What can I say? It has been exhausting, exhilarating and absolutely phenomenal. I know I haven’t been as up-to-date with the blog as I would like to be, but between watching the practice sessions, qualifying, interviews, hopping from one garage to another, the days have been nothing short of fanatical.
I come away with profound respect for the folks here at SBK – the ones we don’t really think about. They work away, pulling late nights, downing cans of Red Bull, walking up and down circuits to bring us – you – a peek into the world of motorsports racing. The journalists, photographers and the press managers do such an immense job with unflagging energy.
It has obviously been a while since I have worked under such a tight deadline, and to be honest, all I can do is head back to my hotel and grab a few zzzzs. But enough about that.
So here we are, at the end of a phenomenal, mindblowing weekend. In a few short hours we head into the races. Already, I can hear the bikes warming up,that familiar growl is just amazing.
The lineup today is exciting. There is much at stake.
In the world of superbikes, the top spot is with Sylvain Guintoli with a whopping 111 points. The second spot is a tie with Eugene Laverty, Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes all at 83 points. In a way, it all comes down to today, here at the historical Monza circuit.
The beginning is auspicious for Team Racing Green. It almost seems like Sykes is back in form as he took his 3rd Super Pole running. He is right at the top of the grid, followed by Laverty and Guintoli at 2nd and 3rd. Loris Baz had a disappointing session as he ended up at 11th while Chaz Davies, recovering from a scary crash on Friday, is at 9. Luck isn’t being very favourable for Marco Melandri as he starts the race from 5th.
Post qualifying, Sykes said, “I did not know the time Eugene had set but I knew that the Aprilias would be fast here. I am looking forward to tomorrow because we all have good race pace. In some areas we have an advantage and we got a new circuit record in Superpole, and the ideal starting position for tomorrow. I am looking forward to two exciting races. I like racing at Monza because the spectators are crazy like me! The fans are very enthusiastic and Monza is a very fast circuit. I hope to be very strong tomorrow.”
Things were a bit tense – and that’s an undstatement – over at the Mahi Racing team garage during the Supersports qualifying. Freak rain – I mean it is Monza, so I shouldn’t be surprised – meant that Kenan Sofuoglu ended up at 3rd while his teammate Fabien Foret (who missed the Friday sessions because of rain) starts at 9th. It is going to be a toughie for the Indian Kawasaki team. They are leading the championship with 70 points. Foret leads the Riders Championship with 54 points, while teammate and defending world champion Sofuoglu is at 45 points. Sam Lowes will head the grid at the race today, followed by Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki).
Never say never though. At the end of the day, the real story is always told on Race Day!
Note: I promise lots of pictures once I am back on home ground. Do bear with me till then!