FRENCH FRUSTRATION FOR PARKES AND MORAIS2009-10-04 04:05
The penultimate round of the Hannspree World Superbike Championship at Magny-Cours in France saw a weekend of frustration yield just a single point for the Kawasaki Superbike Racing Team duo of Broc Parkes and Sheridan Morais today.
Aboard the www.supercasino.com, Vent-Axia, Kick Energy and Henleys-backed Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10Rs, both Australian Parkes and South African Morais, who was replacing the injured Makoto Tamada following his crash at Imola last weekend, struggled with handling problems which saw them qualify well down the order in 19th and 23rd place respectively.
In the opening race, neither rider saw the chequered flag with Parkes succumbing to gearbox problems on lap ten and Morais following his team mate out three laps later due to handling problems. Race two saw little respite but both riders gamely hung in to record a pair of finishes with Parkes claiming 15th place and with it, one world championship point, whereas Morais battled through the pain barrier of an injured elbow to claim 19th at the flag.
Meanwhile, any hopes team owner Paul Bird had of salvaging any success from the weekend disappeared when he was forced to retire from Rally de Espana just three stages from home.
Driving the Munchi's Ford Focus WRC as part of the official Ford World Rally Team, the Penrith driver was making his foreign debut in the World Rally Championship and was holding a steady top twelve place throughout the three-day event based in Salou but his and Northallerton co driver Ian Windress' event ended when he went off the road on SS15 on the final day.
Broc Parkes: "It was a tough weekend from start to finish and I'm really disappointed where we've ended up. I pushed to the limit but no matter what we tried it didn't seem to click into place here at Magny Cours. I struggled with our qualifying tyre so once again had a bad grid position which always makes it hard to make up places. Unlike in previous races we didn't seem to find a good race pace either so my lap times were quite a way off the top ten guys which is where I aimed to be. In race one we may have ended up in the top twelve if things had gone our way but my bike was slipping into false neutrals which forced me to retire. We changed an engine for race two but unfortunately this did little to improve on our pace and I could only come up with one point for the weekend. Both the team and I have come away knowing that we didn't achieve what we wanted to so we can only move forward for Portimao."
Sheridan Morais: "I'm disappointed big time this weekend. I was so excited to be racing with the team again but we just couldn't find a solution to the problems we were having from start to finish despite trying lots of different things on the bike set-up. The whole team and I were hoping to recapture some of my previous success and pace from races like Kyalami and Brands Hatch BSB but it wasn't to be. Despite the struggles I had this weekend it was still a good experience for me to race against these guys. It's very, very tough and competitive at this level and I want to thank the team for allowing me to fill in for Makoto, I wish them the very best for their last race of the season in Portimao."
Paul Risbridger, Team Manager: "There aren't many positive points we can take away from this weekend aside from the fact that we escaped without any crashes which has been our misfortune in quite a few races gone by. We had higher expectations for Magny-Cours and hoped to improve on our pace from Imola but we really struggled with set-up from beginning to end. We would have come away from race one in the points had we finished the race but both bikes had technical problems. In race two we weren't able to close the gap as our race pace hadn't improved so we only managed one point all weekend. We look forward to Portimao and the return of Makoto to finish the season on a higher note."
The final round of the Hannspree World Superbike Championship takes place on October 23/25 at Portimao in Portugal.
Source: Cartersport Motorsport Media
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