2012 Nürburgring WSBK Weekend Round Up: Only Fools Predict Races

The Nürburgring gave us an exciting weekend of surprises, twists and turns. Hopes were raised then dashed. Dreams were broken and made true. The championship looked to be going in one direction then another.

It is a fool that predicts motorcycle races, but some of us have a fool's job. Predicting the demise of Max Biaggi was easy, when Marco Melandri carried so much momentum in the title fight and Biaggi seemed to flag. And yet, after the first race, Biaggi made fools of us all while Melandri bucked predictions into the gravel. In the second race, Biaggi fell and Melandri led, until Melandri fell and Biaggi valiantly rode a battered mess for a meagre two points. With the title leaders leaving so many points on the table, this was Tom Sykes's weekend to snatch as many points as possible and make a run for the title, but his bike inexplicably let him down, acting in the second half of both races as if it was down a handful of horses. With Biaggi the only man near the top to get a podium, this was not a good weekend for anyone realistically in the title fight.

The weekend was good for Chaz Davies and Eugene Laverty, however. Davies left with 41 points and Laverty with 40 and both men increased their positions in the championship. Davies also left with ink on a BMW contract for 2013. Leon Camier, third in race two, also increased his placing, embarrassing his team mate John Hopkins even further. As Hopkins was fighting for 12th place, Camier was fighting for second, both on the same bag-of-spanners Crescent Suzukis. Hopkins's poor results were made look even worse by Camier's performance today.

Carlos Checa was another of race one's fallers, but he, like Biaggi in race two, made a valiant attempt to recover a few of points. The net result was that, even with the disastrous day he had, thanks to Jonathan Rea's DNF in race one, he was able to leave the weekend with one more point than Rea, maintaining his fourth place in the title chase, one place above the Honda Man. Rea, however, leaves the weekend fit and ready to race the finest motorcycle Honda make against the best riders in the world, next weekend in Misano's MotoGP.

The only way BMW could claim a podium today was by announcing Chaz Davies as their second rider next year. That was their only good news as Marco Melandri had two DNFs, Michel Fabrizio had two and Leon Haslam had one but was able to avoid further injury to his recovering shoulder. In what was their home round, BMW called it “a day to forget” and had to rely on Ayrton Badovini's two ninth places as the closest they could get to a silver lining.

Aprilia, on the other hand, leave Germany at the top of the manufacturers standings. with five out of the six podium places today falling to the Italian marque. Chaz Davies's race one podium was made all the more deserved after he recovered from an almost certain crash without losing more than half a second, while Eugene Laverty recovered from contact with Tom Sykes in the second race as both men contested the same bit of tarmac.

Liberty Racing had some good news with Brett McCormick, recovered from his broken neck, scoring his first world championship point, while former race winner for Ducati Lorenzo Lanzi, standing in for an absent, and some say sacked, Jakub Smrz, scored two points. Maxime Berger, their fastest rider, managed an eleventh and a fourteenth. McCormick's recovery aside, this weekend was just another depressing episode in the descent of a team that used to win races. Smrz was on the podium at this race last year.

World Supersport gave us what was possibly the determining race of the championship. While Jules Cluzel, Sam Lowes and Fabien Foret put the pressure on leader Kenan Sofuoglu, the Turkish Kawasaki rider just kept his pace until the last few laps where he put in demoralisingly fast laps and broke away from the riders behind him to take the flag as an almost unbeatable contender. At the beginning of this weekend, his rivals had to contain him, but as that didn't happen and he has a 38 point lead over Cluzel, it will take a disaster for Sofuoglu to not take his third World Supersport title.

The title race in World Supersports is all but wrapped up, but in World Superbikes, it remains wide open to, realistically, three men and it looks like it won't be declared in a fortnight's time at Portimão. Once again, it looks like the last race of the year, at Magny-Cours two weeks after that, will be the decider.

Round Number: 
12
2012
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Comments

Marco Melandri is the racer I am rooting for, from MotoGP to WSBK, but today, I am impressed by how determined Max Biaggi is, when he refused to retire and remount to carry on racing in race #2.

Could there be any reasons unknown why all Marco did was to repeat the same fist pumping "finishing moves" instead of running over to try and remount is BMW? The championship is so close and today (at least to the fans), I see the clear differences between "trying to win a championship" & "wanting to win a championship".

Go MM#33!!! But today, the man is definitely MB#3.

Melandri was going very fast when he crashed and when I saw his bike bounce over the kerb my first thought was "Ouch! He might not be able to get back on that when it comes to a stop." His body language the moment he stood up seemed to indicate what he saw told him the same thing. Are there any shots of Melandri's bike post-crash?

Yes, the flames were very visible, what a shame. This is something BMW engineers will have to work out very soon! It does remind me of Casey Stoner's Desmo that would break a lever each time he lay it on the side, preventing him from remounting to finish the race. Marco Melandri definitely pushes his BMW to the limits, which is great to see him back on form like this since he came over to WSBK.

Thanks for digging out the video!

It's fun to watch, but damn if this isn't amateur hour. Most of this year in WSB has been a comedy of errors from pretty much every participant except Sykes. And it's frankly embarrassing to see so many people that are so fast make so many mistakes.

Brilliant racing performances from Davies, Laverty and Camier. And probably from Sykes, too, though whatever mechanical/electronic troubles his Kawasaki suffered must be infuriating to him. Put him on a consistently fast bike and everyone will have to watch out (though the thought of Davies on a factory BMW ought to be worrying enough to most of them).

Whatever change in the track conditions caused all those front end crashes must have been odd, but difficult conditions bring out the best in riders... or show up their weaknesses. Or both, in the case of Max Biaggi!

The final 4 races of the season should be epic.

An unpredictable glitch for Biaggi and doubled up for Melandri,but the trend remains.
Predictable was Ducati. Overweight,underpowered and slow,slow,slow.
Judging by the Superstock race,the 1199 will be in the same boat next season should Ducati even bother to take part.
Sykes' team site electro/machanical issues,but he blasted away from Checa with ease every time he fired the bike out of the corner which is supposedly an area of L-twin advantage.
Looking at the Panigalle in STK its clearly outgunned by the 4's. La Marra,Checa,Giuliagno etc. These blokes are having to push well beyond the competitiveness of the package.

If the package includes weight and intake penalties well then ya they have to push beyond what is reasonable. I think its time for at least the weight to go, if not then let the bikes breath like they are supposed to.

They need to have a 1 litre limit on all engines and let Ducati come to play on the same field. If they can make a twin play with the 4s then great. If not. Make a bike and engine that will. Just my take. Never liked the weight/power idea they had for Ducati. His do you know if you get it right? Even the playing field and either Ducati will develop a badass twin or who knows what else Bologa would come uP with to win. (again)

Truth is, if Checa did not score 6x 0 he would be up there with Biaggi and melandri, also because those 0s were scored where he won or got a podium. So I'm not that sure that the ducati is so penalised, the panigale next year could be a surprise.