The start of Race One with winner James Toseland (55) getting
the jump on team mate Regia Laconi (52) who would crashed in
turn 2. Chris Vermeulen (17) qualified the new CBR1000RR
Honda in 3rd. Second race winner Noriyuki Haga is partially
hidden with his head down behind Toseland.
2004 SBK World Superbike Championship, Round One Valencia
Fires Up New World Superbike Season
Valencia, Spain, 27-29 February - The World
Superbike Championship kicks off in what is by now traditional
style, at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, Valencia, on Sunday 29
February. This will be the 17th year of continuous World Superbike
competition, with road-derived machinery from a wide variety
of manufacturers once more doing battle on the racetracks of
the world, from the historic and contemporary venues in Europe
to the intercontinental rounds in Australia and America.
of five previous race winners will be competing in World Superbike
this season, and all will be in attendance at Valencia, vying
with each other for the right to call themselves the first winner
in the latest era of global Superbike racing. A modification
in the technical rules in the Superbike class sees twin, triples
and four-cylinder machines engaging in SBK competition on a
truly level footing this year. The adoption of spec Pirelli
tyres is also expected to play a major part in making the competiton
as close as it possibly can be. With each eligible SBK machine
capable of producing up to ñ and over - 200bhp from its
roadbike-based motor, the competition is expected to be as exciting
as in any one of the previous 16 years.
Valencia winter test sessions have normally been a good indicator
of how the season itself will go and all the evidence so far
points to the pre-eminent SBK forces emanating from the Ducati
Fila factory workshops. Fastest man in the earlier Valencia
tests was proven SBK race winner Regis Laconi (Ducati Fila 999F04),
who was victorious in a dramatic final race of the 2001 season,
at Imola. Fourth overall in the championship last year, the
Frenchman will have to fight hard in every corner of every race
this season, especially with the likes of his very own team-mate
James Toseland ñ a rider who also enjoys the status of
race winner in this intense category of motorcycle sport. Toseland
was a fine third overall last year, heading off Laconi in the
final races of the year at Magny Cours, shortly before he too
was promoted to the full factory Ducati team for 2004.
current SBK combatants, Troy Corser is the most successful at
Valencia, the Foggy Petronas FP-1 rider doing the double in
the 2001 season. Corser is joined in the Foggy Petronas team
by the exciting talent of Chris Walker, the two men competing
on the technically innovative three-cylinder machine, a fusion
of Malaysian and European technology.
small army of new or returning SBK talents this year are the
Xerox NCR Ducati 999RS rider Garry McCoy and Renegade Ducati
999RS rider, Noriyuki Haga, who was the 2000 season runner-up.
Haga is an 11 times World Superbike race winner and a real threat
on his brand new 999, while the vastly experienced McCoy is
something of an SBK rookie ñ but still looking to score
wins in a new form of competition in any case.
rapid Aussie in with a chance of real glory this year is Steve
Martin (DFX Ducati 999RS) teamed up with Marco Borciani for
the second year. Splitting the factory Ducatis on the timesheets
at the recent tests, Martin has already shown his potential
in measurable terms. A strong list of Ducati privateers also
includes the talents of Britainís Leon Haslam (Renegade
Ducati 999RS) who will be taking on the SBK world in his rookie
season. Already fast in testing in Spain, Haslam starts his
full SBK career at the best possible venue.
Having won the Ridersí World Supersport Championship
for the past two years, Ten Kate Honda have increased their
involvement by accepting the challenge of World Superbike this
year. 2003 Supersport Champion Chris Vermeulen will compete
on the all-new Honda CBR900RR, and has already shown good speed
in testing, despite riding a not fully developed machine.
Bertocchi and UnionBike Yamaha teams will also compete with
four-cylinder bikes, while another new entry in World Superbike
will run Suzuki GSX-R1000s. The Zongshen China effort affords
an entirely new aspect to the championship and will run the
experienced Piergiorgio Bontempi and Endurance racing star Warwick
Supersport World Championship, which gained full World Championship
status in 1999, all the major Japanese manufacturers have enjoyed
title wins in the Ridersí category but this year a returning
Ducati factory entry brings a whole new emphasis from Europe.
Lorenzo Lanzi will be the man charged with running the single
Ducati Breil 749 in with the best of the four-cylinder machines.
