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FastDates.com July 2003
Page 3 • Racing & Calendar News
Superbike, MotoGP, Calendar Girls

Official Calendar of the SBK World Superbike Championship
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This Week's Starting Grid: British MotoGP Donnington
  SBK World Superbike girl Chandi tests Ducati Multistrada >>
MotoGP Sete Gibernau master the rain at Assen TT in Holand
AMA Superbike Mladin into the points lead at Laguna Seca
SBK World Superbike Xaus doubles at Misano

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The Pit Board Editorial, Race Schedules, Fan Mail, Index, Features

Max Biaggi picked up the win at Donnington.

MotoGP World Championship, Donnington England Round 8

British Grand Prix at Donington, Raceday Sunday July 13
Track temperature: 38 degrees, Humidity: 44%, Ambient temperature: 27 degrees, bright sunshine

Max Inherets the Win as Rossi Incurrs Penalty
Donnington, GB, July 13th: Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V) was denied a fourth win of the season by overtaking Loris Capirossi under yellow (caution) flags and incurring a ten second penalty – applied retrospectively, two hours after the end of the race. Rossi had mounted the top step of the podium to rapturous applause from a sun-kissed 72,000 crowd after crossing the line 1.2 seconds ahead of Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) in second and Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) in third.

With the ambient temperature hovering around 27 degrees and the track at a heady 38 degrees, Max Biaggi fired his RC211V off the line from pole position and peeled into turn one in the measured, fluid style that is his trademark. He looked comfortable from the off and as Gibernau followed him down the sweeping Craner Curves, Rossi was fighting his way through traffic from a poor start. Tohru Ukawa (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) had crashed at the first corner on the first lap and as corner marshals waved yellow flags Rossi slipped past Capirossi on the start/finish straight. It was to be a move that cost him vital Championship points.

The race unfolded as if nothing had happened, the incident only coming to the attention of Race Control after Rossi had mounted the top step of the podium to the acclaim of the crowd. And the three podium finishers had made their post-race remarks under the assumption that the finishing order was ratified: Rossi, Biaggi, Gibernau.

But that was thrown to the wind when the bombshell dropped that Rossi was to be docked ten seconds for his offence. And although the new finishing order put Biaggi first, Gibernau second and Rossi third, the race itself was a hard-fought on-track victory for Rossi, a mighty second place for Biaggi and a resigned third for Gibernau.

Biaggi was looking as comfortable as any rider can with Rossi behind him and the Roman looked to be locked into an effective rhythm until he hit a false neutral going into the Esses on lap 13 and ran onto the dirt while Rossi slipped through into the lead. Max regained the track with dirty tyres and had to settle into a new rhythm with Rossi now two seconds ahead of him.

That he managed to stay in touch and finish only 1.2 seconds behind at the flag says much about his determination not to let the title run away with Rossi as we reach the halfway point of the 2003 season.
Rossi was as philosophical as anyone stripped of a hard-fought win could be. “The final result is disappointing for me,” he said. “I never saw the flags and I did nothing wrong intentionally. I’m disappointed but rules are rules and I can’t argue with the law. I only hope the outcome doesn’t affect the Championship in the end.”

Biaggi was magnanimous in victory. “The decision of the race officials means that the 25 points go my way, but as a rider I can sympathise with Rossi. I understand what he must be feeling at this time because the same thing happened to me in Barcelona in 1998 when I had won on the track. The only difference is that the decision subsequently cost me the Championship.”

Gibernau took slightly less satisfaction form the result knowing that it didn’t change the way he felt about his own performance. “I couldn’t fight with them and I had to be smart and just do what I could. They did a better job than me in qualifying and in the race and I’ll do what I can to learn form this.”

Team Marlboro Ducati's Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss finished fourth and fifth respectively, while Carlos Checa (Yamaha) and Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) were sixth and seventh. US rookie Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) recorded his best result of the year so far with an eighth place.

Loris Capirossi finished the British GP in a lonely fourth spot, unable to run with the leaders after Marco Melandri’s fifth-lap crash. The Ducati Marlboro Team man was just behind his compatriot when he fell, Melandri’s M1 ending up in the middle of the track at the Fogarty Esses, Capirossi avoiding the fallen machine by inches. That put the four-time Donington winner four seconds behind the leading pack with little chance of catching the leaders who were running at record pace lap after lap, though Capirossi’s pace during the closing stages was every bit as quick as that of Rossi & Co.

