Preview – Silverstone.

The Corona Extra Superbike World Championship makes the first of two visits to Great Britain this weekend, when Silverstone hosts round five of the 2006 series.

Britain's F1 track is now a firm favourite on the WSBK calendar, originally hosting WSBK over its full layout in 2002 and most recently in its shorter, National layout, used for the first time in 2005.

The 3.561km shot circuit features a plethora of challenges, with the slow corners of the Brooklands and Luffield complexes ensuring that any top speed advantages can be made up during braking - delivering close battles throughout the field.

For the majority of SBK stars about to descend on Silverstone there is one clear mission in mind: To try and beat championship leader Troy Bayliss and - in all probability - score both wins in the process.

Bayliss has been in stunning form of late, winning the last five races on the bounce for Ducati Xerox, but his rivals can take some heart from the fact that he has never ridden on the current layout, while in World Superbike trim.

Nearest to Bayliss is Alstare Suzuki's 2005 champion Troy Corser, with British favourite James Toseland - who took a memorable home race win last season - in third for new team Ten Kate Honda.

Such is the competitiveness behind the consistent Bayliss and Corser that Toseland leads Klaffi Honda's Alex Barros and Yamaha Italia's Noriyuki Haga by only two and four points respectively. 'Rookie' Barros is looking for his first SBK win, while Haga is looking for his first win of 2006. The three races Bayliss hasn't won this year have been claimed by Corser (two) and Toseland (one).

Haga's team-mate Andrew Pitt, the 2001 World Supersport champion, lies sixth in the championship currently, partly thanks to his first career World Superbike podium at Qatar, but mostly due to an impressive level of front running consistency, whatever his final race positions.

In overall seventh place is Bayliss's team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi, who has shown flashes of brilliance - and his double podium at Valencia, in round four, demonstrated that he still has the ability to run at the front - but he badly needs to emerge from Troy's shadow.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Corser Leads Bayliss AT Start, Monza WSBK Race 1, 2006
Bayliss Strokes Bike After Winning, Monza WSBK Race 1, 2006
Start, Race 1, Silverstone WSBK, 2005
Steven Kane / Guy Smith / Andy Meyrick M Sport Bentley Continental win at Silverstone
Massei, British SSTK 1000 Race 2012
Staring, British SSTK 1000 Race 2012
Lussiana, British SSTK 1000 Race 2012
Guarnoni, British SSTK 1000 Race 2012
Alfa Romeo, Safety Car, British SSTK 1000 Race 2012
Bergman, British SSTK 1000 Race 2012
Jezek, British SSTK 1000 Race 2012
La Marra, British SSTK 1000 Race 2012
VD Mark, Russo, Jackson, British SSTK 600 Race 2012
VD Mark, British SSTK 600 Race 2012
Russo, British SSTK 600 Race 2012
Jackson, British SSTK 600 Race 2012
Russo, British SSTK 600 Race 2012
VD Mark, British SSTK 600 Race 2012

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