The 2007 World Superbike Championship comes to a thrilling finale this weekend at the French circuit of Magny-Cours. The final round of the championship will be played out in true dramatic form with the top three riders all in with a chance of lifting the trophy on Sunday.
Only one weekend ago, the race in Vallelunga, Italy saw the championship possibilities left wide open as Haga took a third and fourth while championship leader Toseland could only manage third and 11th. Biaggi also got in on the act when he took first and second to move into second championship place. With only 33 points separating these three riders there is everything still to fight for.
It's not just the riders' championship that is at stake this coming weekend.The manufacturer championship will also be decided at the final round. Honda currently leads but, with Yamaha only 3 points adrift, a good result from either Haga, Corser or Nakatomi could see Yamaha take the honors.
Haga's performance at Magny-Cours has been positive in the past; he won in 2004 and last year came second and fourth as well as taking the fastest lap of race one. This year it's all about the top step of the podium as the Japanese star is only too aware. "Magny-Cours is going to be a real animal fight for the win. Toseland, Biaggi, Bayliss, Corser and I are all looking at that top step with determination," Haga says. "It's going to come down to who wants it the most and who has the best set-up. But I plan to spoil everyone else's party!'
Corser might be out of championship contention but there is still a steely determination about him. Mr. Superpole has twice taken pole position at the French circuit - in 2004 and 2006. In fact 2006 was a very good year for him; as well as pole he took best lap, the race record, came third in race one and second in race two. Corser goes to Magny-Cours looking to end the season on a high with his first win for Yamaha.
"I'm looking forward to the last race. I've gone well on all the other bikes I've ridden there and Nori's shown how well the Yamaha can go at Magny-Cours so it should be a good combination!" comments Corser. "Of course I'm going there looking to win, I'm hungry for one before the end of the season. Vallelunga was a bit of a mixed bag for me with a DNF in race one and a fourth in race two. I'm keen to move on from that and end 2007 on a positive note. What could be better than giving Yamaha the manufacturer title!"
World Supersport Championship
Last weekend at Vallelunga proved a challenging one for the Yamaha World Supersport Team as set-up and tyre problems dogged the team throughout the weekend. Undeterred, Parkes still put in a good performance to finish fourth. The team has a slight advantage this weekend, having tested at Magny-Cours last month where they got the opportunity to find a good wet set-up.
Parkes goes to Magny-Cours with second place in the championship still in his sights and his track record shows that he will be a serious contender for the win on Sunday. He finished third last year, took the win in 2005 and took pole in 2004.
"I really like Magny-Cours or rather it seems to like me! I got my first win there so the circuit has a special place in my heart," says Parkes. "I'm fired up and confident; I want that second place in the championship. Magny-Cours is normally good for the Yamaha, Curtain came second there the year I won. I've closed the door on Vallelunga and moved on. It's time to focus on the final round of the year and go there to win."
This weekend sees Tommy Hill partner Parkes for a fourth and final time this season. Hill, who is riding for the team in addition to his British Superbike commitments, goes to Magny-Cours strong-minded in chasing a top five finish this weekend after a disappointing round at Vallelunga, where he crashed out on the first lap.
'We are starting this weekend with a plus point immediately because we know that we're going to have the tyres that both Broc and I have felt happiest with - that's the tyre that we used at Brands and Lausitz. That means that we won't be chasing set-up all weekend," says Hill. "It's a shame that last weekend didn't go according to plan for me. The team did everything they could to help me feel as comfortable as possible on the bike. I'm just sorry I couldn't get a good result for them. Moving on from that, I'm pretty confident about this weekend. I tested there with the team last month so got some good laps in and know which way the track goes at least! I'm looking for a top five finish.'