A full effort from Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha sees a whole gridful
of potential winners line up for the Valencia season-starter,
and Suzuki also unveils a new GSX-R600 to the world of competitive
Stephane Chambon will share the Alstare Suzuki garage with multiple
race winner Katsuaki Fujiwara, while Yamaha unleashes four factory
bikes, two of which will be ridden by the Belgarda boys, Jurgen
van den Goorbergh and 2002 Champion Fabien Foret. The Yamaha
Motor Germany team also runs Christian Kellner and Kevin Curtain
while Honda has six officially supported entries, from the Ten
Kate, Klaffi and Team Italia Megabike squads. In Karl Muggeridge
(Ten Kate) and Sebastien Charpentier (Klaffi), Honda has two
race-winning riders, while new signing Broc Parkes is a hot
prospect for the Dutch masters Ten Kate.
for all classes starts on Friday 27 February, finishes on Saturday
28, and for Superbike the excitement of Superpole qualifying
- during which the fastest 16 from regulation qualifying race
against the stopwatch during a single flying lap, to determine
ultimate grid position - returns once more. Racing for real
commences on Sunday 29th. For those who do not have access to
live TV coverage, the weekend action can be followed in real
time on the SBK website, www.worldsbk.com.
American launches controversal
"Explicit Performance " advertising
campaign featuring beautiful new
Fast Dates.com Calendar model
January 20, 2004: Mikuni American, manufacturer
of the industry leading Mikuni HSR 42/45/48 aftermamrket
performance carburetors for the American V-Twin market
and sponsor of the FastDates.com Iron & Lace Calendar,
is kicking off an exciting and sexy new advertsing campaign
for 2004 which is being featured in many of the major
print magazines for the American V-twin market beginning
with the March issues. The advertising campaign is produced
by Gianatsis Design Associates, Mikuni's contracted advertsing
agency, producer of the FastDates.com Calendars and the
annual Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show -the biggest
consumer streetbike show in America.
The sexy new
Mikuni ad campaign is already sparking off a lot of controversey
and attention with one major motorcycle magazine publisher
refusing to run it because they feel it is too provocative,
desite the fact the model is fully covered. Tell us what
you think HERE
Read and see more about the Mikuni "Explicit Performance"
ad campaign in Iron & Lace News
See beautiful model Andra Cobb's modeling portfolio in Meet
Fila Ducati's James Toseland (left) and Regis Laconi (right)
on the 999F 04 Superbikes.
Dominates Valencia Qualifying & Superpole
Valencia, Spain, 28-29 February -It is the
first SBK World Superbike round of the 2004 season and the Ducati
Fila team with its new rider lineup are again dominating the
proceedings with the first pole position for Regis Laconi at
Valencia. After dominating the two qualifying sessions with
his Ducati 999 Factory ’04, the 28-year-old Frenchman
then amazed the entire field with a lap of 1’35.935, a
full second ahead of the rest of his rivals. Second place for
his 22-year-old team-mate James Toseland with a time of 1’36.973,
ahead of Chris Vermeulen (Honda) and Leon Haslam (Renegade Ducati
yesterday the conditions were very difficult, the track was
still cold and the wind changed direction all the time, but
I am really pleased with my second ever Superbike pole position”
declared Regis. “I wanted to get down into 1’35
and I did, but only just! Everything is going well, we did a
good job with my team this weekend and I am very happy. The
tyre I chose for my long-run wasn’t entirely satisfactory,
but then we tried another tyre that I liked and so I feel confident
for the races tomorrow.”
declared, “Everything is OK, despite my crash in the last
minute of the free practice session just before Superpole. It’s
not easy going from a crash to a quick lap in one go however.
We found a good base set-up for the race, I set my quickest
time on my race tyre, so I’m sure we’ll be able
to give it a go tomorrow. For the moment there’s a second
gap between me and Regis, but I am sure that tomorrow there
won’t be! Regis is riding really well, he’s got
more experience than me, but I’m getting there. I probably
just need a bit more time to get up to his level but I’m
sure I’ll be there pretty soon.”
Walker (9) on the Foggy Petronas battles for 2nd with Franki
Chili (7) on his old backup 998RS.
On Top in Valencia World Superbike Opener
Spain ,Feb 29th - With bizarre weather conditions affecting
the morning of raceday at Valencia Regis Laconi (Ducati Fila
999F04) took an early lead in the first race, only to fall and
lose a possible 25 points. His team-mate James Toseland was
the man to capitalize most and he duly took the win in the first
23-lap contest. In the second race Laconiís luck continued
on its downward spiral, as his chain jumped the sprockets and
he had to pull out of the second contest in one day. Noriyuki
Haga, from the Renegade Ducati team, rookies in SBK as they
are, duly rode like his old self to win the second race convincingly,
from second place Toseland.
all riders on the same spec Pirelli tyres this season the competition
in each race, the frequently wet first race and the dry second,
the competition was levelled out to a great degree, with riding
talent and machine set-up the determining factors overall.
the first race, some riders opted for slicks, a combination
of wets and slicks, or full wets with most of the quickest riders
proving to have opted for the full wet combo. Pierfrancesco
Chili (PSG-1 Ducati) ripped his way to an immensely satisfying
second place after a winter of extreme discontent, and rode
his ëoldí 998 Ducati to second place in race one,
fourth in race two. Steve Martin (DFX Ducati) was desperately
unhappy to be dropped out of contention by a mechanical problem
in race one, but made up for his disappointment to secure a
career best third place in race two.
historic moment came to Chris Walker and the Petronas team,
with the English rider delivering them their first podium finish,
third in race one. Walker went seventh in the dry race two,
while his team-mate Troy Corser fell while making a charge in
the leading position in race one, easing his way to 11th in
the final leg.