“I made quite a good start and was right with the leading group,” said Capirossi. “Melandri passed me and we were all together. He was riding well, but when he crashed it was a miracle that I missed his bike. That lost me my concentration and also my contact with the leading group. From there I knew I couldn’t fight for the win, but the bike was perfect and my pace was very fast, especially in the last quarter of the race, which is a good sign. This four-place is important for us because this is always a very difficult race.”

Ducati Marlboro Team rider Troy Bayliss scored a hard-won fifth-place result this afternoon, working his way back through the pack after a difficult first few laps. After three laps he was ninth but the Aussie rode with typical doggedness, getting up to fifth at mid-distance and then enjoying a see-saw lap-time contest with team-mate Capirossi. One lap Bayliss would be faster, Capirossi the next. There was less than three seconds between them at the flag.

“For some reason I was a bit slow at first, and during the first few laps everyone seemed to be sticking it into me, or maybe I’ve just gone soft!” grinned the rock-hard Aussie. “It took me a while to get into the groove. I was reasonably happy with the second half of the race, but I don’t think I would’ve done much better anyway, maybe I would’ve had more of a battle with Loris, that’s all.”

Tohru Ukawa (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) had a torrid time at Donington for the third year in succession when he was punted off the track at the first turn on the first lap. “I am disappointed because I had hopes of producing a good performance today,” he said. “It is clear that this circuit is unlucky for me. There is not much left to say except that I hope my luck improves in two weeks.”

Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda RC211V) finished 13th after a troubled weekend. “I never managed to get the right feeling at the front,” he said. “I wasn’t able to be aggressive in the race precisely because I didn’t have enough feel and that’s really important here.”

Although Ryuichi Kiyonari (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) finished one place behind Tamada in 14th he was slightly more upbeat. “I wanted to improve my lap times in the race – and I did,” he said. “I was also able to confirm the effects of some settings and I’m happy about that too.”

The World Championship points table now shows Rossi still leading with 167 points, Gibernau second with 133 and Biaggi on 130.

Aprilia Dominates 250 Class with Nieto on Top
Fonsi Nieto won the 250 Grand Prix from Manuel Poggiali, with Anthony West third (all Aprilia). Nieto took the lead after catching the leading duo of Poggiali and Tony Elias (Aprilia) when Elias ran wide trying to overtake Poggiali at McLeans on lap 17. A five rider breakaway of those three riders, Anthony West (Aprilia) and Roberto Rolfo (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) had made the running from the off.

The closing laps were action-packed as West repeatedly tried to steal third place from a determined Elias. First he dived inside the Spaniard at the Melbourne Loop on lap 24 of the 27-lapper, but ran wide on the exit and was repassed by Elias. Then he tired the same thing on the next lap and made it stick.

Elias was close enough in touch to try a last lap last corner inside move at Goddards, he made the first part stick and got in front of West. But he ran wide on the exit and let not only West back through for third, but he lost fourth place also to Robby Rolfo who stuck determinedly to his task throughout the race.

“It was a very hard race,” said Rolfo. “We still need a little more acceleration at tracks like Donington, right now we are giving out rivals too much of an advantage. We have to continue working hard and that’s why we leave for the Brno to test tomorrow.”

Sebastian Porto (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team RS250RW) finished sixth. “From lap ten I had problems with the engine,” he said. “Probably something electrical because it kept coming and going, but I finished and collected some points. We have to make sure none of this happens in Germany.”
The points table for the 250 World Championship now shows Poggiali leading with 121 points with Nieto close behind after this win with 106. The there’s Toni Elias tied on 97 points with Rolfo and West in pursuit with 94.

125cc MotoGP to Barbera's Aprilia
The 25-lap 125 race saw Hector Barbera (Aprilia) win his first ever Grand Prix in a typically manic last two laps. The lead changed hands at least twice per lap with Barbera making sure of his win by staying out of trouble in the last half of the final lap – at the front.

