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article details
Author Gerald Irish
Categories Honda F1, Motorsports
Create Date August 10, 2007 18:03
Last Update August 11, 2007 13:36
TOV-RR: Volume 6

Formula 1

Hungarian GP

Honda F1 Engineering Director Jacky Eeckelaert called the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix 'a weekend to forget' for Honda but it was so painfully disheartening that it will surely be a weekend to remember. Jenson Button retired early in the race with a throttle position sensor problem that prevented him from getting full throttle.

Rubens Barrichello suffered perhaps a crueler fate than a DNF by finishing dead last of the cars that finished the race. In the closing stages of the race Rubens simply could not run down the Spyker-Ferrari of Adrian Sutil. The F1 TV broadcast replayed some of Honda's radio transmissions from that stage of the race and Rubinho said, 'I'm running flat out and I can't catch him.' Perhaps the most painful words spoken this year about Honda F1's dreadful 2007 campaign

It is somewhat baffling that since scoring a point at Magny Cours Honda F1 have actually gone backwards in performance. With only 6 races left in the season it may be time to declare the season a lost cause and focus on the 2008 machine. It is rather ironic that this low point in Honda's third stint in F1 has come at the same racetrack that Honda had their breakthrough victory 1 season ago.

Ant Gets Taken Out by Fisichella

Anthony Davidson was having a decent race in his Super Aguri SA07 until Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella hit him while making a pass which broke Ant's suspension and put him out of the race. Ant had a few words for the Italian afterward:

I think a guy of his experience should know that I am a bit of an unknown quantity, and given me a little bit more room. I'm surprised that we made contact really, with a guy of his experience, when I was on the outside of the circuit.

Hungarian GP Results

1. Lewis Hamilton Britain Vodafone McLaren Mercedes-Mercedes 70 01:35:52.991
2. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro-Ferrari +0.7
3. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber F1 Team-BMW +43.1
4. Fernando Alonso Spain Vodafone McLaren Mercedes-Mercedes +44.8
5. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber F1 Team-BMW +47.6
6. Ralf Schumacher Germany Panasonic Toyota Racing-Toyota +50.6
7. Nico Rosberg Germany AT&T Williams-Toyota +59.1
8. Heikki Kovalainen Finland ING Renault F1 Team-Renault +68.1
9. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull Racing-Renault +76.3
10. Jarno Trulli Italy Panasonic Toyota Racing-Toyota +1 lap
11. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull Racing-Renault +1 lap
12. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy ING Renault F1 Team-Renault +1 lap
13. Felipe Massa Brazil Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro-Ferrari +1 lap
14. Alexander Wurz Austria AT&T Williams-Toyota +1 lap
15. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri F1 Team-Honda +1 lap
16. Sebastian Vettel Germany Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
17. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker F1 Team-Ferrari +2 laps
18. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda Racing F1 Team-Honda +2 laps

Super GT

Podium Sweep!

The Sugo circuit played host to the fifth round of the Super GT championship that culminated in a Honda NSX sweep of the podium in the GT500 class. The championship leading #8 ARTA NSX took another victory in the hands of Daisuke Ito and Ralph Firman (see our 06 TOV interview with Ralph here). Read the rest of the race report at TOV Asia. http://asia.vtec.net/motorsports/SGT2007/Rd5/index.html

8 Hours of Suzuka

Honda's hopes for an 11th straight overall victory at the 30th 8 Hours of Suzuka were dashed in the third lap when James Toseland crashed and damaged the #11 bike beyond repair. Poor Ryuichi Kiyonari, who is reigning British Superbike champion, never even got a chance to get on the bike.

Carlos Checa and Tady Okada faired better but couldn't catch the Suzuki combo of Yukio Kagayama (rider on Alstare Suzuki in WSBK) and Kousuke Akiyoshi (Suzuki Moto GP test rider). The HRC #33 bike was able to chase down the Yoshimura Suzuki in the closing stages but couldn't make the pass and lost out on the win by a mere 1.5 seconds after 8 hours of racing.

