Monza is synonymous with excitement, not only on the track, but also in the stands and more than 118,000 people rushed to the historic Autodrome throughout the weekend to witness two amazing races.
Race 1 was almost unbelievable both for how it evolved and its incredible final. Spies took off like a rocket with Fabrizio, Haga, Biaggi and Kagayama right behind him but the Yamaha and the Ducati broke away after five laps at a pace that was just under this little track’s record from last year. The three drivers battled it out for first place up to the very end, and Spies seemed to be in the best position up until the entry to the last curve, the legendary Parabolica, when his R1 ran out of gas and died. So, Fabrizio took the victory, just ahead of this teammate Haga, while Biaggi conquered third place, followed by Kiyonari who had moved up from the rear. However, when he climbed atop the podium, the loudspeaker announced a 20 second penalty for the Roman driver because of a suspected, yet highly debatable cut at the second chicane in the seventh lap. So Kiyonari took Biaggi’s place on the podium and Max dropped down to eleventh position. Nakano finished in thirteenth place after a decent recovery.
Instead, Spies made no mistakes in Race 2. He started off strong and broke away from everyone else, holding on to a five second margin halfway into the race up until he reached the chequered flag. Behind him there was a battle for the podium among Fabrizio, Kiyonari and Rea and Biaggi also got back in to the groove in the fifth lap after a bad start. However, at the tenth lap, the Roman driver made an error at the first chicane and lost contact with the group. He tried to recover, but ended up in fifth position in Rea’s wake. Michel Fabrizio stepped onto the second level of the podium after beating out Kiyonari in a gruelling battle. It was a twelfth place finish for Nakano, who had a good race and drastically improved his time.
"I’m very angry,” said Biaggi. “But I respect who take this decision, also if I not agree whit it. I would have understood it if I had taken the lead at that point, but the times clearly show that I was running a half second slower during that lap. It was exactly in that same point where last year Smrz ran straight ahead, hit me and broke my pinkie finger and the fifth metacarpal in my left hand, and no one did anything about it. I didn’t even want to race in the second heat, but then my good sense took over and I got onto the track anyway, despite all the controversy. Race 2 wasn’t going too badly, I had a good rhythm going and was catching up to the second group, but then I made an error and lost ground.”
“It was a very difficult race,” said Nakano. “The second heat went better, times were decent and I recovered several positions after having lost ground at the start. Instead, I had a bit more difficulty in Race 1. I’m happy that my shoulder didn’t bother me the entire weekend and it should be even better for Kyalami. Honestly, I’m amazed at the decision they made about Max. I saw a lot of drivers that were with me cut the chicane each time, but no one else was penalized.”
SUPERPOLE: BIAGGI SEVENTH, NAKANO SIXTEENTH
The good weather held out at the Autodrome in Monza, where the Superpole of the Italian round of Superbike took place today. The large crowd that was gathered at the circuit in Brianza watched an extremely competitive Superpole, with Ben Spies, who, in addition to capturing his fifth consecutive Superpole victory on his Yamaha with an amazing time of 1:44:073, also set a new track record.
Max Biaggi will start off tomorrow from seventh position, after finishing with a time of 1:45:605. The Roman driver made it through Superpole 1 in seventh position with competition tyres. In Superpole 2, he used the qualifying tyres and was able to complete two rounds: in the first, he finished in seventh place and in the following one, while he was improving his split times, he ran into a ruinous fall at the entry to the Parabolica. Fortunately, he was not injured and he returned to the racing box to take part in the final eight. Despite the fall during the Superpole 2, Max set a new record at the Monza track for the Superbike competition with a speed of 325.8 km/hour.
Shinya Nakano will start off from sixteenth position tomorrow. The Japanese driver successfully finished Superpole 1 in eleventh position with competition tyres, but he was not able to take advantage of the qualifying tyres in Superpole 2.
"It was going pretty well for us,” declared Biaggi, “when all of a sudden, I lost control at the front at the entry to the Parabolica. I’m very sorry because I damaged my favourite bike, and I don’t have a good feeling with the one I used for the final eight. I was trying to make it into the first row. That would have been an excellent result for us since we’re not yet at 100%. Tomorrow we’re expecting two very difficult races; everything will depend on the pace that our adversaries set.”
“In the first qualifying round, it went pretty well for me with the competition tyres,” Nakano said. “I improved my time and made it into the final sixteen. In Superpole 2, I wasn’t able to improve with the qualifying tyres, and I don’t really know why, maybe I didn’t have the right setting. Things certainly went much better with respect to yesterday and we’ll try other solutions in tomorrow’s warm up. Now that I know this track better, it won’t be an easy race at all, but I’ll try to make it to the top ten.”