News 28 Jul 2011

Corser leads large Aussie contingent to Silverstone this weekend

Aussie former world champion Troy Corser will return to action this weekend in the UK.

Aussie former world champion Troy Corser will return to action this weekend in the UK.

Round nine of the 2011 Superbike World Championship will be held at Silverstone this weekend, featuring the return of veteran Australian campaigner Troy Corser on his factory BMW.

The 39-year-old two-time world champion has now fully recovered from a broken left arm, and his welcome reappearance will coincide with a cameo by countryman Karl Muggeridge, the 2004 world Supersport champion set to deputise for injured Honda rider Ruben Xaus.

However, Sunshine Coast rider Chris Vermeulen (Kawasaki) will be absent from Silverstone (a venue where he won his first ever WSBK race in 2004) as he’s still feeling the affects of an injured elbow that won’t see him race again until the next round at Nürburgring on September 4.

After an extended period away from competition, Corser is looking forward to getting back into the groove at Silverstone.

“After my injury in Aragón, I am now really looking forward to jumping on my bike again,” said Corser. “I have been back in physical training for the last couple of weeks, and I do not feel any pain in my arm. I rode dirt bikes just to check how fit I am, and all feels good.”

Corser’s fast-paced BMW works well at Silverstone, a flat layout dominated by several long straights.

“Our performance in Silverstone was not too bad last year; unfortunately I crashed in the second race. The bike worked well there – you obviously need a fast engine, this should suit us well.

“My team-mate Leon Haslam and (test rider) Steve Martin tested a few things at Lausitzring in preparation for the Silverstone races. I am optimistic that the test results will help to improve the bike further.

“The new pit complex looks impressive on TV, but the track still looks quite bumpy. The new position of the start-finish straight now leads into a quite tight and bumpy first corner. I think it is even more important now to start the races from the front of the grid.”

Meanwhile, Muggeridge is delighted to be back on the world Superbike grid, where he competed for five years straight after winning the world Supersport title in 2004.

More recently, the 36-year-old from Tweeds Head on the Gold Coast has been racing a Honda in the IDM German Superbike Championship. He is currently lying second in the title in which he became champion on his debut last season

The Swiss-based Aussie is “not going to Silverstone to re-invent the wheel”.

“I’m really happy to get this opportunity to join the team again,” said Muggeridge. “The world Superbike paddock is a place where I feel completely at home, but there’s definitely a big job ahead for the weekend.

“I don’t want to set any unrealistic targets. I’ll just aim to work hard and ride strong all weekend and hopefully get a couple of decent finishes.”

The Superbike World Championship first ventured to Silverstone in 2002, where it remained until 2007. After a two-year break, the championship returned in 2010 following extensive track modifications, including the introduction of a new “Silverstone Arena”, designed specifically for the needs of motorcycles.

Last year British riders dominated at Silverstone, spearheaded by a Cal Crutchlow double, but the power balance is set to change direction in 2011 with Spaniard Carlos Checa (Ducati), world champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia) and Marco Melandri (Yamaha) the current pacesetters.

Checa has led the championship from the outset, and he currently enjoys a comfortable 30pt (293 to 263) buffer over Biaggi, with Melandri (240) the only other real contender with just five rounds remaining.

As for the local contingent, Leon Haslam (BMW), Leon Camier (Aprilia), and Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) will all fancy their chances at Silverstone, with both Leons podium finishers in 2010.

Italian pair Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) and Ayrton Badovini (BMW) are also expected to be on the pace, while Japan’s Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) is the only rider in this weekend’s field who has won a WSBK race at Silverstone.

Of the wildcards, American former MotoGP rider John Hopkins is the pick of the bunch, while Australia’s third rider will be Mark Aitchison on his Kawasaki.

Newcastle’s Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) is well aware he has to steady the ship at Silverstone after crashing out of the last two races. He’s still second in the championship, but is now 36pts behind Yamaha rider Chaz Davies.

“I am looking to get past the results of the previous two races and I feel a lot more confident now after we had a test in Spain last week,” said Parkes. “We had to iron out a few problems that we were having.

“I have just been trying to get back the bike feel I know, the good front-end feel I had. It is slowly coming back to me.”

Parkes will be joined by fellow Aussies Mitch Pirotta and Christan Casella on the grid this weekend in WSS.