Unfinished business for bikers Rea and Laverty
Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty return to world superbike and supersport action this weekend, after a six-week summer break, with the 11th round of the 14 round series being held at the Nurburgring in Germany.
Both will be looking for strong finishes to the season with an eye looking towards 2010 and new contracts.
Rea, the only Honda winner so far this season, wants to consolidate fourth position in the superbike championship and is currently just six points ahead of Max Biaggi.
The 22-year-old has enjoyed an impressive debut season on the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda superbike, taking his first win in the championship at Misano in June with three other podium finishes including the last round at Brno in the Czech Republic.
Rea said: “I’ve been fully back in training after a short holiday and am looking forward to the races.
“The guys have been working flat out looking at the electronic package on the bike, so we will have some new things to try once practice gets under way
“There have been three guys on it all season — Ben Spies, Noriuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio. I want to be in that group for the remaining four meetings of the season with a podium at each round the target.”
Haga currently heads the championship, seven points ahead of Spies with Fabrizio a distant third in what has been a Yamaha and Ducati dominated season.
Meanwhile Laverty lies in second place in the world supersport championship, 17 points behind Cal Crutchlow who has won four of the 10 races to date compared to Laverty’s three.
Never having ridden at the Nurburgring, Laverty took in a recent track day so as not to arrive with zero knowledge and said of his experience: “It is a bumpy difficult track, but we’ll be in there fighting for the win to try and claw back Cal’s advantage.
“The holidays are over and as much as I enjoyed the time off it is back to business on the Parkalgar Honda this weekend focused on the battle for the title.
“I’ll not be giving up until it is mathematically impossible to catch Cal and as everybody knows, it is never over until it’s over.”
Closer to home, the Belfast and District Club host the final round of the Irish Clubman Championship at Kirkistown tomorrow.
In addition to the normal clubman programme for the Bridgestone Tyres senior and supersport classes, Pre ’97, 125 Production, 125 GP Newcomers, classic and national open races, the second leg of the King of Kirkistown handicap race will take place, the first leg having been held on June 6.
Bridgestone senior champion Jason Cash won that particular race by the slimmest of margins from supersport champion elect Andrew Murphy and a battle royale is anticipated to see who will be crowned 2009 King of Kirkistown.
First race is at 1.00pm