Sugo Japan

World Superbikes SUGO Japan



2003 Superbike World Championship. Round 3, Sugo, Japan.

Sunday 27th April 2003

Team Alstare Suzuki rider Gregorio Lavilla stormed his way to a superb second place of the Superbike World Championship race at Sugo today. He took the lead on the second lap and held off Neil Hodgson (Ducati) for three laps before being overtaken. He then stuck to Hodgson’s rear for rest of the 25-lapper, taking a well deserved second place. The Ducati’s superior performance allowed Hodgson to pull out the smallest of margins with a couple of laps remaining and that was enough to ensure victory. Gregorio took a comfortable second, with Chili(Ducati) nearly one and a half seconds behind the Alstare rider. Gregorio’s runner-up spot followed a tremendous fifth in the first race. Gregorio had been forced into the gravel on the opening lap after a four-rider incident in turn one, but managed to keep his Alstare Suzuki upright and steer it through the mud and slush from yesterday’s heavy rain. By the time he rejoined the race he was one place off last, but he put his head down and charged back into the reckoning. Lap after lap, he moved his way up through the field and by lap eight was up to fifth behind fellow countryman Xaus (Ducati). He began to close in on Xaus, but had worn out his tyres in the chase and had to settle for fifth instead. Hodgson won the race comfortably, with Laconi second and Toseland third ­ making it a clean sweep for the Bologna marque. Gregorio’s second in race two will get the glory, but his performance in the first race was no less impressive.

GREGORIO LAVILLA Race 1: 5th, Race 2: 2nd

If I can do races like today, I’m happy. If I had finished 30 seconds behind the leader, I would not have been pleased, but to lead the race and be right with Hodgson for the whole race is a good feeling. Hodgson’s Ducati has been developed over many years, but our Suzuki is brand new and we only received it in January, so I think we are doing very well. Our top speed is still not as fast as we’d like and I’m losing grip exiting the corners, but we’re working hard at making the bike as good as possible. I lost ground to Neil (Hodgson) on the exits and couldn’t keep with him there, so I had to make up for it on the brakes. It’s a pity that I was forced off the track in the first race, because I was certain I could get a podium. I could’ve pulled in, but I thought I might as well push hard and see what happens and that’s what I did. It was very satisfying to get all the way up to fifth
from nearly last ­ almost as good as my second place in race two! We still have a lot of work to do, but if we can get the bike to work a bit better in some areas, I’d like to think I can win a race this year.


Team Alstare Suzuki rider Stephane Chambon took a hard-fought fight for a podium in the third round of the Supersport World Championship at Sugo today. But it could have been both Alstare Suzuki riders on the podium ­ just like last year ­ until Fujiwara crashed on lap nine and  had to restart from dead last. Up to then he had been in third place, closing in on the two front-runners and looking strong enough to take the win he so desperately wanted in front of his home fans. Fuji’s fall came at the chicane, but he remounted and then remorselessly tore his way up through the field and managed to score a valuable championship point. The race was won by Christian Kellner (Yamaha), who shadowed ‘wild card’ rider Ryuichi Kiyonari’s Honda for the second half of the race, before out- braking him on the last lap. He took the flag by just two tenths of a second, with Chambon three seconds further back.


I’m happy to be on the podium ­ especially after the difficulties with the weather on the opening day. The temperature was hotter today, but I used the same tyre as yesterday and maybe it wasn’t the best choice. There was no way I could catch the front two, so I just rode steadily for third place. This championship is very long and the level of competition is very high, so it’s important to score points whenever you can. I’m very happy with my Alstare Suzuki ­ it’s a good all-round package.

