Haslam Takes Fourth at Silverstone WSBK

Haslam Takes Fourth at Silverstone WSBK

The WSBK results were again mixed for BMW. At the ninth round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship in Silverstone, Great Britain, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Leon Haslam took fourth in the first race but fell back to eighth in the second. Troy Corser, meanwhile, finished ninth in the first but had to retire from the second race due to a “technical” issue. BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini had two falls leading up to the races which left him shaken and bruised but he still managed a pair of 10th place finishes. James Toseland’s return to action showed he was still not 100%. He finished 12th and 13th.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport Rider Leon Haslam on the BMW S1000RR.

Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport prepared for the races at Silverstone with two days of testing at Lausitzring in Germany. They also brought some new parts to the circuit. Leon finished the qualifying practice sessions tenth. “I was second until five minutes before the end of the session. When everybody fitted the softer tire I was the only one not to be quicker than before. However, I am not concerned—this is nothing we cannot solve for tomorrow, so I am really confident.” Troy returned to the S1000RR after missing the last round of the championship in Brno. He finished the first Qualifying Practice 18th. “I am happy to be back on the bike after my crash at Aragon. I still feel some pain in my wrist, but only when I am braking. In general, I don’t think it affects my riding too much,” said Troy.

The BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team was at full-strength with the return of James Toseland. After setting an encouraging fourth fastest time during the first free practice session, James put in a twelfth fastest qualifying time. The UK rider is still not on top form but is showing that he is on the road to complete recovery. “I’m finally back and I’m home! I’m still not 100 percent but I can push hard enough… This morning I was fresh and was fourth in the first hour which isn’t hugely significant for the racing but very important for my own morale… Unfortunately I still have pain in my wrist and I had to resort to painkillers, but I’m confident that soon I will be fighting fit.”

James’ teammate, Ayrton Badovini, had a fall during the morning free practice but still managed to finish in thirteenth. The fall seriously damaged the bike meaning additional work for the team. Ayrton was uninjured and said, “The fall has affected the work and I had to recover slowly and get to grips with the bike… I’m pragmatic because I know that once we get the bike right I can go faster.”

Saturday’s qualifying saw Leon missing the third and final Superpole session by only 21 thousandths of a second. He would start from ninth. “I was able to post good lap times on race tires,” said Leon, “but sadly when we changed to the qualifying tire the extra grip caused a few issues… It’s a shame because if I had remained on these tires, I think I could have made it through to Superpole 3.” Troy was not able to qualify for Superpole Qualifying and so would go into Sunday’s races from position 17.

Ayrton Badovini fell in the early stages of Superpole 1 but was able to pit and get back out immediately on a second bike, from which he then qualified for Superpole 2. The second run proved to be very closely fought and Ayrton, in pain, reached the third row, with the tenth fastest time, missing Superpole 3 by 45 thousands of a second. Pleased to be back, James Toseland qualified for Superpole and reached 14th.

With these being the last races before the summer break, BMW Motorrad Motorsport was glad to see another top five finish by factory rider Leon Haslam (finishing fourth in the first race). On the other hand, Troy Corser had to retire from the second race due to a technical issue. In the championship standings, Leon is fifth (158 points) and Troy is still 15th (62 points). In the manufacturer standings, BMW lies fourth with 194 points.

Troy Corser

“In race one I was really happy with the start,” said Leon. “I was able to get myself into the position I wanted to be in and ran with the leaders. I was really pushing for the podium and battled to keep with Marco Melandri, but I was really struggling to pass him and stay in front. I was happy to be running close to the front and the lap times were OK. I just narrowly missed out on a podium. In race two I was having a few issues with the bike and I was forced to adapt my riding style to try and ride around it. I got to the point where I was able to run consistent lap times, but by then the leaders had gone. Now we have the summer break, so I am just looking forward to spending some time at home and preparing in the gym for the next races.”

