Published on 06 Aug 2012 by Toni M.
Yesterday’s World Superbike double header at Silverstone was simply incredible and anytime the weather decides to rear up its unpredictable head - and it has been doing it very often this season - the outcome of the races becomes a highstakes gamble on who is willing to risk it because they’re no longer in the run for the title and the championship contenders who want to just to make it through the races, gather up as many points as possible without sustaining any serious injuries and pray to the weather Gods that the next round is at least dry.
The tenth round however wasn’t absent from certain controversy. After Race 1, Jonathan Rea who had just finished fourth, came out with the complaint that he believed that both Aprilia and BMW had broken the rules by waiting after the three minute board was shown to see what tires the other riders had mounted - everyone but three riders started on slicks. Apparently someone from Aprilia heard Rea’s complaint and lodged a protest against Marco Melandri’s team for working on the BMW after the three minute deadline, but ironically Biaggi’s team was also involved in the same supposedly hanky panky, but the Race Direction did accept Aprilia’s protest and has slapped a fine on BMW Motorrad Motorsports for the incident.
Aprilia also lodged a formal protest against the final results in the second race - it was very unhappy Biaggi who tweeted that when the race was red flagged he was in fifth, and then pushed back to 7th and then at the end found himself 11th which resulted on him being now just 10.5 points ahead of Melandri. Aprilia’s second protest wasn’t accepted, but the Italian manufacturer is considering appealing.
It was extremely confusing as the results were based on the 8th lap and not the 9th, so fans tried to consult FIM rule book and several articles (1.26.1, 1.26.2, and 1.26.3) which further left everyone wondering why the race wasn’t re-started as half the race distance wasn’t completed, but half points were still awarded.
In our opinion the FIM, the Race Direction and Infront Motor Sports should release a joint statement and try to explain as clearly as possible the whole thing, as we think that fans deserve a little clarity.
Here’s what some of the riders had to say and the end of nerve wracking day:
Loris Baz (1st and 2nd)
“It is really special to win and to win in England because I raced here in BSB last year for a while. I would also like to thank Kawasaki for believing in me. We made no mistakes in race one and finished up front. I think in the dry we are also really fast and we can fight for the first five or seven places. I chose the slick tyre because it was the best choice in race one. The conditions in race one were crazy for a while and early on I was missing some grip but when I saw the rains coming I pushed hard even though it was quite wet but I stayed on the bike and I am really happy, as you can imagine, for this victory. I want to thank all the team and we are also thinking of Joan Lascorz, because this victory is for him now. As for race two it was amazing to be here inside the top three again. The start of race two was not so wet so I just tried to keep my tyres, and then it started to move back up to Kuba and Sylvain, passed them both and them before falling, I think it was the right decision to take the race results back to lap eight because there was a lot of fuel on the track for two laps, and a lot of water. I am really happy and thanks to all my crew and Kawasaki again.”
Sylvain Guintoli (16th and 2nd)
“What a day, what a last couple of weeks actually! It’s been an up and down road after Brno, but I’ve just bounced back quickly with the Pata team and Ducati. I made the wrong choice of tyre in the first race, but in race one I went from zero to hero! I was really angry with myself at the start then when the rains came I eased off for the podium because I didn’t want to go from zero to zero! It’s my first win with Pata and hopefully there are many more to come!”
Michel Fabrizio (2nd and 13th)
“Today was a very good one, and it’s a big reward after some tough times. A huge thanks goes to the team that has always been working so well. I achieved this second place, which I think is well deserved, as I really wanted it and in the end I fought up to the chequered flag to get it. In race two I rode carefully as I saw the conditions were difficult and also many riders crashed. Unfortunately the race was stopped.”
Ayrton Badovini (3rd and DNF)
“Obviously I’m so happy about this maiden Superbike podium, especially considering the spectacular last corner! I’m also happy for the team because, despite being very quick in several rounds, we have left empty handed. In race two there were tough conditions and I was one of many riders who crashed, but that’s racing. I want to dedicate my podium to Lorenzo, for what happened to him yesterday.”
Jonathan Rea (4th and 9th)
Race one was just crazy but I enjoyed it because I knew it would be tough to race for a win, but we genuinely had a shot at it there! I got a bit wide at turn five on the first lap and the rear came round when I hit the kerb and I was dead last. But I never gave up and it was nice to be in the hunt for the win until the last corner, which gave me motivation for race two. That was really strange starting on full wets when the track wasn’t completely wet – it was difficult for everyone though. I was looking after my tyre at the beginning, which is why I was so far back, but when the monsoon came I started to push a little bit. My crash, like pretty much everybody else’s out there happened on the rear tyre, which had no grip. There have been so many crashes in the wet like that this year - off the gas, at the apex – it’s getting a bit frustrating. Overall, we took points out of the championship leaders, so it’s not bee n a bad job today. To come away with a fourth and a ninth is better than I expected last night, so we’ll take these results and move on.
Carlos Checa (5th and 6th)
“The conditions today, especially in race 1, were dangerous; racing in the wet with slick tyres is obviously no fun for anyway, although it probably makes for exciting races for the spectators. Before the rain started to fall I was going really well but then once the rain came, and certain sections of the track became wetter than others, I lost a bit of confidence and slowed down a bit, thinking that maybe one or two guys would come past me but instead there were five or six of them! In the final stages, when I saw how the front group was pushing and how hard it was just to stay upright, I chose to stay put and follow them rather than push and take risks. Fifth isn’t bad considering the conditions. In race 2 I lost some ground at the start but then managed to make that up again over the subsequent laps to arrive close to Berger who was in fifth. I saw some oil on the track and went wide to avoid it – I put my hand up at that point to indicate to Race Direction that conditions were getting worse but then I fell. Anyway, we’ve made up a few points in the standings and now we have to concentrate on the Russian round.”
