2010 WSBK Magny Cours Sunday Insider

October 3, 2010
Peter Thomas
Contributing Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Our World Superbike man on the scene, Thomas is like a ghost, slipping quietly in and out of the media center, digging for dirt, getting the facts and providing us the inside scoop on the World Superbike series

Yamahas Cal Crutchlow took a solid victory ahead of Suzukis Leon Haslam and Ducatis Carlos Checa in Race 1.
Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow took a solid victory ahead of Suzuki’s Leon Haslam and Ducati’s Carlos Checa in Race 1.

It was a day of high drama at Magny Cours with Cal Crutchlow and Max Biaggi sharing the spoils in two intense and exciting races. Having set pole position, Crutchlow’s Superpole tally rose to six but, on paper at least, his consistency on lap times was no match for his rivals. But like he has done many times before, especially in the second half of his rookie WSB season, the 24-year-old raised his game to take a convincing win ahead of his scrapping rivals.

“We literally went back to a setting we used at Silverstone,” said Crutchlow. “I could do the lap times and it all worked out for me because I was in the lead when the rest of the guys behind me started fighting.” 

Max Biaggi was the biggest loser in Race 1 after he was literally pushed aside by his year-long championship rival, Leon Haslam, at the final corner on the final lap. The outcome was that Biaggi dropped from a near certain second-place down to fourth. Although clearly not happy at the move, the 39- year-old came back in true world champion style by winning Race 2.

“Without the mistake I would have been second in Race 1, but a little mistake cost me second and dropped me to fourth in the last corner and I wasn’t happy about that,” said Biaggi. “In Race 2 I was stronger and more motivated. I made a little change to the bike but I just said to myself that I wasn’t going to let anyone push me around like I did in Race 1.”

Suzukis Leon Haslam made an extremely aggressive pass on Max Biaggi in the first race to secure second at the finish line.
Leon Haslam made an extremely aggressive pass on Max Biaggi in the first race to secure second at the finish line.

The man doing the pushing was Leon Haslam, who clearly wanted to beat Biaggi whatever the price.

“I had a terrible weekend in terms of practice and qualifying,” said Haslam. “In the first race it was like Imola Race 1 all over again, but this time it worked. I still had some grip problems and an issue with the front locking, but I was able to work my way through which I didn’t expect. It was a hard race with Sylvan and Carlos, but I managed to get myself in a position where I could have a go at Max and it all worked out.” 

Carlos Checa got a perfect view of Haslam’s brutal move on Biaggi as he picked up his eighth podium of the year. After finishing ninth in Race 2 he was also able to secure third overall in the championship standings largely due to the absence of Jonathan Rea, who was unable to ride in Race 2 due to injury.

“I did not expect to be able to fight my way to the front from where I was at the start of the race,” Checa said. “In the end Leon came and I don’t think Max was so clever with the lines he took on the last lap. He stayed wide and Leon went through. For sure he helped me too, and from where I was watching it was a very exciting two laps.”

Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli was black flagged from Race 1 at Magny Cours and given a 1000 euro fine after failing to yield to a black flag.
Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli was black flagged from Race 1 at Magny Cours and given a 1000 euro fine after failing to yield to a black flag.

Frenchman Sylvan Guintoli had his chance of a podium wrecked in Race 1 after he ran straight on at the Nurburgring chicane and didn’t rejoin at the correct part of the track. He was given a ride through penalty which he ignored, leading to him being black flagged and summoned with a 1000 euro fine. In Race 2 he had a fierce battle with Michel Fabrizio that literally led to blows on track with numerous clashes of bodywork. It was clear that Fabrizio was desperate to get on the podium in Xerox Ducati’s last race, just as much as Guintoli wanted to secure his first ever WSB podium in front of his home fans. In the end Fabrizio won out, but Guintoli beat the Italian in the overall championship standings.

In contrast to Crutchlow’s impressive win, teammate James Toseland had a shocker after suffering two crashes. In both races he was fast and charging hard, but his first crash saw his factory Yamaha R1 literally leave the track as it bounced over the tire wall at Turn 2.

In Supersport Turkish rider, Kenan Sofuoglu, was crowned World Champion after an intense, season-long battle with Irishman, Eugene Laverty. In the race Laverty won, but by securing second Sofuoglu was crowned champion for the second time of his career. He will now leave WSS and head to Moto2 having secured a ride for the final two rounds of the series before making a switch to the class full time in 2011. Laverty will stay in the paddock, having signed to ride for the Sterilgarda Yamaha team alongside Marco Melandri.

The 2011 rider line-up also began to take shape with Tom Sykes being confirmed at Kawasaki and Noriyuki Haga onboard the DFX Aprilia.