grasp of the title lead. However some reasonably consistent results recently means he is still in with a chance of taking the title, as he sits in third position in the standings and 18 points off Coppola. With two opportunities of securing another podium remaining, Deroue will be putting his all in to the weekend.

Hoping to bounce back from a tough two rounds, Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) sits in fourth position in the title fight, but is only 18 points from the top. Following the disqualification from the Lausitzring race and a tough outing in Portugal, the 17 year old is very much still in with a chance of the title but will need to produce a strong performance on his CBR500R. Three appearances in the EJC for Perez around Magny-Cours will mean he heads to France with some experience, and with results improving on each occasion for the Spaniard, he will be looking to find a strong early pace in the competitive class.

WorldSSP300 action begins on the 29th September until 1st October, and with the question mark over Coppola, you won’t want to miss the race at 14.20LT, all followed live on the WorldSBK VideoPass.

STK1000: Second chance

Rinaldi could secure the championship for the second weekend but will face stiff competition

Just two rounds of the European Superstock 1000 Championship remain in 2017, and the fight could go down to the wire as there are four riders who could take the title and are all split by 40 points. Boiling down to the final two rounds, there will be a hotly fought battle at the Pirelli French Round. Last season saw home glory for Lucas Mahias in the class, but this year there is much more on the line – the title.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) faces his second opportunity of securing the STK1000 title, after he was unable to hold off his rivals last time out in Portugal. With an eight point lead in the championship standings and two rounds remaining, it’s a close fight for the unpredictable series. Three victories and four podium finishes have led to Rinaldi to the title lead, but he has faced stiff competition with his Panigale R. Finishing in the top eight last year around Magny-Cours, the 21 year old has had some difficult races in France, but he won’t let this deter him. Taking the strong set-up he has found to Western Europe, will he be able to take the crown with one round remaining?

The man looking to stop Rinaldi is the blindingly fast Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who not only secured the victory around Portimao, but was also able to test the WorldSBK Kawasaki ZX-10RR in the Monday test. With a stunning victory on Sunday, Razgatlioglu treated fans to his typically dominant form which we have seen so often this season. Taking second position in last year’s STK1000 race with his Kawasaki, as well as the victory back in 2014 in the European Superstock 600 class, the Turkish rider will be a force to be reckoned with at Magny-Cours and could well put Rinaldi’s celebrations on hold.

Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team-mates Florian Marino and Roberto Tamburini are two men who could put a stop to Rinaldi or Razgatlioglu’s title celebrations. Frenchman Marino will face his home crowd fresh off the back of a podium finish in Portugal, and only finishing off the podium on three occasions this season, he has been quietly consistent. 22 points behind Rinaldi in the standings he is very much still in with a chance for the title, and with four top 12 appearances around Magny-Cours in the WorldSSP series, he is in with a good position onboard his YZF-R1. Italian team-mate Roberto Tamburini sits in fourth position in the standings and is 40 points behind his compatriot. With two top five positions in France in the STK1000 class, he will no doubt be able to work with his team-mate to secure some strong pace around the 4.4km circuit.

Follow the hunt for the championship charge in the ever unpredictable STK1000 series from 29th September to 1st October, with the WorldSBK VideoPass.

Did you know? #FrenchWorldSBK in Numbers

Ahead of an important Pirelli French Round, take a look at pre-round facts and stats

89 – 89 French riders have entered at least one WorldSBK race weekend. 74 of them were race starters and 52 managed to score at least one championship point.

50% – Ducati have won half of the races run here: 15 out of 30.

34 – 34 podium finishes for Ducati at this track, the record value for Magny-Cours. Yamaha follows with 14 and Kawasaki with 12.

23 – The most successful French rider in WorldSBK history is 1990 World Champion, Raymond Roche: he won 23 races from 1989 to 1992.

