WSBK team by team analysis: Valencia

It proved to be quite a painful weekend for Shane Byrne, who arrived in Valencia with a knee infection, an injury he aggravated further with an accident during Superpole. A frustrating set back around a circuit that favours his Sterilgarda Ducati, Byrne began the weekend well behind his rivals, but would end it with a pair of decent results. Although ninth and 11th are still a far cry from what had initially looked like a title challenge, solid points are probably all Byrne could have expected from what could have been a disastrous weekend.

Kawasaki SRT

Broc Parkes – 10th, 17th

Makoto Tamada – 14th, DNF

It has been a while since we saw a flash of green battling it out with the leading group in World Superbikes, but for a short time in Valencia, Broc Parkes was hauling his Kawasaki into the dizzying heights of the top five. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he would eventually drop back to a more representative tenth place, but even that short burst of speed was the best we have seen from the ZX-10R for a very long time. In fact, tenth for Parkes and 14th for Makoto Tamada was the first time Kawasaki have had both of their bikes in points in 18 races – an unthinkable drought for any factory team. While it is probable that the team's test at the circuit a week earlier was a contributing factor to their marked improvement, there is evidence to suggest Kawasaki are starting to finally show consistent mid-field performance – consistent top ten results are surely the next step.

BMW Alpha Racing

Ruben Xaus – 13th, 16th

Troy Corser – DNF, 15th

It was a disappointing weekend for the BMW team in Valencia, particularly as they would have hoped for better around a circuit where a lot of the S1000RR's development work took place. There were flashes of promise, particularly Troy Corser's immense start in the first race to run a brief fourth before falling, but once again qualifying proved to be a sticking point for both Mr Superpole and team-mate Ruben Xaus. With Valencia's tight and twisty layout consigning most overtaking manoeuvres to the first corner, Xaus was happy to report that his brakes are doing their job as he worked his way up to 13th in the first race. However, with Troy Corser managing just 15th in the second race, four points was a miserly haul for a team that had hoped to be pushing further into the top ten in Spain. Nonetheless, the team are confident the race pace is there – they just need to show better over a single lap now…

Guandalini Ducati

Jakub Smrz – DNF, 14th

Brendan Roberts – DNF, 18th

It was a surprisingly tough weekend for Guandalini Ducati team, who, for the first time, had initially threatened to have both of their riders battling it out for a top ten finish. However, by the end of the weekend, a 14th place finish for Jakub Smrz was all they had to show for. After his star turns in Australia and Qatar, Smrz didn't seem quite as threatening in Valencia, but on the other side of the garage, team-mate Brendan Roberts was clearly enjoying his return to familiar European soil. Troubling the top ten during practice, Roberts was also a welcome participant in Superpole for the first time this year. In the end, the Aussie rider had a torrid race day, getting caught in the busy mid-field to retire in race one and finish 18th in the second. Smrz, meanwhile, suffered another DNF in the first race, while he could do no better than 14th in the second – with Regis Laconi doing wonders for the privateer Ducati fraternity in fourth, Guandalini will be wondering why they aren't enjoying similar success.

Althea Honda

Tommy Hill – 15th, 22nd

Another race, another point for Tommy Hill, you can't fault the British rider's consistency, although he had to work a little harder this time after only qualifying 22nd and missing Superpole for the first time. While it wasn't the top ten result he had been striving for before the start of the weekend, Hill is now pinning his hopes on a test at Monza to unlock the speed he needs from his Althea Honda to move up the field.

Celani Race Suzuki

Karl Muggeridge – 16th, 19th

Having begun the season bridging the deficit between the top twenty and the tail-enders, Karl Muggeridge moved significantly closer to making it a 'group of 21' in Valencia after running inside the points for the majority of the first race. Although eventually bumped down to a frustrating 16th – one position outside the points – it is clear that 'Muggers' and Celani are gelling well as an underdog entity.

PSG-1 Corse Kawasaki

Ayrton Badovini – 17th, DNF

Matteo Baiocco – 20th, DNF

PSG-1 Corse had a little something to celebrate in Valencia as Ayrton Badovini was able to complete his first World Superbike race of the season. Although 17th is unlikely to worry those ahead of him, while his ongoing shoulder injury would rule him out of the second race, it still marks the first time they have out paced their Pedercini counterparts. Matteo Baiocco was also seemingly benefitting from a return to more familiar ground as matched his team-mate throughout the weekend.

Pedercini Kawasaki

Luca Scassa – 18th, 24th

David Salom – 19th, 21st

A return to home ground for David Salom, Pedercini would have probably expected some points at the end of the Valencia weekend having tested there the previous week. Salom even very nearly made it into Superpole with 21st on the grid, but come the races, he could manage no better than 19th and 21st. Team-mate Luca Scassa fared better with 18th in the first race, but it was otherwise a missed opportunity for the Italian team.

Yamaha France Ipone

David Checa – DNF, 20th

A welcome return for the only satellite Yamaha team on the WSBK grid, Yamaha France Ipone arrived in Valencia having been trimmed to just a single bike. David Checa returns to spearhead their efforts, but while he found himself hovering around the top twenty mark for much of practice, 26th on the grid and a best of 20th in the races were disappointing return around his local circuit. Nonetheless, having been unable to test prior to the weekend, Checa should be capable of working his way up the grid before long.

Squadra Corse Italia Honda

Vittorio Iannuzzo – DNF, 23rd

Vittorio Iannuzzo had the distinction of avoiding last position for the majority of the Valencia weekend, although he remains no closer to his target of scoring regular points. A best result of 23rd marks another tough event for the Squadra Corse Italia team.

TKR Switzerland Suzuki

Roland Resch – DNF, 25th

Related Pictures

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Laconi, Race Start, Spanish WSBK Race 1 2009
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Taylor, SSP300 Race, Donington WSBK 2017
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