Team Suzuki Alstare rider Fonsi Nieto had his best weekend of the year since the opening round of the World Superbike Championship in Qatar, taking a runner-up spot in race one at Magny-Cours in France yesterday.
Nieto had started from the front row of the grid and spent most of the race fighting with Troy Bayliss (Ducati) and eventual race winner Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha). Because of a problem with the gear change on his number one bike, he used his spare bike in race two, but did not like the feel of it as much and could only manage eighth place.
Team mate Yukio Kagayama was disappointed to finish eighth in race one and seventh in race two while Max Neukirchner had grip problems in both races and ended fifth in the first race and ninth in the second.
Troy Bayliss (Ducati) finished third in race one and that was enough to give him the Superbike World Championship title with one round remaining.
Fonsi Nieto - Race 1: 2nd, Race 2: 8th:
"The first race was a good result for me. Everything worked very well and the only problem I had was at the start when my fuel tank was full and the bike was not so easy to handle. After some laps, the fuel was less and I was able to push harder.
"For race two I had to use my spare bike because the gear change was not working properly on my number one bike. My spare bike did not feel as good or as fast, so I just had to ride as hard as I could without doing anything stupid. Eighth is not wonderful, but this weekend I have scored more points than any other weekend except the first round in Qatar and that makes me happy."
Max Neukirchner - Race 1: 5th, Race 2: 9th:
"I don't want to say this weekend has been bad, but that's how it is. In the first race, I lost grip very soon and the rear was spinning a lot. I rode the bike as hard as I could and managed to finish the race, so perhaps eighth is not that bad. We changed to a softer rear spring for race two but the bike felt the same! The rear was spinning a bit more and it was difficult getting the bike to change direction. If we had not lost day one of practice because of the bad conditions, maybe we would've found a better set-up for the bike for today. But that's the way it is sometimes and it's better I forget about today and start thinking positively about the next round at Portimao."
Yukio Kagayama - Race 1: 8th, Race 2: 7th:
"I am disappointed and a bit frustrated this weekend because I feel that I have given 100 per cent, as usual, but my bike was not as good as it should've been. In the warm-up this morning we found a better set-up for my bike and the grip was better, so we used this set-up in the first race. But the bike felt different, did not give any better grip, and lost positions because I could not lap fast. But I never want to give up so I rode my best and finished the race.
"For race two we adjusted the rear shock in order to give more grip and the feeling was a bit better, but not enough to challenge the top positions. At the start of the season, our bike was fast and strong, but maybe the other bikes have caught us up and passed us and maybe now their package is better than ours. We have to work hard for the last round, but I want to show that I am a good rider and end the year with a good result."
Race 1: Haga (J-Yamaha), 2 Fonsi Nieto (E-Suzuki Alstare), 3 Bayliss (Aus-Ducati), 4 Biaggi (I-Ducati), 5 Max Neukirchner (D-Alstare Suzuki), 6 Troy Corser (Aus-Yamaha Motor Italia), 7 C Checa (E-Honda), 8 Yukio Kagayama (J-Suzuki Alstare), 9 Sofuoglu (Tur-Honda), 10 Lavilla (E-Honda).
Race 2: Bayliss, 2 Haga, 3 Corser, 4 C Checa, 5 Xaus (E-Ducati), 6 Biaggi, 7 Yukio Kagayama, 8 Fonsi Nieto, 9 Max Neukirchner, 10 Rolfo (I-Honda).
Points: 1 Bayliss 410, 2 Haga 325, 3 Corser 316, 4 Max Neukirchner 298, 5 C Checa 284, 6 Biaggi 235, 7 Fonsi Nieto 234, 8 Fabrizio 203, 9 Kiyonari 193, 10 Xaus 171, 11 Yukio Kagayama 153.
A small mistake in the ninth round of the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup championship at Magny-Cours today robbed Xavi Simeon of a certain podium place but despite finishing fifth, he now leads the series after his main title rival Brendan Roberts finished a lowly 11th.
Just nine points separate the young Belgian and Roberts, so there's all to play for in the last round in Portimao in early November.
Xavi Simeon - 5th:
"I think it was my mistake today because I missed my braking point going into a left-hander and ran wide. It was only a small error but by the time I recovered it was too late to catch the front three because it happened on the last lap. It was a pity because I had led eight of the 14 laps and was well-placed behind Smrz on the last lap. The good news though, is that Roberts did not score any points and Berger only managed five, but it now means that the last round is going to be very interesting indeed. Four points advantage is not a lot, but I'd rather be four points in the lead than four points behind."
Superstock 1000 Results: 1 Smrz (CZ-Honda), 2 Foray (F-Suzuki), 3 Corti (I-Yamaha), 4 Polita (I-Ducati), 5 Xavi Simeon (B-Alstare Suzuki), 6 Millet (F-Yamaha).
Points: 1 Xavi Simeon 131, 2 Polita 127, 3 Berger 124, 4 Roberts 122, 5 Pirro 89, 6 Smrz 73.
In a scintillating World Supersport race, Barry Veneman took his first podium for the RES Software Hoegee Suzuki team.
He rode brilliantly to second place on the Magny-Cours circuit while team mate Didier Van Keymeulen continued to show his real form and finished fifth.
Immediately from the start, Veneman was dicing right at the front with four other riders on his Suzuki GSX-R600 K8, a position he has been used to in recent races. But with 16 laps to go, the RES Software Hoegee Suzuki rider pushed into the lead and managed to stay there for seven laps. He slipped back one position as World Champion elect Andrew Pitt passed him, but he kept on battling until the end.
Van Keymeulen started from the front row and he was in the lead group for the whole of the race. He found a strong rhythm and had enough race pace to stay with the front runners.
Marc Hoegee - Team owner RES Software Hoegee Suzuki:
"Of course this is what we have been working towards all season! Barry and Didier were riding so well that we were even battling for the podium with both our riders. The whole team worked very hard and we showed that we are a force to be reckoned with. I am so proud of the whole team. It was also good to see both Suzukis battling at the front and I hope we can keep up this pace for the last round of the series in Portimao."
Barry Veneman: "This is fantastic and it feels amazing that I am finally on the podium! Before the race I said that it would be all or nothing and I gave it everything I could. My start was good and I was fighting for the lead the whole race - it was brilliant to have led the race for a while. After I slipped behind Pitt and while I was still ahead of Brookes, things settled down a little. I definitely didn't want to let anybody back past me and I made it! A World Championship podium feels so much better than one in a national series and I want lots more of these now! People say the first podium is the hardest so I will be fighting hard for one again in Portimao."
Didier Van Keymeulen:
"My start was good and I didn't lose any positions. The first lap was going well but then I was battling with Harms and at the end of the straight we touched when Robbin missed his braking point and he forced me wide. If I hadn't backed off then we would have both gone down. I fought back up to the leading group quickly, but when Lagrive overtook me I felt my front tyre starting to slide. I decided to consolidate my fifth position and I made it! The way Barry rode today was exceptional and he did a great job!"