Leon Camier who also races a CBR1000RR in the British Superbike championship finished a credible 5th in the race aboard the Moriwaki Engineering CBR1000RR. Moriwaki regularly campaigns a 1000RR in the Japanese superbike championship and even built a custom-framed Honda powered Moto GP bike as a wildcard entry in 2005.

2007 8 Hours of Suzuka Results (Top Ten)

1. Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 Kagayama/Akiyoshi
2. Team HRC 33 Honda CBR1000RR Okada/Checa
3. F.C.C.TSR ZIP-FM Racing Team Honda CBR1000RR Teshima/Itoh
4. Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 Watanabe/Sakai
5. Moriwaki Motul Racing Honda CBR1000RR Yamaguchi/Camier
6. Masked Rider DEN-O Honda Dream Honda CBR1000RR Tokudome/Kamada
7. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki GSX-R1000 Philppe/Lagrive/da Costa
8. F.C.C. TSR Euosport Benelux Honda CBR1000RR S.Iwata/SUGAI/Platacis
9. Yamaha Racing YZF-R1 Stauffer/Abe
10. Team Sakurai Honda CBR1000RR Takeda/Tsuda

World Superbike

King James Does the Double

After 7 seasons in the World Superbike championship James Toseland has finally claimed his first double, taking both wins in the double header at Brands Hatch, the spiritual home of World Superbike.

In race one James' challengers dropped off early in the race with defending champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati) crashing and Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) running off the course. No one else was able to mount a serious challenge for the duration of the race.

In race two Noriyuki Haga gave Toseland a run for his money and led the race for several laps. About midway through the race Toseland passed again for the lead and heated the race up to a pace no one could follow.

James now enjoys a 66 point lead over Noriyuki Haga with only 6 more races in the championship. There are still several riders with a mathematical chance at taking the title but if Toseland keeps up his form he will win it with many points to spare. Taking the double in his final appearance at Brands will surely be a career high for James. It took him seven years to do it but his hard work and winning attitude have been rewarded. After the race James said:

I've waited a long time for this moment and I can't quite believe I have finally done it. It's taken me seven years, but to get the Superbike double win at Brands Hatch was well worth the wait. The crowd here today have been absolutely amazing and I can't thank them enough for their support. On top of that, I dedicate the wins to my team, my family and my friends.

WSBK Brands Hatch Race 1 Results (Top Ten)

1. James Toseland GBR Ten Kate Honda CBR 1000RR 36min 35.120secs
2. Troy Corser AUS Yamaha Motor Italia YZF R1 +1.554secs
3. Max Biaggi ITA Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra GSXR1000 K7 +2.917secs
4. Ruben Xaus ESP GMB Racing Ducati 999F06 +10.202secs
5. Michel Fabrizio ITA DFX Treme Honda CBR 1000RR +14.133secs
6. Roberto Rolfo ITA Ten Kate Honda CBR 1000RR +14.323secs
7. Noriyuki Haga JPN Yamaha Motor Italia YZF R1 +19.380secs
8. Regis Laconi FRA PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse ZX10R +22.676secs
9. Lorenzo Lanzi ITA Ducati Xerox 999F07 +24.259secs

WSBK Brands Hatch Race 2 Results (Top Ten)

1. James Toseland GBR Ten Kate Honda CBR 1000RR 36min 34.177secs
2. Noriyuki Haga JPN Yamaha Motor Italia YZF R1 +01.686secs
3. Troy Corser AUS Yamaha Motor Italia YZF R1 +01.760secs
4. Michel Fabrizio ITA DFX Treme Honda CBR 1000RR +08.456secs
5. Yukio Kagayama JPN Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra GSXR1000 K7 +08.988secs
6. Ruben Xaus ESP GMB Racing Ducati 999F06 +09.470secs
7. Troy Bayliss AUS Ducati Xerox 999F07 +18.313secs
8. Max Biaggi ITA Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra GSXR1000 K7 +19.116ecs
9. Regis Laconi FRA PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse ZX10R +20.501secs
10. Max Neukirchner GER Suzuki Germany GSXR1000 K6 +20.586secs

James Toseland to Moto GP with...Yamaha

In a somewhat shocking move James Toseland recently announced that he has signed to a 2 year deal with the Tech3 Yamaha team in Moto GP.

