Michel Fabrizio has never finished off the podium at Miller Motorsports Park. Will he break the streak on Monday?
Here it is Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park and World Superbike Round 7 action is already underway. So who shall you select for your Fantasy racing picks? Here’s our take live from the pits.
Michel Fabrizio seems the surest bet of the A-rider Ducati lot. The Italian claimed his first win of the 2010 season last round and has never finished off the MMP podium. Given the new rules changes, which give the Ducati a weight reduction of 3-kg, it makes sense to bet on the Twins going better than before.
Jonathan Rea sits third in the points in spite of numerous DNFs this season, many due to mechanicals. Still the Ten Kate traditionally runs well at Miller and the Northern Ireland native already has a 2010 double to his credit at Assen. This weekend seems an opportune time to tap out the top Honda man.
Max Biaggi seems primed to close the gap on rival Leon Haslam with a bike more than capable of the double. Max posted the fastest top speed in opening practice with a fourth-fastest laptime.
With a past double victory performance at MMP to his credit, as well as the standing lap record, expect solid fantasy results from Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa.
The remainder of the A-rider ranks has some question marks. Haga hasn’t been Haga of late, the Japanese ace finishing well off his customary place in the SBK pecking order. That won’t last forever. At least we don’t think it will. James Toseland seems to be ascending on the R1, but the Sterilgarda Yamaha rider has never faced the MMP track before. Cal Crutchlow has shown podium pace in the past, but a lack of consistency. As for Leon Haslam, the points leader has been the head of this year’s classa but who hasn’t already burned through their Haslam picks?
Carlos Checa has been the de facto sure thing in the B-rider clique, but this round we really think the Spaniard is set for a good showing. First, the Althea team benefits from the new rules and lighter Ducati. Second, Checa has always been fast here at MMP, taking the double in 2008.
Troy Corser remains one of the more reliable in the B-rider pool. The BMW is looking as good as it’s ever looked in SBK and the Aussie is keen for more podiums to go along with the first ever rostrum for the Beemer two rounds ago in Monza.
Leon Camier remains one of the more electrifying picks in the B-rider troop. The British Superbike champ has been on the steps already this season and seems capable of getting on the MMP podium aboard the Aprilia, though it is his first time at the circuit.
Jakub Smrz gathers consistent points on the satellite Pata B&G Ducati. Lately the Czech’s name has been a stalwart entry in the top 10 results.
Sylvain Guintoli remains a competent B-rider points collector, though the Alstare Suzuki rider’s stock of late has not matched the potential seen in the early rounds.
Roger Hayden has a rough go carrying the American cause solo in SBK aboard the Pedercini Kawasaki. But if there’s a time to tap out the youngest of the Owensboro boys, the sole American round is the place…
Althea Ducati looked good in practice and seems on the pace for a pair of top-10 results, with Checa in particular a potential points bonanza.
Alstare Suzuki features the always reliable Haslam, with Guintoli the key to getting the most of this pick. Of late the French rider hasn’t been securing the same impressive results from earlier in the year.
Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea seems a shoe in for the steps on Monday, but teammate Max Neukirchner may be coming around. It’s been an up and down year for the team, but maybe the Ten Kate’s get back on the pace at Miller.