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May 07, 2013 - 06:23 PM
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Preview World Superbike-Supersport, Monza, Italy
Posted by: newsla on May 07, 2013 - 06:21 PM
Tidbits
Preview World Superbike-Supersport, Monza, Italy


HISTORIC MONZA HOSTS NEW LOOK PATA HONDA SBK LINE UP

Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) will welcome a new team-mate to the official Honda garage at Monza for the fourth round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship, to be held on Sunday May 12. Double All Japan Superbike champion Kosuke Akiyoshi will replace the injured Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) at this meeting which will be a home event for the title sponsor of the team, Pata. In teaming up with Rea this weekend Akiyoshi will in some ways be revisiting a co-operation with the rider from Northern Ireland that helped Honda win the Suzuka 8-Hour race in 2012.

 

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Rea and Akiyoshi should both feel the advantage of Jonathan's recent test on his CBR1000RR at Assen, shortly after the last round of the championship, in which new parts and electronic strategies were improved. Enhanced aerodynamics should also be a major help to the team at the 5.777 Km long Monza circuit. Its three long straights ensure that the magic 200mph top speed barrier is regularly breached by modern-day SBK machines.

Chassis improvements delivering greater stability were another positive result of the post-race Assen test and these should also have a benefit for the Honda duo in the long curves and tighter chicanes which characterise the oldest surviving purpose-built motor racing circuit in Europe.

Rea, with 30 podiums to his credit in SBK racing so far, including 10 wins, has yet to post a top three at Monza, but after taking his first podium of 2013 last time out in the Netherlands he is looking to maintain his upward trend in race day results.

After his good showings in round three at Assen Rea moved up to fifth in the overall rankings. Haslam dropped to 13th after being ruled out of each race in Holland and now he is working hard on his recuperation programme to try and be ready to compete at his home round, Donington, on May 26.

VAN DER MARK AND ZANETTI LEAD THE HONDA WSS RIDERS TO ITALY

Michael van Der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) and Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) head to Lorenzo's home venue of Monza for the fourth round of the FIM Supersport World Championship in a few days time determined to mount strong challenges at the peerlessly historic circuit near Milan.

Reigning Superstock 600 European Champion van Der Mark has made a great early impression in his rookie WSS year riding a potent CBR600RR and he sits only five points from the championship leader Fabien Foret after three of the 14 scheduled rounds.

Michael is the highest ranked Honda runner at present while his team-mate Zanetti is next best CBR600RR rider, seventh. All of the current top three Honda riders are rookies, with Irishman Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) in eighth position overall. The former British Supersport Championship challenger has been scoring better early race results than he could have realistically hoped for but he also believes there is still untapped potential in man and machine after only three rounds.

Former 125 GP rider Luca Marconi (PTR Honda) missed the Assen race itself because of a practice crash and thus slipped to 16th overall but at his home circuit he feels he can have his best result so far, which would mean beating his tenth place finish at Aragon.

Alex Baldolini (Team Lorini Honda) is now 18th after not finishing the race in Assen last time out. Former 125cc GP Champion Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) was 16th in Assen and has yet to score any points in 2013. A serious practice crash in Australia that broke his jaw, and then crashing after a coming together with another rider at Motorland in his comeback race, have not helped his overall cause.

Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda) is recovering from a shoulder injury harsh enough to have made him skip the Assen race, but the South African rider is determined to ride and compete well at Monza, a circuit he greatly enjoys. He too has found little in the way of good luck so far, as he goes for his first 2013 championship points at Monza.

Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini Honda), Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda), David Linortner (Team Honda PTR) and Eduard Blokhin (Rivamoto Honda) are all still waiting to get their points scores off the mark. Matt Davies (Team Honda PTR) and Nacho Calero Perez (Honda PTR) are two young riders making their debuts in WSS this year, in one of the most respected team set-ups in the paddock.

