Monza Another Milestone On The 2011 Championship Trail
May 2, 2011
WSBK, Monza, Italy, 2 May 2011 - The fourth round of the season gets underway at Monza this coming weekend with all three of the main Kawasaki hopes ready to enjoy the unique challenge of this circuit on the awesome new Ninja ZX-10R.
The fabulously historic Monza is well known to all three official riders, with Tom Sykes in particular keen to return to a circuit he had some high points at last year and at which he expects even more from in 2011. Tom qualified on the second row of the grid at Monza in 2010, and raced his way to fifth in the second race of the day. After a successful recent test in Japan, Tom has even more confidence to take into the next round.
For team new boy Joan Lascorz - an experienced WSS rider and race winner for Kawasaki in recent seasons - the circuit is another he has to re-learn now he has taken the step up to Superbike competition. After a largely positive introduction to WSBK racing, including an impressive fifth in one race at Donington Park recently, he has shown that he is a natural on the new Ninja ZX-10R.
Like Lascorz, Chris Vermeulen continues to improve his physical condition after a big crash in the 2010 season, with Vermeulen’s right knee now even more improved after more physiotherapy sessions and higher levels of training. Ten times WSBK race winner Chris is looking at completing two strong rides in Italy, and gaining more experience of the Ninja ZX-10R in real race conditions.
Monza is the first of three Italian-based rounds in the 2011 championship and it is arguably the biggest. Held on the ultra-high speed parkland circuit, now peppered with chicanes that allow many overtaking opportunities, Monza is a true classic - having witnessed racing for the first time in the 1920s. As well as the long straights and heavy braking areas there are several long and fast curves, all of which demand a high degree of trust between the top riders.
The Pedercini Team Kawasaki squad will once more be out in force, with regulars Roberto Rolfo and Mark Aitchison heading to Monza amid all the expectations of a home round for the team and for Rolfo.
Tom Sykes: “I am really looking forward to Monza because it is a venue I enjoy and a circuit we had a relatively good result at last year. We should be looking to improve on that result with this year’s bike. I have had a boost because we had a test in Japan after the previous round and we found some good settings, so hopefully those changes will transfer to the Monza round and then through the rest of the calendar. My crew chief Johnny, and also Danilo who is the man behind the electronic strategy, were there in Japan for the test and it was good for me to work with the Japanese development engineers again. It was all a positive. I am quietly confident and I do like racing at Monza.”
Joan Lascorz: “Each race I know the bike a bit better and it seems each time if we make a good setup we should be competitive. The choice of the tyres will be important, as we learned in Assen. I think my transition to WSBK has been fine, I feel comfortable and competitive. Not as much as I used to be in WSS but I think that will arrive soon. Our bike is good, KHI is focused so much and my technicians are very good. I just have to learn a little more and regain more physical strength and I’m sure the results will arrive. I know Kawasaki is working hard, and me too, so we are heading in a good direction.”
Chris Vermeulen: “My knee was a bit sore and swollen after the Assen weekend but I started back into training and physio and the weather has been good to help me. My doctor is very happy with everything and now I just need to build up muscle strength and endurance in my leg. My intention is to do the full weekend and both races on Sunday at Monza and to become quite competitive again on the new Kawasaki. Our engine is fast and I think we could be competitive with the quicker bikes.”