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Bayliss takes Ducati Drag Race honours

"It's a shame Troy beat me in the final, as it would have been nice to score a victory, but he got a better start!" - Valentino Rossi.
Friday night at World Ducati Week 2012 in Misano saw Ducati riders from MotoGP and World Superbike take part in a Drag Race battle.

Riding identical Ducati Diavels, Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Troy Bayliss, Carlos Checa, Jakub Smrz, Sylvain Guintoli, Niccolò Canepa and Lorenzo Zanetti all took the opportunity for some friendly, but fierce competition on a drag-strip along the Misano start straight.

The early elimination stages saw Ducatisti favourites Rossi and Bayliss go through to the final showdown in front of a huge WDW crowd.

Former triple WSBK champion and MotoGP race winner Bayliss then got the best launch and tripped the timing lights at 6.306 seconds to win the Drag Race.

Rossi's time of 6.329 put him in second with MotoGP team-mate Hayden third and reigning WSBK champion Checa fourth.

A record-breaking 65,000 attended WDW2012, which ran from 21-24 June. Reflecting on his debut at the event, and his Drag Race defeat, seven time MotoGP champion Rossi said:

"This was my first WDW, and it was a beautiful, amazing experience, so many Ducatis, so many fans. WDW is clearly a special event, four days in which Ducatisti can enjoy themselves, because owning a Ducati isn't just a technical choice, but practically a 'religious' choice.

"And seeing as how it was a day at the track, how could I not enjoy myself as well?

"I started by testing the Panigale, and although we didn't have many laps, Nicky and I did some wheelies and some drifting. It's small and fast, really fast, and it's also beautiful, an absolutely fascinating bike.

"Then I switched to four wheels when I drove the Audi [R8 LMS] and again, I didn't want to stop.

"But the fun wasn't over because the drag race was the perfect ending. A really exciting challenge right up until the last second.

"It's a shame Troy beat me in the final, as it would have been nice to score a victory, but he got a better start! Anyway, it's a great event for a great 'family' I really enjoyed it."

Hayden was making his second appearance at WDW, which is held every two years.

"WDW is a great event. I was here two years ago, but now it's even bigger and I've really enjoyed it," said Hayden.

"All bike fans are great, but Ducati fans are special.

"There are a lot of good people that love this bike and love this team and support us.

"I've been at Ducati for four years now, so I spend a lot of time in Italy. I really like it here, the passion for the racing, the bike and the company.

"I look forward to coming back to WDW again in two years time."

That final comment would seem to indicate that Hayden, who like Rossi is out of contract at the end of this year, has no plans to leave Ducati...



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Bayliss beats Rossi to win WDW drag race. Hayden 3rd (pic: Ducati)
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