WSBK » 28 December 2007
Crash.net's WSBK season review – Part 2.
Troy Bayliss had denied James Toseland a first ever double victory by beating the Honda rider to the line during a daring race two showdown at Assen, but he could do nothing to prevent Toseland standing on the top step of the podium twice in front of his home fans at Brands. Bayliss didn't even finish race one, after an accident, then crossed the line just seventh in race two.
With Noriyuki Haga and Max Biaggi having one good and one bad race at Brands, a weekend where Toseland was announced as a Yamaha Tech 3 MotoGP rider for 2008, the Englishman took a 66 point lead over Haga into round eleven of thirteen, at Lausitz in Germany.
Any hopes Toseland may have had of nursing his points lead to the finish of the season suffered a blow when a cracked swingarm, the legacy of a practice fall, left him ninth and fourth, while Haga and Biaggi both clawed back points with 1-2 and 2-3 finishes respectively.
Bayliss, now riding purely for wins, won race two in Germany, and repeated that pattern at the penultimate Vallelunga round, marking what would be the last ever WSBK victory for the 999.
Biaggi wowed his home fans by winning race one at Vallelunga, his third and final victory of the season, then took second in race two - propelling him back above Haga (4-3 finishes) and within 29 points of Toseland heading into the season finale, where 50 points were still up for grabs.
JT's late season jitters had continued at Vallelunga - where he fell in Superpole, recovered to force Haga aside on his way to an aggressive third in race one, but then fell again in race two, limiting him to eleventh place.
The final round of an unpredictable season, at Magny-Cours, thus started with the top three riders - Toseland, Biaggi and Haga - covered by 33 points, with fourth placed Bayliss mathematically out of the championship equation.
Toseland, desperate to leave WSBK as a double world champion, proved his nerve by winning his final Superpole appearance - but saw all his advantage undone after tangling with Lorenzo Lanzi at turn one of race one. In what was close to a worse case scenario, Toseland went spearing off track but - with his heart in his mouth - managed to keep his Honda on two wheels and rejoin at the back of the field.
James went on to fight his way up to seventh, just one place behind an off-form Biaggi, while Haga took the win. The world title thus came down to the 25th and final race of the year, which Toseland began 17 points clear of Haga. The Yamaha star was on peerless form at Magny-Cours, duly winning race two for his second double of the season, but a safe sixth place for Toseland gave him the world crown by just two points.
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