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Monday 30th May 2011

TOUGH MILLER TIME FOR CASTROL HONDA

The Castrol Honda team leaves Miller Motorsports Park in the USA tonight without much to celebrate from this weekend’s two fifth round World Superbike championship races.

Jonathan Rea took an eleventh place finish in race two after being forced out of the reckoning in the first outing, while his team-mate Ruben Xaus crashed out of both encounters, remounting to finish 18th in race two. Both races were won by Spain’s Carlos Checa.

Difficult qualifying sessions yesterday left both Castrol Honda riders starting the two 21-lap races at the 4.907km Miller circuit near Salt Lake City from the fourth row of the grid. Despite a promising start to the first outing, Rea was not able to finish the first lap, while Xaus went out on lap three.

In race two, another good start saw Rea battling for a top six placing before dropping back down the field, visibly suffering from corner entry problems. On the third lap, Xaus hit the rumble strip with his engine casing at turn eight, before remounting to bring his CBR1000RR Fireblade home in 18th place.

Jonathan Rea
– DNF and 11th
Frustrating is a word we’ve been using a lot this weekend but it’s a bit too generalised really. We just haven’t had a package that we could compete with this weekend and it was all I could do to finish where I did in race two. Obviously, the day wasn’t helped by not coming home with 21 laps of data from race one. On the first lap of that one, I was the victim of a very intimidating attempt at a pass that went wrong and we both fell down. As much as I’m disappointed with the way things have gone this weekend, I really feel for the guys in the team who have worked so hard to get things working. We just haven’t been able to find the sweet spot for the bike at this track and scoring four points from the weekend is just not good enough. We can’t walk away from here with our heads held high and the only consolation is that I’m not going home wrapped up like a mummy like I did last year. Although everyone else has tested there, I hope we can start the weekend at Misano relatively close because I have some good memories from there two years ago, like I have from Miller. But not from this weekend.

Ruben Xaus – DNF and 18th
I had a good start in both races and the bike felt much better than yesterday. I felt confident enough to make some passes on the brakes but we used the clutch from yesterday which was more free and OK in the rain. It got rid of a bit of chatter, but without so much engine braking in the dry there was nothing I could do to avoid coming into contact with Michel Fabrizio in race one. The team made some good changes and I was feeling good, but then in race two I just touched the rumble strip with the engine in the second part of the chicane and that was it. From 12.00 onwards today, we’ve had some bad luck but at least I was able to get the bike going again in race two and the lap times weren’t so bad. Almost two DNFs is not good but sometimes racing goes that way and we have to look forward and be positive. We have made some progress here so I look forward to taking that to Misano in a couple of weeks.

Ronald ten Kate
– team manager
I am tempted to say “No comment”, because there’s not really much I can say, apart from the obvious fact that everyone is very disappointed from this weekend. The whole team has worked hard but we really didn’t get to where we wanted after the test here last week. We have a lot of work to do looking through all the data to take something positive to Misano, but it will have be a very quick turnaround when the crates get back to the workshop.

2011 World Superbike championship, round five
Miller Motorsports Park, USA (4.907km), 21 laps - results, race one:
1 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 38m46.915s
2 Jakub Smrz (CZE) Ducati +2.766s
3 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Ducati +4.093s
4 Leon Camier (GBR) Aprilia +8.885s
5 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Yamaha +15.718s
6 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki +20.477s
DNF Jonathan Rea (GBR) Castrol Hon da
DNF Ruben Xaus (ESP) Castrol Honda

Race two:
1 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 38m22.082s
2 Leon Camier (GBR) Aprilia +7.194s
3 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia +8.734s
4 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Yamaha +14.214s
5 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Suzuki +14.750s
6 Marco Melandri (ITA) Yamaha +21.634s
11 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Castrol Honda +31.033s
18 Ruben Xaus (ESP) Castrol Honda +1’18.485s

Championship points after five of 13 rounds:
1 Carlos Checa (ESP) Ducati 195, 2 Melandri 134, 3 Biaggi 133, 4 Laverty 109, 5 Haslam 95, 6 Rea 94.

 

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