WSBK

Melandri heads for a new track, Laverty still chasing Biaggi

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Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty have just completed a tough race weekend in Imola and are setting out for Magny Cours, France for the 12th and penultimate round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship this weekend.

Marco Melandri fought hard at his home race in Imola to gain valuable points to keep the championship open by preventing Carlos Checa from earning the advantage he requires to claim the title. Melandri remains 97 points behind Carlos Checa in the standings. The WSB Rookie will have to face the huge task of winning both races this weekend and in the case that Checa does not pocket more than 3 points,

Melandri will remain a contender for the title. The Italian is heading to the French circuit this weekend determined to take the championship battle to the grand finale in Portimao.

"Magny Cours is another new track for me. I didn't have the chance to test there last year at the end of the season like quite a few other riders did, so I'm not sure what to expect," Melandri said. "I haven't seen much of the circuit on TV or on the internet, but I'm looking forward to discovering it. Going by last year's results, where Cal took a race win and a second place on the podium, it looks like it could be a good track for the R1. My ambition is to be at the front, pushing for a podium and even a race win or two."

Following Eugene Laverty's solid performance last Sunday in Imola, the Northern Irish rider now remains just 25 points from Biaggi in third place in the standings, a position he aims to reach this weekend.

"I'm really looking forward to returning to Magny Cours this weekend," Laverty enthused. "At the end of the 2010 season I tested the R1 and was the fastest rider on track, so I know the bike works well there. We knew Imola wasn't a suitable style of circuit for our machine and we had a tough weekend there but managed to come away with solid race results, which I am pleased with. I'll be aiming for better results in Magny Cours and hope for a race win or two."

The Yamaha WSB team is heading to Magny Cours confident they can be highly competitive and fighting for victory, following Cal Crutchlow's strong race win and podium in last year's season showdown on the French track. Eugene Laverty made his debut on a World Superbike machine last October in Magny Cours, testing the 2010 YZF-R1 and immediately gaining confidence on the powerful machine, was the fastest rider to lap the track.

Main Photo: Marco Melandri
Credit: Yamaha Racing

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