Superbike World Championship preview - round eight: Brands Hatch
Race date: 7 August 2005
Track length: 4221m
Year opened: 1926
2004 winner: Noriyuki Haga (Ducati)
Lap record: 1'26.755 Shane Byrne (Ducati)
Fastest lap ever: 1'26.248 Shane Byrne (Ducati)
The Superbike World Championship visits one of its spiritual homes this weekend
as the series moves to the demanding Brands Hatch circuit in the heart of England.
The British circuit is always one of the best attended rounds of the year and
holds good memories for Yamaha Motor Italia rider Noriyuki Haga. The popular
Japanese rider won both races at Brands Hatch last year and returns on the back
of giving Yamaha its first world superbike victory of the season at Brno three
Winning at Brno provided a huge boost to the team in their first season of
competition at superbike level and the squad travels to Brands Hatch this
weekend looking to build on the Czech result. "There's certainly a slightly
different feeling among the team," said team co-ordinator Massimo Meregalli. "We
always knew that the first half of the season would be very difficult as we
developed a new bike and we always felt that it would be the second part of the
season before we could challenge for wins. Noriyuki has been on holiday since
Brno, but in the two or three days before he left he was a different person.
Both he and Andrew (Pitt) know Brands Hatch very well and we looking forward to
Haga is naturally enthusiastic about returning to Brands, commenting: "It was
great to be back on top of the podium again and I hope to make another good
result for the Brands Hatch fans. We're still a little bit down on power but at
Brno we found the perfect setting for the bike and if we can find good settings
at Brands then we can be competitive. Since Brno I've been back in Japan to
spend some time at home with the family. I'm feeling relaxed, fit and ready to
go this weekend."
Team-mate Andrew Pitt had a weekend to forget in Brno, with tenth and a
retirement seeing him slip back to tenth in the overall standings. The
Australian is no stranger to the British circuit and finished second there on
his way to the 2001 supersport world title, when Yamaha rider Jörg Teuchert
pipped him on the line in a memorable photo finish that saw the top three riders
covered by just 0.016 seconds at the flag. "At Brno we were up there in practice
but the races didn't turn out as well as expected," said the 29-year-old. "But
on the positive side, we were more competitive than at the previous two races.
Noriyuki showed the potential of the bike and I just want to get out there and
aim for a podium this weekend."
Brands Hatch technical guide
Make no mistake, Brands Hatch is one of the most demanding circuits on the world
superbike roster when it comes to finding a good bike set-up. It is always about
finding a good compromise setting but here at Brands, with its fast blast up
Hawthorn Hill, the curved start/finish 'straight' and difficult elevation
changes at Paddock Hill and Surtees, the compromise is so much more than at
other circuits. The natural elevation changes can cause the suspension to bottom
out, especially at the end of the long Hawthorn Hill straight but riders must
avoid the temptation to stiffen things up too much as this will sacrifice
performance at many of the other corners. Riders will probably look for a good
set-up through the more conventional fast corners, like Hawthorn, Stirling's and
the Clark, and use their body weight muscle the bike through the less than
perfect set-up for the rest of the course. The track also features a lot of
blind corners which can make it difficult for the riders to gain complete
confidence in the circuit. Circuit knowledge can count for a lot here and the
riders will have to make the most of the practice sessions if they are to find
the optimum lines for what is usually a hectic race.
Supersport World Championship - Yamaha Germany look to regain lost ground
Yamaha Motor Germany riders Kevin Curtain and Broc Parkes head to Brands Hatch
in a positive mood despite a nightmare race last time out in Brno. The
Australian duo both failed to finish in Czech, Curtain crashing out while
contesting the lead and Parkes retiring.
The lack of points failed to reflect the team's pace in Brno and since that last
outing the team has been busy with a two day test at the German Eurospeedway
circuit. Coming to Brands, the target for both riders is to improve their
championship placings. Curtain is the top YZF-R6 rider in the championship, in
third, with Parkes currently sixth.
FIM Superstock 1000 Cup - R1 riders prepare for another thriller
Fans visiting Brands would be well advised to go early and catch Sunday
morning's FIM Superstock 1000 race. The championship, for riders aged up to 24
years and riding virtually stock 1000cc machines, has produced consistently
stunning racing throughout the year and, as the season reaches its climax,
expect nothing less this weekend. The series has been a tale of three Yamaha
riders, Massimo Roccoli, Kenan Sofuoglu and Didier van Keymeulen, and the Suzuki
of Australian Craig Coxhell. Roccoli leads the series by just four points from
early points leader Sofuoglu, who returned from injury with a second place to
Coxhell last time out in Brno. Van Keymeulen goes to Brands Hatch fourth in the
championship but still right in contention thanks to his supreme consistency.
This one looks like going to the wire.