Klaus Klaffenbock profile



Local knowledge of the twisty Sugo circuit gave wild card rider Ryuichi Kiyonari (BKM Honda CBR600RR) a second place finish after leading the race for the majority of its 25-lap duration. Overtaken by eventual race winner Christian Kellner (Yamaha) only on the final lap Kiyonari was unable to get back onto terms before the start and finish line, and had to settle for an impressive second place. “I was giving 100% throughout the race but I think I was riding a little bit wild and my tyre was affected,” said Kiyonari. ³I wasn¹t thinking about what
was going on behind me I was just pushing as hard as I could and I got passed on the last lap. I am really disappointed about that but I am happy to complete the race safely. It was good to be racing in the World Supersport Championship and I was a little bit in awe of all these world class riders.² Of the regular Honda riders on display, World Championship leader Chris Vermeulen made a clean break away from his pursuers in the points table, after finishing fifth overall at the tricky and demanding 3.737km Sugo circuit. Vermeulen now leads Japanese rider Katsuaki Fujiwara (Suzuki) by ten points, 56-46, after three of 11 rounds. “I’m leading the championship which is really positive. I think we had a lot of luck in that race and it turned out to be a great race from a bad situation. Suzuki had tested here and looked very good but the race pace was actually very slow, more than a second a lap off last year and it felt like a long race. I was waiting, just counting those laps down.”Vermeulen¹s fellow Ten Kate Honda rider Karl Muggeridge was sixth, after a race chasing hard with the front group, leading for three laps himself in the early stages. “It was a tough ride, I just struggled a little bit as a result of choosing the wrong tyre for the race and when the tyre went off it really went off. It was just a wrong tyre decision that we made this morning, the bike is going well but I¹m annoyed with the result.”

Broc Parkes (BKM Honda CBR600RR) was another rider fighting hard for his placing, going seventh despite suffering from illness. “It’s not too bad but I am struggling with a fever still. After ten laps I couldn¹t breath properly. I’ve been sick for about a week and I didn’t think I’d finish the race. I made up a couple of positions and then I caught Chris (Vermeulen) and Karl (Muggeridge) but my body wasn¹t strong enough to overtake them. I’m happy to be right with Karl and Chris and at the moment we are a little bit behind with the bike. I wanted better but I¹m happy and the results is not too bad.”
Christophe Cogan (BKM Honda CBR600RR) scored an 11th place finish in what were difficult circumstances for all the riders, especially with such limited practice time available in the dry. “Because a lot of the practice was held in the wet I did not make a good choice with the tyre. The bike was sliding at the rear but I finished the race and scored more championship points. I am not totally comfortable on the bike and I do not like this circuit so much so now I am looking forward to Monza.”

Werner Daemen (van Zon Honda CBR600RR) had another consistent ride on his new machine, scoring points for the third race in succession. “I was with Simone Sanna and he was not so difficult to battle against – only his bike is a little bit faster than mine. Through the turns and under braking I am much faster than him. I lost the game yesterday when I qualified in 16th position, I came back to 12th at the start today but by then the
leaders were four seconds ahead, too big a gap to make up. It was very good race and I did low 1m 35s which is not too much slower than the front guys. I only lost the race on Saturday, so my qualification must be better.”

Iain Macpherson (van Zon Honda CBR600RR) had a challenging weekend, falling in morning warm up after suffering a similar fate in qualifying. “I was just struggling today. We¹ve had a bad weekend, a crash in practice and then a crash this morning when I hit my side casing off the kerb and bent the bike. I had to use the spare but the number two bike is not 100%, although it¹s all we had, and I finished just out the points.”

Sebastien Charpentier (Klaffi Honda CBR600RR) was 18th in only his first ride for five months, having not yet had the chance to test his new machine, and losing a day of qualifying due to rainy conditions “It was very difficult for me today as it is my first time on the Honda and it was necessary for me to finish the race. I think that was very important for me personally. It is my first time at Sugo so I think we will be more competitive next time out.”
Robert Ulm (Klaffi Honda CBR600RR) fell while attempting to make up some places. “We had two crashes in practice but the bike and tyres were fine today. I just went too fast into the first corner and fell.”

The next race takes place at Monza on 18th May.

