News 5 Oct 2009

WSBK: Rea finishes on podium as top Honda at Magny-Cours


Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) capitalised on his second place grid position in today’s second race to secure a podium finish at Magny-Cours, after being forced out of the first race. In no scoring and then finishing third today he is now fifth in the championship, with only the final round in Portimao to come, on October 25.

Rea was contesting the leading positions in each 23-lap Magny-Cours race, but in the first it was up to Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR) to finally secure the top Honda scoring position of fifth, a result he would repeat in race two. Leon is now sixth overall, 38 points behind Rea. Haslam had qualified sixth in Superpole.

Only 12th in qualifying, Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) posted a fine sixth in race one, but was ninth in race two, after some moments of drama. He is now on 200 points exactly, in overall seventh place, 24 points ahead of the following rider.

The Magny-Cours races were won by first Ben Spies and then Noriyuki Haga, leaving those two riders to dispute the title itself at the final round. Haga is currently on 436 points, Spies on 426.

A tough weekend for Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) saw him qualify down in 17th place, only reaching Superpole one, and then he fell in race one today, breaking his collarbone again.

In his first WSB race Italian rider Flavio Gentile (Althea Honda CBR1000RR) qualified 25th and raced to 17th in race one, but hurt his shoulder and arm in the process, dropping himself out of contention for a ride in race two. He will now race WSS at Portimao, with regular rider Matthieu Lagrive coming back into the Superbike set-up.

Laverty Drops Points After Crash In France Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) had to work hard to qualify fourth for the race at Magny-Cours but after a fall on lap 12 of the race he had to work equally hard just to score points, finishing 13th after re-starting well down the order.

With his championship rival Cal Crutchlow netting second today, behind race winner Joan Lascorz, Laverty is now 19 points from the lead in the championship chase, with one round remaining. In Portugal next time out, on 25 October, Laverty has to score second or better, and also his final result will be dependant on where Crutchlow finishes.

The race itself was red-flagged because of a crash and subsequent oil spill, and was counted back to the 19th lap of the planned 22, leaving Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) third in the race, mimicking his qualifying position. He is also still third in the overall classification, eight points ahead of Lascorz.

A great recovery from 16th on the grid to fourth in the race put Anthony West (Stiggy Racing Honda CBR600RR) into fifth place in the championship, leaving him a single point ahead of crasher Fabien Foret and sixth place finisher Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR), who moved up from ninth on the grid. Pitt was a factor throughout in the battle for fourth place, having found settings that allowed him more confidence in his front end.

Mark Aitchison (Althea Honda CBR600RR) made an imperfect tyre choice, but still went from the back of the second row to fifth in the race classification, and eighth in the championship.

For Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR) 13th on the grid became 12th in the race, but for Matthieu Lagrive (Honda Althea CBR600RR) his return to WSS racing was a top ten effort, ninth, and two places better than qualifying.


Jonathan Rea: “All weekend we’ve had a good pace but it just seems that, come the first race, we couldn’t put it together. I was having a few problems with the front end in race two so I felt It was better not to risk a crash and nurse the bike home for a podium and the points. I just couldn’t go with Nori and Max at the end. The guys have done a great job in the workshop recently so I want to take this momentum to Portimao, I really love that track.”

Leon Haslam: “We had a little problem in race one that held us back from the leaders. In race two, in the early part of the race, we had a lot better set-up. But after about lap six or seven the bike was surging a bit so I reset the electronics. A few minor things held us back from challenging for a podium or two today but I am pretty happy to get a couple of fifths.”

Carlos Checa: “Race one was not fantastic but sixth was acceptable after the problems we have had this weekend. In race two I lost 10 seconds at the start, trying to exit the first gear hairpin in second gear, and then I almost crashed at the last chicane. I got caught up in Fabrizio’s crash because I was trying to pass Sykes and then I saw the yellow flags. It was too late to do anything about it and I think Sykes crashed behind me, so I’m sorry for that. Afterwards, I just tried to find a good pace and finish as high as possible. The bike and the team are in good shape – I just didn’t have the right level of confidence this weekend.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari: “I am very disappointed because I think we showed that we had some pace on Friday morning. After the crash in the afternoon, I have been in pain for all the sessions but was not feeling too bad for the races today. I was trying to pass Shakey Byrne just before the last chicane, but I think I got a bit close and used too much brake. I will go back to Japan now and have another operation and hopefully I will be OK for Portimao.”

Flavio Gentile: “In race one my start was not so good however I did my best to push hard to recover some positions. After a few laps I gained a better feeling with my bike and also my race pace was pretty good. Unfortunately near the middle of the race exiting from a curve I was kicked from the saddle and I started to feel a lot of pain on my right arm. I was able to end the race but it was impossible for me to start for the second race.”

WSS Rider Comments

Eugene Laverty: “We were going well, and at the point just before my crash I thought I could go for it, and pass Joan in the straights were our engine was stronger. He was stronger in the corners today and under brakes. My plan was to make Lascorz a buffer between me and Cal, because we had a bit more pace than Lascorz on the straight. But the fuel load was coming down and it took a bit of a weight off the front and that was it. We’re 19 points behind but it is still all to play for.”

Kenan Sofuoglu: “My start was OK but then Crutchlow forced me off the track on the back straight and I nearly crashed. I don’t think it was deliberate but I had to fight my way back from there. I made some mistakes and didn’t really have the pace to challenge the riders ahead of me so third was the best I could do. We will try to come back strong at the final round in Portimao and finish the season with a win.”

Andrew Pitt: “The red flags didn’t exactly come out at the right time for me. I’d been in a good battle with West and Aitchison and had just got past them and was making a bit of a break when they stopped the race. We still have some problems with stability entering the turns and the rear trying to push the bike straight on.
Because of that, I was struggling to match the pace of the guys up front but the bike is still a heap better than it was a few races back.”

Anthony West: “I was a lot better today and I think it was really just down to my feeling and the nature of this track. The set-up of the bike is still not quite what I want to have but for this track there are a lot of places to pass. I got to the group in front of me off the start pretty easy, but once I got to them it was hard to get away. But I ended up leading them on the final lap, and I moved up in the championship.”

Miguel Praia: “My start was not so bad but I was blocked at the last hairpin by another rider out-braking himself and then lost four places on the opening lap. In the beginning I couldn’t do the lap times I expected but after half distance I was comfortable and able to go faster. We are 15th in the Championship now which was our start of season goal which is good.”

Mark Aitchison: “That was a very difficult race for me. My start was pretty good but after only three or four laps I realized that the tyre we chose for today was completely wrong. Starting from the middle of the race I started to find a good rhythm but it was very difficult to push with the rear tyre because I had no grip. I’m a little bit disappointed for that because I think we could have made a better race. I fought very hard for fourth position but the race was red flagged with two laps to go.”

Matthieu Lagrive: “I’m not satisfied with my result today because it was my home race, but I crashed twice yesterday and also this morning during the warm up. I did not push too hard because I wanted to finish the race. It was a difficult weekend and it was hard to adapt my riding style to a Supersport bike again. My final ninth position was not too bad.”