The 5.793km Monza circuit near Milan is a favourite venue among many of this year’s contenders, and is also a regular on the Formula One Grand Prix schedule.
Current Superbike leader Troy Bayliss heads to Italy with a 70-point advantage over his nearest rival. And, with only 50 points for two race wins up for grabs, he is safe in the knowledge that his position at the top of the standings is secure – at least for now.
HANNspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa has shown fighting spirit throughout the first four rounds of the series and is now second in the championship overall. The 35-year-old Spaniard, who switched from MotoGP to the World Superbike Championship in 2008, has been a surprise frontrunner this year and has scored four podium finishes so far. He looks to clinch his maiden victory at Monza
Checa’s HANNspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari has also shown his determination to make a mark on the 2008 series. The 25-year-old double British Superbike Champion moved to the world stage this year, and despite having never raced at many of the circuits on the calendar before, has claimed several solid points-scoring finishes so far. The young Japanese is 12th the standings overall, but looks to improve his position in Italy.
The third HANNspree Ten Kate Honda rider Kenan Sofuoglu also hopes for two points-scoring finishes at Monza. The 2007 World Supersport Champion graduated to the Superbike series in 2008 but has often struggled to get to grips with the larger-capacity Honda CBR1000RR. The 23-year-old Turkish rider is currently 16th in the championship overall.
Meanwhile, it’s all change in the HANNspree Honda Althea team as rider Roberto Rolfo will have to miss his home round due to injury. The 28-year-old Italian broke his left collarbone in a mountain biking accident while training last Sunday. Former Italian Superbike Champion Giovanni Bussei will replace him this weekend.
Championship standings after four rounds
1 T. Bayliss 178
2 C. Checa 108
3 T. Corser 89
4 F. Nieto 85
5 R. Xaus 81
6 N. Haga 67
7 M. Neukirchner 66
8 M. Biaggi 54
9 G. Lavilla 48
10 L. Lanzi 42
12 R. Kiyonari 39
16 K. Sofuoglu 26
19 R. Rolfo 20