Leon Hasalm (6th and 17th)
“It was another bad race day. It wasn’t the fault of the team or the bike. We could have won race one, but were unfortunate with the weather and the tyre. In race two we had an issue during the first half, and there was something strange with the centre of the tyre when it was dry. The more and more it rained the better the tyre became and I started to catch the guys again, but then I crashed on some oil. I was able to get back into the race and moved up to 14th, but then it was red flagged and the classification was based on the result after lap eight, so I was out of the points. It is really frustrating. They should have stopped the race before that.”
Marco Melandri (7th and 8th)
“This day was actually unbelievable. The two races were completely different, but they were both equally as difficult. It was very important to finish today. Many young riders who are not involved in the championship fight were pushing very hard, so the races were not easy. However, I am so happy because we leave here without any damage and good points. Now I am looking forward to Moscow because the track is new for everybody. I just hope the weather will be more stable there.”
Tom Sykes (8th and 12th)
“The general conditions in race two I was very annoyed about. For sure there was some contamination on the track, it was very greasy and I saw it for two laps and had tried to get the race red flagged. Lots of people crashed and it was red flagged on the lap I crashed. Now, lots of people have been put in the results from previous laps. It could have been worse today but I am disappointed that we did not come away with more points when we could have done. We are still third in the championship so we will just forget this one and move on.”
Davide Giugliano (9th and DNF)
“In race 1, I decided to take it easy for the first couple of laps to see what conditions were really like and then I started to push and felt quite comfortable. Unfortunately once I got up near to Badovini I had a problem with my boot and I couldn’t change gear easily. In the second race I had a strong pace and was feeling quite happy in the now full wet conditions. I was there in fourth and felt I was in a position to push and try to catch Baz for third but at a certain point I unexpectedly crashed – I don’t know it if was just me pushing too hard or if there was oil on the track but anyway there was nothing I could do. It’s a pity because I know I had the pace in that race and could have taken a good result.”
Eugene Laverty (10th and 4th)
“In the first race we had a few problems, “but the important thing was to finish and take some points home. In Race 2 the set-up on my RSV4 wasn’t working very well with damp asphalt, but when the heavens opened my pace increased as well. I recovered several positions and I could have improved even more but the race was called. The rules were enforced correctly, although I think they could have considered the next lap as they had done initially”.
Hiroshi Aoyama (13th and 14th)
The races were made a little bit complicated by the weather and we started the first race with slick tyres like everybody, but in the middle of the race we got some rain. It got quite difficult when the rain was heavier, but in race two we started on rain tyres and there was no water! This was also critical, then in the middle of the race there was too much rain and everybody started to crash. In some parts of the track there was fuel or oil and it was very, very slippery. I tried to stay on the bike and finished 12th but, in the end, the result was confirmed as 14th, which was a pity. The feeling was not so bad in the wet and the dry and for the next race we got to a new racetrack in Moscow, which I look forward to.
John Hopkins (DNF and 10th)
“In the first race the conditions were quite tricky and I got banged-up a bit in the first couple of corners and dropped back quite a lot. We had made some set-up changes just before the race and they might have hindered us a bit, because I never really got to grips with it and I got stuck in a group lower down the order, but then unfortunately I had an electrical issue that put me out of the race, so that was a bit disappointing. In race two we were hoping it would be either full wet or totally dry. We took the gamble with wet tyres and it rained as we got to the grid so it was the correct choice. I got off the line well enough and had a good race from the start. Then it started to rain heavily and it was carnage out there, lots of guys crashed and we were all hydroplaning, which was a shame because I felt good out there before that and the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R was going really well and I am sure we could have finished higher than 10th. The bike had huge potential here this weekend, the engine was working strong, I’d made a break-through in confidence and was feeling good, but for one reason or another it didn’t quite come together in the race, but it is what it is and that’s how racing goes. The bike is a lot better now and that is something we can take forward into the remaining races.”
Max Biaggi (DNF and 11th)
“In race one I brushed onto the white line and the bike got away from me, a passable mistake. It was a shame though, because the sixth place I was defending was a good position, considering the conditions. In my opinion stopping race two was the right decision, you could see oil or petrol on some of the turns and it was too dangerous. My lead has been cut in half – that’s the outcome of the weekend, so now we’ll focus on Moscow where we’re starting from scratch on a track that is new to everyone.”
Leon Camier (DNF and DNF)
“It’s been a frustrating day really because I felt we had the pace in the wet or dry after setting the fastest lap of the weekend in free practice and the qualifying in second in the wet. These are both positive things for me and the team, but unfortunately the results didn’t come today. It was very difficult conditions in race one and easy to make a mistake. I didn’t think I did anything wrong, but the rear came round and high-sided me off, so that was it - which was really annoying as a podium was possible. In race two the bike felt all over the place in the drier conditions, but as it rained more the wet tyres worked better and it felt good. We had an engine problem early on and it meant that we couldn’t complete the race, which, as I said, was very frustrating. Although I took no points this weekend, I’m not too disappointed because we had really good pace, the bike has improved and we showed we have a really good chance of getting results now.”