WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 1
VALENCIA, SPAIN: Race Report, Sunday, March 10
GODDARD & BENELLI MISS VALENCIA
Australia's Peter Goddard did not ride in the opening round of the World Superbike Championship motorcycle series at Valencia in Spain today after Italian manufacturer Benelli withdrew because of engine problems.
The 1997 World Endurance Championship winner was able to complete only 26 laps on the three-cylinder works Benelli Tornado 900 in the practice and two qualifying sessions at Valencia on Friday and yesterday.
Goddard recorded a best qualifying lap of 1-min 38.845-secs around the 4km circuit, which left him in 24th position among the 25 riders who qualified for the two races. Speed trap times from the first qualifying session clocked the Benelli at 261.3-km/h, which was 21.2-km/h slower than the fastest machines of Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) and Alessandro Antonello (Ducati).
Benelli made its championship debut in 2001, with Goddard competing in the final six rounds of the series. He finished nine times from 12 starts and scored championship points in three races.
BENELLI SPORT STATEMENT (issued today): "Benelli Sport have discovered that an engine component has a serious problem which may be due to heat treatment of the component and this is causing regular engine failure. Because of this the team were unable to compete properly in any of the weekend's qualifying sessions. The problem is of a type that cannot be solved at the circuit, and not wanting to risk the safety of the rider, Benelli Sport has decided to withdraw from Sunday's races."
PETER GODDARD QUOTES: "It's disappointing to miss the start of the championship. We will now regroup with the aim of coming back with a competitive package."
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 1): Bayliss 50, Haga 40, Edwards 29, Bostrom 29, Hodgson 21, Izutsu 19, Walker 15, Borja 13, Xaus 11, Toseland 10
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