World Superbike returns to Italy

Rivals look to catch Bayliss

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, May. 09, 2008
Troy Bayliss will look to continue his winning ways as the World Superbike championship hits Monza, Italy May 11.

The Ducati Xerox rider leads the rider standings by 70 points after scooping up a pair of victories in Assen on April 27. In eight races this season, Bayliss has five victories and two second place finishes.

Bayliss has had a lot of success at Monza, picking up double-wins in 2001, 2002 and 2006 on the 3.7 mile track.

“Monza is one of my favorite circuits. This weekend I will take it as it comes really. I’m quietly confident about the races and although the 4-cylinders are undoubtedly going to go well, I don’t think we’ll be at a big disadvantage regarding speed,” says Bayliss who will ride an L-Twin Ducati 1098 F08. “Monza is a very special track for me and the fans are amazing here too and always want to see me do well so I’d love to come away with another couple of great results.”Troy Bayliss got off to a good start at Monza, sitting second in the provisional qualifying session.

Though his 178 points places him far ahead of second-place Carlos Checa’s 108 points, a pair of victories by the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider this weekend would narrow the gap significantly.

“After our successful race at the team’s home track in Assen we want to continue the progress and will not change too much on the bike ahead of the next race in Monza,” says Checa. “I hope I can put some pressure on Troy Bayliss and narrow the gap between us.”

Also hoping to gain ground on Bayliss are Troy Corser and Noriyuki Haga, and the rest of the Yamaha Motor Italia team. With the squad’s workshops located just north of the track, both riders will want a good showing in their own back yard. Haga won both races at Monza in 2007.

“The Monza race is very special and important for us all. Last year was great. I set a super lap of 1:44.941 in Superpole and won both races,” says Haga. “As you probably know by now our Yamaha Motor Italia base is very close to the Monza circuit, so many friends and fans come along to cheer me. My aim for Monza will be to repeat the same fantastic result as last year. The competition is even harder this year so my aim will be not so easy, but I will try to get as many points as possible.”

Corser has also had success at Monza with a victory in 2005. He currently sits third in the standings but has yet to win a race this season.

“The track itself is different from all the others on the calendar,” says Corser. “We need to have the bike set-up for hard braking after the long and fast straights and there will be a lot of slipstreaming involved. Overtaking options are limited around there, mainly on braking.”

Max Neukirchner holds the pole after Friday’s provisional qualifying session which was marked by a battle between Bayliss and Neukirchner’s Team Alstare Suzuki teammate Yukio Kagayama, who qualified second and third, respectively.

World Superbike Top Ten Standings

Pos. Rider Bike Points
1. Troy Bayliss Ducati 1098 F08 178
2. Carlos Checa Honda CBR1000RR 108
3. Troy Corser Yamaha YZF-R1 8
4. Fonsi Nieto Suzuki GSX-R1000 85
5. Ruben Xaus Ducati 1098 RS 08 81
6. Noriyuki Haga Yamaha YZF-R1 67
7. Max Neukirchner Suzuki GSX-R1000 66
8. Max Biaggi Ducati 1098 RS 08 54
9. Gregorio Lavilla Honda CBR1000RR 48
10. Loenzo Lanzi Ducati 1098 RS 08 42