World Supersport Championship 2003 – Round Five
30 May –1 June 2003
VERMEULEN TAKES THIRD WIN IN CONFIDENT FASHION
In a repeat of his recent victorious Monza weekend, Chris Vermeulen (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) set overall second fastest time in qualifying, behind his team-mate Karl Muggeridge and subsequently ran to a clear win in the race itself. His win total for the season sits on three, and the 20-year-old Australian also enjoys a significant 38 point lead in the championship.
Coping well with the 27°C air temperature, and track temperatures of 48°C, Vermeulen and his rapid CBR600RR took victory by a margin of 1.775 seconds. He was largely unopposed throughout, having led every single lap of the 28, with only eventual second place man Stephane Chambon (Suzuki) and Broc Parkes (BKM Honda CBR600RR) for company in the early stages.
Pole position starter Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) was attempting to get into contention with leading group early on, survived a scare after colliding with Ian Macpherson (van Zon Honda CBR600RR), only to later crash out on lap seven. He restarted in 23rd and rode to finish 15th, scoring a single point.
Parkes was challenging for the win before losing front tyre grip – almost falling on the exit of one corner as he dropped from the pace of Vermeulen – before easing slowly down the order to finish a still impressive fifth.
Sebastien Charpentier (Team Klaffi Honda CBR600RR) followed up his good Monza race with a gutsy ninth; his team mate Robert Ulm 11th once more.
Christophe Cogan (BKM Honda CBR600RR) was one of three officially backed Honda non-finishers, retiring with mechanical problems on lap 11. Both van Zon Honda CBR600RR riders, Iain Macpherson and Werner Daemen, failed to finish. Macpherson retired on lap 21 with throttle problems, Daemen was taken out when Christian Kellner (Yamaha) outbraked himself on lap four.
Vermeulen now sits on 106 points; a massive 38 ahead of Fujiwara, and 42 clear of Yamaha rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh.
Having scored wins at the virtual speedbowls of Phillip Island, Monza and now the tight and twisty Oschersleben, Vermeulen is perplexed – and delighted – by his dominant form. “I don’t know what the secret is but I just got my head down off the line and no one could stay with me again today,” said Vermeulen. “I was surprised really because this is a difficult track and qualifying was very close. I’ll take it – no worries.”
Vermeulen’s fellow Aussie Parkes was disappointed not to score his first Supersport podium after an aggressive ride. “When I went off I got a lot of mud on the tyre and it took another couple of
laps for them to come good again,” explained Parkes. “I think I chose a front tyre which was a little bit soft and it started gradually to go off. We still have a problem with power because I can lose half a second on the straight. I try to make it up in the corners but you can’t do it every single lap.”
For Charpentier a first lap fright detuned him somewhat. “On the first lap I think there was either oil or water on the track and I had a big slide,” he said. “I thought it was going to be red-flagged and it was difficult for me to fight back. The result is important and I think it is good for the future. My race fitness still needs to improve but this is only my third race, so I think we can have better results.”
Robert Ulm went 11th less of a reward than he had hoped for in the run-up to the race. “I started OK but had some niggling problems with the bike,” said the tall Austrian. “I am very disappointed because I felt that I was capable of challenging for the podium at this track.”
Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) suffered more bad luck in the race, after riding well in qualifying. “After Monza I was obsessed with not burning the clutch out on the start and as a result made a bad start,” said Muggeridge. “The crash was stupid and I just ran off the track, which was down to me. From then on it was a case of trying to salvage some points which I was just about able to do by finishing 15th.”
Macpherson was in fighting form but ended his race prematurely in the pit box. “I had a problem with the throttle and had to retire,” he said, ruefully. “I don’t know if the bolts have snapped but the thing nearly came off in my hand.”
Christophe Cogan missed out on a chance to score good points after his retirement. “We don’t exactly know the problem but the engine let go and I was forced to retire,” said a disconsolate Cogan, immersed in pain. “Qualifying was difficult and I’ve been struggling all weekend with the two broken vertebrae in my lower back so now I’m looking forward to Silverstone where I hope to be much fitter.”