Four riders were involved in the scrap: Barbera, Andrea Dovisioso (Team Scot Honda RS125R) who finished second, Stefano Perugini (Aprilia) who was third and Daniel Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team RS125R) who tangled with his nemesis Perugini on the final lap. Lucio Checchinello (Aprilia) was involved up front until lap 14 when he fell at Goddards and managed to rejoin the race to finish tenth. Mika Kallio (Ajo Motorsports Honda RS125R) was seventh.

Pedrosa collided with Perugini at the Melbourne Loop and was deflated and angry at his plight. “There is little to say,” he said. “I think everybody saw what happened. I had a clear chance of making the podium until Perugini stuffed me up. It cannot be that Perugini is allowed to pull these dirty moves.”

Dovisioso was mildly frustrated at the finish. “I should have been able to pass Barbera,” he said. “It was all a bit too comfortable at the front and I was going to attack him at the Melbourne Loop. But Pedrosa passed me and I had to repass him which left it too late to pass Barbera.”

The World Championship points table now shows Pedrosa still in front with 124 points, Steve Jenkner (Aprilia) second on 98 and Lucio Cecchinello third on 97 points.

Results MotoGP, Race Classification MotoGP : (30 laps = 120.69 km)
Pos/Rider /Nat /Team /Motorcycle /Time/KM/H
1/Max BIAGGI /ITA /Camel Pramac Pons /HONDA/46'06.688/157.041
2/Sete GIBERNAU /SPA /Telefónica Movistar Honda /HONDA/46'13.826/156.637
3/Valentino ROSSI /ITA /Repsol Honda /HONDA/46'15.482/156.543
4/Loris CAPIROSSI /ITA /Ducati Marlboro Team /DUCATI/46'19.729/156.304
5/Troy BAYLISS /AUS /Ducati Marlboro Team /DUCATI/46'22.957/156.123
6/Carlos CHECA /SPA /Fortuna Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/46'33.773/155.518
7/Noriyuki HAGA /JPN /Alice Aprilia Racing /APRILIA/46'34.350/155.486
8/Nicky HAYDEN /USA /Repsol Honda /HONDA/46'38.700/155.244
9/Shinya NAKANO /JPN /d'Antín Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/46'41.487/155.090
10/Colin EDWARDS /USA /Alice Aprilia Racing /APRILIA/46'41.689/155.079
11/John HOPKINS /USA /Suzuki Grand Prix Team /SUZUKI/46'54.853/154.354
12/Yukio KAGAYAMA /JPN /Suzuki Grand Prix Team /SUZUKI/47'07.111/153.684
13/Makoto TAMADA /JPN /Pramac Honda /HONDA/47'12.848/153.373
14/Ryuichi KIYONARI /JPN /Telefonica Movistar Honda /HONDA/47'21.554/152.903
15/Nobuatsu AOKI /JPN /Proton Team KR /PROTON KR/47'36.979/152.078
Fastest Lap: Valentino ROSSI 1'31.023 159.111 Km/h Lap 2

World Championship Positions:
1 ROSSI 167, 2 GIBERNAU 133, 3 BIAGGI 130, 4 CAPIROSSI 84, 5 BAYLISS 64,
6 BARROS 62, 7 CHECA 57, 8 UKAWA 56, 9 NAKANO 54, 10 HAYDEN 46, 11 JACQUE 43,
12 EDWARDS 40, 13 TAMADA 37, 14 HAGA 30, 15 HOPKINS 22.250cc