Chris Vermeulen had an eventful induction into World Superbike,
as did his Ten Kate Honda team, after he had to pit in wet conditions,
restart and finish 12th. In race two a terrible start saw him
well down the order, only for him to charge back into contention
and finish fifth on his CBR1000RR.
great day in many ways for race two winner Noriyuki Haga started
badly in race one, as he was forced to retire with gear selection
problems. His team-mate Leon Haslam made up for it in some regards
by finishing a battling fifth. He ran off track in race two
fighting back to ninth place.
result in the changeable race one conditions delivered a sixth
place to class rookie Gianluca Nannelli (Pedercini Ducati).
Running slick tyres in race one Garry McCoy (Xerox Ducati NCR
999RS) went seventh and then sixth on his SBK debut. Local rider
Sergio Fuertes sent the local fansí hearts a flutter
with his strong front running in the first race, and his eventual
eighth place was a personal best for the Spaniard.
World Championship itself, Toseland is a clear leader in Riders
points, 45 points to Chiliís 33. Hagaís win and
DNF scored him 25 points, for joint third with Chris Walker.
The results left PETRONAS, Malaysia’s oil and gas giant,
in second place in the manufacturers’ standings behind
Ducati, who achieved two wins with James Toseland and Noriyuki
Toseland ran away with the first race win on the 999F04 by over
One to James Toseland / Fila Ducai
First podium finish for Foggy Petronas with Walker's third in
Chris Walker made racing history today by achieving the first
podium finish on the PETRONAS FP1, the first Malaysian superbike.
In his first race for Carl Fogarty's Foggy PETRONAS Racing team,
the popular British rider finished third in a nerve-jangling
first race of the World Superbike season at Valencia, Spain.
Lying fourth with two laps remaining, Chris moved into the rostrum
positions when the Ducati of Steve Martin blew an engine. With
oil coming out of the Ducati, Chris guided his FP1 home to rapturous
celebrations from his team. FPR
team-mate Troy Corser had earlier crashed out on the third lap
of the day's opening race while trying to challenge for second,
but escaped injury.
said: "I can't believe it. This is a reflection on the
incredible job that PETRONAS and our FPR team have done in such
a short space of time. I never imagined I would get this result
on my first race on the FP1. My mechanics have been stars this
weekend. Half-way through the race I thought there was a chance
of a podium so I tried to stay with Frankie Chili. Then, when
I saw smoke coming out of Martin's Ducati, I knew that all I
had to do was to bring the bike home. I am not usually the luckiest
rider in the world so for once my luck was in."
said: "I was getting all nervous and tense - and then I
realised we had only done five laps! I am so pleased for PETRONAS
and everyone connected with this project. I hope people realise
that this bike was just a piece of paper two years ago! I had
said that our aim was to get on the rostrum. Now that we have
done that, we want to be there all the time. But we know there
is still a long way to go and a lot more to come from the engine.
And I am so proud of Chris, because he is the man who made this
happen by bringing the bike home in those conditions."
changeable weather at Valencia had caused drama on the Valencia
grid even before the start of the race, with pre-race favourite
Regis Laconi crashing on his out-lap. Then, with drops of rain
falling, the teams had to make a swift choice of tyres. Chief
engineer Steve Thompson opted to spread the risk, with Troy
choosing full Pirelli wets in both the front and rear, while
Chris opted for an intermediate rear tyre - the choice of the
first three riders.
weekend's fastest qualifier and pole sitter Frenchman Laconi
crashed out on the warm-up lap of race 1 but was able to get
back to the pits in time to mount his second Ducati 999. His
luck ran out however as he again went down on the greasy track,
this time for good, after just a couple of corners.
Chris Walker was already up into the top four from a qualifying
position of 10th, Troy crashed while trying to overtake eventual
race winner James Toseland on the outside. Then, with a drying
line developing after a brief shower, Chris was able to stay
on the pace of the leading group positioned behind leader James
Toseland before seizing his opportunity of glory.
Superbike Race One: 1 Toseland (Ducati Fila);
2 Chili (PSG-1) +4.698; 3 Walker (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) +22.109;
4 Borciani (DFX) +53.304; 5 Haslam (Renegade Ducati) +1:02.286;
6 Nannelli (Team Pedercini) +1:11.269; 7 McCoy (Xerox Ducati)
+1:25.257; 8 Fuertes (MIR Racing) +1:26.590; 9 Saiger (Lifehouse
RT) one lap; 10 Mrkyvka (JM SBK) one lap; 11 Nowland (Zongshen)
one lap; 12 Vermeulen (Ten Kate) one lap; 13 Praia (Xerox Ducati)
one lap; 14 Sanchini (Kawasaki Bertocchi) three laps; 15 Bontempi
(Zongshen) three laps
Two: Nori Haga is back!