Troy added, “In race one I got a great start. I actually had a little incident at the first corner – I collided with another rider which did cost me a bit of time and to be honest I was lucky not to go down. I fought hard and managed to get to the front of the group and I felt well on the bike. The grip level dropped off as the race progressed, and it caused me to slide and spin the rear tire. I just managed the situation the best I could and brought it home. In race two we had an issue with the bike which we are currently looking into. That sadly brought an early end to the race for me. We are not sure exactly why the issue occurred at the minute but it does seem bizarre at this stage because we only made minor changes between races. The changes we did make seemed to improve the package but sadly we couldn’t take advantage of that. I have a couple of days off before going back to serious training. I still do not feel 100 per cent fit on the bike after my injury.”

Technical decisions did not show positive results for BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini in race one. He battled with rival Aitchison for eighth place and then found himself battling for ninth with Corser and Biaggi. In race two he fought with Aitchison and Lascorz and eventually won the tenth place that allows him to hold onto eighth place in the World Championship table.

“This was a defensive race: sometimes this happens during a championship.” Ayrton said after the debrief with his engineers. “I was not 100% after two crashes, both in terms of psychological and physical condition. I had some pain in my wrist, among other things, which I think is dislocated. We are happy with the bike, for which we collected data and information that will help us to further development. Now we go on the summer break, we will reinvigorate and come back even more competitive in September for the final stage of the season.”

In race one, James Toseland was hindered by set-up choices and the Englishman couldn’t make it into the points, finishing twelfth behind Max Biaggi. In race two, James lapped steadily from the half-way stage, gaining more confidence in the bike.

World Superbike Championship
Silverstone Race 1 Results:

1. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
2. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)
3. Marco Melandri (Yamaha)
4. Leon Haslam (BMW)
5. John Hopkins (Suzuki)
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)
7. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki)
8. Max Berger (Ducati)
9. Troy Corser (BMW)
10. Aryton Badovini (BMW)

11. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
12. James Toseland (BMW)

Silverstone Race 2 Results:

1. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
2. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)
3. Marco Melandri (Yamaha)
4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
5. Leon Camier (Aprilia)
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)
7. John Hopkins (Suzuki)
8. Leon Haslam (BMW)
9. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki)
10. Aryton Badovini (BMW)
13. James Toseland (BMW)
DNF. Troy Corser (BMW)

2011 World Superbike Championship Points:

1. Carlos Checa, 343
2. Max Biaggi, 281
3. Marco Melandri, 272
4. Eugene Laverty, 208
5. Leon Haslam, 158
6. Leon Camier, 146
7. Michel Fabrizio, 141
8. Ayrton Badovini, 118
9. Sylvain Guintoli, 109
10. Noriyuki Haga, 99
15. T. Corser, 62
22. L. Lanzi, 10
23. J. Toseland, 10
27. B. Veneman, 3

Lorenzo Zanetti on his BMW S1000RR.

FIM Superstock 1000 Cup

Two BMW riders were again successful in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race: BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock Team rider Lorenzo Zanetti (ITA) celebrated a podium, finishing second. German Markus Reiterberger (GER), 17, from the Garnier Alpha Racing Team secured another top ten result finishing sixth.

In the Superstock race Zanetti started to attack, duelling with Petrucci and Giugliano. In the second part of the race he held second place until the last lap when he was overtaken by Canepa. Lorenzo retaliated, overtaking the Italian rider and regaining second place. The result means that Zanetti has consolidated his second place in the FIM Cup closing the gap to the championship leader, who is now eleven points ahead. Silverstone reopened the championship and the Brescia rider will be attacking in the remaining races of the season.

“I felt good” said Lorenzo on the podium “Early in the race I tried to find the rhythm. Unfortunately with the tire degradation I started to lose grip and I had to fight to maintain the position. The championship is now wide open with just a few points behind the leader. The team worked very well and I am convinced that we are going the right way to fight for the championship to the last race.”

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