AT DONINGTON PARK
Vent Axia VK Honda rider Gregorio Lavilla defied the wet conditions to score his best result of the season when he posted a fourth place finish in the opening race at Donington Park for round eleven of the Hannspree World Superbike Championship yesterday.
Riding the Paul Bird Motorsport Honda CBR 1000cc Fireblade, the Spanish rider made up for a disappointing qualifying position to run in the leading pack in the opening part of race one before the red flags came out which necessitated a restart.
In that 14-lap restart Lavilla battled his way to an aggregate position of fourth overall, just missing out on what would have been a deserved podium for the team.
Greg couldn't quite repeat the heroics of the first race when he ended up in seventh place in race two but after a superb weekend's work he moved up two places in the Championship and continued his good run of points scoring finishes.
It wasn't such a good day for team-mate Chris Walker who ended up retiring from both races. The Nottinghamshire rider had qualified in thirteenth position and was in the leading pack in both races when problems forced him out at mid race distance meaning he didn't add to the points he scored at the previous round at Brands Hatch.
Gregorio Lavilla: "So far this has been the best weekend for the team and for myself but ironically it's also been the hardest as the whole weekend has been in the wet. The first race was a gamble for tyre choice as the weather was really unpredictable with spots of rain and dry periods but we managed to finish in the aggregate position of fourth which was the best result of the season. Race two was once again a difficult race as we had a really heavy downfall on the starting grid and on the first lap so I did my best to take it easy and just try and bring the bike home. It wasn't a perfect race as my visibility was really bad but I think we did a good job to stay on the track and come home in seventh place."Chris Walker: "I was desperate to make it into Superpole coming into this weekend and I ended up qualifying around about where I wanted to be and in front of Greg which was a bonus. I had two strong race starts and was moving along well but in the first race we had a technical problem and in the second race the clutch went. To make matters worse my mechanic also lost the top of his finger warming up for race one so I was one man down for race two. What can I say, it just wasn't meant to be on Stalker's side of the garage this weekend. However I'm still chuffed be part of this team and riding a Superbike and can only look forward to the next race."Paul Bird: "First up I'd like to congratulate Greg for his results this weekend. It was great to see him come into his own and see him achieve the results I know he is capable of. It was really tough conditions out there and for Greg to bring the bike home in a fourth and seventh position, the best for the team all year, was a job well done. On the other side of the garage I'm obviously really disappointed for Chris to have not been able to complete a race. This is the first mechanical breakdown the team has had since 2005. All year we have proved that we have reliable bikes finishing in the points in all races but one, but this weekend was not meant to be for Chris so we know that his luck can only get better for the next race."
The team is next in action at Vallelunga in Italy in two weeks time.
Superbike Race One Result1, T Bayliss (Ducati) 29m55.384s, 2, T Sykes (Suzuki) +1.266s, 3, M Biaggi (Ducati) +28.636s, 4, G Lavilla (Vent Axia VK Honda) +33.566s, 5, Y Kagayama (Suzuki) +35.966s, 6, J Smrz (Ducati) +36.034s, 7, F Nieto (Suzuki) +36.442s, 8, L Haslam (Honda) +41.633s, 9, K Muggeridge (Honda) +42.075s, 10, J Ellison (Honda) +43.476s.
Superbike Race Two Result1, R Kiyonari (Honda) 40m26.508s, 2, C Crutchlow (Honda) +2.261s, 3, T Corser (Yamaha) +9.727s, 4, J Ellison (Honda) +20.227s, 5, M Fabrizio (Ducati) +27.475s, 6, M Biaggi (Ducati) +28.051s, 7, G Lavilla (Vent Axia VK Honda) +30.922s, 8, R Xaus (Ducati) +38.353s, 9, C Checa (Honda) +50.196s, 10, T Sykes (Suzuki) +57.346s.
Championship Standings after Round 111, T Bayliss (AUS) 359pts2, T Corser (AUS) 258pts3, M Neukirchner (GER) 254pts4, C Checa (ESP) 240pts5, N Haga (JPN) 230pts6, F Nieto (ESP) 192pts7, M Biaggi (ITA) 192pts8, R Kiyonari (JPN) 190pts9, M Fabrizio (ITA) 172pts10, R Xaus (ESP) 156pts12, G Lavilla (ESP) 105pts31, C Walker (GBR) 2pts