Team Suzuki Alstare’s difficult weekend continued today at the Brno ninth round of the World Superbike Championship in the Czech Republic.
Both Leon Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli hoped that solutions had been found to the problems in practice and qualifying, but while Guintoli took fourth in race 1 – in front of 64,000 fans – and a seventh in race two, Haslam’s struggles continued: It was never going to be easy for the Briton, starting from the fourth row of the grid, but lack of grip in both races meant that he could only finish eighth in race one and 10th in race two. Both riders were using the new Pirelli tyres, which seem to be causing difficulties setting up the bike.
Team Suzuki Alstare were not the only ones to experience tyre problems today and they will probably try and use the older ones next time out – as they did in race 2 at Misano in the last round.
Jonathan Rea (Honda) won the first race with Max Biaggi (Aprilia) second and pole-sitter Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) third. Biaggi then comfortably won the second race with Rea second and Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) third.
Sylvain Guintoli – Race 1: 4th, Race 2: 7th:
“I am quite happy with my results today, especially my fourth in the first race. I felt good today and I enjoyed the first race more than the second. Just like Misano, we have been struggling getting our bike to work with these new tyres. We’ve been having problems setting up the bike with these tyres, but when we use the older tyres we have much less problems. I used the new tyres in both races today, but the one in race two behaved very differently to the one in race one, even though it was the same type! After my fourth in race one, I was looking forward to giving it a real go in race two, so it was a bit disappointing that the tyre didn’t grip: It meant that I just couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to and I struggled throughout the race.”
Leon Haslam – Race 1: 8th, Race 2: 10th:
“It’s hard to say how disappointed and frustrated I am today. If I thought that the problems were my fault, I’d put my hand up straightaway. We first experienced grip problems with the new tyres in Misano. Whatever we tried just didn’t seem to work. We used the new tyres in race one there and I had a poor result, so we changed to the older tyres for race two, went back to our base set-up; and I finished second!
“We worked with the new tyres all weekend and we have struggled all weekend. We did manage to improve the bike a bit for today. The new tyres have got more grip, but getting the bike to work with them is another thing. There are a few people who have got them to work, but the majority of us are struggling.
“The tyre in race two didn’t work at all and I almost couldn’t finish the race – it was that bad! I felt that I was going to be highsided all the time and I don’t think I’ve been passed by that many people all year! Cal Crutchlow obviously had a similar tyre to mine and he felt it was bad enough to pit and change it for another one. Although his second tyre was the same, it behaved completely differently and he was able to lap over a second lap quicker straightaway!
“I’m trying to think what positives we can take from this weekend and my comment is… none. The only thing I do know is that we will not be using these new tyres again. We’ll go back to the older tyres, a base set-up we know and I am convinced that I’ll be able to lap a lot faster and be challenging for the podium again.”
Race 1: 1 Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda), 2 Max Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia), 3 Cal Crutchlow (GBR-Yamaha), 4 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki Alstare), 5 Ruben Xaus (ESP-BMW, 6 Noriyuki Haga (JPN-Ducati). 8 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki Alstare).
Race 2: 1 Biaggi, 2 Rea, 3 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati), 4 James Toseland (GBR-Yamaha), 5 Haga, 6 Carlos Checa (ESP-Ducati), 7 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Suzuki Alstare). 10 Leon Haslam (GBR-Suzuki Alstare).
Championship Points: 1 Max Biaggi 352, 2 Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) 284, 3 Jonathan Rea 203, 4 Carlos Checa 189, 5 Noriyuki Haga 172, 6 James Toseland 160. 11 Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Alstare) 138.