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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>

The past four years of action at Kyalami have delivered some close personal duels and even a surfeit of controversy. As the fifth anniversary of Kyalami SBK action rolls along, we offer an insight into the past and present at Africa’s premier race circuit.

In any classification of what makes a good racetrack, Kyalami scores high. The fans are enthusiastic, the weather is warm, the circuit is close to a big city (Johannesburg), the layout is conducive to spectacular action, and – in this instance - the backdrop is uniquely African. Kyalami is simply one of the best tracks on the calendar, and remains a true test of any motorcycle racer’s skill and commitment to the task of winning.

Opened in 1961 the circuit has been extensively re-modelled, and unlike some other tracks that have had facelifts in recent years, the ‘new’ Kyalami retains the classic virtues of high corner speeds and extremes of elevation change. Nature’s topography designed the layout, mans’ labour transformed it into a crucible of speed.

Three current SBK riders have moulded race wins at Kyalami – four in actual fact - but more of that particular point later.

Last year the American duo of Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda) and Ben Bostrom (L&M Ducati) were the conquerors of the 4.263km track, which features 11 left and six right hand corners, and a total spectator capacity of 86,000.

Colin Edwards would have possibly won both races in 2001, had he not had engine problems on his factory VTR1000, but the man who capitalised on Edwards’ misfortune, Ben Bostrom, was a deserving winner in any case, and holds the race lap record for the track, 1’42”928.

Edwards has now won three Kyalami races, but the first man across the line in one of the 2000 season legs, Noriyuki Haga, eventually lost the 25 points and the winner’s trophy when he testing positive for the banned substance ephedrine.

Haga, who lost out on a shot at the world championship because of his deducted points and subsequent race ban, will be back in 2002, ready to do battle on one of his favourite circuits. Armed with a fast and sweet-handling Aprilia V-twin, Haga is another good bet for the race win in at least one 2002 leg, but most observers’ money may go on the seemingly irresistible speed of Troy Bayliss.

The reigning world champion and his speedy Ducati Infostrada machine have swept all before them so far, winning a perfect four races from four starts.

Twice the Kyalami bridesmaid in his first full debut season in 2001, Bayliss looks likely to be in the running for yet another podium-topping consummation, as he attempts to extend his honeymoon period to more than four races.

Ruben Xaus, the impatient young charger in the factory twins’ pack, will also fancy himself to improve on his Phillip Island brace of third places, armed as he is with an identical machine to Bayliss.

The factory four cylinder riders have yet to take a podium this year, but the fact that Kyalami has seemed to favour neither Michelin or Dunlop, twin or four cylinder machines – or at least not to the extent of other circuits on the calendar - will give any of them an opportunity to take at least one podium finish.

The men and machines we are talking about are of course Gregorio Lavilla (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) and the Kawasaki Racing Team pairing of Hitoyasu Izutsu and Chris Walker.

The privateer dark horse, appropriately enough mounted on a dark horse, is NCR rider Pierfrancesco Chili, who took a fabulous double Kyalami win for the factory Ducati squad in 1998. Now on a year old works bike, Chili will try to rekindle his old flames of brilliance on his Dunlop-shod machine.

Another man with similar equipment, Neil Hodgson, was fastest in Kyalami winter testing in the run up to the 2001 season, but unlike the factory Honda and Ducati teamsters, Hodgson has not tested at Kyalami this year, which may prove to be a serious disadvantage.

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It's going to be an edge of your seat event watching Bayliss, Bostrom, Edwards and Haga fighting for podium placings!

Kyalami is set to air this Sunday at 9pm-11pm EST on Speed.

 

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Yup, definitely gonna be an exciting race.
Did you happen to read the latest issue of Motorcycle Racer? Chili talks some serious trash about the GSXR, saying the bike's chassis is fundamentally WRONG and that no amount of suspension tweaking can overcome all its shortcomings, and that he would rather ride a V-twin for free than ride that p.o.s. and get a big fat check. heheh... I'll have to go back tomorrow and buy the mag.

By the way, back here on the homefront, Pascal has found a new home, back on our beloved Duc and he says "Well, yeah I'm happy, but I'm filled with revenge, so maybe 'happy' isn't the best word." I hope he does well...
http://www.amasuperbike.com/2002-Apr/020404a.htm


 

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First time I've heard anyone complain about the suzuki's chassis. The in-line four vs. the twin disadvantage, I've heard of, but never the chassi or handling.

