2007 World SBK Season Opener
World Superbike: Corser On SuperPole at Qatar
corser and biaggi the only riders in the '58s
Pos. Rider Team Bike Time
1 Troy Corser Yamaha Motor Italia Yamaha YZF R1 1:58.402
2 Max Biaggi Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K7 1:58.724
3 James Toseland Hannspree Ten Kate Honda Team Honda CBR 1000RR 1:59.005
2007 SBK CORONA EXTRA SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Rome, Thursady 15th February 2007
WORLD SUPERBIKE MAKES EARLY START TO 20th BIRTHDAY PARTY - UNPRECEDENTED INTEREST IN SBK AS NEW SEASON APPROACHES As
World Superbike enters its 20th continuous year of competition this unique championship series has many reasons to celebrate its latest anniversary. Interest in the championship is at a modern-day zenith, demonstrated in the fact that there is an almost unprecedented strength-in-depth of officially-supported teams representing the big five racing manufacturers - Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha - plus a classic name from racing's past. In terms of potential race winners, both current trends and historic evidence point to the possibility that the total of eight different race victors in 2006 may well be beaten, and this year each rider will have two more chances to take a victory, as the championship calendar now comprises 26 individual contests, two at each of the 13 meetings.
DUCATI BACK TO STAY ON TOP Despite the championship winning Ducati Xerox team retaining its 2006 line up of champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) and Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) there are many changes in the line-up of the traditional powerhouses of World Superbike, and an injection of new machinery for two of the main manufacturers, Yamaha and Suzuki.
HONDA HORDES FEATURE BIG NAMES 2006 season runner-up James Toseland (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) is joined in the Ten Kate squad this season by second-year SBK veteran, Roby Rolfo, while a further four supported Honda riders take to the tracks in 2007. Steve Martin and Michel Fabrizio ride for the DFX Corse Honda squad, while ambitious Australians Karl Muggeridge and Josh Brookes ride for the Alto Evolution team.
NEW YAMAHA RIDDEN BY PROVEN SBK POWERS Yamaha's official entry, the Yamaha Motor Italia team, has retained multi-race winner Noriyuki Haga and added an old SBK hand to help develop its all new R1 machine - Troy Corser - the champion in 2005 and 1996. 2006 season rookie Shinichi Nakatomi also returns to the SBK fray, in the renamed Yamaha YZF team.
ADDITION OF BIAGGI A GREAT BOOST TO SERIES Arguably of most media interest in the build-up to the 2007 season is the addition to the Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra team for 2007 of a certain Max Biaggi. A multiple MotoGP winner, Biaggi is offering himself up to the challenge of competing in a race series of such a high standard that 2006 champion Troy Bayliss could win the final MotoGP race of last season, at Valencia, even when riding as a one-off wild card. Biaggi is fully aware of the task in front of him, but has already set some good testing times, and few in World Superbike will need reminding of his competitive spirit before the first race of the season at Qatar on February 2007. Qatar has been a happy hunting ground for Alstare's other highly talented 2007 rider, long time Suzuki servant Yukio Kagayama.
TOP KAWASAKI TEAM COMES BACK LEANER AND FITTER Kawasaki's two man official team features returning riders Regis Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) and Fonsi Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse), running on the latest development of the ZX-10R. Laconi is a proven winner of 11 previous SBK races, with Nieto hungry for his first race win this year. Having streamlined itself into a two-rider team, the PSG-1 effort hopes to make another upward step-change in expectation levels this year.
PRIVATEER ENTRY INCLUDES TALENT - AND ONE LEGENDARY NAME In the privateer ranks, Ruben Xaus is a standout figure, having won nine previous SBK races in his early career. Equipped with a 2006 factory spec 999 in his Sterilgarda team, he may stand a more than fair chance of trapping more SBK silverware. A grid of 22 regular riders will be bolstered at several events by wild card entries, and the rest of the private entry features some exciting talents, like ex-GP rider Jakub Smrz, Dean Ellison, Superstock champion Alessandro Polita, Max Neukirchner and Jiri Drazdak. There is even a classic name making a full time return to SBK racing for the first time - MV Agusta. Austrian rider Christian Zaiser from the LBR team will run what is very much a privateer spec four-cylinder Italian machine, but the appearance of a season-long MV Agusta nonetheless bolsters the total of competing manufacturers to six.