Two fourths for Haga in Australia

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WSB : Two fourths for Haga in Australia
Round: 2 - Australia
Circuit: Phillip Island
Date: 5 March 2006
Crowd: 55000
Temp: 25ºC
Weather: Sunny

Yamaha Motor Italia rider Noriyuki Haga battled traction problems to grab a brace of fourth places at round two of the Superbike World Championship at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.

The popular Japanese rider rode hard in the day's two 22-lap races to score 26 valuable points over the two races. Haga had run at the front of the day's opening race but faded when his rear traction reduced at around half-distance. Despite running a somewhat lonely fifth for most of the race, the 31-year-old continued to ride hard to pass a fading Troy Bayliss (Ducati) and fend off a late charge from Roberto Rolfo (Ducati). Race two saw Haga make some further suspension changes to lead a thrilling battle at the front with Bayliss, James Toseland (Honda), Alex Barros (Honda), Troy Corser (Suzuki) and Yamaha Motor Italia team-mate Andrew Pitt. A nasty crash for Corser saw the Yamaha riders take avoiding action and let Bayliss and Toseland build a gap. The Yamaha pair was able to stay in touch with Barros in the battle for third but the lack of traction saw them settle for fourth and fifth place at the flag.

Pitt was made to pay for an incorrect tyre choice in race one. The Australian chose a harder compound Pirelli tyre, which stopped him running at the same pace as the leaders in the opening laps. Stuck in a thrilling mid-pack battle for most of the race, he ended the race a subdued ninth. For race two he chose the same softer compound tyre as his rivals and was able to run with the leaders, eventually finishing fifth, just behind Haga.

The Yamaha Motor France squad had a difficult weekend in Australia. Still running their 2005-specification engines, the team's only points came from former MotoGP rider Norick Abe, who took 12th in race two. Fellow Japanese rider Shinichi Nakatomi crashed out of race one, before continuing his world superbike education with 19th in race two. The team's third rider, Frenchman Sebastien Gimbert, retired from the opener with set-up problems before following home Nakatomi in 20th place in race two.

Race one was won by Corser after a race long fight with Barros. Toseland finished third. Bayliss had led the opener by six seconds after obliterating the lap record on lap two. However, the Australian dropped back to eventually finish six, behind Haga and Rolfo. He gained revenge in race two, winning comfortably from Toseland, with Barros taking another podium in third. Bayliss now leads the championship on 75 points, one ahead of Toseland. Pitt leads the Yamaha riders, in fifth place with 45 points, with Haga sixth on 42 points.

Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia)
"I tried to push hard in both races but unfortunately at the end the tyre is gone and this means I cannot open the throttle and turn the bike properly in both races. The performance of the bike is very good at the beginning of the race but unfortunately after seven or eight laps the performance drops off quite a lot."

Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia)
"In the first race I used a different type of rear tyre to most of the other riders and it did not work all that well in the early stages of the race. We used a different compound rear tyre for the second race and this meant that I was at least able to get away at the start, although the consistency is still not there over the race distance."

Norick Abe (Yamaha Motor France)
"From race one to race two we got on a little bit better, because we changed a lot of settings. We had no grip at the end of race one, sliding all the time, and lots of chatter as well. My lap times were into the 1:36s; slower than I expect. In the second race it was better but our engine was not fast this weekend so I could only follow other riders and had to catch up in the corner entries. Finally I got a 12th in race two, so we scored some points."

Shinichi Nakatomi (Yamaha Motor France)
"We did not have the grip from the rear we wanted and that held my lap times back. It was a very difficult weekend. I pushed hard in the first race and lost the front end trying to pass another rider. We finished race two, but to score no points is disappointing."

Massimo Meregalli (Team Coordinator - Yamaha Motor Italia)
"It has not been an easy weekend for us but in the end we have scored some good points for the championship. There is less grip here than in Qatar and both our riders have struggled for traction all weekend. We did not test at Phillip Island over the winter and although we found a little bit more today, it wasn't quite enough to allow us to run at the very front. There are a few other low grip circuits like this and we must work hard to improve our performances at these kind of tracks."

Martial Garcia (Team Manager - Yamaha Motor Italia)
"A very bad day. We had many chassis set-up problems, and we did not find the same grip we had in January, when we were very happy with the settings. I think we did not make a good job, because we did not find a good solution. Phillip Island is a special circuit and a lot depends on weather. We have some tests before the next race and we will use our new engine, which is more powerful. Abe is mentally very strong and I know that he can come through this difficult period strongly. The others we must help to build their confidence."

