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Haga wins to keep title hopes alive
7 October 2007
The World Superbike Championship has just been blown wide open due to Lorenzo Lanzi suffering a turn one high side. The Xerox Ducati rider crashed mid pack, causing the other riders to scatter around him.
Toseland had to take to the gravel to avoid the crashing Italian and rejoined the race dead last. Max Biaggi also lost ground due to this incident and had to battle his way forward along with Toseland.
Joining Haga on the podium was Troy Bayliss on the second of the Xerox machines who was bashing elbows with third place man, Troy Corser. The Two Australians were taking chunks out of one another during the final few laps of the race.
Following the tough race Haga said, “I was checking behind me and every lap my heart was vibrating more. I just think, no crash and keep going. I was lucky at the start as I almost take in the crash. I was lucky. I am happy for the result and I will try for next race. I guess with the weather I will make some changes to my bike. I must pay Troy and Troy for blocking James!”
Bayliss admitted that it was hard work on track, “Its hard out there and this track makes for tight racing. I was mad as I didn't put a good lap together in Superpole. Our bike is as good as anyone's but it struggles into the back straight. That is my favourite place to pass so I had to get by there and then cover my lines. The action with Troy and Neukirchner, well that is how it goes. Nori was in control and looked like he could have gone faster, he kept a good pace.”
The weather has picked up and the temperature could impact on tyre wear as Bayliss went onto say, “Normally I want cooler conditions but I think the sunshine might help. I struggled for grip on the first 6 to 7 laps and my bike didn't change so I'll make some changes. There was a lot of action on lap one it is not nice seeing anyone hurt.” Bayliss' team-mate Lanzi was taken to the medical centre following his crash but he is ok and hoping to take part in race two.
Corser was once again deprived of the win that he wants, “I got a great start and the plan was to get in front and win, and let this lot battle it out for the championship. Haga was determined to get to the front, I tried some moves but I didn't want to risk anything. When Troy caught me my front tyre was shagged. There was nothing I could do to keep with him,” he declared.
When the lights went out Lanzi got a superb start form the second row of the grid, only for it to go horribly wrong on the run into turn one. The Xerox rider suffered a nasty high side which had a big impact on both him and the race.
Toseland ran across the gravel with his race bike's rear wheel spinning and snaking in the uneven terrain. He did an amazing job of holding onto his bucking machine to rejoin the race.
Back at the sharp end it was Corser from Haga with youngster Max Neukirchner giving chase and Bayliss slotting into fourth place. Neukirchner tried for second place but Haga wasn't having it and the determined Japanese rider soon took the lead from his team-mate.
Biaggi who also got tangled up in the turn one crash had rejoined the action in 13th whilst Toseland was running 17th. Biaggi ran wide in his efforts to get further up the standings and when he came back onto the racing line he was very lucky not to get taken out by Karl Muggeridge.
On lap four Neukirchner set a new lap record of 1min 39.844secs while Michel Fabrizio was hit with a ride through penalty for a jump start. By lap five Biaggi was tenth and Toseland eleventh. Haga had a bit of a moment but managed to hold it. Just three laps later and both Biaggi and Toseland were into the top ten.
Neukirchner was all over the back of Corser and was lining him up to try and take second place. He put a hard move on the tough Aussie forcing him to sit up mid corner. Corser wasn't letting him away with it and took his position back, while these two were dicing Bayliss was gradually closing down on them.
Ruben Xaus got caught up in the Biaggi –Toseland freight train as the pair of them sandwiched him through a corner pushing him back two places. By now Bayliss was getting impatient and shoved his way under Neukirchner physically bumping the German rider out of the way.
Bayliss now had Corser in his sights and it all kicked off on lap 19. the feuding Australians changed place four times, bashing elbows all the way, but it was Bayliss who came out on top.
Toseland came over the line in seventh place and now has 405 points, 17 clear of Haga who is second. Race two will decide the Championship.
WSBK race results (1) – Magny-Cours:
1. Noriyuki Haga
2. Troy Bayliss
3. Troy Corser
4. Max Neukirchner
5. Fonsi Nieto
6. Max Biaggi
7. James Toseland
8. Ruben Xaus
9. Regis Laconi
10. Roberto Rolfo
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