Race : (Laps 25 = 93,425 Km)
Pos /Rider /Nat. /Team /Gap
1/  C. KELLNER/GER/Yamaha Deutschland/
2/  R. KIYONARI/JPN/Dark Dog Honda BKM/0.243
3/  S. CHAMBON/FRA/Alstare Suzuki/3.192
4/  T. KAYO/JPN/Yamaha Belgarda/10.334
5/  C. VERMEULEN/AUS/Ten Kate Honda/14.272
6/  K. MUGGERIDGE/AUS/Ten Kate Honda/16.326
7/  B. PARKES/AUS/Dark Dog Honda BKM/16.532
8/ J. VD GOORBERGH/NED/Yamaha Belgarda/17.596
9/  P. RIBA/ESP/Kawasaki R.T. KRT/18.516
10/  A. CORRADI/ITA/Italia Spadaro F.R./28.626
11/  C.COGAN/FRA/Dark Dog Honda BKM/30.582
12/  W.DAEMEN/BEL/Van Zon Honda T.K.R./37.443
13/  S. SANNA/ITA/Yamaha Belgarda/37.484
14/  G.NANNELLI/ITA/Lorenzini by Leoni/43.951
15/  K. FUJIWARA/JPN/Alstare Suzuki/45.520
Fastest Lap: 12 Christian Kellner – 1’33.244 – 144,280 Km/h

Riders Championship Standings:







8 COGAN 21,



11 RIBA 20,

12 PARKES 18,

13 KAYO 13,

14 DAEMEN 12,

15 CURTAIN 11.

Manufacturers Standings:
1 HONDA 65, 2 SUZUKI 61, 3 YAMAHA 57, 4 KAWASAKI 20.

Race 1 : (Laps 25 = 93,425 Km)
1/  N.HODGSON/GBR/Ducati Fila/
2/  R. LACONI/FRA/Caracchi NCR Nortel Net./7.167
3/  J. TOSELAND/GBR/HM Plant Ducati/14.853
4/  R. XAUS/ESP/Ducati Fila/28.299
5/  G.LAVILLA/ESP/Alstare Suzuki/32.382
6/  H. IZUTSU/JPN/Team HRC/32.584
7/  L. PEDERCINI/ITA/Team Pedercini/1’00.615
8/  A. WATANABE/JPN/Team Suzuki/1’02.154
9/  J. HAYDON/GBR/Foggy PETRONAS Racing/1’07.432
10/  J. BORJA/ESP/D.F.X. Racing Team/1’11.446
11/  M.SANCHINI/ITA/Kawasaki Bertocchi/1’17.354
12/  G.BUSSEI/ITA/UnionBike GiMotorsport/1’18.970
13/  M.BORCIANI/ITA/D.F.X. Racing Team/1’27.846
14/  K. NAKAMURA/JPN/Blue Helmet MSC/1’28.048
15/  S. MARTIN/AUS/D.F.X. Racing Team/1 Lap
Fastest Lap : 5° Neil Hodgson 1’29.999 149,482 Km/h

Race 2 : (Laps 25 = 93,425 Km)
Pos /Rider /Nat. /Team /Gap
1/  N.HODGSON/GBR/Ducati Fila/
2/  G.LAVILLA/ESP/Alstare Suzuki/0.818
3/  P. CHILI/ITA/Team PSG-1/1.470
4/  R. XAUS/ESP/Ducati Fila/10.470
5/  J. TOSELAND/GBR/HM Plant Ducati/11.133
6/  H. IZUTSU/JPN/Team HRC/21.604
7/  R. LACONI/FRA/Caracchi NCR Nortel Net./21.953
8/  I. CLEMENTI/ITA/Kawasaki Bertocchi/48.857
9/  J. BORJA/ESP/D.F.X. Racing Team/1.770
10/  M.SANCHINI/ITA/Kawasaki Bertocchi/5.289
11/  G.BUSSEI/ITA/UnionBike GiMotorsport/9.325
12/  T. CORSER/AUS/Foggy PETRONAS Racing/15.284
13/  M.BORCIANI/ITA/D.F.X. Racing Team/1 Lap
14/  K. NAKAMURA/JPN/Blue Helmet MSC/1 Lap
15/  W.TORTOROGLIO/ITA/White Endurance/1 Lap
Fastest Lap: 9 Pierfrancesco Chili 1m30.146 – 149,238 Km/h

Riders Championship Standings:

1 HODGSON 150,

2 XAUS 106,



5 LACONI 63,

6 WALKER 48,

7 MARTIN 42,

 8 CHILI 32,

9 CORSER 32,



12 BORJA 28,



15 IZUTSU 20.

Manufacturers Standings:

1 DUCATI 150,

2 SUZUKI 75,



5 HONDA 20,

6 YAMAHA 16.