sound the trumpets – phillip island wss roundup

March 6, 2008

wss-r2mccoy.jpg

supersport

sandwiched in between the 2 superbike races is the always entertaining supersport race. typically, wss been a dominated by the screaming 600cc inline-4’s of honda and yamaha (ducati only won the championship once in 1997). that could all change this year with the fim’s decision to allow triumph’s brilliant daytona 675 (675cc inline-triple aka trumpet) into the paddock.

ok… i’m a little biased since in own one but u can’t deny the fact that the 675 will be the fly in the wss ointment (much like the 1098rs). round 2 on the island is proof of this notion.

let’s just say qualifying for the triumphs was less than good with a lonely ivan clementi (be1 racing triumph) mixed in with japanese machinery. garry mccoy on the factory-backed bike struggled to find grip.

the race got off to a cracking start with andrew pitt (ten kate honda) leading the way followed closely by a group of 4 other riders. coincidently, the be1 triumphs swapped places on the first lap. mark aitchison moved up to 8th while clementi slipped to 13th. broc parkes (yamaha wss) surged into the lead on the second lap but mg corner unkindly pulled the rug out from under his front tire ending his day.

this group of 5 riders (pitt, robbin harms – stiggy honda, josh brookes-stiggy honda, fabien foret-yamaha wss) were engaged in a fierce dogfight that ensued for the entire race. an injured jonathon rea (ten kate honda) couldn’t hang with them and dropped back a couple seconds to lead the second group. tv coverage was so focused on the lead pack that the wily mccoy managed his way up from a dismal 17th to pass rea on the 7th lap shocking the announcers. i wasn’t so shocked ;) more stoked!

mccoy bridged the gap (more than 2 secs) with 5 laps to go mixing it up at the sharp end. rea was also pulled along and poked his nose into the brawl. mccoy briefly battled for 4th but unfortunately his tires were knackered with a couple laps to left and ended up 6th as rea squeezed by for 5th. the top 3 left foret on the on the final lap (after he was leading) and it was anyone’s race. pitt pipped (aaahhahaha!!!) brookes for the win by a hair (= 0.062 secs) with harms rounding out podium.

i was thoroughly surprised to see the stiggy motorsports hondas ruff up the factory boys.

but i was even more taken aback with the efforts of garry mccoy and triumph-sc especially considering that they retired in qatar just a week prior. in only their 2nd race, they managed a top 10 finish. franco farne black magic must’ve worked as the bike managed the 2nd fastest top speed down the chute at 284kph (176mph!!!). this result really demonstrates that the mccoy-675 package is working. like honda’s revamped superbike, the triumph should be able to make considerable improvements over the season.

as was said in the previous post, we’ve got a month break.

now we get to see if motogp can compete with wsbk/wss… 


double down (under) – wsbk/wss phillip island roundup

March 5, 2008

wsbk-r21-bayliss-wheelie.jpg

maybe nori haga was right when he prognosticated that world superbike racing will rival motogp. if the first two rounds are an indication of what’s to come, we’re in for a great season!!!

(superb)ike

troy bayliss (xerox ducati) went out in style in the last world superbike at his home round of phillip island. he pretty much dominated the weekend. he qualified at pole with a record lap and then pretty much walked away from the field in both races.

but in no way were the races a snoozefest.

wsbk-r21-fabrizio-crash.jpg

race 1 started with bang!!! literally for michel fabrizio (xerox ducati). he stalled his 1098rs on the line and mayhem ensued. fabrizio almost got away with it when an unlucky vittorio iannuzzo (pedercini kawasaki) smashed into the rear of the ducati. the collision was powerful enough to break the forged rear wheel yet gentle enough to remove fabrizio’s boot and not the entire foot.

the race was quickly red flagged which caused another incident at lukey heights between carlos checa (ten kate honda) and russell holland (df racing honda). apparently, as the field was slowing for the red flag holland made contact with carlos checa sending him and his bike tumbling. amazingly, 3 out of the 4 ill-fated riders (fabrizio, checa, and holland) made it back onto the grid for the restart. however, iannuzzo suffered a severe, career-threatening wrist injury.

phew! all that in less than one lap of racing.

imo, race direction should be blamed for the starting line debacle. riders were held for an unusually long time before the starting lights went out. i didn’t get a chance to count but it felt longer than the 5 seconds specified in the fim rulebook.