For Daemen, hopes of a good top six finish were dashed all too soon. “I went into the corner and Christian Kellner braked much to late and hit me on my leg,” said Daemen. “I managed to regain control of my bike and then he sat up and touched my rear wheel and I high sided. I am OK just very
disappointed as I had qualified well and was in sixth position in the race.”
The fifth round of the World Superbike Championship delivered the ninth straight win to Neil Hodgson (Ducati), who had to work very hard in the hot temperatures to keep the Ducati of Pierfrancesco Chili behind him. Chili proved to be the early leader, despite Hodgson starting from his fourth pole position in five attempts, and Chili almost collided with Hodgson on the final
corner, as he went for the inside line. Despite being run off the track on the first corner, James Toseland (Ducati) recovered to finish third. Colin Edwards’ lap record of 1:26.549, set on a VTR1000SP2 last season, survived the day as track temperatures reached a giddying 48°C.
In race two Toseland literally battled his way to his first World Championship race win, clashing elbows and fairings with eventual second place rider Hodgson to take the long term lead. In third place, Chris Walker (Ducati) joined his team-mate Toseland on the podium.
The Championship points table sees Hodgson extending his lead to immense proportions, with Hodgson on 245 points to Toseland’s 132. Ruben Xaus (Ducati) is third with 126.
The next races in both Supersport and Superbike take place at a modified Silverstone on June 15th.
RACE : (Laps 28 = 102,676 Km)
Pos / Rider / Nat. / Team / Gap
1/ C. VERMEULEN / AUS / Ten Kate Honda/
2/ S. CHAMBON / FRA / Alstare Suzuki / 1.775
3/ K. FUJIWARA / JPN / Alstare Suzuki / 2.085
4/ J. VD GOORBERGH / NED / Yamaha Belgarda / 3.936
5/ B. PARKES / AUS / Dark Dog Honda BKM / 8.438
6/ P. RIBA / ESP / Kawasaki R.T. KRT / 8.989
7/ J. TEUCHERT / GER / Yamaha Deutschland / 14.973
8/ C. KELLNER/GER / Yamaha Deutschland / 20.274
9/ S. CHARPENTIER / FRA / Team Klaffi Honda / 24.001
10/ G.NANNELLI / ITA / Lorenzini by Leoni / 29.143
11/ R.ULM / AUT / Team Klaffi Honda / 29.374
12/ M.LAGRIVE / FRA / Yamaha France – Ipone / 29.474
13/ D.THOMAS / GBR / Vitrans Honda TKR / 36.099
14/ B. VENEMAN / NED / Esha Kobutex Honda / 41.521
15/ K. MUGGERIDGE / AUS / Ten Kate Honda / 47.448
Fastest Lap= 10° Katsuaki Fujiwara- 1’30.858- 145,295 Km/h
Riders Championship Standings:
