DONINGTON PARK IS THE SETTING FOR TWO SPECTACULAR RACES.
WITH AN EXCELLENT PODIUM FINISH IN RACE 2, AN EXTREMELY CONCRETE MAX BIAGGI STRENGTHENS HIS HOLD ON THE TOP SPOT.
A WEEKEND TO FORGET FOR EUGENE LAVERTY, NEVER QUITE COMING TO GRIPS WITH THE ENGLISH TRACK.
Donington, 13 May 2012 – The show at Donington Park today was one to remember. As foreshadowed by the practice sessions, which were characterised by extremely tight times, the two English races found the riders at the front battling for the podium right down to the last curve.
Max Biaggi, looking to be in grand form straight from the warm up sessions this morning, stuck to the front pack in Race one despite a less than perfect start. In a race marked by close times, the Corsair crossed the line in fifth place, earning important points for the championship.
In Race 2 Max rocketed out as the red lights went off, skilfully fending off a furious pack made up of Sykes, Melandri and Haslam. A recovery by Rea in the last part of the race brought to life the umpteenth battle which came to an end only at the last curve: Haslam and Melandri took a wide line, clashing in a pileup which allowed Rea and Max to shoot through, crossing the line in that order. The 20 points for second place strengthen the leadership position for Max, now leading the rider rankings with a 5 length lead over the nearest rival.
“Two thrilling races – confirmed Max Biaggi after the heated races – In the first race I had a bit more difficulty. We were losing ground to BMW and Kawasaki coming out of the curves even though we were fast in the straight stretches. In Race 2 things went better. I rode well and was fighting for the podium. The last few laps were just mad. With tyres worn everyone was trying to gain positions, shooting through at every braking zone. The last curve gave us second place which is an important result: now we'll go to Miller to confirm our performance, but we need to improve on acceleration”.
Eugene Laverty finished out the weekend in the worst possible way, with a crash in Race 2. The Northern Irish rider struggled a lot on this track, also forced to deal with a technical problem in the first race that prevented him finishing any better than fifteenth place. The crash in Race 2 came as Eugene was pushing hard not to lose contact with his rivals and it leaves the rider with a bitter taste in his mouth.
“The crash was the worst possible way to end this weekend. After struggling in Race 1 with a technical problem and finishing fifteenth, in the second race I didn't want to lose contact with the lead pack. Just as I was pushing hardest I lost the back end, demolishing my RSV4. Physically I'm fine, so all we can do is take a lesson from these problems and get back on track with the next round in America”.
SUPERPOLE AT DONINGTON PARK
EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE BY MAX BIAGGI IN SUPERPOLE: THE RANKING LEADER WILL START FROM THE FIRST ROW TOMORROW.
EUGENE LAVERTY STRUGGLES AND HAS TO SETTLE FOR TWELFTH POSITION.
Donington, 12 May 2012 – The Saturday sessions at Donington Park provided the Aprilia Racing Team with a situation that is decidedly more promising than yesterday's. In the two sessions held before Superpose, Max Biaggi and Eugene Laverty defended themselves well, showing excellent race pace and staying in a top ten list that was characterised by almost insignificant gaps.
Max started Superpole with the firm intention of going through to the top eight and making a play for the front row. And so it was: the Corsair came through the first and second session with relative ease, succeeding in the end (using a racing tyre) in putting the fourth time on the board, which earns the front row of the starting grid for the two races tomorrow.
But according to Max Biaggi there is still much work to do: “Compared to yesterday we have definitely improved, but there is still something missing because we are still struggling too hard to get everything to fall into place. The others are ahead of us. They've demonstrated speed on the fast lap and good race pace again today. In order to keep up with them we need better management of the bike which will allow me to be quicker and more consistent right from the start: if we want to be in it to the end, we cannot afford to lose contact with the front runners”.
Eugene Laverty also showed encouraging progress, especially in the last free practice session. In view of the races, the Northern Irish rider's synergy with his RSV4 is good, but once again the Superpole betrayed him. With a qualifying tyre Eugene had to give in to a bothersome chattering problem which kept him from being fast in the second session. Laverty will start from the twelfth spot on the grid tomorrow.
“We struggled once again in Superpole. We had some difficulties in all the sessions, but in the last free practice we made significant progress with some changes to the bike's set-up. Unfortunately the soft qualifier caused some annoying chattering that created quite a few problems for me. We'll start from the third row, but I'm encouraged by the fact that I've got a good race pace even after the tyre starts to wear”.
SECOND RACE IN TWO WEEKS FOR THE APRILIA RACING TEAM.
IN THE FIRST ENGLISH ROUND OF 2012 MAX BIAGGI WANTS TO HOLD ONTO THE RIDER LEADERSHIP.
EUGENE LAVERTY, AFTER TWO CONSECUTIVE PODIUM FINISHES, AIMS TO CONTINUE THE POSITIVE TREND.
Donington, 9 May 2012 – Just hours after the difficult Sunday in Monza, the Aprilia Racing Team is already prepared to take on the first English race of 2012. In Donington all eyes will certainly be on Max Biaggi, leader in the rider standings, as well as Eugene Laverty who is getting consistently stronger on his RSV4.
The Corsair, who has always maintained a liking for the circuit near Sherwood Forest, will have the chance to confirm his lead, but he will have to reckon with some particularly seasoned rivals. The home riders have especially shown that they can ride at the highest levels, and here they have the added incentive of support from their home fans.
“The season is really coming alive now – comments Max Biaggi – Every race from here on becomes crucial, especially since the point spreads are very tight after the Monza round. The 2012 Championship is turning out to be as heated a competition as ever. Practically all the manufacturers have at least one rider that can battle for victory. At Donington the first rivals are clearly the home riders, but I can't rule anyone out. The important thing for us will be to find the right direction to go for the set-up right away in order not to struggle during crucial moments and to have a good package ready on Sunday”.
Northern Irish rider Eugene Laverty, in a race where he can be considered a local rider, can count on his good performance of late. The podium in Monza, after the one a few weeks ago in Assen, is further confirmation of the good feeling that has fully developed between him and his RSV4. As somewhat of an expert on English weather conditions, Eugene expects Donington Park to be another climate-conditioned weekend.
“We've been getting stronger and stronger at every round so far this season. I feel that we now belong at the front fighting for the podium after our success at both Assen and Monza. However, the Donington circuit has not been kind to me in the past. My only success there has been two podium finishes in the British Championship and both were held in extremely wet conditions. Perhaps I'll find the same weather again this time! My main aim for Donington is to close the gap to the lead of the championship as we approach mid-season. Donington is the round of the World Superbike Championship that is closest to my home so it would be great to put the Aprilia in the winner's circle with so many of my friends and family trackside”.