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Misano: Xaus from Biaggi in Misano race two!

29 June 2008

The Sterilgarda Ducati team enjoyed a dream race two at Misano with Ruben Xaus taking victory ahead of team-mate Max Biaggi at the end of an eventful, restarted, second race.

Xaus had been leading the initial start when it was red flagged on lap three due to oil from a Karl Muggeridge engine failure, but was only fourth around turn one on the full length restart - behind world championship leader Troy Bayliss, Biaggi and pole sitter Troy Corser.

A strong opening lap saw Ruben climb to second but Corser, runner-up to Max Neukirchner in race one, retaliated on the second lap and overtook Bayliss for the race lead on lap five.

The two Australians had built a 2.5secs advantage over Xaus, Biaggi and 14th on the grid Noriyuki Haga by the halfway mark of the 24 laps, but Bayliss - making his final Misano appearance - was starting to look impatient and dived for the lead inside Corser at the end of the back straight with ten laps to go.

At the same time, Xaus seemed to find a second wind and marched quickly up to Corser's rear wheel, leaving the top three covered by less than one second with eight laps remaining.

Xaus elbowed inside Corser one lap later - then waved a quick apology to a man rumoured to be his BMW team-mate next season - before setting his sights on factory rider Bayliss, now glancing nervously behind him.

The #111 made his victory pass under braking at the end of the back straight with five laps go - while Corser also squeezed past the Ducati Xerox star a few turns later, only to spear wide at the final turn after a sudden slide.

That marked the end of Corser's challenge and he rejoined the track behind team-mate Haga in fifth.

But Bayliss soon found himself back under attack, this time from Biaggi, and the Roman was handed the runner-up position when Bayliss made an identical mistake to Corser through the final turn next time around.

Bayliss was able to slot back into third, while Biaggi tried all he could to bridge the gap to Xaus and claim his first Ducati victory.

However Ruben, fourth in race one, held firm and collected his first ever 1098 win, and first WSBK victory since Valencia 2007, by one second from the former MotoGP star.

Bayliss settled for his second third place of the day ahead of R1 team-mates Haga and Corser, with Lorenzo Lanzi sixth for the RG Team.

Neukirchner was unable to reproduce his race one form, but was still the top GSX-R1000 rider in seventh, with Hannspree Ten Kate Honda's Carlos Checa the leading Fireblade in eighth.

Bayliss' team-mate Michel Fabrizio, who collided with Biaggi in race one, had suffered an engine failure on lap one of race two - but was given a second chance by the restart. The Italian had been fighting in the lead group until his race one accident, but managed just eleventh on his spare machine.

In the world championship standings, Bayliss is now 49 points in front of Neukirchner, with Checa three points further back and Haga 68 from the top.


Misano race two:

1. Xaus
2. Biaggi
3. Bayliss
4. Haga
5. Corser
6. Lanzi
7. Neukirchner
8. Checa
9. Smrz
10. Nieto
11. Fabrizio
12. Kagayama
13. Kiyonari
14. Lavilla
15. Nakatomi


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