WSBK Mid-term report - Ducati

Rewind back a few months to before the start of the season and Shane Byrne was a name being mentioned in the same breath as 'title contender'. Four months later and things couldn't be more different for the Briton and his Sterilgarda team.

Byrne was the dominant force during the crucial pre-season test at Portimao, but he hasn't got close to matching that pace ever since. Things have almost worked in opposite directions for Byrne this year in that he has performed best at circuits he doesn't know – Qatar and Miller Motorsports Park -, yet struggled at more familiar venues, such as Monza and Valencia.

It doesn't help that he is flying solo following the pre-season decision by the team to drop Alex Polita in a bid to reserve some funds, but given Sterilgarda are a winning force at WSBK level and Byrne has impressive Superbike pedigree himself as the runaway BSB title winner, it is curious to see the pair down in 15th at the mid-way point. The upcoming Donington Park round promises to be a pivotal moment…

Elsewhere, Guandalini Ducati have joined DFX in having to revise their rider line-up by the mid-way point in the year, with Gregorio Lavilla replacing Brendan Roberts. As reigning Superstock 1000 champion, Roberts was certainly held in high regard prior to the season, being linked with berths in both WSBK and BSB. Eventually, the Australian joined Guandalini, but success has been few and far between.

Although there were signs of improvement prior to his accident at Monza, given the gulf in form between himself and Smrz – particularly in qualifying – it wasn't surprising to learn that his 'temporary' replacement Lavilla was being lined up for a more permanent position. It didn't help that the experienced Spaniard scored more points on his debut for the team at Kyalami than Roberts did in the first five events…

Still, Lavilla is a welcome returnee to the paddock having been rather unfortunately left on the sidelines following the breakdown of a deal between himself and the stillborn Pro Ride Honda project. He has good form on a Ducati too, having won the BSB title with them, so expect an increasingly competitive showing as the season wears on.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Haga, Fabrizio, South African WSBK Race 2 2009
Chaz Davies, Racing Ducati [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Chaz Davies, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Ducati team, Race1, Imola WSBK 2017
Byrne, Imola WSBK 2017
Byrne, Imola WSBK 2017
Lavilla, Assen WSBK 2017
Brembo calipers on Ducati, Thai WSBK 2017
Akrapovic on Ducati, Thai WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale engine, Thai WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale front end, Thai WSBK 2017
Lavilla, Australian WSBK, 2017
Fores` Ducati, Australian WSBK, 2017. Photo courtesy of WorldSBK
Davies` Ducati, Australian WSBK, 2017. Photo courtesy of WorldSBK
Melandri`s Ducati, Australian WSBK, 2017. Photo courtesy of WorldSBK
Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]

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June 10, 2009 10:43 AM

Haga is not out of Ben's reach, but it is not fair to expect him to stand up to the pressure in his first year at WSB, Haga has years of experience and I don't think Ben will match him this year, give the poor guy a chance to settle in, we have seen him crash a couple of time when the pressure gets to him. The DNF's didn't help, but I don't think he will win the championship this year.

sbk fan - Unregistered

June 10, 2009 1:07 PM

all of u pull ur tongue out of ben spies ring! im fed up of everyone talking **** about everyone other than ben spies. yes he's good but he's also on a terrific bike. at the end of the day track knowledge doesnt matter when uve got such a good bike underneath u. i cant believe ive actually managed to get a comment in front of rawdawg, seen as he bums this website off and ben spies! he must spend all day on this :)

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