Race classification WSB

Round: 2 - Australia
Circuit: Phillip Island
Circuit Length: 4448
Lap Record: 1' 32.402 (Troy Bayliss, 2006)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 32.081 (Troy Bayliss, 2006)

Race: 22 Laps
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Total Time
1 T. Corser Suzuki AUS 34' 33.545
2 A. Barros Honda BRA +0.450
3 J. Toseland Honda GBR +7.974
4 N. Haga Yamaha JPN +15.121
5 R. Rolfo Ducati ITA +16.292
6 T. Bayliss Ducati AUS +17.120
7 R. Xaus Ducati ESP +17.192
8 F. Nieto Kawasaki ESP +22.457
9 A. Pitt Yamaha AUS +22.490
10 C. Walker Kawasaki GBR +23.176
11 L. Lanzi Ducati ITA +28.347
12 Y. Kagayama Suzuki JPN +28.413
13 R. Laconi Kawasaki FRA +28.833
14 S. Martin Petronas AUS +28.977
15 M. Fabrizio Honda ITA +29.122
17 N. Abe Yamaha JPN +30.955

Race 2: 22 Laps
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Total Time
1 T. Bayliss Ducati AUS 34' 33.803
2 J. Toseland Honda GBR +5.528
3 A. Barros Honda BRA +14.312
4 N. Haga Yamaha JPN +16.208
5 A. Pitt Yamaha AUS +17.656
6 Y. Kagayama Suzuki JPN +20.832
7 R. Rolfo Ducati ITA +21.130
8 R. Xaus Ducati ESP +25.224
9 F. Nieto Kawasaki ESP +25.638
10 C. Walker Kawasaki GBR +26.007
11 M. Fabrizio Honda ITA +32.867
12 N. Abe Yamaha JPN +33.171
13 M. Neukirchner Ducati GER +33.211
14 P. Chili Honda ITA +34.314
15 S. Martin Petronas AUS +34.467
17 S. Gimbert Yamaha FRA +49.214
19 S. Nakatomi Yamaha JPN +49.120

Fastest Race Lap:
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Total Time
1 T. Bayliss Ducati AUS 1' 32.402

Championship standings WSB

Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Points
1 Troy Bayliss Ducati AUS 75
2 James Toseland Honda GBR 74
3 Troy Corser Suzuki AUS 63
4 Alex Barros Honda BRA 55
5 Andrew Pitt Yamaha AUS 45
6 Noriyuki Haga Yamaha JPN 42
7 Roberto Rolfo Ducati ITA 32
8 Michel Fabrizio Honda ITA 25
9 Ruben Xaus Ducati ESP 24
10 Fonsi Nieto Kawasaki ESP 19
11 Lorenzo Lanzi Ducati ITA 15
12 Norick Abe Yamaha JPN 14
13 Yukio Kagayama Suzuki JPN 14
14 Chris Walker Kawasaki GBR 12
15 Karl Muggeridge Honda AUS 11
21 Sebastien Gimbert Yamaha FRA 3

Manufacturers standings WSB

Pos. Manufacturer Points
1 Honda 78
2 Ducati 76
3 Suzuki 73
4 Yamaha 58
5 Kawasaki 22
6 Petronas 3

WSS : Double podium for Yamaha Motor Germany
Round: 2 - Australia
Circuit: Phillip Island
Date: 5 March 2006
Crowd: 55000
Temp: 24ºC
Weather: Sunny

Yamaha Motor Germany riders Kevin Curtain and Broc Parkes took their first double podium finish of the year at round two of the Supersport World Championship in Philip Island.

The Australian riders were involved in a race-long battle with world champion Sebastien Charpentier (Honda), with the two R6 riders breaking the lap record in the opening stages as they applied pressure to the Frenchman. Parkes demonstrated the new R6's speed by setting a new lap record on lap three, just minutes after Curtain had lowered Katsuaki Fujiwara's three year old record. Curtain passed Charpentier at MG corner to take the lead on lap five. However the two Yamaha riders succumbed to rear end traction problems in the later stages of the race, allowing Charpentier to take the win, while the Yamaha men rode sensibly to bring their machines home for valuable championship points.

Yamaha Team Italia riders Massimo Roccoli and Gianluca Vizziello brought their R6s home in tenth and 13th places respectively. FIM Superstock 1000 Cup champion Didier van Keymeulen finished 14th, with Javier Fores gaining a point for 15th. Former world superbike race winner Anthony Gobert ran as high as fifth on his GMT94 entered R6 but retired with set-up problems.

Charpentier's win extends his championship lead to 10 points over second placed Curtain. Parkes' 16 points for third place moves him to fifth in the standings with two of the 13 races gone.