8 – Only one race has been won here starting outside the top-6 grid spots: Haga won from eighth on the grid in the second 2004 Race. At this time the rows contained 4 bikes, so all the wins in Magny-Cours came from the first two rows of the grid.

7 – Seven different manufacturers have claimed pole here: in the last five race weekends Kawasaki started from pole here four times, missing out only in 2015 (Leon Haslam, Aprilia).

7 – In the last seven years, only British riders have started from pole in Magny-Cours: Cal Crutchlow (2010), Jonathan Rea (2011, 2016), Tom Sykes (2012 to 2014) and Leon Haslam (2015).

5 – The most successful rider here is Noriyuki Haga, with five wins from 2004 to 2009. Sykes can equal this record if he is able to secure a double victory this weekend.

5 – The record number of front row starts here is five, which was set by Jonathan Rea last year. His countrymen James Toseland and Tom Sykes follow at 4.

5 – Kawasaki are the only manufacturer who have recorded five poles here (1991, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016).

4 – We have four WorldSBK Magny-Cours winners in the current field: Tom Sykes (3), Jonathan Rea (2), Chaz Davies (2) and Marco Melandri (1).

3 – Tom Sykes holds the record for most poles at Magny-Cours: 3 to Troy Corser, James Toseland and Jonathan Rea’s 2.

2 – Only two riders among the current ones have started from pole here: Kawasaki duo of Tom Sykes (2012, 2013, 2014) and Jonathan Rea (2011, 2016).

2 – There are only two riders who have taken three straight wins at Magny Cours: Noriyuki Haga (a double in 2007 and Race 1 in 2008) and Tom Sykes (Race 2 in 2012 and a double in 2013). Chaz Davies is in the position to aim for this record as he recorded the double last year.

1 – Despite recording 15 wins at this track, a Ducati bike has started from pole only in the 2003 weekend, when James Toseland recorded his maiden WorldSBK pole.

1 – The only French winner at Magny-Cours is Sylvain Guintoli (2012 Race 1; 2014 Race 1).

French WorldSBK promises action not to be missed

Keep up with all the activities on and off track in Magny-Cours

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returns to France this weekend as the champion fight heats up over all four classes, with only two European rounds remaining on the calendar. Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is preparing to host the 11th round of the season, and have plenty planned to keep fans entertained all weekend long.

Ever popular and always keeping up the fans atmosphere on top form, the Paddock Show will be jam packed with the exclusive chats and insights into behind the scenes at the Pirelli French Round. With all sessions live on stage with commentary, you can take a break from watching track side and soak up the atmosphere on stage, before the chat shows begin. Highlights include the Sofa Racer chat on Friday with local WorldSSP heroes Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), ahead of the Opening Day Show at 17.40h. Saturday sees the debut of ‘WorldSBK meets The Voice’, as Liza Kalinina – sister of Mykyta Kalinin – takes to the stage at 15.45, before the brand new SuperShow at 16.16h. The closing day on Sunday will provide fans with the chance to hear the reactions post race in all the Race Show’s, giving fans the inside line.

Got access to the paddock? Head over to the Fan Zone in the paddock throughout the weekend where you get the opportunity to experience the Seat Simulator, Acerbis photoshooting all whilst purchasing official merchandise.

Stunt and style shows are the theme of the weekend, with Free Style Shows on offer through Saturday and Sunday which can be seen from both the starting grid and the village. Whilst the stunt shows will be out on track throughout Saturday and Sunday, keeping all eyes on the track in-between the racing action. On top of this, you can even get involved on the track with the parade experience on the track with a certain ticket, which takes place on Saturday at 16.30.

Get involved with the pit lane action with the Pit Walk on Saturday and Sunday, as fans are in with the opportunity to take a look into the garages and meet their favourite riders in their own garages. Saturday’s begin at 15.45 and Sunday’s begins at 10.25, and they are not opportunities to miss out on. With the opportunity to buy a paddock ticket at the gate, fans can get involved throughout the weekend.

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