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No pain no gain for Bostrom in race two
24 June 2001
Ben Bostrom braved the pain of an injured shoulder to win his second World Superbike race of the year at a boiling hot Misano circuit after a long battle with Neil Hodgson whose GSE Racing Ducati's rear tyre finally wilted in the heat.
The second World Superbike race of the day at a simply baking Misano circuit in Italy got off to a false start when Bertocchi Kawasaki rider Ludovic Holon fell badly on the opening lap causing the race to be red flagged, although only after the entire field had raced past Holton's prone figure on the side of the track with several riders coming very close to causing a major tragedy. However in the ensuing delay the French rider was reported to have received a broken left arm and nothing else, news that was welcomed throughout the World Superbike paddock.
One piece of news not welcomed by the Fuchs Kawasaki team was the announcement by the FIM that Gregorio Lavilla had been penalised five seconds after passing Colin Edwards under a yellow flag situation in the first race of the day and had thus been demoted to fourth in the official classification.
After a lengthy delay the announcement was made that the re-started race would be run over the full 25 laps meaning no need for an annoying aggregate timing system and as he had done in both the previous two starts, Edwards got the best start of all on the Castrol Honda but it was Ben Bostrom who led the field into turn one as he aimed to make amends for his late race one defeat at the hands of Troy Bayliss. Bayliss meanwhile had made a relatively poor getaway and came across the line in seventh place at the end of lap one.
With that last lap move by Bayliss obviously playing greatly on Bostrom's mind, the Californian set a searing pace in the opening three laps and broke everyone in the field bar the GSE Racing Ducati of Neil Hodgson who had made a good start from pole position and had quickly followed Bostrom passed Edwards on the opening lap. The Englishman looked equally as committed as the American and both set out to get clear of the field in the opening three laps with Hodgson taking the lead magnificently on lap four after diving to the inside of Bostrom when he was least expecting it at turn three.
The two Ducati's remained nose to tail at the head of the field whilst everyone else gradually dropped away with Hodgson occasionally looking as though he had broken Bostrom's tow as he worked his Dunlop rubber extra hard on the baking track surface. With 12 laps in the books however Bostrom suddenly swept back into the lead on the entrance to the Tramonto corner and Hodgson began struggling to maintain his pace as the L&M sponsored bike eked out a tenth here and a tenth there until by lap19 the gap was out to almost three seconds and it was clear that Hodgson's early race antics, in which he smashed the fastest lap from race one by well over half a second, were beginning to cost him dearly.
Half way round lap 22 Hodgson's rear Dunlop finally cried enough and threw a great chunk of rubber off the bike ending any lingering challenge that Hodgson might have held to Bostrom as the laconic Californian began to ease off the gas, his shoulder almost certainly giving him a lot of pain not only around the tough Misano circuit but because of the extremely high temperatures that made the race an exceptionally arduous one to complete for the riders. With the No.100 bike juddering madly, Hodgson refused to retire from the race however and battled on in the hope of gaining some world Championship points but heartbreakingly for Neil, Mauro Sanchini passed him on the very last corner to take 15th place and the final point.
At the end of the race, the aggravation caused to Bostrom by his shoulder was plain to see as he looked completely drained but he still managed to find the strength to wheelie across the line and perform several burnouts for the passionate Italian crowd. The Californian's first win since Kyalami elevates him into fifth place in the overall standings, just six points behind Frankie Chili as the series heads to his home circuit of Laguna Seca in two weeks time.
Following Bostrom across the line seven and a half seconds in arrears was Championship leader Troy Bayliss, who gratefully inherited second from Hodgson two laps from the end. The Ducati Infostrada rider had a frustrating opening half to the race as he used up the best of his tyres trying to fight his way past Edwards, Lavilla and the inspired Alessandro Antonello, who completed outshone both Troy Corser and Regis Laconi in both races today. His task was made easier when Edwards dumped the Castrol Honda into the gravel at turn eight and fell to 23rd before embarking on a brilliant recovery ride, and it wasn't until the start of lap 12 was Bayliss finally able to get past a suitably fired up Lavilla.
By that point the Michelin shod Ducati of Bayliss was no longer at its best grip-wise and the Australian spent the remainder of the race fending off the advances of Lavilla before establishing a small comfort zone when it became clear that both riders would make the podium. Antonello was the man to miss out in fourth place on this occasion but after recording his best ever World Superbike result and showing the way to Laconi and Corser all weekend, the chirpy Italian rider won't mind too much.
Tadayuki Okada had a steady run to fifth after spending the entire race keeping a close watching brief on Antonello and Akira Yanagawa, who retired the other Fuchs Kawasaki with a little over five laps remaining after a stirring duel with the leading Aprilia. Okada led home Ruben Xaus who did have Laconi for company until the final three laps when the luckless Frenchman experienced an almost identical rear end problem that caused his race one retirement.
Therefore it was left to some of World Superbikes young guns to pick up the pieces and take 'best of the rest' honours with Broc Parkes and James Toseland enjoying another race-long tussle en-route to seventh and eighth places respectively with both riders passing Troy Corser and Frankie Chili late in the race as the latter pair struggled around with no grip. 19 year-old NCR Ducati rider Parkes and 20 year-old GSE Ducati man Toseland are two very talented riders who will be hassling the 'old guard' in World Superbikes for many years to come and with both riders effectively riding for 'Rookie of the Year' honours you can expect many more scraps throughout the year.
Corser and Chili despondently completed the top ten with Corser's double race win here last season looking more like ten years ago as he watched his Championship hopes fade while into 11th came Edwards to salvage enough points not to let Bayliss increase his lead to 50 – yet.
Alex Gramigni made it four points scoring rides from four starts thus far in 2001 as he claimed 12th place ahead of Stephane Chambon, Giovanni Bussei and finally Sanchini who, as already stated, completed the points scorers.
Peter Goddard's second race on the Benelli Tornado lasted a little over two laps as he sadly came to grief on what was the spare bike after his intended race machine stopped on the citing lap. A tough debut for the incoming marque but as Goddard succinctly put it after the first race 'we can only get better.'
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