Race two saw the dramatic return of Japanese star Noriyuki Haga
to the front of the field as the former World Superbike title
contender pulled away right from the opening laps from first
race winner Toseland and built up a 4 second laead by lap 4.
Toseland saw Haga's lead narrow back down to 2 seconds when
thee Renegade Ducati rider nearly highsided from a viscious
slide when his rear tire started to go off in the closing laps,
but Nori changed his cornering style to bring the Ducati 999RS
off the corners in a more upright position to nurse his spec
Pirelli rear to the finish in first position. Toseland was more
than happy to settle for 2nd place and the points lead in the
was struggling in qualifying and practice with the set-up for
the dry, but Nori rode fantastically well and we went with what
we knew. Itís been a nerve-racking weekend but Iím
just glad to have come out on top and get two consistent finishes
in the first round. I made a bit of an aggressive move on Haslam
on the first lap and lost a bit of time and then I couldn't
do anymore. It's all turned out well", said James afterwards.
Team mate Regis Laconi's misfortune continued in the second
race as he parked his Fila Ducati 99F9 against the barriers
after just a few corners when the bike chain derailed off the
rear sprocket. " I can not say I feel bad because tha tís
racing, these things happen, but for sure I'm not happy because
I made a mistake in the first race and this is not goodî
commented Laconi. ìIn the second race with this problem
I had to stop. I didn't do one lap today so I hope everything
finishes here and things will be better from now on!"
Walker completed a great opening round of the 2004 World Superbike
season for Foggy PETRONAS Racing by following up his third place
finish in the opening race – the first podium position
for the FP1 – with seventh place in the day’s second
race at Valencia, Spain. And the performance of his new rider
thrilled team owner Carl Fogarty, the four-times World Superbike
said: “It has been a brilliant weekend for us and I never
dreamed that we would be celebrating a podium position here.
Maybe it will make a few people sit up and take notice and we
will soon know exactly what this bike is capable of, with developments
to the engine expected within a few rounds.
has been especially good for Chris and we were not a million
miles off the pace in the second race in dry conditions. We
can’t argue with seventh place, and nearly having both
riders in the top ten, at this stage of the development. Maybe
Troy was a little too anxious to get to the front in the first
race and it’s strange to be saying that so early in the
second race was less dramatic than the opening action, with
the morning’s rain having disappeared. Pre-race favourite
Regis Laconi failed to complete the opening lap for the second
time in the day when he suffered a thrown chain. Steve Martin
and Frankie Chili brought their Ducatis home 3rd and 4th ahead
of reigning '03 Supersport champ Chris Vermeulern on Team Ken
Tate's new Honda CBR1000RR and Gary McCpoy on teh Xerox Ducati.
Chris Walker managed to fight off a late challenge from the
Kawasaki of Marco Borciani to clinch nine more points and finish
the first round fourth in the rider standings.
said: “I don’t think we could have done a better
job this weekend and that’s a credit to Petronas, to Carl
and to the whole team. To be on the podium in the first race
was more than I could have hoped for. In the second race I got
a good start, which I was desperate to do, and although I was
not as high as I wanted to be I was still in the pack. It took
a while to get my head down and then I concentrated on consistent
laps. The bike ran really well and the Pirelli tyres worked
was a less pleasing story for team-mate Troy Corser, who crashed
out of the first race while challenging for second place and
finished the second race in 11th. The Australian said: “I
was really pleased for Chris and the team in the first race
but that was not an enjoyable day for me personally. I had overheating
problems in the second race and the bike was losing power. So
I had to try and make up time in the corners and ran wide on
a couple of occasions.”
Superbike Race Two:
1 Haga (Renegade Ducati); 2 Toseland (Ducati Fila) +1.769; 3
Martin (DFX) +10.021; 4 Chili (PSG-1) +10.138; 5 Vermeulen (Ten
Kate Honda) +17.067; 6 McCoy (Xerox Ducati) +21.140; 7 Walker
(Foggy PETRONAS Racing) +21.584; 8 Bporciani (DFX) +21.626;
9 Haslam (Renegade Ducati) +33.387; 10 Sanchini (Kawasaki Bertocchi)
+33.537; 11 Corser (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) +36.556; 12 Fuertes
(MIR Racing) +40.458; 13 Pedercini (Team Pedercini) +43.819;
14 Clementi (Kawasaki Bertocchi) +46.515; 15 Saiger (Life Haus