the restart went off without any drama and bayliss shot to the front and didn’t look back. the rest of the pack scrapped it out for 22 laps.

again like qatar, the alstare suzukis were blisteringly fast down the straight. max neukirchner was battling at the front throughout the race and finished in 5th position.

the ten honda’s also appeared much improved with checa and ryu kiyonari both in the top 10. since the honda’s are are still early in development i expect to see major improvement as the season progresses.

the sterilgarda ducatis showed that the factory boys a thing or two with ruben xaus pestering fabrizio for third (i know. amazing!). in the end, xaus managed a very respectable 4th place. in addition, max biaggi was running a wicked quick pace reeling in the distant bayliss until he overzealously binned it with 6 laps to go.

the “weakest” front-running team looked to be the yamahas. the r1’s still seem to be struggling for grip during the waning laps. even though troy corser snatched 2nd, he was riding on the ragged edge. furthermore, haga fell back to 8th after catching the front group. corser summed it up saying that “the bike wasn’t perfect and we were moving around a bit too much. we were going as fast as we could sideways!”

race 2 was a little less dramatic. as in the previous race, bayliss was untouchable.

corser didn’t do himself any favors by, first, false-starting and, second, crashing on the 5th lap.

checa impressed with his second place showing the true potential of the ten kate honda. they will be the team to watch. 

the battle for the remaining of the podium position was fast and furious. biaggi, neukirchner, xaus, and nieto had a helluva time with one another. biaggi got the worst of it crashing hard at turn 1. he lifted the rear while braking and when it came down it was all over. xaus and nieto squabbled over 3rd as neukirchner couldn’t maintain the pace. there was no quarter given between the two spaniards as they banged fairings midcorner. courageous or stupid??? u decide… xaus was victorious and claimed the position in the last couple laps. 

from what i’ve seen, the ducati’s are the bike to beat but they aren’t dominating. it wasn’t a runaway like i was expecting. while phillip island has been kind to ducati in the past, we saw that yamaha or honda not so far behind taking second spot while suzuki also showed its mettle. i don’t see fgsport or fim penalizing the 1200cc 1098rs… yet…

supersport 

[it’s getting late so i’ll have that recap tomorrow. sorry :( ] 

if u haven’t tuned in yet u’ve got a month to catch up… wsbk returns to the old continent in valencia, spain april 6th.


wsbk/wss qatar roundup

February 25, 2008

wsbk-r12.jpg

what a fantastic day of racing in the desert!!! so many things to cover…

superbike
 
ducati’s 1098rs faired fairly well in its debut. no engines self-destructed and they somewhere between more-than-competitive and dominant. 
 
former wsbk champ troy bayliss on the factory ducati took race 1 (on the last lap no less) with max biaggi and troy corser rounding out the podium. this was a great result since this is the only track that ducati hasn’t won at. in race 2, alstare suzuki rider fonsi nieto captured his first wsbk win followed by a trio of ducati’s (ruben xaus, biaggi, and bayliss, respectively). 
 
3 out of the top 4 bikes were italian in both races. will these results give officials a reason to penalize the duc’s? probably not. but if we see them dominate phillip island next week we could see the bologna bullets get a pack on some pounds.
 
i was surprised to see the suzukis battling at the sharp end. in both races, an alstare suzukis was was leading the race at one point. they looked incredibly fast down the 1200m main straight besting both the ducati’s and yamaha’s.
 
the yamaha’s got off to great starts in both races but faded at the midpoint. corser managed a disappointing 3rd in race 1 but couldn’t muster anything in the second. haga, in race 1, uncharacteristically overreacted to biaggi’s hard pass and duffed it as a result. just get on with it. he was an also-run in race 2.
 
speaking of also-runs… honda and kawasaki made no impression on me this weekend. they looked to be struggling with setup as soon as they took the bikes off the trailer. i guess i shouldn’t be surprised. for some reason both manufactures delivered bikes late which impeded testing.
 
best moment: bayliss staring down biaggi’s desperate counterattack in the last corner. priceless.


 
supersport
 
what can i say, supersport is unpredictable. there’s always plenty of action!!!
 