I don't think Mladin would agree. I hope Chilli can perform this year to back all his mouthing off. Last I remember he got passed by Lavilla in his old ride and DNF'd the second race in the season opener.

just Ride!
 

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The DNF was not do to the bike but his jumping the gun on the start and then never pitting for his mandatory stop and go. We will see more from Chili for sure. He did crash at Phillip Island though unfortunately. /images/icons/frown.gif

 

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DUCATI CORSE PRESS INFORMATION

WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 3 – Kyalami (South Africa)

Friday Qualifying

BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) HEADS EDWARDS (HONDA), BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) AND XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) IN KYALAMI FIRST QUALIFYING

Championship leader Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) headed the timesheets at Kyalami, South Africa as Friday qualifying turned into a terrific three-way battle between the Australian, Honda’s Colin Edwards and Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M). The three riders were separated by a fraction as Bostrom’s one-year-old lap record tumbled by a full second. Ducati Infostrada’s Ruben Xaus was half-a-second off the pace in fourth, ahead of HM Plant Ducati’s Neil Hodgson and Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia).

Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) set a time of 1’41.961 on a qualifying tyre at the end of the hour, smashing the lap record of 1’42.92, but the Australian was convinced there was more to come in tomorrow’s session. “I got a good start to the weekend today in qualifying”, declared Bayliss, “but I’m still not 100% happy as we went a full second quicker than this in January testing. We made a couple of changes on the bike after the morning session and we found some good tyres, with this circuit it’s really just a case of working your way into it. We haven’t changed much on the bike since the last test here, but you just can’t relax with the other guys breathing down your neck. I’m fastest for the moment, but there’s a long way to go”.

Bostrom (Ducati L&M) was separated from Bayliss by 30/100ths of a second, sandwiching Honda’s Colin Edwards, but was pleased with his provisional third-quickest time of 1’41.996. “The bike was great and the tyres were working really well, maybe I could have rode a bit better, but I feel like I’m back in the race”, declared Bostrom. “On my fast lap time of 1’41.9, I made a few mistakes so tomorrow I reckon I can get down to a time of 1’41.0. The only problem is that I’m sure there are a few other riders who are going to do it as well. It’s going to be a great battle tomorrow!”.

Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) was fourth-quickest in today’s first qualifying session after changing to his second 998 due to a minor technical problem. “I feel a lot more happy than I was at the start of qualifying because I was just unable to put together a good lap”, commented Xaus. “Kyalami is a difficult track and you have to stay on the line all the time. I set a good time on my race tyre, but then my number 1 bike developed a temperature problem and I switched to the other one which wasn’t set up exactly the same. I was going better on my second run, but I lost time in the last section which is very hard on the brakes, so I need to work more on the final couple of corners”.

FRIDAY QUALIFYING: 1. BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1’41.961; 2. Edwards (Honda) 1’41.973; 3. BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) 1’41.996; 4. XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1’42.505; 5. Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) 1’42.687; 6. Haga (Aprilia) 1’42.830; 7. Chili (Ducati NCR) 1’42.929; 8. Pedercini (Ducati) 1’43.304; 9. Borja (Ducati) 1’43.336; 10. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati).

TV COVERAGE
Eurosport (pan-Europe): Sunday 7 April, Race 1 1145 (live), Race 2 2345 (delayed); La 7 (Italy): Saturday 6 April, Superpole 1800 (delayed), Sunday 7 April, Race 1 1350 (delayed), Race 2 1740 (delayed).



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POSITIVE DEBUT DAY FOR DUCATI NCR AT KYALAMI

(Kyalami 2002, April 5)


The first day at Kyalami, second of three consecutive fly-away rounds dor World Superbike extremely hard for private teams, started positively for Scuderia NCR riders. The team made a good and long job to set the bikes looking at the final qualifying session and Sunday's race, and for tomorrow we are waiting for the results.

Seventh in Superbike Frankie Chili did work hard, selecting a lot of material furnished by Dunlop, finding at the end a good feeling with some of them.

