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WSBK Preview: Round 13 – Brands Hatch.

The fifth wildcard is one Anthony Gobert who has been deputising for the injured Steve Hislop on the Virgin Mobile Yamaha ever since the former's horrific crash at Paddock Hill Bend at the start of the first WSBK race in August. Gobert initially struggled with the bike but a superb wet weather performance in the wet around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit last month has marked him out as a definite contender.

The competitiveness of the wildcards add to the pressure that the series regulars must overcome as they strive to make as much ground as possible in the Championship and the man most concerned with their threat is Aprilia's Troy Corser.

Corser spoke out after Hodgson's wins at Donington Park in May and Brands Hatch in August and called for wildcards to be banned from this weekend's event as they posed too much of a distraction to the Championship contenders. With the Championship now out of reach, Corser can take second overall from the absent Haga although the Australian will have to improve on his August showing, which yielded just one sixth place.

The battle for fourth overall will also be decided this weekend with Pier Francesco Chili, Akira Yanagawa and Troy Bayliss separated by just eleven points and all three have the potential to win either race. Chili's injured shoulder is still a factor although it is much healed after a month break and the Suzuki was very competitive at the Kent track earlier this year.

Yanagawa put his name on Colin Edwards' Christmas Card list when he took fourth position from Haga in race two at Oschersleben, thus handing the American the title on a provisional basis. Yanagawa and the Kawasaki team are coming good at the end of the year and the Japanese rider could very well score his first win of the year on Sunday.

Just being in the fight for fourth overall is a Championship victory for Troy Bayliss, who has only entered nine of the twelve rounds so far. The Australian Ducati rider has been the revelation of the season and his past exploits in the British Superbike Championship has endeare3d him greatly to the British fans. A win in race one at Brands in August displayed his talent for all to see and with the ever-competitive Ducati 996 underneath him, he cannot be counted out.

Others who could threaten include Ben Bostrom, Gregorio Lavilla and Juan Borja. Bostrom struggled on his first visit to the Kent track back in August but the Californian learns quickly and the NCR Ducati will be nearer the front this weekend. Lavilla has done his future WSBK aspirations no harm at all with a number of strong performances since his return from injury while Borja is one of the fastest riders in the field when he is not busy falling off.

Once again the field is spread wide open and any one of at least ten riders are capable of victory as the World Superbike season signs off after another memorable year.




Related Pictures

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Bayliss leads Chili and Haga

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