Monza is a regular stop on the WSS trail and it is arguably the most iconic piece of racing tarmac in Europe, given its original birth in the 1920s as a banked oval. Much modified over the years and featuring some chicanes built on a grand scale, Monza is still the place to see the fastest top speeds of the year in all classes.

The next race after Monza takes place at Donington Park in the UK, on 26 May.

HONDA RIDER COMMENTS:

Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team)
"The test at Assen was really positive because we were able to have some updates on the electronics which made the bike feel a lot more predictable again, especially in the areas of throttle opening and traction control. We can set it up to be more precise now, which is good. Also on the chassis side we worked hard and found a new way forward. Last year's base setting at Monza was the same as we had at Assen, so hopefully we can take that straight into the race weekend in Italy. I am not expecting it to be plain sailing at Monza because it is a kind of real life dyno. We need to use the more positive parts of our bike to try and maximize our performance because I cannot see this being an easy race for us - although I have usually qualified well at Monza. I went close to a podium finish in 2009 when I think I was fourth. It would be amazing to stand on the podium at that circuit, with all its history. The podium is situated right out over the pitlane, facing the crowd, and there is a great atmosphere around Monza because Superbike racing is massive at this track. I am very aware of the history of the venue, especially with parts of the old Parabolica still being there. Every year I take the scooter out to have some fun there. It's a circuit steeped in history."

Michael van Der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team)
"After Assen we had two days of testing and found a good direction to work in. We were really fast and this is very positive. I know that Monza is a special track and for our main sponsor Pata it will be a home race. The bikes are fast already so I think we can make a good result in Monza. This year we were hoping to start in the top ten and work towards the top five as the season went on, but we have been in the top five every race so far. I hope we can stay there and keep those good results going."

Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team)
"My home round and I am very happy about that because I like the track and I will race close to my home. I will have many friends there to see me and that is better for me. After the Assen race weekend we tested there for two days and that was very important because we tested many new parts. We also improved my set-up on the bike and that will be important for all the races. It is important to have good speed at Monza and my Honda has that. I think it is possible to finish in a strong position; same at the other races. It is also a home round for the main sponsor so many people will arrive to see us and the pressure is high, but that is normal."

Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda)
"Everything is on a positive note at the minute and moving forward all the time. Monza is another new track for me and I have been playing it on the X-box because right now that is all I can do. In theory it seems fairly easy, with three sixth gear straights and only a few corners, but I think that is what is going to make it so difficult to make up time; because there are so few corners. I am looking forward to another good qualifying performance to get away with them and then use the slipstream to pull me along. We are fairly close with the bike in terms of set-up but we are still just looking for that extra bit so the pace can last that bit longer in the race. That said, it is all looking positive at the moment. The team are happy and they are doing a great job too."

Luca Marconi (PTR Honda)
"Monza is in Italy, a home track, so I want to make a good result. A lot will depend on the weather conditions. I just want to make my best result so far and stay inside the top ten. Riding for the PTR Honda team is very good and I feel happy working with them. The boys are very professional and I am happy about my bike. I just wish we had more testing, because it is difficult to try and get more feeling with the bike with no testing time available. In any case, we still need to make improvements in each race."

Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda)
"Monza is an unknown track for me because I have never ridden there. We will just analyze what happened there last year with the team. We are not satisfied right now because I need to stay nearer the front. I believe that we can still do it and we will re-focus for Monza. The season is long but I feel comfortable and ready to improve. After a very tough start to the year the one positive from Assen was finishing a race, so our target is to finish higher from now on. What I heard about Monza is that the engine is very important there, but I think if we can get a good chassis set-up I can work at a high level."

Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda)
"I am pumped for Monza, just like all the previous races, but Monza is a special place for me. I rate it as one of my favourite tracks. This week has been one of the few times I have stayed in Europe between races in 2013, instead of going back to South Africa each time. I took advantage of the time and spent the week running and hiking in the mountains near Lake Como. In this short gap between races I have been resting my shoulder as much as possible so that I am as close to 100% as I can be for Monza. At the moment it's looking good."

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