1 VERMEULEN 106,
2 FUJIWARA 68,
3 VD GOORBERGH 64,
4 CHAMBON 62,
5 KELLNER 54
6 CORRADI 37,
7 RIBA 37,
8 TEUCHERT 30,
9 PARKES 30,
10 MUGGERIDGE 30,
11 COGAN 25,
12 KIYONARI 20,
13 FORET 18,
14 CHARPENTIER 17,
15 MACPHERSON 16.
1 HONDA 115,
2 SUZUKI 94,
3 YAMAHA 90,
4 KAWASAKI 41.
Race 1: (Laps 28 = 102,676 Km)
Pos / Rider / Nat. / Team / Gap
1/ N.HODGSON / GBR / Ducati Fila/
2/ P. CHILI / ITA / Team PSG-1/0.556
3/ J. TOSELAND / GBR / HM Plant Ducati / 12.965
4/ R. LACONI / FRA / Caracchi NCR Nortel / 16.630
5/ C.WALKER / GBR / HM Plant Ducati / 16.754
6/ S. MARTIN / AUS / D.F.X. Racing Team / 38.142
7/ M.BORCIANI / ITA / D.F.X. Racing Team / 43.496
8/ V. IANNUZZO / ITA / Alstare Suzuki / 45.452
9/ L. PEDERCINI / ITA / Team Pedercini / 50.154
10/ G.BUSSEI / ITA / UnionBike GiMotorsport / 51.218
11/ M.SANCHINI / ITA / Kawasaki Bertocchi / 1’04.353
12/ T. CORSER / AUS / Foggy PETRONAS Racing / 1’10.643
13/ N. RUSSO / ITA / Team Pedercini /1 Lap
14/ S. FOTI / ITA / Team Pedercini / 1 Lap
15/ J. MRKYVKA / CZE / JM SBK Team / 1 Lap
Fastest Lap= 5° Pierfrancesco Chili -1’27.972 -150,061 Km/h
Race 2 : (Laps 28 = 102,676 Km)
Pos /Rider /Nat. /Team /Gap
1/ J. TOSELAND / GBR / HM Plant Ducati/
2/ N.HODGSON / GBR / Ducati Fila / 7.416
3/ C.WALKER / GBR / HM Plant Ducati / 5.314
4/ R. LACONI / FRA / Caracchi NCR Nortel Net. / 19.277
5/ R. XAUS / ESP / Ducati Fila / 24.228
6/ S. MARTIN / AUS / D.F.X. Racing Team / 43.648
7/ J. BORJA / ESP / D.F.X. Racing Team / 46.868
8/ V. IANNUZZO / ITA / Alstare Suzuki / 47.807
9/ M.BORCIANI / ITA / D.F.X. Racing Team / 48.930
10/ L. PEDERCINI / ITA / Team Pedercini / 1’02.514
11/ P. CHILI / ITA / Team PSG-1 / 1’10.394
12/ M.SANCHINI / ITA / Kawasaki Bertocchi / 1’12.686
13/ I. CLEMENTI / ITA / Kawasaki Bertocchi / 1’13.019
14/ T. CORSER / AUS / Foggy PETRONAS Racing / 1’27.387
15/ S. FOTI / ITA / Team Pedercini / 1 Lap
Fastest Lap 4° Neil Hodgson 1’27.734 150,468 Km/h
Riders Championship Standings:
1 HODGSON 225,
2 XAUS 115,
3 LAVILLA 111,
4 LACONI 109,
5 TOSELAND 107,
6 CHILI 79
7 WALKER 79,
8 MARTIN 68,
9 BORCIANI 57,
10 PEDERCINI 51,
11 CORSER 39,
12 SANCHINI 32,
13 BORJA 28,
14 CLEMENTI 25,
15 BUSSEI 25.
1 DUCATI 225,
2 SUZUKI 119,
3 PETRONAS 50,
4 KAWASAKI 42,
5 YAMAHA 32,
6 HONDA 21.
World Supersport Championship 2003 – Round Five
Oschersleben Race Preview
30 May – 1 June 2003
VERMEULEN ON TOP AS OSCHERSLEBEN APPROACHES
With the fifth round of the World Supersport Championship looming large in the collective thoughts of the World Supersport paddock, World Championship leader Chris Vermeulen #7 (Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) enjoys a healthy 29 point advantage over a chasing pack of 23 regular WSS riders. No fewer than 19 of the entrants to the series this year are mounted on factory-supported machinery, as the growth of Supersport racing per se propels itself to a higher level yet again.
Eight Honda combatants come equipped with the all-new CBR600RR, ready to do battle at the definitive modernist circuit of Oschersleben in Eastern Germany.
After completion of the previous Monza round on May 18, the scene of Vermeulen’s second decisive victory of the year, the championship order behind the 20-year-old Australian has once more morphed into a different form, as fortunes for the individual competitors have risen and waned once more.
The contrast between the historic Monza Autodromo and the contemporary layout of Motopark Oschersleben could not be more pronounced, in terms of age and design. The 3.667km long German track, one of a handful built in the late nineties after re-unification, has already hosted three World Supersport
events and its tight and tricky nature has led to the – sometimes literal – downfall of many a would-be winner. Normally held late in the autumn, Oschersleben has been pushed forward in the calendar, and will be the only German based race of the 2003 season.