Round three of the race takes place at the Ricardo Tormo circuit close to Valencia in Spain on April 23. Prior to that, the Yamaha Motor Germany squad will undertake tests in Misano and Valencia, where they plan to have new parts to increase the competitiveness of their machines.

Kevin Curtain (Yamaha Motor Germany)
I got in front of Charpentier a couple of times but every time I thought I could get a break on him, he came past again. It was close racing but always fair, because Sebastien and I trust each other. It's the first stage of race development for our new R6. So after Qatar and here, I think we can say that the first stage is going pretty well. I can't wait for the second stage - can't wait to get to Valencia now."

Broc Parkes (Yamaha Motor Germany)
"It's not my best result but I'm really happy to be on the podium here, because it's my first one in Australia. Having only done a lap last week this was really my first race of the season. I struggled to get my lines flowing today and I probably geared the bike a bit too low. I was able to run with Kevin and Seb in the opening laps, but when I was in the slipstream the bike was hitting the rev-limiter, which I knew wasn't good. I tried to stay with them but in the end it was better to take the third than try anything silly. I'm looking forward to Valencia as it is a track that suits my style."

Massimo Roccoli (Yamaha Team Italia)
"I am quite satisfied to finish in the top 10 in my first race at this circuit. I had a small problem with my braking, which meant that I could not brake as hard as I like into the hairpin but we have no problem with the traction and otherwise the bike was very good."

Gianluca Vizziello (Yamaha Team Italia)
"I am happy to get some points today. The front of the bike was sliding quite a lot and this meant I could not push as hard as I liked in the fast corners. So, some points are definitely better than none!"

Anthony Gobert (Yamaha GMT94)
"I had excessive chatter in the front, but I felt like I could still get into the top five. It got so bad I had to stop. We looked at the bike and everything seemed OK, but the chatter just continued and I had to retire."

Terrell Thien (Team Manager - Yamaha Motor Germany)
"The early season results have gone well for us. Always our plan was to get as many points as possible in these opening races so to get three podium finishes is as good as we can expect. We expect to have our next performance step for the Valencia race and as the championship goes to Europe we must now target race wins."

Race classification WSS

Round: 2 - Australia
Circuit: Phillip Island
Circuit Length: 4448
Lap Record: 1' 36.399 (Broc Parkes, 2006)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 35.291 (Chris Vermeulen, 2003)

Race: 21 Laps
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Total Time
1 S. Charpentier Honda FRA 34' 1.822
2 K. Curtain Yamaha AUS +1.361
3 B. Parkes Yamaha AUS +7.796
4 Y. Tibero Honda FRA +16.788
5 R. Harms Honda DNK +16.798
6 J. Brookes Ducati AUS +21.250
7 J. Stigefelt Honda SWE +21.344
8 D. Thomas Kawasaki AUS +26.309
9 C. Zaiser Ducati AUT +26.515
10 M. Roccoli Yamaha ITA +26.515
11 S. Le Grelle Honda BEL +29.839
12 M. Sanchini Yamaha ITA +34.988
13 G. Vizziello Yamaha ITA +36.328
14 D. Van Keymeulen Yamaha BEL +37.402
15 X. Fores Yamaha ESP +38.574
19 V. Ivanov Yamaha RUS +1' 15.849
20 C. Peris Yamaha CAN +1' 23.477
21 D. Garcia Yamaha ITA +1' 29.998

Fastest Race Lap:
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Total Time
1 B. Parkes Yamaha AUS 1' 36.399

Championship standings WSS

Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. Points
1 Sebastien Charpentier Honda FRA 50
2 Kevin Curtain Yamaha AUS 40
3 Robbin Harms Honda DNK 21
4 Johan Stigefelt Honda SWE 20
5 Broc Parkes Yamaha AUS 16
6 Kenan Sofuoglu Honda TUR 16
7 Joshua Brookes Ducati AUS 16
8 Massimo Roccoli Yamaha ITA 15
9 Christian Zaiser Ducati AUT 15
10 Xavi Fores Yamaha ESP 14
11 Yoann Tibero Honda FRA 13
12 Gianluca Vizziello Yamaha ITA 10
13 Sebastien Le Grelle Honda BEL 10
14 Dean Thomas Kawasaki AUS 8
15 Mauro Sanchini Yamaha ITA 4
20 Didier Van Keymeulen Yamaha BEL 2
21 Gianluca Nannelli Yamaha ITA 1

Manufacturers standings WSS

Pos. Manufacturer Points
1 Honda 50
2 Yamaha 40
3 Ducati 18
4 Kawasaki 8