Colin Edwards began Sunday with a perfect record at Hockenheim in 2000. Fastest in Friday practice, Saturday qualifying and Superpole and in the Sunday warm-up. Not many would have argued if you said the Castrol Honda looked unbeatable.
One man who wouldn't have shared that opinion was Ducati's Troy Bayliss. The 31 year old Australian was having his first taste of Hockenheim's flat out straight's in what is only his third World Superbike meeting but that didn't stop him from battling tooth and nail with some of WSB's finest AND beating them to record his first ever World Superbike victory.
Away from the line both Troy's : Bayliss and Corser outdragged the pole sitting Edwards only to have the Honda displace them on the run down to the Jim Clark chicane. Edwards knew that his best chance to get an easy race would be to break the lead draft early on and, recognising this fact by the end of lap one both Noriyuki Haga
and Pierfrancesco Chili had further demoted Messrs Bayliss and Corser.
By the end of the lap Edwards still had Haga and Chili stuck to his exhaust pipes with Corser, Akira Yanagawa, Bayliss and Alessandro Antonello still in close company. In the opening several laps the Texan made a desperate attempt to break clear of the pack but to no avail. Haga and Chili would not be swayed either and there was now some daylight beginning to appear between the top three and Bayliss, who had now established himself in fourth.
The 34 bike field had already been depleted by one when John Reynolds pulled up after just a single tour while Anthony Gobert retired his troublesome Bimota shortly afterwards.
This almost went unnoticed for the action at the front was unrelenting. On lap three Chili pulled a lap of 1 minute 59.885 out of the bag which was faster than even Edwards managed in qualifying. Bayliss had managed to put some daylight between himself and the following group, still led by Yanagawa but now with Aaron Slight, Corser, Antonello, Andy Meklau and Robert Ulm in tow. There was a sizeable gap now beginning to appear between the top ten and the following scrap for eleventh which comprised Ben Bostrom, Juan Borja, James Haydon, Simon Crafar and the plucky Stephen Plater.
It was clear in the opening laps that Edwards and Haga had Chili for pace but the Suzuki was able to make up for it in the turns. Chili would struggle for the first three quarters of the lap but would then close dramatically into the stadium section. This boded well for a final lap battle into the last couple of corners.
Edwards continued to do the lion's share of the leading although Haga briefly took the place away on lap six, he was quickly displaced. The following lap Chili decided that he had had enough of sitting back and wanted to lead, which he promptly did, forcing Edwards off-line at the very fast Ostkurve. Haga took advantage of the Honda's loss of momentum to nip through and take second while Bayliss had now closed right up in fourth and was in ten bike length's of the new leader.
Once Bayliss was with the lead group, he made short work of them to sweep though into the lead as they approached the stadium section on lap nine. With the leader's continuing to battle furiously, Yanagawa had seized the opportunity to join the quartet and had dragged Slight and Corser, who was hanging on despite his Aprilia's lack of grunt, to within two seconds of the lead bunch.