Team Suzuki Alstare riders Leon Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli are both looking forward to this weekend's third round of the Superbike World Championship at Valencia in Spain; but for different reasons:
Championship-leader Haslam is hoping to maintain his lead in the series and Guintoli is looking to recover from his disappointment in Portugal and get back to the form he displayed at the opening round in Phillip Island.
The 4.005-kilometre circuit is very technical, compactly-designed; and is one of the best tracks for spectators in the Championship: For many years, Valencia's series of second-and-third-gear corners have favoured twins, but Haslam did particularly-well there during testing in December and he is confident of doing well again in both races.
"I really like the track and I think I showed that when we tested here in December. It's a very technical track and it's important to get a good set-up as early in the weekend as possible and then have a good qualifying. The twins have gone well here before, but I'm sure we can give them more than a run for their money this weekend. It's going to be another hard -ought weekend but I'm confident that we're going to be very competitive and will be going all out to make sure I finish the weekend still at the top of the Championship Standings."
"Like Leon, I also like the track and, over the years, I've done well here; though this will be my first time racing it on a Superbike. It's a technical circuit and a bit like a big go-kart track and you spend a lot of time trying to keep the front wheel down. After Portimao, I sat down and thought a lot about what happened during the weekend and tried to work out what had gone wrong and why. I realised that actually I was not that far off, but this Championship is so competitive that even if you are just a little bit off, you suffer a lot. It's so important to do well in practice, do well in qualifying, be on the first two-rows of the grid; and then put everything together in the races. If you don't, then it becomes a big battle just to get into any sort of contention. I think Valencia and the next race at Assen should be good for us and I'm looking forward to both tracks and getting back to the kind of form I showed in Australia."
2009 Valencia results:
Race 1: Haga (JPN-Ducati), 2 Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati), 3 Neukirchner (GER-Suzuki Alstare), 5 Leon Haslam (GBR-Honda). Sylvain Guintoli - DNS.
Race 2: 1 Haga, 2 Spies (USA-Yamaha), 3 Fabrizio, 5 Leon Haslam. Sylvain Guintoli - DNS.