Max Biaggi has already won the championship but still has his team to think about. Aprilia currently leads the Manufacurer’s title by 41 points ahead of Ducati.
The 2010 World Superbike series is not over yet. Although Aprilia’s Max Biaggi was crowned in dramatic fashion during the last matchup in Italy, there still remains one final round in Magny Cours France to determine the paddock’s final rankings behind the champion. Also adding excitement to the last round is the 2010 Manufacturer’s title, which Aprilia currently leads by 41 points ahead of Ducati. Lastly, with the off-season rapidly approaching and many riders unsure about their 2011 plans, the final races in France will be a proving ground for private riders who are eager to land deals with factory teams.
While he may already have the championship in his back pocket, there will be no shortage of effort on Biaggi’s behalf in the upcoming races. The Italian still wants to take the Manufacturer’s title for his Aprilia crew and cap off the final chapter of the season in style.
One rider who will be getting back in the saddle to prove his worth in the final round is Alstare Suzuki’s Leon Haslam. The Englishman had a run at the championship at Imola, but a blown motor in Race 2 shattered any chances he had of making it to the top step. Haslam has a total of three wins this year and, although he was rattled in the previous round, approaches Magny Cours with a burning desire to redeem both himself and his team with one last win. The British rider also looks to end his short tenure on a high note, having signed on to the BMW squad for 2011.
Honda Ten Kate’s Jonathan Rea was dealt a devastating blow at possibly the worst point in the 2010 season. The Irishman incurred serious injuries to his collarbone and left scaphoid during qualifying at Imola, preventing him from competing in the races and also possibly removing him from the final round in France. A verdict has yet to be made regarding whether or not he will participate, and he will undergo further consultation before making his ultimate decision. Meanwhile, however, Rea has suffered tremendously in the points race. Before Imola he had a 64-point advantage over Ducati’s Carlos Checa, but with the Spaniard dominating both races in Italy Rea’s lead has been cut to just 14 points. If Rea does decide to race, he will have to ride through pain in order to retain a top-three finish in the standings.
“It is too early to say if I can ride at Magny-Cours, but I will wait until just before the race to make a final decision,” Rea said. “It is more important for the team that I start testing for next year free of injury and with no niggling physical problems, so we will see how things are.”
On the other hand a tremendous opportunity has been presented to Checa in the final races of the season. Checa’s chance at a top-three finish in the series skyrocketed in just a single qualifying session, and with his dominating double victory at Imola the Spaniard currently has the upper-hand over Rea heading to France.
Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow (above) is just one point ahead of Ducati”s Noriyuki Haga (below) heading into Magny Cours.
Yamaha Sterilgarda’s Cal Crutchlow has also become caught in a tense feud with Xerox Ducati’s Noriyuki Haga. The two are currently battling for fifth-place in the series, with Crutchlow leading the Japanese rider by a single point. The last round saw Haga make significant gains in championship after scoring two podium finishes.
“I have always done well at Magny-Cours and hope that the coming weekend is the best yet,” said Haga. “I would like to thank Ducati, the team and the sponsors for these last two years. I have had a wonderful experience with the Ducati Xerox team and hope to thank my technicians by scoring two great results on Sunday.”
After making an error in the first race, Crutchlow finished strong in the second race just behind Haga in third. Both riders still have a shot at taking a top-fourth finish, but it would require Checa having a no score in the last round.
Crutchlow’s Yamaha teammate, James Toseland, had a miserable outing at the Italian circuit. The Englishman suffered DNFs in both races when he encountered technical issues with his bike in the first contest and crashed out in the second. The depressing result has left Toseland fighting for seventh in the series with Suzuki’s Syvain Guintoli, who remains only three points behind as he makes his way to his home circuit.
One of the final battles being worked out in the top-10 is between Ducati’s Michel Fabizio and BMW’s Troy Corser. Fabrizio moved up to ninth in the series after Aprilia’s Leon Camier’s was unable to participate due to recent hand surgery. The Ducati rider maintains an advantage of four points ahead of Corser heading into the final two races.
“I want to collect as many points as possible this weekend, to see if I can improve my overall final result,” Fabrizio said. “I was sorry not to have done better at Imola and now I need to score two great results in France for my team. I still can’t believe that this will be the final weekend for the Ducati factory team. We’re all very emotional.”
Kenen Sofuoglu (#54) and Eugene Laverty are taking the Supersport championship down to the last race of the season with 16 points separating them.
The last round of World Supersport ended in dramatic fashion with Honda Ten Kate’s Kenan Sofuoglu and Parkalgar Honda’s Eugene Laverty colliding with each other on the final chicane to allow Michele Pirro his first win of the season. Both managed quick recoveries, however, with Sofuoglu taking second and Laverty finishing third. Sofuoglu remains 16 points ahead of Laverty in the championship, meaning that Laverty will have to go for the win at Magny Cours and hope for the right outcome.
“I am looking forward to the Magny-Cours race, although it is a pity that the point gap could not be closer,” Laverty said. “I am looking to be on form and be able to ride more like myself. I have had some treatment on my shoulder to make sure I am back at 100% for the final race. I want to win even if I don’t win the championship. I have won more races than anyone else this year and Kenan knows that, which is why he wanted to beat me in Imola. I want to win the last race and I’m sure Kenan wants to do the same.”
If Laverty manages a third-place finish and Sofuoglu takes a no score the result would mean a tie in the series. In the event of a tie, the championship victory would go to Laverty as he has more wins this year (seven compared to Sofuoglu’s three).