my thoughts on the 06 SBK season
Just my thoughts on the 2006 SBK season. Like most I pretty much think it will come down to Bayliss or Corser, but hope Iím wrong cause Iíd like to see Haga & Yamaha finally take a SBK title. But the so called battle the troys can go either way.
With such a highly motivated pairing itís really hard to bet against Bayliss and Ducati. After getting their asses handed to them last year, while at the same time watching Lavillia beat HRC to the BSB title you just have to think that Ducati is going all out to make sure that the 999 is up to the challenge this year (not that it wasnít last). Tests are test, but itís pretty obvious any questions of if Bayliss can gel with the 999 and Pirelli tires have been answered. If he can make it work at all the tracks then I really can see him doing another 2002 run. The only thing I think will stop him is himself. if Suzuki has made Corserís bike better and Bayliss has to override the 999 he will tose it a lot trying. Aside from that I donít see the second half of 02 happening to him again
If Suzuki has made the Suzuki even better then I think thatís Corserís best shot at retaining his title. If his bike is ďjust equalĒ to the 999 I donít see him beating Bayliss. Corser can be there week end and out to capitalize on any mistake Bayliss might make, but unlike Edwards in 02 I donít think Corser is the type of racer to push Bayliss into that mistake if Bayliss is leading the series. We donít know if he was just protecting his lead but when everyone else stepped up in the second part of 05 Corser really didnít respond. If Corser shows that he will fight (like he did with Haga at Brands) then I think he could beat Bayliss, but I donít see Corser doing that week end and out.
Because the press was so busy trying to hype Lanzi as Ducatiís great hope, the fact that Haga (along with Vermeulen) was the best rider of the second half of the season was missed by most. From Brno rc2 on he was on the box every race except for when Pitt took him out at the last round. I would love to see Haga take it but I think his problem is Yamaha. Last yearís slow start hurt him and it doesnít seem like Yamaha did as much testing as the other top teams and the R1 hasnít really been changed much (though that could be a good thing). Over the last few years Haga has managed to be more consistant while keeping his edge. A couple of races asideover the last couple of years most of his DNFs have been mechanical or from others taking him out. He has to qualify better so he doesnít have to kill his tires catching up in races he should be winning. If the R1 is competitive I think Haga does have a real shot, but as Yamaha is the only team that still doesnít seem to have some kind of direct factory support from Japan, I just donít know. Haga will take a fight to whomever so thatís why I think he has a serious shot
Aside from those 3 I really think the only other rider who has a serious shot at the title is Laconi and thatís only if the new Kawi is good and Laconi can stop making stilly mistakes. He simply gave away the 04 title. He has the pace but not the consistency. If he can find that and the Kawi is good he will surprise a lot of people. Wished Yamaha would have put him beside Haga on a R1 that would have been fun to which. When things are working heís shown that he can win races, he just needs to stop making the silly mistakes
Barros is a good rider but sponsorship money aside I donít understand going with him over Max N. Barros has had some of the best rides in MotoGP and really never did anything and at his age itís not like he is young and has things to learn.. I donít think adapting to the Superbike will be an issue because of his Suzuka experience. As in MotoGP heíll have his moments but donít see him as a serious threat to the title. I do think if Honda/HRC decide to take SBK seriously again he will be the one getting the trick stuff.
I donít think Toseland will be a factor simply because mentally I think he is weak. I donít agree when Foggy said Toselandís title had more ďmeritĒ than Hodgsonís title. Hodgson went out and did what he was supposed to do and dominated. While Toseland pretty much backed into his. The pressí whole ďducati has turned their back on ToselandĒ thing was the silly. Ducati wants to win and Toseland wasnít doing it. Donít see him being a factor at all. If the bike is slightly off pace then Toseland will just spiral downwards and hang his head. Muggeridge or Pitt donít think will be a factor either.
Chris Walker well I donít know. Heís made so many bad career moves since leaving BSB. For him to get his 2000 BSB form back the Kawi has to be good but even then donít see him taking the title. He is like Chili when it comes to bad luck. Speaking of which, Chili needs some good luck for a change but I think his time has well and truly past.
I donít understand why people are putting Lanzi near the top of contenders. If you look at his record he is in the Laconi and Xaus mode of extremes. Competitive or winning one race while completely out of it or crashing another. His getting a factory ride to me is more political than anything.
Yuki will be fun to watch but another one who lacks the consistency to win a title.
Abe puts to rest that theory that an average MotoGP rider on any bike can beat the best the SBK has to offer. He isnít the first thought most never want to mention it.
Depending on his bike and if Ducati slip him some parts Xaus could be his usual win one crash one self. Fun to watch but no shot at the title.
Aside from the above I donít see anyone else coming up and doing anything but making up numbers