The seventh round of the World Superbike Championship will be held this weekend at Silverstone and the Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team goes there positive and determined after Haga's success at the last round in Monza where he took the double win.
Silverstone is the second of three UK rounds on the WSB calendar this year and comes at the halfway point in the season. Silverstone is relatively new on the championship calendar - it has only been going there since 2002 - but the circuit has excellent facilities as it also hosts the British F1 Grand Prix.
Like many race tracks in the UK, Silverstone was originally a wartime airfield but was leased by the Royal Automobile Club from the Air Ministry and opened as a racing circuit in 1948. The name Silverstone derives from an early English word for 'wooded area'.
The previous round at Monza proved to be successful for the Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team with Haga taking his third double win of his WSB career. As well as both race wins he also took the Superpole and the fastest lap of race one, narrowly missing out on 'the Full Monty' which is both race wins, the fastest lap in both races and Superpole. Only 16 riders have achieved this before, the last being Corser in Valencia in 2005.
Not resting on their laurels after their Monza success, the team went straight to Misano last week for a two-day test session. Over the course of the session both riders tested various new parts and spent time getting to know the circuit - from this season riders circulate the opposite way to previous years. Corser also spent time working through the braking issues he had encountered at Monza which caused him to finish in fifth and sixth places.
Haga goes to Silverstone on a mental high after his double win and is pleased to be going to a circuit that has historically been good for him. He finished second in both races there last year and provided Yamaha's YZF-R1 with its first WSB podium there in 2005. In 2004 he also claimed a race win and a second at the UK circuit. With seven rounds to go Haga is strongly contending for the championship and only 35 points behind first position.
"I like the Silverstone circuit a lot and I am feeling extra motivated following my double win at Monza so I am expecting to get a good result this weekend. I am looking to try and take the championship lead at Silverstone; thirty five points is a small margin and I believe it's achievable to go into first place," he says. "The UK has some good circuits and I enjoy all three that we visit on the WSB calendar."
Corser took away fifth and sixth position finishes from Monza as well as 21 crucial points. His track record at Silverstone includes a pair of second places in 2005 and he goes to Silverstone looking to achieve his 110th podium of his WSB career.
"I'm looking forward to Silverstone as I think the bikes will go well there. Nori has got on the podium there before so we have proven experience of the R1's success at the track. I've had mixed results there previously but I have been on the podium at Silverstone and I like the circuit so I am positive. The testing we did at Misano last week will help us at Silverstone because both tracks are quite bumpy and we will use similar mapping settings."
Team Yamaha YZF rider Shinichi Nakatomi will be riding at Silverstone despite breaking two toes in a crash at Monza. The young Japanese rider is having special boots made to accommodate his broken toes and provide increased protection. Nakatomi missed out on last year's WSB race at Silverstone after crashing in warm up and breaking the radius bone in his right arm. The team is hoping for better success this year even with the rider's minor injuries.
Anthony West stood in for Kevin Curtain at the Monza round of the World Supersport Championship and brought his R6 home in third for the team. The young Australian made good progress over the weekend considering he hadn't ridden a four-stroke for over two years nor ever ridden the Monza circuit. Broc Parkes qualified in fifth at Monza and was in second place in the race when his bike suffered a technical failure putting an end to his weekend.
Parkes has put the disappointment of Monza behind him and although he hasn't won at Silverstone before he is determined to claim his first race win of the season this coming weekend. His track record at Silverstone is encouraging for a good result - he has been on the podium twice in the last three years.
"I don't feel I have too much to lose at the moment. I just want to go there, have a good weekend and get a good result. It's about time things started going our way. I don't think we're too far off, we now just need to finish off the job. After the last race we got some good direction for the bike's base set-up which we can now put into action at Silverstone," Parkes says.
Kevin Curtain will not be entering the world supersport round this coming weekend. The injury sustained after being taken out by another rider during the Valencia round in mid-April is not healing as expected. Anthony West will once again replace Curtain following on from his podium finish at Monza two weeks ago.
Kevin says, "I just can't believe the bad luck I'm having this season. Just when I hoped things would get better the wound got infected ten days ago. This has now been cured with antibiotics but I still have a sharp pain in my leg which, according to the doctors, might be because the muscle is put together too tight. The wound might have to be re-opened to correct this which means I will be out for several months. But for the moment I'm trying to avoid this by stretching and exercising in the hope that this can solve it. But honestly speaking I expect my season to be finished. I just want to get fully fit and race again next season."
"I'm really happy to be racing again for the Yamaha World Supersport Team following on from my success at Monza," Anthony says. "I'm keen to go better and get on the podium again, maybe even get the top step. I know it's not going to be easy; this championship is very competitive and I haven't raced at Silverstone before. That didn't stop me at Monza though! I just hope the track isn't too difficult to learn as I want to spend as much time as possible in practice finding the right set-up as opposed to learning the track."
Monza was a disappointing round for the Yamaha Team Italia squad with both Claudio Corti and Michele Pirro crashing out during the Superstock race while in leading positions. Umbria Bike rider Matteo Baiocco went on to take his first win of the season on the YZF-R1 and put himself in the championship lead. Pirro and Corti's failure to finish means that both of them along with fellow Yamaha rider Didier van Keymeulen are on 45 points and fifth, sixth and seventh in the championship respectively.
Silverstone is sure to prove an exciting and close race with all riders fighting for the race win. Claudio Corti has had success there before, taking the pole and race win last year. The pole and best lap records by Massimo Roccoli still stand unbeaten since 2005 but if the weather is more favourable than last year's wet conditions the stable of Yamaha riders are certain to set new records over the course of the weekend.