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True to form, Bayliss wins again at Assen

27 April 2008

Making mistakes seemed to be the order of the day for many riders at Assen in the first Superbike race as most of the top men had one moment or another in the Dutch sunshine.

No errors for Bayliss though and the Australiam continues his serene progress at the top of the points chart. Now a huge 61 points in front after only three and a half rounds.

His rivals are making it easy for Bayliss though as yet again they fell by the wayside in the races.

Noriyuki Haga, who looked likely to be the Ducati riders biggest threat, took out Ruben Xaus on only the second lap in a strange move at the de Strubben hairpin.

Haga didn't get the best of starts and was forcing his way through the pack, using the tight turning ability of his R1 Yamaha to good effect.

He forced inside Xaus for third behind Bayliss and Corser on lap two, but as the Japanese rider tried to tap on the power his bike moved wide and into Xaus's black Ducati.

Both men were forced out, Haga flipped over the side of the Yamaha and Xaus falling off the lowside of his Ducati. They both rejoined but any chance of a result was long gone.

Up front then, Bayliss was joined by Yukio Kagayama. After qualifying 'Yuki' had promised that his bike was well sorted and he would be up there in the races. Into the fast sweepers before the final chicane at the end of lap four the Suzuki took the lead in a typically brave move from the japanese former BSB race winner.

Then for five more laps the top five were very close together. Max Neukircher was looking composed and cool in thrid palce on the second Suzuki but would have been a little wary at who was behind him, because it was his Valencia nemesis Carlos Checa!

It seemed that Kagayama could not pull away and this was exemplified by Corser managing to catch the pack up again after intitially dropping back a bit.

The pressure began to show on Kagayama then and he made a huge mistake in the final chicane on lap 10. The Japanese slightly missed his line and went over the astroturf, as he lit the wick to get on the gas the Suzuki's rear tyre, still covered in dust, let go and Yukio was down to fourth in a flash.

That error allowed Bayliss into a lead he was never to lose.

"After Yukio made that mistake I really went for it to try and get away," said Bayliss after the race. "Davide (Tardozzi) has just had a word with me about looking over my shoulder which is something I dont normally do, but I was just making sure there was no-one near me!"

The people behind were Neukirchner and Checa, and they were very close! The Honda man not quite able to get past the German whose Suzuki was very quick in a straight line as it has been all season.

Checa made his move with four laps to go, pouncing on the Neukirchner into the last chicane, it was a hard move and the German toughed it out on the exit to pull alongside again into turn one.

Checa was on the right line though and managed to sweep across Neukirchner's bows and on to a well deserved second place.

"Once I got into third and caught Max, I could see he was slowing. It was good to fight right to the end," said the two Moto GP race winner.

A deserved third for Neukirchner then, his first podium since 2005 and there were hearty backslaps and hand shaking between him and Checa, the Valencia incident now clearly forgotten.

Kagayama and Corser had a competition to see who could make the most mistakes and stay on for fourth and fifth, the verdict eventually going to the Suzuki man, while just behind them and closing fast was qualifying sensation Jakub Smrz, the Czech getting hsi best WSBK result so far in sixth.

Ryuichi Kiyonari finished well up again, but was caught up in heavy traffic early on that hampered his progress and Makoto Tamada got a good result for Kawasaki in eighth.

Greg Lavilla yet again raced far better than he qualified for ninth and special mention here to Ayrton Badovini, the Pedercini Kawasaki youngster scored a couple of points for 13th, great ride.


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