"I am quite satisfied for today's job and I believe that we have done a good work looking at the race. Dunlop have been close with us and together we did select several tyres that look to be good, as for qualifying as for the race. Tomorrow we'll see the benefits of today's job, when we'll look for to confirm what we have done." - said Chili after the qualifyng session - "I have to improve too my feeling with the 998R NCR Axo Ducati because the fall in Phillip Island made me lose confidence that I'll get back only riding and riding."

A little bit disappointed is Piergiorgio Bontempi, tenth in the provisional starting grid after the qualifying session of today afternoon. During is fastest lap Bontempi found in his racing line Teuchert who was riding slowly and the German rider did voluntary hinder the action of the 748 NCR Nortel Networks Ducati.

"What has Teuchert done is not admissible, neither a rider at debut make hose things!" - commented a furious Bontempi at the end of the session - "Surely that could not be the way to do of a World Champion! I am confidente that without this obstacle I could be able to obtein the sixth-seventh fastest. However tomorrow we'll have another session to improve our position. Today we preferred to be concentrate in the race tyres selection and I believe that we found a solution which satisfied us. Tomorrow we'll concentrate in the set up with the selected tyres, focusing us on the race. Also the engine suffers a little bit the altitude of Kyalami, but that involves everybody, of course. However tomorrow we'll look to increase the engine progression too looking at the final qualifying session for the starting grid."

Broc Parkes scored the 16th fastest, but is not totally satisfied. In the two previous events Broc rode about a second fastest either in Valencia and in Phillis Island, and also here in South Africa he is confident to do better once more.

"This morning we had several problems with the front of my NCR Parmalat 998R Ducati, but in the afternoon session we found a good solution; However I am still slower as last year. I'm confident to be faster tomorrow, maybe a second faster; with the 2002 machine I have been faster as last season as in Spain and in Australia, so hopefully I will increse my lap time tomorrow too. We'll se, I hope so."



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SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - Third Round

South Africa - Kyalami Circuit, 4.263 km - Qualifying Session

HAGA AND APRILIA GAIN GROUND

KYALAMI (South Africa), Friday 5 April 2002 - Noriyuki Haga with his
Aprilia RSV Mille makes sixth fastest time in the first day of
qualifying sessions in the South African round of the World Superbike
Championship. The Japanese rider, making his debut at Kyalami on the
twin-cylinder from Noale, was preceded by five riders who have spent
four days on tests in the run-up to the championship. After this
morning's free practice, Haga was 1"964 behind in the ratings but in
the afternoon he had reduced this margin to 869 thousandths away from
the leader, Troy Bayliss (Ducati). Haga also obtained the best
performance on race tyres, unlike the five in front who were riding
"soft". The trend is upward, and in the two remaining hours of tests,
it looks as though Noriyuki will be able to reduce the gap even
further.

NORIYUKI HAGA (Playstation2-FGF Aprilia Team rider) commented: "I'd
say things aren't too bad: I though Ducati and Honda would be further
ahead since they got in so much practice a couple of months ago. This
is the first time I've been out on Aprilia here in Kyalami - there
are still a number of things to sort out, but I'm sure I'll be able
to put on a good fight. The tyres also gave us some good indications:
next to Phillip Island, things are looking much brighter."

GIACOMO GUIDOTTI (Technical Manager of Playstation2-FGF Aprilia)
commented, "We're quite pleased. You have to bear in mind that Haga
was making his absolute debut on Aprilia at Kyalami, while the others
had plenty of practice during the winter. We aren't far off and we'll
try to get closer still. Haga's got a good pace on race tyres. But
he's still not able to make the most of the "soft" tyres used here
for the qualifying sessions. In the final tests, we'll try to improve
this."

TIMES (first qualifying session): 1. Bayliss (Aus-Ducati) 1'41"961
average 150.516 kph; 2. Edwards (USA-Honda) 1'41"973; 3. Bostrom
(USA-Ducati) 1'41"996; 4. Xaus (Spa-Ducati) 1'42"505; 5. Hodgson
(GB-Ducati) 1'42"687; 6. Haga (Jap-Aprilia) 1'42"830; 7. Chili
(Ita-Ducati) 133"291; 8. Pedercini (Ita-Ducati) 1'43"304; 9. Borja
(Spa-Ducati) 134"018; 10. Toseland (GB-Ducati) 1'43"449.


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