Vermeulen’s immense efforts, plus the speed and reliability of his Ten Kate Honda, have put him in an enviable position. Even a no-score in Oschersleben would leave him ahead of his closest rivals; such is the extent of his points lead. “The race is normally good at Oschersleben,” said Vermeulen, who is still
undergoing treatment for the broken right thumb ligament he suffered in qualifying at Monza. “I would be happy to finish in the top five but we will be working towards getting on the podium at least. I’m not looking at
championship too much right now though, because I want to go out and race the way I normally do – but I guess I have to be a bit more careful. I still want to be in the position to go for the win if the chance is there.”
Vermeulen continued. “The Ten Kate Honda has been going well on fast circuits this year and the guys have been working on the engine to make it better on the tighter, slower tracks as well. It wasn’t quite so good at Sugo compared to somewhere like Monza, so they are doing a lot of development for tracks
like Oschersleben and Misano.”
Pole position man at Monza Karl Muggeridge (Ten Kate Honda CBR600R) suffered the agony of failing to finish in the race itself. Despite this setback he’s upbeat about Oschers, having earned a podium there – on a Ten Kate Honda to boot – in 2000. “Obviously Monza was a big disappointment but we showed that we’ve got the set-up of bike a lot more suited to me now.” said Muggeridge, who was almost one second ahead of all comers after final qualifying in Italy. “In the past Oschersleben hasn’t been too bad for me, so we should go well there.”
A different approach to both on and off track competition in the run up to Monza gave Iain Macpherson (Van Zon Honda CBR600RR) a fully deserved third place, a result Macpherson feels can be repeated in Germany.
“The Monza race was a bit more like it so we’ll continue to work hard and hopefully we’ll get another good result,” said Macpherson on his way to Oschersleben. “Supersport racing is so tight, especially this year, that sometimes sixth is a good result. That said, I really want to get as many points on the board as possible so the podium will be our goal again. Oschersleben isn’t a bad track – not my favourite, but it’s OK.”
Sebastien Charpentier (Klaffi Honda CBR600RR) had an excellent race in Monza, running much of the 16 laps in a podium slot before finishing sixth in only his second outing of the year. His relative lack of full race physical conditioning stopped the fast Frenchman from scoring even higher. Charpentier
was 13th at Oschersleben last time out, but his Monza forms points at a potential top five finish this time around. “I had my brilliant team and a very fast Honda to thank for letting me run up front at Monza, so at Oschersleben we could have a better result than ever before,” said Charpentier after the Italian race.
Broc Parkes (BKM Honda CBR600RR) had a fraught outing at Monza, concentrating his energies on the contrast between the tracks after experiencing a lack of power in Italy. “Oschersleben doesn’t rely so much on top speed,” said the talented young Aussie. “My suspension and tyres are fantastic, so I know I can hold my own on this twisty track.”
Werner Daemen (Van Zon Honda CBR600RR) was buoyed by both the result of his team-mate Iain Macpherson at Monza, and the results of a test session since then. “We have found and cured the electrical problems that made us so slow in top speed at Monza, but only after we tested at Zolder recently” said Daemen, who now can’t wait to get to Oschersleben. “I like the track in Germany and I think we can have a very good result there – but only if we get the set-up of the machine just right. Monza was all about speed but the whole machine counts somewhere like Oschersleben.”
Christophe Cogan (BKM Honda CBR600RR) approaches Oschersleben in better condition than when he left Monza, having to ride in great pain from pre-race injury. “Monza was very hard because of the pain and my lack of movement on the bike,” confirmed Cogan, “and we will see how we can go at Oschersleben.”
Robert Ulm (Klaffi Honda CBR600RR) is looking forward to a race in a German-speaking country and although this meeting is the closest thing the Austrian rider will get to a home race, he thinks the layout of the circuit is his most important ally. “I was racing Supermoto in Austria the weekend before the Oschersleben race and had some good results so I hope to carry that forward,” said the versatile Team Klaffi pilot. “I have many fans in Germany I think but the track layout suits me very well and I this will be more of an advantage. Our performances have been good this year and hopefully we can get closer to the very front at a track like Oschersleben.”
Race six out of a total of 11 events takes place at the modified Silverstone
circuit in England, on 15 June.