Haga and Spies, Crutchlow and Laverty get ready for final battle2009-10-22 07:24
The four title challengers for the 2009 Superbike World Championship and the Supersport World Championship got together for a last-minute meet and greet with national and international media today at the Portimao circuit in Portugal in the run-up to this weekend’s deciding rounds.
Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) and Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike), together with Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) and Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) were given a short welcome to the spectacular Portuguese track by home rider Miguel Praia, whose Parkalgar Honda team is sponsored by the circuit.
Noriyuki Haga: “Magny-Cours is one of my favourite circuits and I made a great result there, but for me here last year was a disaster. But I tested here with Ducati at the start of the year and was very confident with the bike so I think I will like it more here this time. My feeling is the same as all year, ten points is almost nothing, so I’m always thinking to start from zero and attack.”
Ben Spies: “It’s a shame we’ve had a couple of weeks off since Magny-Cours because you want to get to the track and get things done! I’m looking forward to it, but to be able to fight for the title in the last race like this is more than one could ask for. We know what we need to do, and in a way this is how it should be. Nori’s been chasing this for some time and I’m trying to do it in the first year. It’s going to be awesome!”
Cal Crutchlow: “The last twelve months have been really good, I came here last year on a Superbike to have a peek at the track, and that’s what I’ll be doing on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m looking forward to that, but we’ve got a job to do this weekend and that’s try and win this title and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t win it, but Eugene has been keeping me on my toes all year.”
Eugene Laverty: “In this race the only thing I can do is go out and try to win. I didn’t make things easier for myself when I crashed. I was trying to win the race when it happened. The Parkalgar Honda team have done a fantastic job, I didn’t really expect to be fighting for the title in my first year with them.”
Miguel Praia: “So far this season has gone well for me, my results did improve a lot over last year, especially because of the fantastic job the Parkalgar boys have done back in the UK regarding the preparation of the bike. It’s been difficult to fight against these guys but I’m still young and I’m still strong so we will see for the future.”
Lap record (race): Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 1.43.787 (2008). Best lap: Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 1’43.340 (2008)
On TV: EUROSPORT (Pan European) - Sunday 25 October, Supersport 13:15 - 14:00 (live); Superbike Race 1 15:00 - 15:45 (delayed); Superbike Race 2 : 15:45 - 16:45 (live).
In memory of Craig Jones
A statue was unveiled today at the entrance to the Portimao circuit in memory of the late Craig Jones, the Parkalgar Honda rider who was killed in last season’s Supersport round at Brands Hatch.
In the presence of Craig’s parents, friends, relatives, media and riders, circuit owner Paulo Pinheiro expressed a few words to commemorate the young British rider. The provisional statue will be replaced by one in stone in the near future.
Source: Infront Motor Sports
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