Many are perplexed with the decision because the Tech3 Yamaha team has never been a real power in Moto GP, their last podium appearance being in 2004. However, it appears that Yamaha is going to step up their support of the Tech3 team next year, beginning with a change in tires from Dunlop to Bridgestone or Michelin and a steady supply of factory updates. It seems like some sort of guarantee of factory support is what lured James to the team.

The other key point is that it appears that Honda has made the same blunder with James that they did with Chris Vermeulen two years ago. Honda of Europe (namely the Honda Europe Sporting Director Carlo Fiorani) wanted to keep James in World Superbike for a year and put together an offer to that effect. But again, James made it clear he did not want to stay in WSBK. By trying to persuade Toseland to race somewhere he didn't want to Honda ended up losing him to a rival factory. When asked why James chose the Yamaha Toseland's manager had this to say:

It was really that Yamaha made an offer for MotoGP which was a strong package for James. He wanted to start the year on a 2008 bike and as we know they, the Tech 3 team, have the latest bikes available. The full details of the package will come out in due course but it wasn't that difficult.

The difficulty was whether to leave Superbike or go to MotoGP - that was the difficult bit. Once James figured that he would leave Superbike, then the MotoGP switch was natural and Yamaha gave us the best opportunity. The big push from Honda was just to stay in the World Superbike Championship and ultimately, that was not what he wanted.

Who Will Replace Toseland?

In World Superbike there are many riders chomping at the bit to get Toseland's vacated seat. In a brief interview with crash.net, team owner Ronald Ten Kate said there are no fewer than 9 riders who have approached him about securing that ride.

Read the Crash.Net Article Here

The fact that there are many strong riders chasing the Ten Kate ride makes losing Toseland to Yamaha in Moto GP all the more inexcusable. Naturally Honda wants to win the WSBK title in '08 with the new 1000RR and they have several championship winning riders to choose from to do the job. Toseland was leaving anyway, they should have made sure he stayed with the family in Moto GP. Perhaps Honda was very nervous about the prospect of racing against the 1200 cc Ducati 1098R next season and wanted to do everything they could to maximize their chances of beating them.

At any rate the most likely replacement for Toseland right now is Neil Hodgson. Neil showed without a doubt at Laguna Seca that he can ride a 1000RR Superbike as well as anyone and he is surely hungry to back up his 2003 World Superbike title.

World Supersport

Kenan Sofuoglu Crowned Champion

At Brands Hatch in England Kenan Sofuoglu took second place in the race to secure the 2007 World Supersport championship. Sofuoglu owned this championship from the first green flag of the season with 6 wins out of 10 races and never missing out on the podium save for a crash at Donington in the wet.

This is Kenan's sophomore season in the class and he is expected to move up to the World Superbike championship for 2008 with the Ten Kate team. If he can continue his impressive form in the superbike class he will be a hot prospect for Moto GP in a few years time.

Kenan said after the race:

I cannot explain what I am feeling. To win the championship in August is such an amazing feeling and I don't think anyone has ever done this before. I have to thank the team because without them this would not have been possible. The race was actually pretty difficult, particularly in the last laps, and there was so much going on in my head that it was hard to concentrate. I just tried to focus and once I got to the final lap I knew I had done it. This is incredible, I am so happy!

AMA Superbike

The season is coming to a close and it is increasingly looking like there will only be 2 names in the wins column for 2007, Mat Mladin and Ben Spies. To date no other bike has had the pace to challenge for a win. The only relief in sight is that Honda will be campaigning the all-new 2008 CBR1000RR next season which should prove to be a significantly faster and more capable race machine.

