Magny-Cours (France), Wednesday 2 October 2013 – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship will be on track this weekend, for the second of two back to back rounds. The French venue will host the penultimate event of the season, which could be a decisive one for the four-way title chase. After the two races at Laguna Seca, Championship leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) extended his lead to 23 points over his main rival, who happens to be now Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team).
Both riders shared wins on the American soil in great fashion, but the one achieved by the Irishman last Sunday proved to be crucial for his and other contenders’ hopes for victory. Meanwhile Sykes has mixed memories from last year’s French Round (the season finale in 2012), as the win achieved in Race 2 proved to be just not enough to clinch the title.
Other works Aprilia rider Sylvain Guintoli is just one point behind his team mate, while Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) is in a more difficult position, as he still has a 42-point gap from Sykes. The Frenchman hopes to shine in front of his crowd, like he did last year when he won the first race onboard a Ducati, under wet conditions.
Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) is looking to keep the momentum up after the brilliant second place of the second race at Laguna Seca, while Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), following a best result of 6th last time out, aims high on home soil, on the track that saw him winning the World Supersport race in 2012. Leon Haslam will be facing the event in confident mood, after extending his contract with the Pata Honda Team (as well as his team mate Jonathan Rea) for another season.
Loris Baz’ (Kawasaki Racing Team) participation to the French Round is still in doubt, as his conditions will be further checked before the first practice session of the weekend. Frenchman will nevertheless attend his home race pre-event tomorrow at the circuit.
Current Ducati GP test rider Michele Pirro will step in for injured Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare), while former WSBK regular Lorenzo Lanzi will make a comeback to the series, for the first of two rounds, with the newly-born Mesaroli Racing Ducati, onboard a 1198RS.
Standings (Round 12 of 14): 1. Sykes 361; 2. Laverty 338; 3. Guintoli 337; 4. Melandri 319; 5. Davies 259; 6. Baz 180; 7. Fabrizio 177; 8. Rea 176; 9. Giugliano 169; 10. Cluzel 160; 11. Camier 114; 12. Badovini 114; 13. Neukirchner 84; 14. Haslam 83; 15. Checa 80; 16. Sandi 47; 17. Elias 38; 18. Aitchison 29; 19. Iannuzzo 26; 20. Clementi 18; 21. Canepa 12; 22. Salom 12; 23. Lundh 10; 24. Hayden 8; 25. Lai 8; 26. Young 8; 27. Reiterberger 7; 28. Allerton 6; 29. Uprak 5; 30. Smrz 4; 31. Stauffer 4; 32. Ercelik 3; 33. Eslick 2; 34. Akiyoshi 2; 35. Haga 2. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 460; 2. Kawasaki 415; 3. BMW 390; 4. Honda 225; 5. Suzuki 212; 6. Ducati 152; 7. Yamaha 4.
Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) is only one little step away from an historical victory in the series, as the Brit leads the standings with a 49-point advantage over the only Championship contender left, Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), with just two races left to be contested. The Turk won a thrilling race last time out, in front of his home crowd at Intercity Istanbul Park, but the chances left to successfully defend the title he won last year are now very slim.
Fabien Foret could play a key role in keeping his team mate Sofuoglu in contention, as the Frenchman is aiming high in his home round, while Pata Honda duo of Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Zanetti are targeting the first win of the season to try and stand in touch for the top-3 in the standings. Moreover, Local rider Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) is looking for a strong performance at Magny-Cours to turn the potential he recently showed into results.
Another change in the PTR Honda line-up, as American Corey Alexander and Brit Lee Johnston will be riding the Honda CBR600RR of the British-based team along with Danny Webb, Luca Marconi and Nacho Calero Perez.
Standings (Round 11 of 13): 1. Lowes 205; 2. Sofuoglu 156; 3. Foret 121; 4. Vd Mark 107; 5. Zanetti 99; 6. Scassa 74; 7. Kennedy 71; 8. Rolfo 62; 9. Coghlan 60; 10. Antonelli 55; etc. Manufacturers 1. Kawasaki 225; 2. Yamaha 213; 3. Honda 142; 4. MV Agusta 72; 5. Suzuki 30; 6. Triumph 6.
Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) is ready to tackle the penultimate round of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, and home event, at Magny-Cours, with the solid chance of defending the title. The 24 year old from Oyonnax has 40 points over Niccolò Canepa (Barni Racing Team Ducati), his only rival left for the STK1000 crown, with only 50 still to be awarded. Back from the US experience with Team Ducati Alstare, Canepa will be joined by debutant Kevin Calia, substitute rider for Eddi La Marra.
Local rider Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) is looking forward to the weekend on the track that saw him winning his first-ever STK1000 race last year. Leandro Mercado, after his maiden victory in the category achieved one month ago at Nurburgring, is aiming to bring the Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-6R again on the podium.
Standings (round 8 of 10): 1. Barrier 165; 2. Canepa 125; 3. Mercado 115; 4. Guarnoni 103; 5. La Marra 85; 6. Savadori 82; 7. Jezek 71; 8. Lanusse 51; 9. Bussolotti 50; 10. Andreozzi 47; 11. Lussiana 43; 12. Bergman 31; 13. Massei 29; 14. Gildenhuys 27; 15. Ponsson 18; etc. Manufacturers: 1. BMW 176; 2. Kawasaki 148; 3. Ducati 146; 4. Honda 31; 5. Suzuki 5.
The Superstock 600 European Championship battle for final victory is still wide open, as Franco Morbidelli (San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki) leads a pack of seven riders still in contention, with the closest to the top being fellow Italian Christian Gamarino (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki), just six point short of the rival.
Bastien Chesaux (EAB Ten Kate Junior), Gauthier Duwelz (MTM-MVR Racing Yamaha) and Alessandro Nocco (San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki) hold less than 20 points of gap from the leader, while Tony Covena (Nito Racing Kawasaki) and Robin Mulhauser (MTM-MVR Racing Yamaha) are currently sixth and seventh in the standings, with a gap of 34 and 49 points respectively.
Standings (round 8 out of 10): 1. Morbidelli 114; 2. Gamarino 108; 3. Chesaux 100; 4. Duwelz 97; 5. Nocco 95; 6. Coveña 80; 7. Mulhauser 65; 8. Nestorovic 63; 9. Salvadori 57; 10. Morrentino 44; 11. Casalotti 42; 12. Schmitter 38; 13. Tuuli 34; 14. Tessels 31; 15. Vitali 27; etc.
European Junior Cup
The challenging, one-make entry-level series of WSBK, the Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda, heads to Magny-Cours for the seventh event of the season. The Championship situation sees Kiwi Jake Lewis (Jake Lewis Racing) leading the way with 4 points over local riders Robin Anne (Anne Formation) and 17 on Guillaume Raymond (Activbike). Fifteen riders, though, are still mathematically in the title fight.
Standings (Round 6 of 8): 1. Lewis 76; 2. Anne 72; 3. Raymond 59; 4. Flitcroft 56; 5. Canducci 55; 6. Bendsneijder 50; 7. Manfredi 50; 8. Fernandez 46; 9. Sebestyen 40; 10. Orellana 40; 11. Pittet 37; 12. Bodis 36; 13. Harland 30; 14. Fernandez 28; 15. Levy 27; etc.