Race Classification 250cc: (27 laps = 108.621 km)
Pos/Rider /Nat /Team /Motorcycle /Time/KM/H
1/Fonsi NIETO /SPA /Team Repsol Telefonica Movistar /APRILIA/42'58.011/151.681
2/Manuel POGGIALI /RSM /MS Aprilia Team /APRILIA/42'58.280/151.665
3/Anthony WEST /AUS /Team Zoppini Abruzzo /APRILIA/43'00.569/151.530
4/Toni ELIAS /SPA /Team Repsol Telefonica Movistar /APRILIA/43'00.944/151.508
5/Roberto ROLFO /ITA /Fortuna Honda /HONDA/43'00.945/151.508
6/Sebastian PORTO /ARG /Telefonica Movistar jnr Team /HONDA/43'23.041/150.222
7/Franco BATTAINI /ITA /Campetella Racing /APRILIA/43'25.674/150.070
8/Randy De Punet /FRA /Safilo Oxydo-LCR /APRILIA/43'29.602/149.844
9/Naoki MATSUDO /JPN /Yamaha Kurz /YAMAHA/43'48.359/148.775
10/Alex DEBON /SPA /Troll Honda BQR /HONDA/43'51.348/148.606
11/Jay Vincent /GBR /Padgetts /APRILLIA/43'56.109/148.338
12/Hector FAUBEL /SPA /Aspar Junior Team /APRILIA/43'58.061/148.228
13/Chaz DAVIES /GBR /Aprilia Germany /APRILIA/43'58.261/148.217
14/Jakub SMRZ /CZE /Elit Grand Prix /HONDA/44'08.366/147.651
15/Dirk HEIDORF /GER /Aprilia Germany / APRILIA/44'09.677/147.578
Fastest Lap: Manuel POGGIALI 1'34.558 153.163 Km/h Lap 3

World Championship Positions:
1 POGGIALI 121, 2 NIETO 106, 3 ELIAS 97, 4 ROLFO 97, 5 WEST 94, 6 DE PUNIET 89,
7 BATTAINI 87, 8 PORTO 74, 9 MATSUDO 60, 10 GUINTOLI 58, 11 DEBON 40, 12 OLIVE 27, 13 AOYAMA 20, 14 GEMMEL 18, 15 STIGEFELT 17.

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World Superbike's
return to Laguna Seca
may be in question?

The return of SBK World Superbike racing to the Laguna Seca next year in 2004 may be in question. The success of this year's weekend with more racing than fans could watch and the fact the AMA Superbike National on Saturday appeared to pull more spectators than Sunday's SBK races are contributing factors.

The other factor being the lack of Japanese factory support for the SBK World Championship. If the world series does not see the return of Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki to the fold next year with thier new inline 1000cc Fours (which just might not happen with the newfound popularity of MotoGP, and particularly with the proposed new spec tire rule) the SBK Championship will remain a Ducati dominated Series.

Bringing World Superbike to America is a huge logistical and monetary cost for Laguna Seca race weekend promoter RACE.
Now that it appears their successful race weekend can stand alone without World Superbike, it is mighting tempting to drop World Superbike from the race weekend program and add an additional AMA National Superbike round on Sunday to fill out the weekend.

Whether or not SBK World Superbike returns to Laguna Seca near year just might depend on what Japanese teams commit in the next few months to return to SBK for 2004. Needless to say, Honda is the key component.

FastDates.com's Corona Extra Suzuki Team Shines at Laguna Seca
Monterey, CA July 13, 2003 In front of the world Superbike Series media and an estimated 90,000 fans, Corona Extra Suzuki rider Adam Fergusson put both of his GSXR race bikes on the podium at a beautifully sunny Laguna Seca this weekend. The Team was without the services of Jimmy Moore who is recovering from injuries sustained at the last event in Brainerd.

In the Formula Extreme race, Fergusson, starting from number two on the grid, got a good start, settling into third spot after the first lap. The three leaders quickly opened a gap on the rest of the field. Second place Jake Zemke had jumped the start and had to pull in for a stop-go penalty which he did on lap three leaving Adam in second but with a fair deficit to make up on the leader Ben Spies. Though he started to close the gap Fergusson just was not able to make a challenge by the finish. A clearly happy Fergusson said; " I didn't try too hard to get by Jake (Zemke) because I saw the meatball flag for him (which tells the rider they have a penalty) so knew he was going to pull in. But by the time he did Ben (Spies) had just too big a gap on me. Still I am very pleased to put the GSXR1000 on the box and make it a 1,2,3 for Suzuki!" Fergusson remains 5th in the Formula Extreme championship but is now tied for points with fourth place Zemke. Moore is 11th.

The sunny weather also shone on Jordan Szoke in the Superbike event where Jordan got his best result of the season - 7th. Szoke, who qualified 9th, got a good start and started mixing it up with a number of riders. He passed four or five then set out on a lonely quest for the next, but they had already got away. Jordan said; "I worked my through a bunch of guys but by the time I got clear I couldn't see the guy in front so I settled down to ride my own race".

