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Preview - Misano.

Less than a month ago, you would have been forgiven for thinking that this year's World Superbike Championship was destined for just one rider: Troy Bayliss.

A strong, consistent start to the season had been enough to establish a seemingly infallible margin of error for the Australian in his final year of racing as he galloped away while others struggled to string a similarly impressive run of finishes together.

And yet four races later and the situation is looking rather more competitive as Carlos Checa and Max Neukirchner chip away at Bayliss' seemingly unbreakable façade.

Even then, it took Checa a double win in the USA to get himself into contention, while there are still some people waiting for Neukirchner to trip up in what has been an outstanding season so far.

On top of that, as the series heads south for the San Marino round at Misano, the title fight has arguably expanded to accommodate a fourth rider after 'Nitro' Noriyuki Haga performed a remarkable double victory at the Nurburgring.

All the more significant given his injury woes, Haga's superb performance in Germany has propelled him well into the title fight that looks like it really could go any which way between Ducati, Honda, Suzuki or Yamaha.

Bayliss still holds a comfortable margin though of 39 points, a lead that would be considered quite dominant if it hadn't been almost double that just before World Superbikes went to the USA.

However, while another bad round could make all the difference for Bayliss, the omens are stacking in his favour around Misano, one of the home circuits for the Ducati Xerox outfit. His statistics around the circuit make some ominous reading for his rivals: Ten starts, nine podiums, six wins.

Furthermore, Ducati have won 25 of the 32 races they have competed in there, ensuring this is likely to be a race that is theirs to lose. Not that Bayliss' rivals won't be trying their utmost to avoid a repeat of his double victory from 2007…



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Troy Bayliss (AUS), Ducati Xerox Team, Ducati 999F07, 21 2007 Superbike World Championship, Round 8, Misano, San Marino, 17 June 2007
Neukirchner, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Neukirchner, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Neukirchner, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Neukirchner, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Neukirchner, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Marino, Magny Cours WSS600 race 2014
Marino, Magny Cours WSS600 race 2014
Marino, Magny Cours WSS600 race 2014
Neukirchner, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Neukirchner, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Neukirchner, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Neukirchner, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Suzuki levers, Magny Cours WSBK 2014
Neukirchner, Magny Cours WSBK 2014
Suzuki levers, Magny Cours WSBK 2014

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