Preview - Losail.

A serious challenge to the 250GP crown in previous years, Roberto Rolfo is another fast SBK rookie in the 2006 series, as he takes the field for the Ducati SC Caracchi squad. A one-man effort, the new partnership is nonetheless laden with exciting possibilities.

Rolfo's single rider effort is in great contrast to the three-rider festival of speed fielded by the Pedercini Ducati squad. The eponymous team-leader Lucio Pedercini heads up his countryman Ivan Clementi and the already proven talents of young German rider, Max Neukirchner. The latter is a first time Ducati pilot, yet has already impressed in winter testing - despite not having the newest tyres or a full factory machine at his immediate disposal.

Carrying Kawasaki's colours will be the PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse squad, which will sport a green livery in Qatar and, more importantly, enjoy the benefits of a new design of ZX-10R machine, complete with greater manufacturer support than in 2005.

The team has increased to a three-rider set-up, each of them a proven entity in many forms of motorcycle sport. Walker scored a podium on the 2005 PSG-1 Kawasaki, and has already voted the 2006 version as a distinct improvement after good tests in Sepang and Phillip Island.

Laconi - runner-up to team-mate Toseland in 2004, a multiple SBK race winner last year and one of the few riders to have won both SBK and MotoGP races - is a new face in the squad, while Spanish star Fonsi Nieto carries on at the team he joined for just two races in 2005. Nieto has already matched times with the more experienced Walker, as the man from Madrid continues the transition from a 250cc past to a Superbike shaped future.

Battaini (Kawasaki Bertocchi) is another proven MotoGP and 250GP rider to opt for the charms of SBK in 2006, and much is expected of the privateer rider in his first season.

The unique Petronas FP-1 triple will once more be campaigned by the Foggy Petronas team, with 2005 signing Martin returning after successful kidney surgery and after having set impressive test times at Phillip Island in January.

Young Briton Craig Jones may find the outgunned FP-1 not an ideal platform from which to launch his rookie SBK season, thanks solely to its 100cc capacity handicap compared to all other types of eligible SBK machines, but his youthful enthusiasm will nonetheless see him gunning for the maximum possible rewards.

In the World Supersport championship, Winston Ten Kate Honda's reigning title holder Sebastien Charpentier may not have things all his own way this year, as a frontal assault of talent and all-new machines attempt to depose last year's clear winner.

Charpentier's new team-mate is 2005 Superstock 1000 FIM Cup runner up Kenan Sofuoglu, but his greatest challenge may come from the two-rider Yamaha Motor Germany squad, now equipped with the all-new R6.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Corser, Phillip island WSBK tests, January 2006
Bayliss, Valencia WSBK tests, February 2006
Start, Qatar WSBK Race 2, 24-26th, February, 2005
Tom Sykes - Kawasaki Racing
The Moon over Losail, Qatar WSBK 2014
Losail Circuit, Qatar WSBK 2014
Losail Circuit, Qatar WSBK 2014
Losail Circuit, Qatar WSBK 2014
Losail Circuit, Qatar WSBK 2014
Losail Circuit, Qatar WSBK 2014
Losail Circuit, Qatar WSBK 2014
Losail Circuit, Qatar WSBK 2014
Losail Circuit, Qatar WSBK 2014
Losail Circuit, Qatar WSBK 2014
Losail Circuit, Qatar WSBK 2014
Pitt, Laverty, Crutchlow, Qatar WSS Race 2009
Pitt, Qatar WSS Race 2009
Crutchlow, Qatar WSS Race 2009

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.