Szoke is currently 11th in the Superbike championship.
In the Superstock event, Fergusson qualified in third and after a good start quickly worked up to second. He held second until lap 10 when a number of front-end slides slowed him down and costing him the position. He settled down into a rhythm and rode to the finish well clear of fourth. Fergusson said; "After about 10 laps the front end started sliding slowing my corner speed. After Tommy (Hayden) got passed I tried to hang with him but kept losing the front end so decided that third was OK rather then falling off trying for second!" Fergusson is 4th in the Suzuki Genuine Accessories Superstock championship. Moore is 10th.

More Rider Quotes from Donnington MotoGP
Max Biaggi, Camel Pramac Honda Pons, 1st: “I am happy with my performance in the race because we have done some excellent work adapting to the new chassis in only four hours of practice. The decision of the race officials means that the 25-points go my way, but as a rider I can sympathise with Valentino. I understand what he must be feeling at thïs time because the same thing happened to me in the race in Barcelona in 1998 which I had won on the track. The only difference is that that decision subsequently cost me the championship.

Sete Gibernau, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, 2nd. “It was a very hard race, Max and Valentino set a fast pace from the start. When I was aware I could not follow them, I was loosing a couple of tenths a lap out of the turns, I concentrated on keeping the damage at a couple of tenths. Even if I m happy with my result I don’t feel like I finished second, I was third. Valentino rode a great race.”

Valentino Rossi, Repsol Honda, 3rd: “The final result of the race is disappointing for me. I was on a fast lap and never saw the flags. I did nothing wrong intentionally. I am disappointed but the rules are the rules and I can’t argue with the law. I didn’t take advantage of the situation and went on to win the race. I only hope the outcome of the race doesn’t affect
the Championship in the end. I feel clear in myself. I won a hard fought clean race. I race on the track –not in the office.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team: 8th: "I have to say I was expecting more today. I thought I had a little bit more speed than that especially as things felt so good this morning in the warm-up. I guess overall the weekend was reasonably positive. In the race I had some good battle with some guys. Bayliss and me early on, and also Edwards and Haga. In the last laps the rear brake gave up and I had no confidence in braking. I used the rear brake a lot - especially round here to try and keep the front wheel on the ground. Overall the weekend was OK and things seem to be coming better. We're off the Brno to test next week. Hopefully picking things up all the time."

Superbikes to Rock the Casbar in 2005
Important New Goal Reached by FGSPORT
On February 20th, 2005, for the first time in history, Qatar will host a round of the FIM SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.
This important decision was reached thanks to the collaboration and passion of the Arab stateís highest authorities: after much careful examination, the FIM Superbike World Championship was considered by them to be one of the most important motoring events to be used as a driving force for the development of their country and to make it known at an international level.

The new circuit near Doha, capital of the Arab state, will be completed in 2004.
The official announcement was made today at Brands Hatch by the President of the Qatar Motorcycle Federation, Minister Naser al Atteiah, and the Chairman of FGSPORT, Mr. Maurizio Flammini.
President Naser al Atteiah stated that, "We consider entry of our country into the FIM Superbike World Championship to be extremely important both from a point of view of international image and from an economical standpoint. "

Mr. Maurizio Flammini, FGSPORT Chairman, satisfied with the agreement that has been signed, added "As FGSPORT we are delighted to have added a country like Qatar to the World Superbike Calendar. Qatar offers enormous market possibilities for the motorcycle industry: itís a 'young', enthusiastic country, but also 'old' as far as traditions and history are concerned. The date of February 20th perfectly satisfies our need to prolong exposure of our championship during a period of the year that is good for television audiences. Construction of a high quality standard circuit and a three-year contract give us with the necessary assurances of quality, continuity and stability that are at the basis of our Championship."

Qatar, independent emirate (1995, est. pop. 534,000), 4,400 sq.m. on a peninsula in the Persia Gulf, bordering Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (S). The capital is Doha. The economy of Qatar is dominated by oil and natural gas, which accounts for 70% of export income. Oil and gas revenues have been used to diversify the economy, including the development of chemicals, steel, cement and fertilizer industries and banking. A minority (20%) of the population are Qataris. Arabic is the official language, but English is also widely spoken.