Mid Ohio Race 1 Results (Top Ten)

1 Mathew Mladin American Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000
2 Ben Spies American Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000
3 Miguel Duhamel American Honda Honda CBR1000RR
4 Aaron Yates Jordan Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000
5 Roger Lee Hayden Kawasaki Kawasaki ZX-10R
6 Eric Bostrom Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R1
7 Jason Disalvo Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R1
8 Jake Zemke American Honda Honda CBR1000RR
9 Tommy Hayden American Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000
10 James Ellison Corona Extra Honda Honda CBR1000RR

Mid Ohio Race 2 Results (Top Ten)

1 Mathew Mladin American Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000
2 Ben Spies American Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000
3 Jamie Hacking Kawasaki Kawasaki ZX-10R
4 Aaron Yates Jordan Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000
5 Jake Zemke American Honda Honda CBR1000RR
6 Miguel Duhamel American Honda Honda CBR1000RR
7 Eric Bostrom Yamaha Yamaha YZF-R1
8 Roger Lee Hayden Kawasaki Kawasaki ZX-10R
9 Tommy Hayden American Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000
10 Matt Lynn Fast by Ferracci MV Agusta F4-1000R

Miguel Duhamel Injured in Testing Crash

Several of the factory AMA Superbike teams were testing at Road Atlanta last week in preparation for the upcoming AMA weekend there. Miguel Duhamel of American Honda crashed heavily at turn 12, a turn that is considered by most to be the most dangerous turn on the AMA calendar.

There were hay bales and air fencing at in front of the tire wall there which definitely saved Miguel's life. But with the wall only 20 ft from the track (and the bikes doing over 100 mph through the turn) he was not able to escape unscathed. After getting checked out at the hospital it was determined that he had a lacerated liver, a punctured lung, and a bruised lung. Suffice it to say that it is unlikely that he will be competing next weekend at VIR. No word on who will sub for him (if anyone).

Let us all wish Miguel a speedy recovery and let us all hope Road Atlanta is able to add runoff room at turn 12 for next year, otherwise the AMA championship may not return.

AMA Formula Extreme (FX)

AMA Formula Extreme championship is much like the World Supersport championship in that it features modified 600 cc bikes that are like mini versions of the big 1000 cc superbikes. Last season was the first year that Honda entrusted the FX championship to the Erion Honda team and their rider Josh Hayes delivered the championship to them after a season long battle with two factory Yamaha R6's.

This year Josh Hayes has used the all-new 2007 CBR600RR to take a dominating lead in the championship which he consolidated last weekend with another win. Hayes now leads the championship by 50 points.

Soichiro's Heroes

James Toseland

JT has been in the World Superbike championship for seven years and the one track he hadn't won at was Brands Hatch in his home country of England. Another accomplishment that had eluded him to this point was a double-win weekend.

Last weekend James was able to achieve both goals as he took two hard-fought victories in front of his home crowd in what may be his final appearance at Brands Hatch as a competitor. He couldn't have picked a better way to salute his loyal British fans in his World Superbike send off.

Kenan Sofuoglu

The young Turk has done everything right this year and secured the first championship of the year for the red 'H'. Sofuoglu's World Supersport title makes it FIVE in a row for Honda and Ten Kate. Sofuoglu has truly left his mark on this championship and will probably have a few more wins to his name in the remaining rounds of the championship.

Ralph Firman/Daisuke Ito

Formula 1 refugeeRalph Firman and teammate Daisuke Ito are leading the Honda NSX charge in the GT500 Super GT class and look like they will finally be able to overcome the bad luck that has sabotaged their championship aspirations thus far. They took a solid win in the wet at Sugo last weekend and stand well atop of the points standings with 4 rounds to go.

Josh Hayes

Josh Hayes is the defending champion in the AMA Formula Extreme and took one step closer to being to be back-to-back champion with a win at the Mid-Ohio racetrack last weekend. Josh was actually leading both the FX and Supersport championships up until a crash at Laguna Seca. He still has a chance of winning both titles if he can take maximum points in the next 3 rounds and get a little help from lady luck. Either way he's in good shape for at least one championship and is making a case for a 2008 Superbike ride.

Honda Racing on TV (All times EST)

Sunday, August 12th
2:30 pm American Le Mans at Road America (NBC)

Sunday, August 19th
3:00 pm AMA Superbike Championship - Virginia International Raceway Day 1 (SPEED)
4:00 pm AMA Supersport - VIR (SPEED)
5:00 pm AMA Superbike Championship - VIR Day 2 (SPEED)
6:00 pm Moto GP - Czech Grand Prix at Brno (SPEED)

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