the factory r6’s were 1-2 for the most of the race with a hodgepodge of bikes behind. fabien foret had a commanding lead until he ran out of petrol on final lap. talk about frustrating. then it was a dash to the finish between foret’s teammate broc parkes and honda rider joan lascroz. parkes narrowly took the win with an incredible draft pass down the main straight. craig jones took the final podium position.
 
an incredible crash on the 2nd lap between hannspree ten kate teammates jonathon rea and andrew pitt. rea’s rear tire stepped out as he was exiting turn 3 (i think) and consequently viscously flicked him off. pitt was closely following and there was no way to avoid the carnage. he was punted over the bars and looked in bad shape.
 
it wouldn’t be a proper moto-vation article if there was no mention of the 675. briefly, triumph scored their first wss points with be1 racing’s ivan clementi’s 12th place finish. garry mccoy on the factory bike looked impressive climbing his way up to a best 5th position but subsequently suffered engine failure (overheating???). in addition, mark aitchison was doing well until he crashed out. all in all, the 675 is race-worthy but it’s still in the early stages of development.
 
best moment: parkes pipping lascroz on the last lap.
 

next week is phillip island. can’t wait. the motorcycling season hath begun which means spring is right around the corner!!

triumph-sc unveil livery

February 23, 2008

it’s not that big of a deal for most of u but it is for me so deal with it.
 
the factory boys finally unveiled their paint scheme in qatar during fri practice. gone is the monotone silver of preseason testing. triumph-sc are sporting a classy blue-silver-black paint job. triumph stickers must’ve been on sale because there are about a bajillion of them all over the bike. “lookin’ good, billy ray!”
 
furthermore, franco farne went with tried and trued temignoni for the exhaust. amazing the influence this guy has. the whole triumph675.net community couldn’t get akra to develop a can… franco gets what franco wants. but i want one too!
 
in related news, garry mccoy lead the triumph charge in qualifying setting the 7th fastest time of the day. he was closely followed by fellow triumph and be-1 racing rider ivan clementi who was a tenth behind. atcho brought up the rear in 11th ahead of some reasonable talent. amazing that all triumph bikes qualified ahead of suzuki and kawasaki. booyah suckas!!! the race will be held sat instead of the normal sunday (crazy muslims) and hopefully we’ll see a little of this from mr mccoy:
 

be1 racing ready for battle

February 15, 2008

earlier this week in qatar, triumph be1 racing fired a warning shot across the wss paddock’s bow. they took part in a preseason test just 10 days before the start of the 2008 season to work on bike setup and tire testing. one would think the 675 would behind in development but it looks like it’ll be competitive right from the get go.
 
rookie rider, mark aitchison, posted the fastest time of 2’03.1 ahead of some notable riders like fujiwara, walker, and notably his teammate, ivan clementi (1+ sec back). respect!!! [/ali_g]
 
mark aitchison
[translated/google]“Although the work has been to prepare for the race, I managed to pull an excellent time which I repeated on several occasions. I’m really satisfied with the team and the team are working very good and I hope to continue on this path. I have reached a good basic set up that gives me confidence prior to my debut.”

 

ivan clementi
[translated/google]“We worked very hard to get useful data to understand the reactions of the bike on this track, the right relationship and the wear on tires. This data will help us tackle the race. Unfortunately at the end day when I had the track to myself to put some fast laps in, I encountered a technical problem that forced me into the pits.”

note: i’m unsure if all the teams were here for this test as the press release only contained 4 positions.


be1 racing moves up to wss

January 31, 2008

be1 racing will be joining big brother triumph-sc on the wss grid fielding none other than the world’s best supersport bike – the daytona 675 :D last year, be1 raced a 675 in the italian supersport championship and managed a best second place finish at mugello.

be1 brought their bikes to valencia to test in early january and looked impressive. veteran rider, ivan clementi, posted a time that would land him on the front row of last year’s grid while teammate, mark aitchison, was 7-tenths behind. 

a few weeks later, they were back in spain at the almeria wss test. despite its short development, the 675 was very competitive. clementi posted the 2nd fastest time of the event behind gb-honda rider craig jones who broke the circuit lap record. according to clementi, who was running an advanced marelli marvel 4 ignition system, “the new engine management  is undoubtedly a step forward.” on the standard bike, aitchison managed a very respectable 6th place.

a new sheriff’s in town and the wss paddock is shaking in its boots. yeeehaaaw!!! the next wss test is in doha feb 10-11. stay tuned…