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Brno: Bayliss completes double
20 July 2008
Troy Bayliss has made his final Brno appearance a perfect one by completing a faultless double victory during round nine of the 2008 World Superbike Championship.
Bayliss, who beat countryman Troy Corser by 1.5secs in race one, took victory by less than a second from Ducati Xerox team-mate Michel Fabrizio in race two - also the 500th WSBK race - although in reality the Australian's success was rarely in serious doubt.
The double world champion put his factory 1098 into an early lead from pole position, but was overtaken by Corser into turn one of the second lap.
The Yamaha Italia star continued to head a five-strong lead group - also consisting of Max Biaggi, Fabrizio and Max Neukirchner - until being re-passed by Bayliss on lap nine of 20.
Bayliss was never threatened thereafter, although Corser at least kept the 2008 world championship leader under pressure until lap 16, when the R1 rider seemed to suffer greater grip problems than his Ducati rivals.
Brno ace Biaggi snatched second from Corser with two laps to go, but the Australian - heavily linked to BMW for next season - put up a determined resistance and the pair ran side-by-side for several turns until Biaggi finally secured the position.
Or so he thought.
Fellow Italian Fabrizio, third in race one, had slipped back to sixth with six laps to go, but mounted a ferocious end-of-race charge that saw him overtake both Ryuichi Kiyonari and Neukirchner in a single lap, then close quickly on Corser and Biaggi.
Fabrizio outbraked Corser for third into turn one at the start of the final lap, then threw his 1098 inside Biaggi for second place as they field began the uphill charge to the chequered flag.
Biaggi attempted to retaliate at the final turn, but couldn't hold the line and was forced to settle for third, having brought his Sterilgarda machine home in fourth - once again just behind Fabrizio - during race one.
Fourth in race two went to leading four-cylinder rider Corser, with Alstare Suzuki's Neukirchner and Ten Kate Honda's Kiyonari confirming fifth and sixth ahead of Corser's off-form team-mate Noriyuki Haga.
Alstare's two other riders, Fonsi Nieto and Yukio Kagayama, finished eighth and ninth, with reigning World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu rounding out the top ten.
Carlos Checa's Ten Kate machine ground to a halt on lap ten, just as the race winning Spaniard was closing rapidly on the top six.
Misano winner Ruben Xaus and Ducati test rider Nicolo Canepa suffered a similar fate, while Regis Laconi completed a day to forget by highsiding heavily from his PSG-1 Kawasaki on lap two.
In the world championship standings, Bayliss is now 79 points ahead of Neukirchner, with Corser 12 points further back in third - and still chasing his first R1 victory.
Race results (2) - top 15:
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