Press Release
(2005 FIM Superbike World Championship)
YRC News
Superbike World Championship preview - round 11: Imola


Race date: 2 October 2005
Circuit: Imola
Country: Italy
Track length: 4933m
Opened: 1953
Fastest ever superbike lap: 1'48.336 (Colin Edwards)
Superbike lap record: 1'48.389 (Troy Corser)
Last year's winner: Regis Laconi (Ducati)
Circuit web site:

The penultimate round of the 2005 Superbike World Championship takes place this
weekend at the famous Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in the town of Imola, the
championship's third visit of the year to Italy.

The technically demanding circuit is steeped in heritage thanks mainly its
history as a Formula One circuit but it is also famous as a bike venue too,
having hosted the classic Imola 200 events during the Seventies and, more
recently, Grand Prix and superbike racing. The circuit's surface bears the scars
of this history, with the old tarmac proving bumpy and providing the bike racers
with a tough challenge to find good settings. Despite this, Imola is generally
very popular with the riders - it's challenging layout providing the sort of
test that only the old-fashioned classic circuits can.

Yamaha Motor Italia riders Noriyuki Haga and Andrew Pitt come to the race in
good form. The Japanese star has been on the podium in each of the last seven
races, taking a win at Brno and Brands Hatch to boost him up to third overall in
the championship. "The feeling with the bike is now very good and even though we
did not get a perfect set-up in the last race we were still able to make good
results," says Haga. "I have never finished on the podium in Imola but last year
I was leading the second race when my bike's engine broke, so I am confident we
can get a good result with the Yamaha this year."

Pitt too has been moving up the points order and goes to Italy seventh in the
standings. The Australian has been one of the year's most consistent riders with
his regular top six finishes and Imola is a track which holds good memories for
the 29-year-old as it is the venue at which he clinched the 2001 supersport
world title. Having recorded a best finish of fourth in his debut season in the
class, Pitt is targeting at least one podium finish in the remaining four races.
"We've been close a few times," he said. "Imola is an interesting circuit with a
lot of blind corners where track knowledge counts. I hope that it will be dry
because the surface is old and very slippery in the wet. We've got a good base
setting for the bike and that is important because it is very important to have
good confidence in the bike here. I like the circuit and feel that we can get a
good result here."

Helping Pitt and Haga prepare, they are scheduled to test development chassis
parts at the team's local Monza circuit today (Monday). "We want to go to Imola
in the best possible condition," explains team coordinator Massimo Meregalli.
"Our test at Monza will concentrate on frame parts and we have three different
specification rear arms for both Andrew and Noriyuki to test. Depending on the
results they may decide to use the parts in Imola."

Supersport World Championship

The Yamaha Motor Germany squad arrives in Imola on a high after their Australian
riders Kevin Curtain and Broc Parkes took a one-two finish in EuroSpeedway
Lausitz two weekends ago.

The result moved race winner and Imola lap record holder Curtain up to second in
the championship and, with two races remaining, he plans to stay there. He said:
"I'm not the sort of guy to say I'm going to do this or I'm going to do that,
but when I race I only race to win and I definitely want to end the season on a
high. Charpentier may have already won the championship but there are still two
races to go and I would like to at least get a couple of podiums." Team-mate
Parkes was delighted with his second place at Lausitz and feels that he can go
one better in Imola. "Germany was the best I've felt on the R6. All season we've
been making changes to make it suit my riding style more and in Lausitz we made
a further step forward and I feel that I am now ready to be at least fighting
for the win in the last two races."

FIM Superstock 1000 Cup

The outcome of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup could be decided in Imola this
weekend, although most likely it will be seven days later in Magny Cours before
the eventual winner is crowned.

Germany looks like the most likely destination for the champion's trophy, with
Yamaha Motor Germany riders Kenan Sofuoglu and Didier van Keymeulen leading the
way, but in this unpredictable class anything can and possibly will happen.
The racing in the series has been nothing short of breathtaking this year and
the drama continued last time out when long-time series leader Sofuoglu crossed
the line first but was penalized 20 seconds for cutting a corner. That moved him
back to sixth place with his team-mate inheriting the victory, although Turkish
rider Sofuoglu still leads his Belgian team-mate by 10 points in the
championship - 137 to 127. Three other riders have a mathematical shot at the
title. Former Australian superbike champion Craig Coxhell (Suzuki) is third on
109 points while Yamaha rider Massimo Roccoli is fourth on 103. Italian
Alessandro Polita (Suzuki) is the other rider with a chance of the title, but he
is currently 47 points behind Sofuoglu with just 50 points available from the
final two races.

Local rider Claudio Corti will be looking to tie up his title in Saturday's
European Superstock 600 race. The Yamaha YZF-R6 tangled with championship rival
Yoann Tibero on the last lap at Lausitz as he attempted to win the title in
Germany and now the 18-year-old who has dominated the series needs to finish in
at least fourth place in Imola to be mathematically assured of the title.